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You’ll have heard the words numerous times but might not know exactly what they mean. So what’s the difference between men’s custom suits and bespoke suits?
First things first, let’s clear up ‘ready-to-wear’ or ‘off-the-rack’. This is when you simply walk into a shop and buy a pre-made suit in your size. No tailoring takes place and these suits are designed to broadly fit a wide range of men.
So, what about men’s tailored suits? These fall roughly into three categories. The first one is the made-to-measure suit, the second is the custom suit and third is the bespoke suit. The term ‘men’s tailored suits’ is a catch-all phrase for any kind of amendments made to a suit.
There are five key areas where you’ll find differences between made-to-measure suits, custom suits and bespoke suits.
Made-to-measure tailoring (not offered by Senszio)
When it comes to made-to-measure suits, the tailor simply takes your broad size (for example, 40 chest and 32 waist) and modifies standard patterns such as lengths and widths by taking into account your body shape.
With made-to-measure tailoring, there’s an initial consultation to take measurements and the suit is delivered after production. There can be minor alterations to the final product.
3 Selecting your fabric
You get to choose a limited selection of fabrics from one or two mills. The choice is really among fabrics rather than mills.
You get to choose how many buttons you want, your pocket style, number of vents and options around cuffs and pleats. Some men’s tailors will let you pick interior lining and lapel width.
5 Personal service
With made-to-measure tailoring, you’ll talk to a sales person rather than a master tailor. They’re just there to take measurements and relay them to the tailors. How skilled they are is up for debate.
Custom tailoring (offered by Senszio)
You’ll get a new pattern intended just for you based on at least 25 body measurements and posture images. The tailor won’t modify base patterns in case they miss some individual detail of your body. For bespoke suits, pattern-making goes beyond just measurements.
With custom tailoring, there’s an initial consultation to take measurements and another when your suit has been made.
3 Selecting your fabric
We work with over 15 mills for fabrics for different functions, e.g. suits, shirts, trousers, jackets, overcoats, tuxedos and denim. You might see a total fabric selection of over 3000 swatches during the consultation.
When it comes to styling your custom suit, you have no limit on options. With Senszio, you can customize a wide range of styling options such as special pockets inside your jacket, monogramming your initials (key for wedding suits), or the colour of the button-holes.
5 Personal service
You will meet an expert Personal Stylist who has experience commissioning custom clothing for executives across Europe and the US in different industries. The meeting is a conversation about your lifestyle and professional routines that guides our stylist’s recommendation on fabric, fit and style.
Bespoke tailoring (offered by Senszio)
This is the same as custom tailoring but the pattern is adjusted throughout the fittings (below). In custom tailoring, the pattern is adjusted after the final garment is made and delivered.
You’ll need multiple fittings to get a true bespoke fit. It begins with the skeleton baste fitting, then the forward fitting, then the fin bar fitting. Some tailors will carry out more than five mid-fittings. This is intended to achieve an ever-more-precise fit as the process develops.
3 Selecting your fabric
This is the same as custom.
This is the same as custom but you can customise elements of the garment between the fittings in case a particular element wasn’t discussed during the first consultation.
5 Personal experience
You’ll meet with the person who actually makes your bespoke suit along with the personal stylist. The person who cuts the cloth and stitches the seams should be the one who makes close acquaintance with the nuances of your body.
Whether you opt for a Senszio custom-tailored suit or a bespoke suit, you’ll be treated as an individual and will receive a finished product of faultless quality.
We’ll be coming to a city near you soon. To reserve an appointment with Senszio’s expert stylists, book an appointment at one of our Trunk Shows here.Glossary of Tailoring Terms You Need To Understand | Senszio
The world of the gentleman’s tailor might seem a slightly arcane one to you. This is a place where terms such as rises, breaks and darts are bandied around with no concern for the client.
If you’re feeling left out, here’s your very own tailoring glossary: Senszio’s guide to 20 of the most popular tailoring and sewing terms used by bespoke tailors.
This is your preferred hem circumference around your trouser legs.
The break refers to how much of the trousers touch your shoes. Opt for no break at all and your trousers will just skim the top of your shoes, while a full break involves one full fold over the shoe.
Bringing up refers to shortening the length here or there.
