Suit Up – Part 1: Fabric, Style and Measures

20140112_160936

They say clothes make the man. Usually I would disagree, since I believe it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it. But there are exceptions.

A good suit is one.

I appreciate the t-shirt and jeans combo as much as the next guy, but put a man in a well-fitting suit and he’ll transform: he’ll become just a little bit taller and his posture will be just a little bit more poised. His demeanor might change a bit, perhaps become a bit more dignified, to reflect his outward appearance.

It’s a deal between man and cloth: wear it well and it’ll make you look spectacular.

Since textiles are an essential part of Indian culture and craftmanship, there are a lot of tailoring services around. Lacking sufficient variation in the formal section of my wardrobe, I saw this as an opportunity to fix that. So I stepped into Raymond’s at Phoenix Mall and expressed my interest in getting a custom-tailored suit.

The first, and most difficult, step was to select the fabric. The only thing I had figured out in advance was that since I already have a black suit, this one would need to be a lighter one. Grey perhaps, suitable for formal occasions but also for more relaxed ones. With this brief we started going through the swatches, and boy were there a lot of options.

The initial selection contained some non-greys as well, just to keep some alternatives. However, I quickly dropped the blue and near-black ones, leaving me with a bunch of greys and a few dark browns. Despite it being challenging at first, to get the feel of what a particular swatch would look like as a suit, I did manage to start homing in on the exact type of fabric I had visioned.

Some beard-stroking and a few hmm’s later I had made my decision. I went with a quite even mid-grey. Fine 110s wool, with a hint of polyester for a little shine. A pleasant texture; evenly granular. Detailed but not distracting. No stripes, herringbones or other regular patterns.

For suit style I decided to go with the classical two button model – slim fit. Also, since I had come this far I decided to pimp it out by adding a vest as well.

Nonetheless, a suit is more than a jacket and pants. I needed shirts as well. So after some more swatch-studying I selected two colours: plain white with a tinge of cream and one with a light blue pattern. Soft collar, suitable for use with or without tie, and French one-button cuffs – with embroidered monograms, of course. The shirts have approximately the same roughness of texture and luminosity as the suit, I think they’ll go together quite well.

Once the fabrics and garments were set the only thing remaining was taking measures. So what followed was a half-hour fitting room rally where I tried on different fitting pants, shirts and jackets until we got the approximate size categories. After that the master tailor danced around me, taking measures of here and there and everything in between. Two sheets of numbers and notes later we were done.

The suit will be ready in a couple of weeks. Here’s to hoping it’ll be sublime.