It is years ago but I still remember a suit factory owner saying that “a three-button is a three-button”. Of course I disagreed and started to argue about all the different methods and operations about the suit making and the costs and the brands and culture and tradition aso.
I knew he was talking more about efficiency and decreasing complexity and as such was right. Sometimes the fashion industry gives so many choices that the consumer is overwhelmed with offers and ends up being frustrated, confused and unsure about what to buy and what not. He may end at the cashier’s desk with the same grey or black suit he has already 10 times in his closet.
But from my point of view we can make a difference and differentiation by producing and selling something nicer in terms of fit. Not only the lapel width and the flaps and vents matter, also the general appeal of the suit on the customer does. To prove that I have chosen two photos from “Esquire” they have posted several years ago. As you see in these examples you can easily ruin the look of a business man by the wrong size, length, proportion and accessories.
In the first picture you realize the bulky look which is caused by a very wide trouser, especially in the lower area. In addition it is far too long. Probably the only part it fits is the waistline. The jacket is also wide in the shoulders and rather high, maybe with too much padding in the shoulder pad. The Sleeve length is not bad, but the jacket is normal in length. Because of that unbalanced look the jacket looks longer and the legs shorter. To make the bad look complete the tie is too wide and too long, it should never cover the belt, only touch it. Summarizing all that the only item that fits are the shoes. 🙂 Would you buy a used car from this man – trust him – seriously ?
The shoulders are natural, still wide, but not unpleasant. It’s a more classy look, so no need for narrow fits. The waist is rather tight, which underlines the overall masculine Y-fit. The sleeve length as well as the jacket length is slightly shorter, so is the customer. This ends up by showing more of the legs. They are covered by a slimmer but still comfortable trouser with a reasonable hem width and length and make him look taller. With regards to the shirt, tie and the pocket square he decided for a quite classic but modern interpretation. Well done – the look is smart, not over-designed, not boring, but serious.
You may argue that these looks hardly depend on the sales staff and you are right. But whom other than us, the suit industry shall they ask for better education and advice. If we just ship goods we will not make a change. And if we don’t really understand the human body and proportion, as well. Maybe this is another task for the future and a chance for department stores versus easy offers via internet.