Cuffs are the folds that your tailor builds in at the end of your trouser legs. This is a much more traditional look than non-cuffed pants. They go well with pleated trousers. For slim-fit trousers, go for the uncuffed look. A good tailor will ask if you want cuffs or not.
You can add shape and dimension to a garment with darts. These are pieces of fabric that are overlapped/folded over and sewn. Your tailor can add these when your clothing fits well, but when you want a more-defined shape without any cutting. This is optional for shirts but compulsory for jackets.
The hem is the edge of your fabric. It must be sewn to stop it unraveling. Suit trousers generally come unhemmed so that the tailor can supply a custom fit.
This is the seam that runs down the back of the arm. The forearm seam goes down the front. This is where the jacket fabric joins and where the jacket arms can be adjusted if you want a slimmer fit.
The inseam is the seam binding the trouser leg. It also measures the length from lower ankle to crotch bottom. This is the measurement normally referred to as inside leg.
Overweaving fixes small holes with fabric taken from other parts of the suit. It gets woven together for near-invisible mending.
This process mends tears by weaving individual threads into the original cloth. It can achieve an invisible mend.
The rise is the gap between the inseam and outseam lengths on a pair of trousers. If you’re shorter, it’s best to consider a higher rise on your pants to add height.
The scye is the hole in the jacket where your arm enters the sleeve. It’s one of the key measurements tailors take.
The seat is the hip measurement at the widest point.
The silhouette refers to the overall look of a suit. It describes the impression a suit gives based on its outline.
This is the material on a jacket that overlaps the trousers. This has come up slightly in modern times to accommodate the fashionable slimmer fit. Shorter skirts are better for men who lack height, as they give the impression of longer legs.
This is when the tailor cinches or tapers the jacket at the waist so that your torso’s V-shape is highlighted.
This is another way of saying ‘suppress’ the waist. Fabric is removed at the seams on each side of the jacket (or shirt).
When something gets tapered, it gets narrowed. That could be the trouser leg, a jacket waist or a jacket sleeve.
The vent is the slit you see at the back of your suit jacket. A single center vent is the traditional look but double vents are more popular these days as they allow for a better fitting. If you have no vents, ask your tailor to add them to help with mobility. Tuxedo jackets traditionally have a centre vent, or none at all.
Working, or functional, buttons are buttons for jackets that actually fasten (and therefore do a job). Decorative buttons are just for show.
Why not book a fitting at a Senszio Trunk Show near you? Now that you know what we’re talking about, you’ll know exactly what to ask for.How Should Grooms Dress for a Wedding?
How should grooms dress for a wedding?
Obviously, your wedding day is always going to be one of the most memorable days of your life. Every minuscule detail needs to be perfect – and that includes your groom’s suit.
There can seem like a lot of options and a lot of things to consider when it comes to finding the perfect wedding suit. But never fear. We have put together this guide to wedding grooms wear to answer all your questions.
Still unsure? Book an appointment with one of our travelling tailors and our stylists will help you put together the ideal look.
To help you decide how to dress as a groom for your big day, first consider what time of day you’re getting married.
Daytime wedding wear
Black tuxes will always be popular wedding attire for grooms. But wearing one for a daytime wedding can be tricky. That’s because black is not the sun’s friend. The colour will absorb all the heat from the sun, which could cause a perspiration problem.
Consider a tuxedo for weddings later in the day. For earlier weddings, light-coloured suits work well.
Night-time wedding wear
Night-time weddings are best suited to dark suits and ties. A tuxedo is a good option but, to be even safer, opt for a charcoal or navy suit.
Now let’s look at a few important rules about how grooms should dress for their wedding.
Choose a groom’s suit according to the agreed level of formality
Rule number one is to choose wedding clothes that fit with the overall feel of the occasion. For an outdoor summer wedding, you can afford to go more casual with your grooms wear– think light-coloured suits in more informal materials such as seersucker.
But what if you’re getting married in the evening in a ballroom? You’ll need a tuxedo or dark, well-tailored suit. To be even more formal, consider the white-tie groom look. For this, you’ll need a black tailcoat, white shirt and white bow tie. Formal wear doesn’t get more formal.
Match your partner
You should try to coordinate your groom’s attire with your partner’s look. While you probably won’t know exactly what your partner will be wearing, you should at least be forearmed with some kind of idea about the style they’ve chosen.
