For seemingly decade after decade, wayward gentlemen of color have haphazardly eschewed clothing measurements that constitute the stark divide between stylish and slovenly. And nothing illustrates this point more than an ill-fitting, badly tailored suit. Baggy, shapeless silhouettes have long dominated the sartorial landscape in the urban theater, but thankfully, more gentlemen are starting to favor more streamlined proportions – and we are not talking obnoxiously skinny suits either. No, we are referring to suits that fit you and only you! Here are a few words on proportion, fit, maintenance, and everything in between that will assist you in looking your best.
10. Because, on the gentleman’s formality scale of dress jackets, the blazer is a touch lower than your regular suit jacket. Therefore, a gentleman should welcome the relaxed sophistication that a blazer (or sport coat) heartily affords. Capitalize on its casual charm to inject some lively character into your wardrobe.
Shoulders should be as natural as possible; meaning minimal shoulder padding, unless you have a slight frame and could use some enhancing. Suit should rest flatly with no gaps around the neck. Forget the slim trend. Your suit should fit YOU. It should trace the natural contour of your body. It should be neither too tight, nor should it be excessively baggy.
9. As contemporary silhouettes have undoubtedly slimmed down, so too has the width of the lapel on the suit jacket. Purchasing such a suit could result in a curious dilemma. If a gentleman has rejected the possibility of wearing a slim necktie, he may be stuck wearing a necktie bearing modest girth-thus resulting in an uneven visual balance. It would be wise for a gentleman to bring a necktie that represents the average width of his collection as he shops for a new suit.
8. Those brief occasions when the gentleman strives for a relaxed feel, yet does not desire to sacrifice a polished look in the name of casualness. Enter the cotton suit. Smooth and refined, the gentleman can embrace an air of elegant nonchalance and still be taken seriously. A classic spring or summer staple, a lightweight cotton suit in stone or khaki can be a handsome addition to any gent’s closet.
7. Buttoning your suit, sounds like a simple enough concept right? Like everything else in the sartorial universe, there are a simple set of rules that are applicable when fastening your suit. If you have found yourself wondering what buttons should be left open or closed; follow along with my simple guidelines to help you out.
It really is a simple choice with a one button suit. You have one button, so of you can choose to either have it opened or closed. If you are a man of considerable heft, I would steer clear of the one button. It looks better on a slimmer frame in my humble opinion. But I could be wrong.
Now, the two button suit. You should always fasten the top button, but never button both buttons at the same time. Also, never button the bottom button and leave the top open. That just looks sloppy. That brings us to the three button suit. For the first choice, you can fasten the first two buttons and leave the bottom button open. Also, you can fasten the middle button, while leaving the top & bottom button open. You should never button all three buttons at once.
6. Depending on the length of the arm, the gentleman should show between 1/4 to 1/2 inches of shirt cuff extending past the jacket sleeve. For a more detailed explanation, check out my previous post right HERE. When being fitted for your suit (you did try it on right?), make sure that you wear the appropriate sized dress shirt during that time. The tailor can then make the proper alterations to the suit jacket depending on the gentleman’s tastes.
In regards to the length of a gentleman’s jacket, modern cuts are decisively shorter. However, here at The Gentlemen’s Standard, we advocate proper coverage of one’s rear. Seriously. Single vent, double vent – just ensure your butt is sufficiently covered. With your hands at your side, curl fingers into a fist, your knuckles should roughly align with the hem of your jacket – boom!
In regards to the length of your trousers, two things: 1) The hem of your trousers – one inch break please. 2) Absolutely no sagging. Your crotch should fall right where it needs to be – your crotch.
5. To preserve the quality of your beloved suit; the gentleman should invest in a good suit brush & quality steamer. As with my suit, a suit brush will remove dirt & debris (granted it is not excessively dirty) that may have accumulated during your time wearing it. A good suit brush will cost the gent no more than $25.00 and can probably be grabbed for much less. And while you’re at it, grab a lint remover too. You know, the one with the sticky tape on a roll.
4. In addition to a suit brush, a steamer will eliminate stubborn wrinkles and maintain your suit’s shape. After a few minutes, my suit was good to go. Expect to pay roughly $150-250 retail for a steamer. However, don’t let the price tag deter you. You recoup your dollars by saving yourself multiple trips to the dry cleaners. And besides, continuous trips to the cleaners can damage a suit over time, especially if its construction is fused, as most off-the-rack suits are.
3. Watch the scale of your patterns. Patterns should be of different sizes. Now, a gentleman can sport a striped suit with a striped shirt. However, the stripes should definitely be varied. For example, a pinstriped suit can be paired beautifully with a dress shirt with a wider stripe.
2. Invest in a quality, heavy-duty hanger – preferably composed of solid wood construction. And preferable thick enough to mimic the contour of a gentleman’s shoulders. Wire hangers are just too flimsy to get the job done. Your suit would be prone to sagging, and its shape would become severely distorted and misshapen. Bonus: Throw a few hanging cedar chips in the closet to ward off renegade moths.
1. Not every gentleman can afford a custom suit. So, with off-the-rack being the only viable option for modest pockets, locating a reputable tailor would certainly be in your best interest. Even the most expensive suit can look shoddy if the fit is undesirable. Investing in and utilizing a respected tailor can instantly give your suit a makeover without dropping thousands of dollars.