This is one to share with the man in your life – the experience of having a bespoke suit made is probably something your other half has never experienced before – so we asked the lovely and very knowledgeable Marc at Gentlemen’s Outfitters Jack Bunneys to answer some of our questions about what to expect from a suit fitting…
What is the sign of a well fitting suit?
There are so many ways in which a suit can be well fitted or poorly fitted. There are also so many ways in which this can be a matter of opinion or fashion. I like to think a well fitted suit, is a suit which fits the way the customer wants it to fit. However there are certain aspects to the fit of a suit, which stand out as being poorly fitted if you are looking for them.
1. Sleeve length. A sleeve should not finish on the hand. A sleeve should finish on the wrist, allowing a small amount of shirt cuff to show.
2. Jacket length. The jacket’s length should be in scale with the customers torso length. A general rule of thumb is for the jacket to finish where the customers seat meets the thigh.
3. Jacket collar. The collar of a jacket should not stand away from the neck. It should sit on and around the shirt collar, leaving no space between.
4. Sleeve pitch. Creases on the back of the bicep of a sleeve or the front of the forearm can be caused by the sleeve pitch not being correct for the customers stance.
5. Buttoning. A well made suit should fasten. Just. A modern slim fitting, but well tailored suit should button but not cause any excess creasing or pulling.
7. Trouser hang. The front of a customers trousers should not fall down at the front and ‘collapse’ in the front causing horizontal creasing. The trousers should be suspended from the shoulders and worn around the customers waist.
8. Trouser bottoms. The bottom of the trousers should sit on the top of the shoe with one slight break.
A well fitting suit should look effortless and be worn with confidence.
What should a Groom expect at a suit fitting? What measurements will be taken?
A bespoke tailor will require a variety of different measurements at the initial suit fitting, to measure both the dimensions of the customers body and to determine the correct figure descriptions which are cut into the customers unique pattern.
A tailor will measure with a tape measure, the usual measurements are taken, such as chest, waist, shoulders, sleeve etc. A tailor will also take measurements and examine the way a customer stands and moves whilst wearing a jacket, trousers and waistcoat. These all important figure descriptions will be added to the pattern to correct any anomalies caused by the customers shape or stance.
What’s the best thing to wear to a suit fitting?
It is always best to be as prepared as possible when attending a suit fitting. A long sleeve shirt is a must. If possible the actual shirt to be worn with the suit. Shoes are always very helpful, again the actual shoes to be worn would be ideal. The same applies to under garments, a similar or the same style would be ideal.
Would you advise bringing the Ushers for a second opinion?
Maybe an ‘usher’ or the ‘best-man’. In my experience, a suit is best designed by the person wearing it and the tailor who is making it. A suit designed by a group, will inevitably be a compromise between differing opinions.
If you buy a suit off the rack, would you recommend having it fitted? How much would alterations cost?
A ‘Ready-Made’ suit is just that. It is a suit that has been made already. Small tweaks can be made to adjust things like sleeve length and trouser length. However any more complex alterations I would discourage.
I would suggest trying different brands, different fits and styles over altering a ready-made suit. The hight street is full of different brands and designers, each has it’s own style and fit. Very often it is a case of finding the one that suits your shape or style. If you cannot find one which suits you style, or size, then I would suggest visiting a tailor to purchase a tailor made suit.
Can you talk us through the process of having a bespoke suit made? How many fittings/appointments would this involve?
The first step when having a suit made, is to do some research. There are a variety of different tailors offering different levels of service. It is also worthwhile using Pinterest and Instagram to build up a database of suit images which you like the look of.
The second step is to make some appointments to meet with some tailors. You should have a confidence in your tailor and hopefully a rapport, which allows you both to design a suit which fills your criteria perfectly.
Once you have chosen your tailor, you should make an appointment for the first fitting. This is normally about 3 months prior to the completion date. At this fitting you will choose, cloth, lining, style and you will also be measured.
Depending on the level of service you have chosen and the tailor you have chosen you may require another 2 or 3 fittings before you suit is complete.
At each fitting the tailor will make further adjustments to the suit and you will see your design progress, until complete.
Should you have an idea of the Brides dress in order to make sure your suit is complimentary?
This is always controversial. Obviously a groom should not see the brides dress prior to the day, because of tradition, bad luck etc. However it is useful to know some basic information before designing the wedding suit. An idea of the feel of the dress, for example ‘vintage’ ‘evening’ ‘formal’ or ‘traditional’ will help us choose a cloth or style which will compliment but not compete.
This basic information, in my opinion, is not technically telling the Groom anything he does not already know. The wedding plans generally will be lead by the style of the dress, so the type of dress is information which could have been inferred regardless.
What fabrics would you recommend for different seasons?
I tend not to recommend different fabrics for different seasons. When it comes to weddings, I like to recommend fabrics based on the style of the wedding, the wedding venue, the wedding dress and colour scheme (if there is one).