Be guided by your body shape
It’s key to dress according to your body shape. Tuxedos look good on slim, tall men. If you’d like to look bigger, consider a double-breasted suit. Want to look slimmer? Go for a fitted suit that fits snugly around the waist. Lighter colours will make you appear larger, while darker colours will have the opposite effect. If you want to add height, we can lower the first button of the jacket.
Get the fit just right
The most beautiful tuxedo in the world won’t look right if it doesn’t fit correctly. Make sure you have plenty room to move easily. When trying it on, twist, turn and raise your arms. Remember – you’ll want to dance in it later. Go to a reputable tailor to have your tuxedo custom-tailored. Choose Senszio, and we’ll come to you.
Coordinate with your ushers (groomsmen)
In the UK, they’re known as ushers. Elsewhere, groomsmen. Make sure your look coordinates with them. If they’re all wearing tuxedos and you’re in a linen suit, you won’t look back at the photos with any pride.
It doesn’t have to be precisely the same suit – just so long as you get the same look and feel. You can extend this principle to the rest of the wedding party as well. There should be cohesion throughout. Make sure your ushers talk to the bridesmaids about their chosen style.
Accessorise to individualise
Everyone at the wedding will be coordinated, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an individual. And that comes down to how you accessorise. For weddings, there are plenty of them.
You might want to consider a bow tie or a boutonniere. How about a patterned waistcoat or necktie? A cummerbund can work well, while cufflinks can offer the ultimate in personalisation. Nothing says you like a pair of cue-ball cufflinks, Star Trek cufflinks or Mercedes cufflinks.
For two-tone weddings, you can also stand out from your groomsmen by wearing the opposite color. If they’re wearing the black, you can wear the white.
Have fun letting your personality shine through.
Are you a groom looking for the perfect wedding suit or waistcoat? Book an appointment with our travelling tailors and our stylists will measure, advise and order you your brand new custom made-to-measure garments.
We regularly host trunk shows in cities around Europe and America. View the complete list of upcoming trunk shows here.How Should Men Dress as Guests at a Wedding
How should men dress as guests at a wedding?
How should men dress as guests at a wedding? Back in the day, there wasn’t much choice. Weddings in the 50s, 60s and 70s called for formal suits. It was pretty black and white.
These days, those old rules have been turned on their heads. It’s never been more exciting for male guests to dress for a wedding. Suits now come in everything from ballroom-wear to beachwear and weddings take place in some pretty exotic locations.
However when you dress for the next wedding you attend, just make sure you don’t break the cardinal rule: never upstage the groom.
How to dress for a morning-suit wedding
Let’s begin with the formal look. The idea with men wearing morning suits to a wedding is that everyone looks the same. You can add personalised elements, but they should be subtle. Think cufflinks, pocket square or the boutonniere.
(Above) Formal Theme: Morning Suit – 1 Button Cutaway Coat & a Curved Tail at the back which should be tailored fall just before the knee. A double-breasted Waistcoat and Grey Striped Trousers complete the look
How to dress for a black-tie wedding
Obviously, a bowtie will be required. It’s always preferable to wear one that you have to fasten. Clip-ons can look acceptable, but the best look comes from tying your tie.
If you really want to make an understated statement, go for a black tuxedo, a white pique shirt and patent leather shoes. These are coated shoes that have a high-gloss finish.
How to dress for a smart-casual wedding
When the dress code for the wedding says smart-casual, best play it a little safe. It’s better to err on the formal side of casual. Opt for a darker suit in navy, grey or cobalt for a classic look. For that contemporary feel, go for the slimmer fit, but not too close to the body. Make sure you can move – and dance – comfortably.
If you like the double-breasted look, you can keep it modern by having it tailored perfectly for your body. Get Senszio to come to you for a perfect fitting.
Once frowned upon, brown shoes with a blue suit are now highly fashionable. So consider this option when dressing for a smart-casual wedding.
For a smart summer wedding, consider lighter shades of blue. In winter, go for darker shades. Don’t feel obliged to wear socks – that’s fashionable right now and can be a great look. But if you opt for pop socks, make sure they can’t be seen above your shoes. Pop on a pair of sunglasses to complete your look, but do take them off indoors. Don’t be ‘that guy’.
How to dress for a casual wedding
When the dress code for the wedding says casual, you can get creative not just with the style of clothes, but also color. If it’s summer, you might want to find a pair of salmon-pink trousers, or even shorts. Polo shirts are a safe choice, but make sure they’re cotton in summer, so that you stay cool.
