Wednesday, 14 August 2013


For some four hundred years, suits of matching coat, trousers, and waistcoat have been in and out of fashion. From a tight knot of streets between Piccadilly and Regent Street, London called Savile Row, the suit has conquered the planet. You see it everywhere in every possible variations in the choice of the style, the garments and the details.

Does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man ? From the  sharpness of James Bond's 007 to the forcefulness of a politician addressing a rally , the suit has come to be recognized as a symbol of power, influence and respect.  There is saying that a well tailored suit is of women what lingerie is to men. 
 For the savvy sartorial gentleman however, fit, flexibility and fluidity are non-negotiable.  Though they look restrictive and uncomfortable especially with the shirts and neckties, men's suits were created for comfort and are made to emphasize a man's best features. Most men wear their suits far too big and some far too small. It takes a professional tailor and a keen eye to make a sharp looking piece.

How to tell if a suit fits

Contrary to popular belief, the weird arm stretching exercise that guys do to test for comfort is not an indicator of proper fit. Although comfort is key, men’s suits weren’t meant for jumping jacks. The right fit can come at any price point; but every suit, no matter how much it costs or perfect it initially appears, should require at least a little tailoring.
Shoulders: when you try a jacket on, you are really checking to see if it fits in the shoulders. The seam should rest naturally on the shoulder. lean against a wall: if your jacket touches first. It is too big.
Armholes: If your armholes are too low, your whole suit will move when you stick your arm out. Opt for the modern, less boxy high armhole cut.
lapels: be conscious of the ties you'll be wearing with your suit, lapels should correspond with tie width.
Buttons: If your buttons look like their pulling, the jacket is too small. If you pull the bottom of the V straight out, it shouldn't come out more than about 2 inches. If it does, it's too big.
darts: To avoid a boxy silhouette, your suit should dart in at the waist. Even on a pre-darted suit, you should have your jacket tailored to fit your body. The thinnest point should be around the jacket's main button(top on a 2 button, middle on a 3 button)
Sleeve length: The back of the sleeve should just meet the bump on the pinky side of your hand, and should allow 1/2" of shirt cuff to show.
Jacket Length: With your arms at your side, curl your fingers up. Your jacket should be resting in your hand. A suit jacket should cover most of your pants zipper and all of your butt.
Pant length: Suit pants will rarely fit off the rack. They're cut long, intended to be tailored. Opt for a modern, straighter cut that will create a sleek silhouette, instead of a frumpy, baggy one.
Break: Where the pants fold when they meet your shoe is called the "break", The pants should have one break at the bottom, and the leg should stop halfway down your shoe. This is known as "medium break". While a personal preference, short is high fashion, and is hard to pull off, and too much break can look baggy.
Pleats: Flat front shown here, but if you opt for pleats, you must wear your pants on your waist, not on your hips, otherwise they will bulge.
Shoes: The one thing everyman should own is the black lace ups. Real dress shoes have leather soles. Choose a substantial sole to anchor your weight. Your dress shoes should be as contoured as your suits. Say no to square toes. Black lace ups are the most dependable and versatile shoes you can own.
Picking the Right Suit for your Body:
Getting the right suit fit can make you look sleek and sophisticated instantly. They can be made to enhance the broadness of the shoulders, elongate the body and smooth away the bulges many portly gentlemen may be hiding in their bellies.

The Bulky man:
  • ·         Wear lightweight fabrics
  • ·         use dark colors: black and navy are always complimentary and classy
  • ·         make it solids or vertical stripes
  • ·         take two on the jacket: The two button jacket ia now the norm and designed to work for all body types and wont draw attention to your bulky frame
  • ·         Avoid double vented jackets as you dont want unnecessary attention on your backside.

The Tall, Skinny man:
  • ·         Add weight with heavier fabrics
  • ·         Stay with lighter colors such as greys and avoid vertical stipes
  • ·         Own a three button jacket
  • ·         Buy pants with a regular rise in the crotch area
The Short man:
  • ·         Avoid  loud patterns
  • ·         Rely on vertical stripes as they elongate the body and are the next best thing to a shoe with a higher sole.
  • ·         make it one button  or two
  • ·         Go for double vents
  • ·         buy pants with low rise

Trends in men’s suits include sharp lines, close tailoring and shorter hems. Yes, the fitted suit offers guys an updated, sophisticated take on a look that’s traditionally left unaltered. And now that the fitted suit has emerged on the scene, guys willing to take a risk should embrace these trends and demonstrate their fashion-savvy skills.
Now that you know how a suit should look on your body and what type to buy, check back next week for the Nigerian menswear designers who offer bespoke and ready to wear suits.
For more style information and tios follow me on twitter:@IAmAsake and Instagram:ASAKE

Antongiavanni Nicholas: "The Suit" Harper Collins Publishers.

Photos from Tumblr and Pinterest.

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