What does good fit really look like?
Since writing the article Your clothes don’t fit you! I have been inundated with questions on what good fit actually looks like. Sounds simple enough, but since we are such diverse shapes and body types, finding a way to convey this was always going to be tricky. That was until my good friend Antonio Centeno from realmenrealstyle.com produced two of the best infographics around to demonstrate how a suit and dress shirt should fit. Phew, job done ,now everyone knows how clothes should fit….. But that’s not the end of the story.
Where can I buy clothes that fit me perfectly?
This has always been tricky for men. For years we had to put up with over-sized, boxy clothes that really were ‘one size fits all’. In an attempt to squeeze every last drop of profit from mass produced clothing, clothing of all types got roomier and less tailored to accommodate more of the average person of that size. The trouble is, there is no such thing as average. Just because someone has a 16” collar, does not mean their chest will always fit in a 40-42” jacket.
More recently, the trend is for ultra tailored, super skinny garments. I confess, I am a fan of this look, but it’s the male equivalent of the women’s size zero debate. As soon as you discover the finer things in life, like wine and good food, the chances are you metabolism and your waistline will conspire against you. Can you still wear great fitting tailored garments? Of course, but you will find it difficult with off the peg cuts.
So to buy clothes that fit you perfectly, you have three options:
- A bespoke tailor who will make clothes to fit you perfectly
- – Considered investment pieces, quality, longevity and fit = first class
- Buy ready to wear, but get them altered professionally
- – Expect all ready to wear will need altering for a perfect wardrobe
- Learn to how to shop for clothes effectively
- – There will always be brands that fit you perfectly, if you have the time to find them.
I won’t touch upon the option to change your body shape as for most, it’s unrealistic. That said, most of us would look better if we lost a couple of lbs.
What are the tell-tale signs clothes don’t fit?
The shoulders of any garment are very telling, and it’s the hardest thing to get 100% right and can’t be altered (easily or cheaply). There should be no creases, and the shouldn’t extend past the edge of your frame.
Creases can be good or bad, don’t have any that weren’t in the original design! Especially true when wearing jackets that are too tight. The force on the buttons will create a crease that starts at the button and creeps round to your back. People will be able to tell from all angles that suit doesn’t fit.
Jacket, sleeve and trouser length are all vital to good fit, but unlike shoulders, can be altered. Jackets should stop by your thumb, Jacket sleeves by your wrist bone, shirt sleeves 1 to 1.5cm past your jacket sleeve.
Trousers should have no break at the back stopping halfway up the back of your shoe, and one break at the front, mid way up your shin.
Practice looking for good and bad fitting clothes. No matter where you are, there will always be someone who’s clothes do not fit them properly. By understanding what the signs are, you will ensure all your clothes fit you properly. If they don’t, you have a great excuse to upgrade them or get them altered.
Check your wardrobe, you might be surprised to find some items in there you need to do something about. Anything that does not fit you perfectly, either dispose/sell or get it altered, but do not wear it again until it fits you perfectly.
Book a consultation with a bespoke tailor. Most will offer a free consultation and you will get some great advice on what and how you should be wearing clothes to make you look your best. Even if you don’t buy straight away, you will build the relationship with an expert who will be able to make bespoke tailored clothes that fit you perfectly when you are ready to make that investment.
If you haven’t seen the RealMenRealStyle.com infographic, you can find it here http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/visual-suit-fit-guide/ and if you visit his site now starting June 2014 you can enroll on his excellent Style System course.