How to dress for a beach wedding
When it comes to dressing as a man for a beach wedding, you probably automatically think of white linen trousers. They’re an option, but traditional suiting can still work well. Make sure you go for natural materials, so you don’t overheat. If you do plump for shorts, be sure to get the sun cream and moisturiser out.
If you’re flying between continents to get to a destination wedding, don’t get caught out by the change in seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere, weddings are traditionally popular in May, June and August. In the Southern Hemisphere, weddings are favoured from November to March.
If it looks like rain, be sure to pick a water-resistant fabric or you risk wearing a crumpled suit.
If you’re a man who’s been invited to a wedding and want to find the perfect wedding suit or waistcoat, book an appointment with our travelling tailors. Our stylists will measure, advise and order you your brand new custom made-to-measure garments.
We regularly host trunk shows in cities around Europe and America. View the complete list of upcoming trunk shows here, in time for your upcoming wedding.Pleated Pants: To Pleat Or Not To Pleat | Senszio
Pleated pleats: a relic of the 1940s or a functional and fashionable option in today’s world of slimmer-fit suit pants?
Firstly, let’s clear up what we mean by pleats. A pleat is a fold of fabric that appears beneath the waistband on your suit trousers. It’s a dramatic, permanent crease. The flat-front look of today does away with these folds and comes clean and crease-free from top to bottom.
How many pleats are best?
Where men opt for trouser pleats, they’ll generally favour two. This double-pleat look involves a longer, deeper main pleat. This runs from under the waistband and joins the center crease. The other pleat, which is shorter, sits next to the pockets and keeps the main crease closed.
It’s possible to buy trousers with one pleat, three pleats, or more. Pleats are generally described as having two main types: forward and reverse. Forward pleats are the English classic, opening inwards towards the fly seam, while reverse pleats open outwards and are more Italian.
(Above) Forward Pleats
(Above) Reverse Pleats
You probably think of pleats as a fashion item, maybe one that’s had its day. However, pleats do have a clear function.
What is the purpose of pleated trousers?
Your thighs and hips flatten out when you sit down. A flat-front pair of trousers made to counteract this would look baggy when you get up. And the slim-fit trousers of today can become tight when you sit down.
The solution is the pleat. They give the trousers the ability to expand and contract. The folds keep the material neat and together when you’re standing and expand when you sit.
Pleats make your smart suit pants more comfortable
Pleats are also a more comfortable option when you’re walking or bending. If you travel for work, on planes and trains, they’re the perfect choice.
Pleats also take the pressure off your seams and minimise pocket flare. You can also put more in them. If you like a dressed-up look, pleats are also a good choice. But whether you should wear them or not depends on the shape of your body.
Pleats can result in excess fabric. If you have slimmer legs, they make the hips look wide and your thighs and seat big and baggy when you sit down. This does mean you won’t be presenting a super-sharp silhouette.
Buck the trend
But why not buck the fashion trend? Fit, proportion and drape, as well as a unique look, can all make the man. However, there’s no getting around it: if you’re slim to average build, flat fronts will suit you best.
(Above) Flat Front
If you do have bigger legs – maybe you’re a rugby player – flat-front trousers won’t do you any favours. They’ll make your legs look even bigger and push your pockets out.
For bigger men, pleats can flatter your body type, hiding bulges and offering a more sleek appearance.
Here’s how you should wear them…
What To Look For In Pleated Pants?
Fit is key
The fit is key with pleats. The important areas are length, inseam, and waist size. You’d have to be lucky to find all this in an off-the-peg suit, so consult our custom tailors to get the best fit.
Ensure pleats are flat
Your pleats should lie flat when you stand. If they pull open, they’re too tight.
Look for a tapered leg
You can achieve a modern stylish look with a tapered effect. In the 80s, pleated trousers were the same width all the way down. Today, pleats are much more tapered, narrowing towards the ankle. They’re topped off perfectly with cuffs.
Go for double pleats
Double pleats are the best look and the best choice when it comes to getting form and function. The first pleat is kept closed by the second pleat, without your pants looking too cluttered with style details.
(Above) Double Pleats
Single pleats are less fussy and possibly more modern but they’re not as flexible as double pleats.
