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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents,

I've only just hit on this forum, and this is going to sound absurd, but I was struck by a few of the comments on tailoring and off the rack suits. Up until now, I have to admit I was assuming that once a suit was completed, that was it, and it was done.

So I have to ask - what are the limits on what a tailor can safely do to an off the rack suit? I typically encounter two problems with OTR; firstly, I often get a crease on the upper back, and secondly, they tend to fit me poorly around the waist. I seem to have a much smaller waist for my chest size than these suit designers are expecting. (Ten inches difference at the moment, hopefully more in a few months.)

I'm confident a tailor could help me with the first problem, but not so sure about the second. Any thoughts?

Mike
 

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Typically off the rack suits have what is called a 6 inch drop or sometimes an 8.

Meaning that say you buy a 38 jacket the waist will be a 32 0r a 30.

You could do with finding a narrow drop 8 suit and then slimming that down 2inches. This should not be a problem.

Having said this drop 8 suits are often not built for athletic builds (sounds like you may be well built because of the shoulder comment) so you may find that you solve one problem but face another. Ie very narrow shoulders.

Get an MTM or Bespoke.
 

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they tend to fit me poorly around the waist. I seem to have a much smaller waist for my chest size than these suit designers are expecting. (Ten inches difference at the moment, hopefully more in a few months.)
Ten inches is a fairly big drop given that most off the rack suits have a six inch drop. I think that suits marketed with an "athletic" cut only have about an eight inch drop, but you said that yours is soon going to be even more. I'm not a tailor but four or more inches seems like more than you would want to try and alter. The pockets especially start getting all out of whack.

My suggestion, assuming that you want to buy your suits off the rack, is to go to suit separates where you select the pants and jacket separately. Many places from JC Penney to Jos. A Bank to Brooks Brothers sells suit separates. I'm sure there are many others.

Cruiser
 

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Ten inches is a fairly big drop given that most off the rack suits have a six inch drop. I think that suits marketed with an "athletic" cut only have about an eight inch drop, but you said that yours is soon going to be even more. I'm not a tailor but four or more inches seems like more than you would want to try and alter. The pockets especially start getting all out of whack.

My suggestion, assuming that you want to buy your suits off the rack, is to go to suit separates where you select the pants and jacket separately. Many places from JC Penney to Jos. A Bank to Brooks Brothers sells suit separates. I'm sure there are many others.

Cruiser
Oh yes great idea. Gieves and Hawkes do a core line suit were you can mix and match trousers. Mind you, you would still have the issue with the jacket being too big in the waist.
 

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You're definitely a candidate for separates.

WRT to alterations, however, I'll pass along FWIW what my own trusted alterations tailor says about bringing in jacket waists:

On a typical single-breasted jacket, he says taking in each side seam about an inch or a bit more is about the maximum feasible waist suppression (meaning a total of 2 inches and change out of the overall jacket-waist circumference) that you can do without risking problems such as causing the vent to gap open.

He also says to beware of tailors who want to use tricks such as moving the jacket buttons (for some reason the tailors at the downtown DC Brooks Bros. used to always recommend this, and I would have to firmly insist that they not do it).
 

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Separates is the best option, which is when you can purchase the jacket and trousers together or either one individually. You end up with the best fitted ready-to-wear jacket and the best fitted ready-to-wear trousers.

I have suits that can only be purchased as a suit and one that was separates. For some people it does not make a difference if they purchase a complete suit or as separates.

A tailor can do all the work you need, the issue is the end result. The more work required on the garment, the more likely it will not look good.



Options for ready-to-wear separates in London: Gieves and Hawkes (as mentioned), Hackett, maybe Richard James, Ralph Lauren (if you want a preppy look) and Cordings. There may be others like Turnbull & Asser, Chester Barrie and higher prices with Huntsman and Richard Anderson.

Some places have made-to-measure on sale, so if may be worth going down that route; however, this all depends on budget.
 

