Gentlemen, it's time to suit up!

Gentlemen, it's time to suit up!

for a dapper look

Gentlemen, it's time to suit up!

The art of suiting up seems to be reserved to the vaults of high-end fashion and bespoke stores, while a general look around barely seems to offer any clues. Well, it needn’t be so. While much is said about getting suits tailored as per one’s body type, the approach is pretty simple for anyone looking to step up their suit game.

When attention is paid to the cut, style, fabric and colour, any good tailor should be able to turn the material into a suit that looks flattering on you. And let’s face it, suits do bring out the most stylish and confident best in you.

Half the battle is won once you get the fabric and the cut right. Both of these need to match your complexion and your body type. Here are some pointers:

For a short frame

The key to achieving the best look, one that flows without a break, is to make your suit with a single fabric, as opposed to matching contrasting jacket and trousers. Solids or pinstripes work wonders for a short frame since the continuity is flattering, especially when made with peak lapels.

As a rule of thumb, be discretionary about bold patterns. If you are dead set on them, then wearing a shirt with bold patterns is a better idea. A short break on the trousers and a bit of cuff peeking out of the sleeves can help bring out the best look.

For a medium to bulky frame

Two-button suits are great in projecting a lengthened torso and lend a slimmer silhouette when combined with a jacket that’s slightly nipped around the waist. A fine fabric and a close cut work very well, as they don’t involve unnecessary layering. Prefer ties that are three inches or more in width rather than slim ones. Never go untucked and prefer suspenders to belts.

The same fabric choice as that for a short body works great here. If you can, seek out high-twisted woollen fabrics that I’ve found work like magic on medium and bulky body types in the way they fall and stay in place. The naturally wrinkle-free quality of the fabric make it great for both everyday and travel wear.

For a slim frame

Off-the- rack suits rarely fit this body type well, hence getting one tailored is the best. Pay attention to how your suit fits on the sides, as pinching it too thin would throw the shoulders and the overall look off-balance. Narrow or standard lapels will work in proportioning your frame better. If you are drawn towards classic styling, the double-breasted suit works really well, as it not just adds the right amount of bulk, but also gives heft to your personality. Busy patterns, checks and textured fabrics can add weight to the look.

For a tall frame

While three-button suits work on tall guys to counter a large torso, I personally find that two-button suits with a lower button stance make the torso appear shorter while projecting a more updated look. The sleeves and the coat should be long enough to maintain the balance. Shorter lengths will make it seem like you outgrew the suit.

Contrasting and separate fabrics for the jacket and the trouser work well to balance big body accents with narrower thighs.

Picking colours

Colour expresses more than what meets the eye, and is often a stronger reflection of one’s tastes. However, a well planned outfit is one where the colour doesn’t get in the way of the overall look. Here are a few thoughts on colour that are good to consider.

Unless you’re gearing up for a theme-based event, it’s usually a good idea to mirror the time of the day with the colour of your suit – light, mid-pastel colours by day and dark colours for the evening. Of course, it’s a wide idea, but it helps with the decision.

Black and white work for everyone but may give off a very different idea in the wrong setting. On another note, dark colours work well with pale skin tones, while warm and earthy colours work very well with a dusky complexion.

These are perceptions based on the kind of body types we encounter in general, but do use discretion when embracing a look, don’t be shy to discuss with your tailor the kind of look that you  wish to project, and they will be able to make it work for you with the right choices of cut, fabric and colour.

(The author is creative director, Warp & Weft and founder, Suit Fullstop)

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