(Above) Single Pleats
As for a third pleat… don’t go there. This is the definition of busy, while also adding more bag and fabric.
If you want help with your pleated-trouser look, book a fitting at a Senszio Trunk Show near you.How To Tell If Your Suit Jacket Fits Perfectly | The Senszio Fit Series
How can you tell if your suit jacket fits?
If you’re going for a big promotion, or you want to look your best in a new firm, a badly fitting jacket could be your worst nightmare. Not to mention how uncomfortable it could be to wear. Luckily, we’re here to help. Take a few tips from Senszio’s expert traveling tailors and enjoy super-sharp suit jackets that fit perfectly and create a great first impression. Note that fit might differ for double-breasted suits or three-button jackets. For the purposes of this article, we’ll look at the traditional two-button single-breasted suit jacket. This guide to jacket fit is part of our wider series on understanding how men’s office wear should fit. We have also put together advice on making sure your suit pants, shirt and waistcoat fit, to make sure your complete look is one of style and sophistication. In today’s article, we’ll walk you through the different elements of the traditional suit jacket – including the shoulders, arms, collar, waist and length – and explain what to look for to make sure each fits perfectly. So, let’s start at the top.
Are the jacket shoulders too narrow?
If the shoulders are too narrow, you’ll see the swell of your shoulder pushing against the top of the sleeve. You might also find stretch lines running across the material and an indentation at the top of the sleeve.
Are the jacket shoulders too big?
That power-shoulders look went out with Duran Duran. You’ll know if the shoulders are too big because there’ll be a ledge extending beyond your own shoulders.
The perfect fit
Is there a clean, direct line from the edge of the suit’s shoulder to the edge of yours, just skirting the skin? There is. Good news. Your jacket fits perfectly across your shoulders.
Are the jacket arms too tight?
You’ll know that uncomfortable tight-armed feel you can sometimes get. You’re terrified of ripping your suit every time you reach for your coffee. If your biceps and elbow feel tight when you flex, your suit’s arms need to be bigger.
(Above) Tight Arm Width
Are the jacket arms too baggy?
They should be bigger, but not baggy. If they’re too baggy, you’ll see vertical wrinkles from the sleeve head to the forearm.
The perfect fit
For a perfect fit, the bicep of the jacket should not have visible creases and you should be able to bend your arm with ease.
The jacket collar is often ignored, so let’s make sure we get this right. Your suit collar needs to be level with your shirt collar. You’ll also want to see one or two inches of shirt collar above the suit. Too much material across the back and your suit will stand proud of the back of your neck. Not a good look. Too little material and your suit collar will be level with your shirt. You’ll also get horizontal folds beneath the collar.
There’s a certain amount of personal taste here. But if you look down the line of the suit at the side, it should nip in slightly where the top button fastens. What you don’t want are folds coming from the waist button. You’ll also want to be able to pull this button away from you no more than an inch or two.
(Above) Tight Stomach Area
(Above) Ideal Stomach Area
So, how long should your jacket be? It should go beyond your waist and rest on the top of the curve above your butt. With your arms relaxed by your side, the hem of the jacket should be level with the middle of your hand. You can go a tiny bit shorter for casual jackets. Note that the ideal sleeve length should finish at the end of your wrist bone. You can check by standing upright with your arms loose by your side. If you can see 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sleeve, that’s good news.
(Above) Jacket Length Long
(Above) Jacket Length Short
(Above) Jacket and Sleeve Length Ideal
The correct fit of your suit jacket is pretty intuitive. Check it over for wrinkles and wonder what they might mean. Above all, you should be comfortable in the jacket. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t perform your best. That could mean getting passed over for a promotion or fluffing a big presentation. So let’s get it right. Check out other articles in Senszio’s Suit Fit Series for further information on ensuring your office wear is comfortable, flattering and provides that all-important great first impression:
If you’d like further advice on understanding the suit style and fit that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle, make an appointment with one of our traveling tailors. We tour the world, hosting trunk shows in major cities across Europe and America, where our expert stylists can take your suit measurements and provide personalised recommendations. Find a full list of our upcoming trunk shows here.
How To Tell If Your Smart Shirt Fits Perfectly | The Senszio Fit Series
How to tell if your smart shirt fits?