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4 inches and more yet? thats quite a lot. separates would help with the trousers but not the jackets. you still must alter the jacket. you might try "Booksters" their m2m prices are reasonable.

if you wish info on alterations go to search there are two threads. "most common jacket alterations" the other is"to alter trousers".
scroll down to those titles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Many thanks for all the help gents, much appreciated!

I do have an athletic build, and indeed even separates seem to be a bit of a struggle, in that a number of brands don't appear to make a 48' jacket. I've given a few 46"s a try, but they never fit across my shoulders comfortably - I'm wide, rather than thick. (Some might I'm wide and also a bit thick, but never mind.)

There is the made to measure route, as a few of you mention, though I'm unclear on the costs involved; there seems to be a huge range of selection here in London. Some sites seem to offer improbably low prices for MTM, but ignoring the real standouts, would I be right that I could get something reasonable for £700?

In terms of Bookster's - they're very affordable, but is tweed suitable business-wear? I'll certainly have a look at them for a tweed jacket, as I've always wanted one, but by and large these suits will be for wearing in the office. My casual wardrobe will take a number of threads and searches on this site to sort out. :icon_smile_wink:

Mike
 

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Many thanks for all the help gents, much appreciated!

I do have an athletic build, and indeed even separates seem to be a bit of a struggle, in that a number of brands don't appear to make a 48' jacket. I've given a few 46"s a try, but they never fit across my shoulders comfortably - I'm wide, rather than thick. (Some might I'm wide and also a bit thick, but never mind.)

There is the made to measure route, as a few of you mention, though I'm unclear on the costs involved; there seems to be a huge range of selection here in London. Some sites seem to offer improbably low prices for MTM, but ignoring the real standouts, would I be right that I could get something reasonable for £700?

In terms of Bookster's - they're very affordable, but is tweed suitable business-wear? I'll certainly have a look at them for a tweed jacket, as I've always wanted one, but by and large these suits will be for wearing in the office. My casual wardrobe will take a number of threads and searches on this site to sort out. :icon_smile_wink:

Mike
We are close in dimensions, as I'm a 48R jacket and 40 Regular Rise in trousers. I've had a lot of success with Brooks Bros.' BrooksEase line of separates, tho' I understand that prices at the London BB location are ridiculous. Still, BB will ship overseas for $50, exclusive of any duties:
https://www.brooksbrothers.com/help/help_delivery.tem

With good tailoring, you can get a nice, contoured waist suppression in the BrooksEase jacket.
https://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCatSectionView.process?IWAction=Load&Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=249

Bookster offers striped suits in navy, black, and gray. Scroll down all the way to the bottom of their "Cloth Gallery" page to see the swatches:

I have been urging them to start offering solids and lighter-weight suitings, and I believe they intend to do so eventually. As with their tweed jackets, a ton of customizable features are available:
 

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There is the made to measure route, as a few of you mention, though I'm unclear on the costs involved; there seems to be a huge range of selection here in London. Some sites seem to offer improbably low prices for MTM, but ignoring the real standouts, would I be right that I could get something reasonable for £700?
Yes.

You should be able to get a good half-canvassed suit in decent cloth for that much. Gieves & Hawkes, Richard James, Hackett and Aquascutum use Wensum for for their basic MTM suits and they may still have a sale. Jasper Littman (visiting tailor) probably uses Wensum for MTM too, he charges from £700 for MTM; however, if you go to the four mentioned you may get a cheaper price if on sale.

Other options:
Chester Barrie
Austin Reed (Regent St best store), MTM suits from £499 with free shirt and tie; for an extra £200 you could get a good cloth.
Tailors on Berwick Street, Soho (my alteration tailor starts at £700 for a suit)
 

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Toryboy has pretty much summed it up for you Mike.
There's plenty of choice of MTM in London but those are the best places for your budget.

The crease that you get on your upper back is probably caused by square shoulders. A decent MTM tailor can solve that problem for you, and the drop 10 too.
 
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