How to master the art of tailoring

Britain – or Saville Row to be more specific – is famous for being the birth place of impeccably crafted tailoring and whilst a handcrafted suit should be a staple part of the wardrobe of any sharp-dressed man, choosing the perfect type of fit can prove to be very confusing indeed.

Perfecting the art of tailoring isn’t easy but once you’ve discovered that perfect fit, great tailoring has the potential to make you look and feel fantastic. First things first and you need to make sure that your suit fits you perfectly. Now this might sound simple: surely it’s just a question of going to a menswear store and picking out a suit a jacket in your size, right? Unfortunately this is wrong and investing in a suit that flatters your size and shape means visiting a bespoke tailor who will take many detailed measurements to ensure that your suit covers your sartorial needs perfectly.

The art of tailoring isn’t simply measuring, cutting and sewing a garment: a skilled tailor will use their expertise to assess your body shape and gait to create a garment that’s made to fit you perfectly. Experienced tailors also understand fabric intimately and will guide you towards a choice of cloth that is suitable for the style of suit you have in mind.

Choosing a style of suit that flatters your shape is important and as a very basic rule of thumb, remember that double-breasted suits are a good choice for tall, slim men whilst single-breasted suits are a relatively safe all-round option. Again your tailor will be able to advise you on the best style and cut to suit your body shape.

Fashions change and with an almost limitless choice of style options available, choosing those all-important details can be daunting. However, this is where bespoke tailoring really comes into its own as buying a tailor made suit offers the opportunity to achieve an individual look that complements your style and personality. A longer length jacket gives a classic look whilst a shorter jacket looks more contemporary. If you’re a little on the short size then you should go for a short jacket as this will make your legs look longer but if height isn’t an issue, either length will work for you.

Getting the length and width of the sleeves right is very important: if the sleeves of the jacket are too long, the whole jacket will look too big, even if the rest fits perfectly. A hand tailored bespoke jacket will have sleeves that finish at your wrist bone and will allow ½ an inch of shirt cuff to show. The sleeves of a suit jacket should never be too tight or at the other extreme of being loose and too baggy.

Trouser fit and cut is equally important as the suit jacket and it’s worth bearing in mind that slimmer trousers will add height. It can pay to go as slim as you dare when it comes to cut but spray-on suit trousers are a definite no-no! The length is also important as wider trousers should sit lower down over your heels whilst narrow-fit trousers should sit on the top of your shoe. It’s Ok for your socks to show when you sit down – if in doubt, treat yourself to some smart socks!

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