So you’ve got yourself a lovely fitted suit that drapes beautifully and clings in all the right places. Good news. But let’s not spoil the look with an ill-fitting shirt.
Next time you’re in a professional setting, take a look around. You’ll find that most men wear shirts that are a couple of sizes too big. In some cases, it’s because they have a large or small neck, but that size isn’t reflected in the rest of the shirt. That’s why it’s key to have your shirts tailor-made.
A badly fitting shirt makes you look awkward, spoils your professional image and suggests you don’t care what you look like.
We’re sure that you very much do care. So how should your formal shirt fit? Let’s take a look.
How long should your shirt sleeves be?
The best way to work out your ideal shirt-sleeve length is to try this exercise. Stand with your arms hanging relaxed by your sides. Leave your cuffs unbuttoned. The sleeves should reach the center of the back of your hand. The first knuckle of your thumb offers a good guideline.
(Above) Unbuttoned Sleeve
(Above) Buttoned Sleeve
You should find that your shirt material bunches a little at the end of the sleeve when it’s by your side. It’s not the precise length of your arm up to that point. That’s so that, when you extend your arm, the cuff doesn’t come up short and has a little excess to go with the arm and stretch out.
How shirt cuffs should fit
Your cuff should fit comfortably around your wrist. However, it shouldn’t slide over your hand when buttoned.
If you opt for a French double cuff, that will be bigger than a barrel single cuff. However, you shouldn’t be able to push your arm easily through either. With French cuffs, you should always check that the cuff fits smoothly through the sleeve opening of your blazer. Modern, slim-fit blazers often have narrow sleeve openings that will hook on a French cuff if it’s too big.
What about watches? The trend these days is for a large ‘statement’ timepiece. At Senszio, we can increase the cuff size for that hand to accommodate your watch.
(Above) Buttoned Sleeve with watch
Getting the perfect shirt length
Getting the right shirt length is more important than you might think. Much will depend on whether you’re having the shirt tucked-in or untucked. If you’re wearing a suit, you’ll generally want the shirt tucked-in. In which case, the shirt should reach to the bottom of your butt or slightly below. Shirt length when untucked is a matter of discretion. However, depending on your physique or the proportion between your torso and lower body, it should either reach the center/bottom of your butt or just about align with the ends of your sleeves when you’re standing up straight.
Arms (or sleeve width)
Know that feeling when you reach for something and you feel like your armpit or elbow material’s going to rip? For example, when you go to hold on to a support on the train or bus. With the perfect sleeve width, you should be able to bend your arm without feeling tension in the armpit area or the elbow.
Chest and stomach – finding the perfect shirt tightness
This is a matter of personal preference but, at Senszio, we feel this area shouldn’t be too slim. The material between the buttons can bow, which can expose the hair and skin beneath. Not a pretty sight. Check out the image to see a reasonable amount of tapering around the chest.
(Above) Chest and Stomach
When your collar’s buttoned, you should be able to get one or two fingers between the collar and your neck. You’ll want to avoid having a large gap here, while heavier men won’t want too small a collar, as the neck can puff out over the collar top. If you’re not wearing a tie, leave the collar fairly tight. This can also help the open collar stand up better.
Make sure the shoulder width (or yoke) is the right size. It should end exactly where your shoulders end and your arms begin.
Now that you understand what to look for in the perfect-fitting shirt, you’ll want to make sure the rest of your office wear is similarly smart. This article is part of a wider Senszio series on ensuring the ideal suit fit, so check out the rest of our guides below:
The best way to guarantee the perfect fit for your suit is to use a tailor who will advise and guide you in finding a custom, made-to-measure suit. Senszio’s traveling tailors host regular trunk shows across Europe and America, where you can get your measurements taken, get style advice and order your new tailored suit.
Book an appointment today.How To Tell If Your Waistcoat Fits Perfectly | The Senszio Fit Series
How to tell if your waistcoat fits?
Few items in a man’s wardrobe are potentially as smart as a waistcoat. And, last summer in the UK, British retailer Marks and Spencer reported a 35% hike in sales of waistcoats.
Why was this? Well, the football World Cup was in full swing and the England manager, Gareth Southgate, had been patrolling the touchline dressed in some rather nifty waistcoats. It seems that men just really like this look.
That said, before we walk you through how best to wear a waistcoat – and how to make sure yours fits perfectly – there are one or two dos and don’ts you should know about around when it’s appropriate to wear one.
