Avoid unnecessary stress and swagger out in a well-fitted suit with our expert’s guide on how to talk to your tailor.
It’s true that when a suit fits well, you notice the man, and when it doesn’t, you notice the suit. Showing that you’ve done your homework and knowing a few simple terms could mean the difference between walking away with an ill-fitted suit and a well-tailored one. Here, we chat to Samrat Amarnani, Managing Director of Collars & Cuffs, tailor at Sunset Mall, to learn the lingo and find out how to stop that suit from wearing you.
What’s the biggest tailoring mistake men make? Selecting a long trouser leg is a common mistake. The right length of leg should mean that it only has one break. A leg that is too long will cause multiple breaks, spoiling the profile of the trouser and making it look ill-fitting and sloppy.
What are some basics every man should know before going to the tailor? When we’re tailoring a suit, it’s very helpful for us to know a number of things in order for us to advise on styling, colour and choice of material. This includes whether the suit is going to be worn for a specific special occasion or whether it needs to fulfil a number of functions. Other helpful pointers are the weather it’s going to be worn in and whether the customer is likely to be going through any body shape changes in the near future, such as if they plan to lose weight. Knowing all this enables us to advise men on what fabric to use and what style of suit will fit both the occasion and their body shapes the best.
What are the differences between a double-breasted jacket, a two-button suit and a three-piece suit? A two-button suit is a classic style, which will never go out of fashion, while a double-breasted suit is often worn on official occasions. This style is currently back in fashion in Europe as casualwear, but it hasn’t come to Dubai. A three-piece suit includes a waistcoat, which is very popular with the younger generation.
What are some key things to know about choosing fabrics for suits? The weather is one of the important considerations to take into account. Linen, cotton and wool are best for summer, with appropriate colours being light blue, light grey, petrol blue and royal blue. If wool is preferred, this should be in the category of super 130s-150s counts to work for Dubai’s seasons. Colours to use are navy blue, grey and black.
What should customers wear to a suit fitting? It’s always best to wear the shoes and shirt you are intending to pair with the suit when going for a fitting as that will give the tailor an exact idea about the alterations required. It also gives the customer a good idea of the finished look.
When it comes to suits, is it better to be conservative or do you think men can get away with more daring options these days? That’s an individual choice. Personally, I believe that a perfect wardrobe should start off with a classic navy blue suit followed by a charcoal grey one. I think men should also possess at least one daring sartorial arrangement for when they want to stand out, such as a suit in royal blue or petrol blue.
If you’re sticking with something more conservative, how can you add flair to it? If a man sticks to a conservative colour he can still opt for individual touches that stand out, such as a contrasting lining or piping inside. The suit jacket’s flower hole and first button hole on both the sleeves could be the same colour as the inside piping. Customers can also have their pocket squares match either the suit’s lining colour or the shirt colour. It is possible to play around with the number of buttons on the cuffs as well in order to enhance individuality.
What are some of the current trends in suit making? Retro-styled suits are certainly popular at the moment. The current trend is of skinny lapels, a slim fit, shorter jackets and sleeves, and narrow trouser bottoms.
Can you give examples of iconic men who always seem to rock the suit perfectly? James Bond and Bradley Cooper.
What are some ways to preserve the life of your suit? It’s always good to keep your suit on a hanger. Steam-pressing is fine, but try not to dry-clean it more than four times a year. Dry-cleaning wears a suit down more than wearing it on a regular basis does.
What are some indicators of an ill-fitting suit? High tip shoulders, twisted sleeves, lifted lapels and wrinkles on the chest or back are all 0red flags.
What are key indicators of a well-fitting suit? A well-fitting suit will appear to be body hugging. It will show no wrinkles on the sleeves, shoulders, chest and back. It will also display a single break at the bottom of the trousers. In short, it will clearly look like a well-fitting suit and will have a great profile. From Dhs1,700 for a tailor-made suit. Collars & Cuffs, Sunset Mall, Jumeirah 3 (04 380 8283).
Where to tailor a suit in Dubai
Regent & Brummell Located in Dubai Media City, this tailor offers quirkier styles and a quick turn-a-round of 48 hours. Regent and Brummell, Shop 6, Ground Floor, Concord Tower, Dubai Media City (04 362 4373).
Ascot & Chapel Established in England in 1871, this bespoke tailor has four outlets in Dubai and is on the pricier side. Various locations including DIFC (04 325 2216).
Stitch In Time Conveniently located in The Dubai Mall, you can head here for any nips and tucks to the suit you’ve just bought. The Dubai Mall (04 339 8996).
Learn the lingo
Samrat Amarnani, Managing Director of Collars & Cuffs, identifies some key suit-making terms
At Collars & Cuffs, we don’t expect our customers to know much about the key terms, so we use images and samples to educate and explain. Here are some points we share with our customers when they are designing their suit.
Shoulders: One should get the correct arm tip as per his shoulder (arm tip slope or arm tip high).
Lapels: There are a number of lapel options such as notch lapel, peak lapel and shawl collar. The width of the lapel should be in proportion to the chest size and appropriate for the suit’s purpose. Generally, narrow lapels work well on tuxedos or casual jackets and wider lapels are better for official suits.
Sleeves: There aren’t any real options for sleeves, but it’s important to know that a jacket’s sleeve length should be half an inch shorter than the shirt’s sleeve length.
Jacket cuffs: There are multiple cuff options for the client to choose from. These include number of buttons, their placing and spacing (normal or kissing buttons), show cuffs or working cuffs.
Buttons: One should always go for horn buttons for official suits, fabric buttons for tuxedos and silver/gold/wooden buttons for more casual blazers.
Pockets in the jacket: There are numerous pocket options for a jacket, both on the inside and outside. As well as standard pockets on the inside, there are extra options for pens and mobiles, as well as other custom arrangements. Patch and ticket are the most popular additional outside pocket options for a jacket.
Trouser hem: The trouser hem should not show its stitching and the front and back should be of different lengths to give a slant shoe shape to the trouser.