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Posts Tagged ‘Suits’

Maintaining your Suit

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Suits are one the biggest investments in a man’s wardrobe.  This is especially true for those of us who go the extra mile and have them tailored for us.  There is some discussion about dry cleaning and what kind of damage this can do to the material.  I feel that it is best to avoid any possible damage by simply avoiding the dry cleaners as much as possible (in most cases it is the ironing rather than the cleaning that can damage your suit). Your suits are something that, when worn, rarely come in contact with your bare skin and should not need much cleaning.  All you should need to keep your suits looking nice and weathering time, apart from individual stains, is steam and a brush.

Investing in a small home steamer or iron that can also provide steady jets of steam is a great addition to any mans closet.  This is an item that can be used on many items of clothing that only need slight wrinkle relief.  Many times a jet of steam is more than enough to remove the creases that accumulate from a days wear and it also will help eliminate any faint odors that also may have settled in.  If steam alone is not enough and you feel that you need iron parts of you suit then lay it out carefully and put a damp piece of cloth, preferably an old white undershirt cut to be lain out flat and in one layer, between your suit and the iron.  This will allow flat pressure from the iron and a moist heat to penetrate the cloth without it touching the exceedingly hot face which can cause the suit to get shinny spots.  Your suit can also be steamed in the bathroom while you take a hot shower.

In addition to steaming you also need to brush your suits with a garment brush.  This will aide in removing any dirt that may have adhered to the fabric during the day.  Special care should be given to areas that may accumulate more, such as the cuffs of the trousers and sleeves.  Kent BrushThose who have become regular readers of my posts may have seen a trend in the products I recommend.  These products often have royal warrants endorsing their quality.  The same is true with the brush maker that I recommend for your clothes brush. Kent is a very old brush company that makes high quality brushes for almost every use, which I will get to in another post.  Their brushes may be more that you would expect to pay for a clothes brush but as so many things in your closet it should be though of as an investment that will last  you a lifetime.  This said a brush of lower quality will still do the job, but it may not do it as well.  Also avoid lint rollers on your suits.   These can leave adhesive residue that can damage the fibers.

Finally when you hang your suit it should only be done with a broad coat hanger that fills out the shoulders.  I recommend that this hanger be made of ceder to both absorb moisture and repel insects that may eat the material.  For trousers a clamp type hanger is ideal because it clamps onto the hem of the trousers allowing them to hang naturally, pulling wrinkles out, under their own weight. hanger Top of the line hanger be found though the Hanger Project. These hangers fill their function well but not without a price. It is not necessary to go out and get hangers such as these though.  The most important thing is that they fill out your shoulders and hold properly.

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Mixing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie.

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Wearing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie is a great way to add a little character to your look. When mixing patterns some care needs to be taken when choosing what patterns to wear together. As a general rule you should avoid wearing the same pattern on all items, for example a striped shirt, tie, suit.  An exception to this rule is when all the stripes are different. Notice in the picture below the differences between the stripes in the three items. allstripes

I prefer the tie to have the boldest stripes, as in the picture, to help it stand out against everything else.

If you choose to wear both a patterned shirt and tie, such as stripped shirt and a patterned tie, these should be worn with an understated suit.  With so much going on between the shirt and tie a boldly patterned suit could create a look that is too busy.  Remember, the bolder the shirt and tie combination, the plainer the suit should be.  If you want to pair a checked shirt with a stripped suit it is said that the width of the check should be about equal to the width of the stripes of the suit.  In this situation I would suggest a solid or subdued tie to avoid there being to much going on.

Brown and blue

If you have a suit with a pattern such as a tweed, check or bird’s eye I suggest pairing it with a more plain tie and/or shirt because of all the texture the suit or jacket provide.  Below-top is a classic combination perfect for the country or the weekend.  Below-bottom is a bird’s eye suit that uses a solid tie to tone down the patterns of the look while still demonstrating bold contrast through color.  The bolder the check or pattern on the suit the plainer the shirt and/or tie should be under it.  Tweedgrey birdseye

The material of the tie itself also can contribute an interesting touch.  A wool or knitted tie can do what a pattern does by adding texture, even when the color is a solid or very plain.  The most formal ties are silk though.knitted tie

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The bespoke suit

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The best suits are not those by designers, they are bespoke.  Having a tailor create a suit for you means that it will fit like no off-the-peg suit can.  A skilled tailor will look at your body and create a suit that accentuates positive features and dulls or hides negative ones.  As you might have guessed the most important factor of a suit is its cut.  The cut of a suit refers to the pattern used and how it fits.  The classic suit cut has changed very little over the better part of the last 100 years and has not been greatly effected by changes in fashion. Different tailors have slightly different styles so it is beneficial to do some research and talk to the tailors to find one that fits with what you like in a suit.bespoke

The center of the bespoke world is in London, Savile Row to be exact.  Some of the best and most timeless suits are made here and many of the tailors travel around the world regularly to be seen by clients.  This quality does not come without a price.  A Savile Row suit can cost thousands of dollars and is out of the range of many.  This said if you have access to a tailor who will make you a good suit for less than these prices I would recommend taking advantage.  No suit will fit like a suit made for you.

If you want to invest in just one bespoke suit I recommend looking into a suit in charcoal or navy in wool.  These wool in these colors are most versatile and would enable you to get the most enjoyment out it.

Here is a great video about Thomas Mahon, a well known English tailor. “Tailor Made in Cumbria”

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