Wearing a waistcoat: dos and don’ts
DO wear it in a three-piece
This is the only way to wear a waistcoat: as part of a three-piece suit. It adds formality and creates a clean, crisp look.
DO opt for a real shirt
Wearing your waistcoat with a t-shirt is just a huge no-no. It’s like teaming patent-leather shoes with Bermuda shorts. Please don’t tell me you’d do that.
DO go for an odd waistcoat
Odd Waistcoats are part of 3-piece suits but made from a fabric different to the jacket & trouser. They’re typically worn at formal events. We recommend having the jacket on at all times while wearing the odd waistcoat while ensuring the fabric selected isn’t bolder than the jacket & trouser – think a plain pattern and a muted colour.
DO go for the double-breasted look
For more-formal events, such as a wedding, a double-breasted waistcoat in classic grey waistcoat (a white Marcella for a white-tie event) can breathe life into a morning suit, or just look smart on its own.
DON’T fasten the bottom button
This is where Gareth Southgate went wrong. He insisted on doing up the bottom button. But because the position of this last button is traditionally on the waist, it might create tension when you sit down. Opening it up allows you some give.
DON’T wear yours with jeans
Unless you’re officially the world’s best-looking man, avoid this look.
DON’T wear it loose
The great thing about waistcoats is that they act a bit like a corset. They’re great for slimming you down. To ensure you achieve this effect, make sure it’s not too loose or too tight. Too loose and it’ll just look baggy; too tight and you’ll be showing off your lumps and bumps.
How to wear your waistcoat
Now we’ve got the etiquette out of the way, let’s consider how best to wear your waistcoat and how to make sure that your waistcoat fits perfectly.
In menswear, the waistcoat is the slimmest garment going. It’s designed to create a smart silhouette and sit close to the body, with very little tailoring allowance.
Buy a well-tailored waistcoat and it will skim the torso without feeling tight or showing any fabric pulling. If you’ve overindulged with the dinner or drinks at a wedding, or even if you’re just a little portly, you can adjust the ‘cinch’ at the back to loosen that tight grip on your tummy.
Finding the perfect waistcoat length
The most important element to get right when it comes to waistcoats is the length. To pull the shirt and your trousers together, your waistcoat should overlap your waistband slightly. An inch should do it. You don’t want to be showing any shirt beneath the coat. This means that your trousers should also be sitting on the natural waist. As we’ve discussed, it’s usual to leave the bottom button unfastened to allow room at the hips for movement and sitting, so make allowances for this when considering the length. In the case of double-breasted waistcoats, your tailor will advise you on the correct length. They’ll also be straight rather than notched.
We hope this article helps you get the best out of your waistcoat. This article is part of a series of guides on how to make sure you have the perfect fitting suit, including tips on:
Looking for the perfect waistcoat or jacket for you? Book an appointment with our travelling tailors and our stylists will measure, advise and order you your brand new custom made-to-measure garments. We regularly host trunk shows in cities around Europe and America. View the complete list of upcoming trunk shows here.How To Tell If Your Suit Pants Fit Perfectly | The Senszio Fit Series
How can you tell if your suit pants fit?
Finding the perfect-fitting, sleek-looking pants for your suit is arguably the most important component of your business look. There’s nothing worse than trouser legs that are clearly the wrong length or a low-hanging waist that would look more at home in a skater park. This article therefore goes through the tell-tale signs that your suit trousers are/are not fitting as they should. For more information on finding the ideal-fitting suit, check out our other articles on making sure your suit jacket, waistcoat and shirts fit properly. First of all, let’s clear up one myth about how your pants should fit. You know that belt you love to wear? It’s not there to hold your trousers up. The belt should be seen solely as a cosmetic item.
Now, what else do you need to know?
Waist and seat
Your suit pants should sit high on your hip bone, or even higher, if you’d like to look taller. They’re not jeans, which are designed to hang low. As a rule of thumb, the waist should be tapered enough to avoid wearing a belt.
What about the seat? You need to guard against over-tightness here. Splitting your pants during a board meeting could be embarrassing. Your suit trousers should lightly touch your butt and not sag. If you’re making unnatural movements for fear of ripping your seat, they’re too tight. If there’s loose fabric, they need to be tightened up.
