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Suiting up with Old World flair

Suit

Suit Photo Credit: Ryan Thatcher

A classically British suit — slim-cut, perfectly tailored, seriously polished — can do wonders for the typical American guy’s wardrobe of formalwear.

English menswear designer Simon Spurr injected our New Yorker — amNewYork design director Christopher Sabatini — with some modern British elegance.

Sizing

“In general, American men probably need to downsize a size. European men tend to buy stuff that’s more formfitting. Think of a bespoke suit on Savile Row — it’s cut to fit you like a glove. ... Men [with larger frames] can still buy formfitting clothes. ... That’s where good tailoring comes into place.”

Fit

“Sometimes restriction is good. ... The slimmer the product, the more tailored you look. The more tailored you look tends to be the more expensive you look.”

Plaid

“This is definitely more of a fashion suit, more of a statement suit. I don’t think an investment banker is going to buy this, but maybe if he’s a graphic designer going out to a party or a social event.”

Keeping It Together

“I do not advise wearing each piece separately. The general rule is for most suits you can, but this is so specific, if you put that jacket with a pair of jeans, that’s kind of the all-American golfing look that you probably don’t want to replicate.”

Buttons 

“Sometimes do the top button up, always do the middle, and never do the bottom up. If it’s a two-button, it’s always [the top] and never [the bottom]. ... But if you’re wearing a three-piece suit, you probably wouldn’t button the jacket anyway so you can see the vest.”

Vest

“Wearing a vest — especially one with eight buttons, this is probably the closest thing you get to a male corset — you hold in and straighten up your posture and walk taller and stronger.” 

Belt

“With this one, you’d probably not wear a belt. The more formal the suit, I would shy away from a belt.” 

Hem

“I traditionally like to do an angled hem. This should again finish half an inch off the floor.”

Tapered leg

“I prefer a slightly tapered leg to a straight leg. If there’s any room to remove excess fabric, I like to get rid of it.” 

Vent

“I always do a single vent showing. I’m rooted in the sixties. It’s my favorite decade. I think it was more of a British silhouette than the double vent, which I think is more of an Italian.” 

Pocket Square

“With the pocket square, you’ve got two options — straight across, which is very kind of ‘Mad Men,’ very sixties — or you can have kind of a more romantic, disheveled look.” 

Buttonhole

“Don’t be afraid of a buttonhole, a boutonniere, a little flower. For this suit, I’d go with burgundy. ... It’s OK for guys to wear flowers.” 

Cuff 

“When you put a working cuff on a suit, you would leave one or two buttons undone to show that it’s a working cuff. It’s a sign of quality when it’s a working cuff like this. It adds a little bit more to the price of the garment, but I think it’s an important detail. Traditionally, there should only be half an inch of cuff showing.” 

Tie

“You could do navy, you could do black, you could do gray with this suit. Because of the severity of the plaid, I would opt for a cleaner, more neutral tie. Ties are all in correlation to the width of the lapels and the collars. If you have a small collar, it works to wear [it] with a narrow tie. And normally, you’d be wearing a narrower lapel.” 

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