Saturday, 28 April 2012

How To Tailor A Suit

That time of the year is back again where we will be heading to Durban for the annual Durban July, and the theme is “RIGHT ROYAL AFFAIR” now think purple, cherry red, burgundy, royal blue, grey and lots of gold. Think of Prince Harry’s royal wedding just to get inspiration.
Now every man will need that one perfect fitting suit especially if you are hoping to be snapped by all the fashion media which will be around. The problem with most men is that when they think suitm they think high end Italian designer boutiques and end up with an ill fitting expensive suit which is pointless and a waste of money. So if you do not want to look like Popeye and Spinach from zone 14 at the SAFTAs 2011 try these simple steps:
A lot of department stores or men’s boutiques have in house tailors and you usually won’t pay extra charge if the tailor is in house, I am suggesting that you get a one made especially for YOU from scratch. No need to go to Italy for a perfect suit, local bespoke kings like Ephraim molingoana (EPHYMOL), Dennis Maponya (DMC) Ole Ledimo (house of Ole) and Thabo Maserumule (Thunderstorm) offer one on one personalized services and by following these steps below you can take part in creating your own masterpiece.
This can be a bit tricky, but it really is not that difficult. The fabric of your suit makes all the difference, choose between cashmere, wool, flannels, cotton or blends try to stay away from linen here you are looking for a suit that will stand out without making you look like a clown. Remember fabrics are graded from low 80s to higher 180s (quality of the fabric) anything above 110 is very good quality and durable meaning a higher price.
This is the most important stage and your tailor must have taken all the required measurements to make sure your suit fits like a glove. Your tailor might be experienced but I advise you to communicate and ask questions.
  • Remember the sleeves should at least show 3 inches of your shirt, the shoulders should snuggle you, and should end at the edge of the deltoids, creating a line that drops down from the shoulders.
  • The pants should never ever reach the heel of your shoes.
  • The length of your jacket is extremely important to the overall balance and structure of your suit, it should be long enough to cover the seat of your trousers. The collar of your suit should hug the rear of the shirt.
  • The chest of the jacket should lay flat across your chest, there should NEVER be pleats on the front and sides of the jacket
Do you do 2 or 3 button? Double breast or single breast, a modern or traditional peak (a peak is what non fashionistas would normally call the collar of the suit jacket/blazer).
This one depends on the current fashion trends, but if you are the conservative type stick to a navy blue single breast with 3 buttons. Read fashion magazines to find out which styles are in season if you are the fashion conscious type. Remember if it’s a 3 button you only do 2 buttons and if it’s a 2 button you do 1 got it?
This is the fun stage but whatever you do don’t get too excited or you will mess up craftsmanship. Here you choose the type of buttons, the lining either a plain black, navy or even polka dotted, paisley in the most vibrant colour, pockets and stitching and the minor details to make it yours alone depending on the current local and international trends.
This stage is critical as it will determine if your tailor is a keeper or not. Check all angles and remember to ask questions if you are not too sure about certain things, you are footing the bill after all right? Wear shoes when trying on the suit on to make sure the length is perfect.
You can always take the easy route and buy off the rail BUT make sure they have an in house tailor. Men’s boutiques like Fabiani offer a personalized tailoring service to give the suit a bit of nip and tuck, also try 312 couture in Sandton city ( and Sheldon Kopman of Naked Ape.
If you get a suit off the rail you will usually no pay an extra fee for a bit of altering, I must warn you though they don’t come cheap as they are offering a high end customized service and the chances of seeing anyone in the same suit as yours is 2/10. Do expect to pay a minimum of R4500 for a jacket and pants, like I said this is the minimum

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