Watch out for:
(Above) Baggy Hips
(Above) Ideal Hips
(Above) Tight Hips
If you can’t pinch about an inch of fabric on each side of your upper leg, the pants are too tight. Any more than that and you’ll want your tailor to taper the pants so they narrow towards the ankle.
Where thighs and knees are concerned, much depends on comfort, though. You’ll want the thigh to be comfortable enough that you can sit at your desk all day or be able to walk around with ease. Your knee and cuff should have an elegant taper. We don’t recommend too slim a look from the knee down. That’s best suited to casual trousers.
This is personal preference, but some of our clients prefer to have the legs longer at the back (an English Hem). This means you won’t show your socks when walking.
What are trouser breaks? That’s where your pants meet your shoes. Or don’t, in some cases. The break happens when the front of your pants touches your shoes. A small and elegant dent in the fabric is the result.
To check out your break, stand still and look in the mirror. If the hem of your trousers doesn’t meet your shoes at all, that’s called no break. It’s a move often favoured by young men who like the sockless look. You would use this style with a well-defined taper and would aim for something like a seven-inch leg opening.
(Above) No Break
Next up is the half break. This is where you get a slight dent in the front of the fabric but not at the back (and what we would typically favour).
(Above) Half Break
Finally, a full break gives you a noticeable dent of over an inch at the front, but none at the back. This look is best suited to older and wider chaps. All of this, of course, is at your discretion and heavily influenced by trends. The full break is very traditional, while the no break is highly contemporary and suited to slim-fit suiting. If it’s elegance and style you’re looking for, we’d always recommend the half break. This says you’re serious about your look and you’re happy to embrace a conservative, timeless image. It also says you have a great tailor.
(Above) Full Break
Talking of tailors, Senszio’s team of experienced stylists and traveling tailors regularly conducts world tours, hosting trunk shows at hotels and offices in cities across Europe and America. Book an appointment at a city near you and we’ll take your measurements and provide personalised style advice. Take that first step on the road to creating your bespoke, made-to-measure suit. Find a full list of our upcoming trunk shows here.
How to choose suit colors and fabric patterns
When it comes to a bespoke suit, color and patterns are the choices that can really make you stand out. You probably would have already thought about the use and the style of your suit but the next decision is regarding suit colors. You can select the best cut and fabric for your bespoke suit, and your personal tailor will ensure to give you the perfect look.
If your suit is going to be worn in an office environment, there are two distinct looks you can achieve. Choose deep blue or a charcoal suit color if you are in a position of leadership. These dark colors will not be distracting and will lend an aura of professionalism and comfort to your personality. If you need to influence and convince, you can go for a blue to add creativity and vigor to your pitches and presentations. For a leisure suit, the sky is the limit, and a flashy color will definitely turn heads. Although, a leisure suit cannot be worn on every social occasion! The formal bespoke suit is always best when sticking to a traditional look. Like the Model, you can have one as long as it is a dark color.
There is a wide array of patterns you can consider for your suit. Ranging from very obvious checker board patterns and thick pin stripes, to subtle herringbones and thin pin stripes. For the office, going subtle with your patterns is a great way to sneak in a little bit of style without overpowering. If you want to go big with your bespoke jacket, just remember to wear a pair of mute trousers to avoid clashing.
For your leisure suit, if going for a bright and flashy color, don’t over power it with a complex flashy pattern like a check or wide pinstripe. Just remember that it is easy to add accents to a suit with a bright tie, but it is impossible to tone down a bright and flashy suit with any kind of accessory. For formal suits, keep it very subtle, limiting to textured patterns. You don’t want to ruin the crisp dark look.
There are many places to sneak in a little bit of flair without ruining the look of your suit. The inner lining is the most popular place to really express your creativity. As it is completely covered when the suit is being worn, having a very bright color or complex pattern is not a problem. Another place to add hidden flair is inside the collar. Next is all the small details, such as the buttons, the button hole thread, monograms and others. If you want any suggestions, your tailor can guide you towards the appropriate choices. Customization is not limited to only colorful fabrics. It could be anything that you can think of and your tailor will try his best to incorporate. Customization really lets you be quite creative!
The best way to ensure that you really nail down your stylistic choices is to go to a master tailor. At Senszio, our 3rd generation craftsmen have been suiting the well-dressed gentleman with a keen sense of style. Book an appointment here.