Alexandra Wood, one of Savile Row’s first female tailors, is renowned for dressing successful men to further elevate their status – and here she warns you about the seven deadly suit sins
Suit sin 1: Why short jackets and trousers should be banned
We’re delighted to say that most of our customers dread the thought of short jackets and short trousers. Why? Because if you want to look like a boy so be it. If you want to look like a man, then wearing clothing that flatters your proportions is key.
So, where should a jacket come to? In short (or not!) it should skim the bottom of your bottom. This creates an illusion of shape, allowing your waistline to look more flattering. This length also disguises the top of your legs which can make you look heavier than you are. At Alexandra Wood we use our own seam-shaping method to ensure the optimal length is achieved.
Your trousers should have at least a half break. The myth is that shorter men should wear shorter trousers but this again brings you back to looking like a boy. Trousers that just hit the shoe look timeless and elegant and make your legs look longer, which has to be a winner in my book.
Suit sin 2: Using fabric that lacks quality
The shocking truth! You’re not always getting what you pay for when purchasing high-end clothing and this annoys us. Polyester should be avoided at all costs. Not only does it suffocate your skin, is highly flammable (so please don’t go near any lit fire with it on…) but if it ends up on a landfill it won’t erode for years and years if ever.
The reason a lot of men overheat is because of clothing with polyester. Anything non-iron tends to contain polyester. So whereby ironing may be made easier, it may also be the reason that you’re hotter and more uncomfortable than you should be.
Sweaty bodies aside, fabrics of true high-quality drape so much more beautifully. The drape is the way your suit hangs and moulds around your body and that makes all the difference.
We suggest always to choose pure, natural fabrics. Search for the purest fabrics and you will have the quality that will last years to come. Always check your labels and get the quality you deserve.
Suit sin 3: Choosing the wrong colour
Choosing the right shade can make or break your image. Blue is just blue right? Sorry, but no. There’s a wide spectrum of shades and we will only select the shade that ignites your skin tone. Too bright and it may make you look brash, too dark and it may make your skin look duller. Choosing the right colour for your skin tone can be the difference between igniting your image to the polar opposite.
Colour tends to be something that men can fear, but it can really be an eye-opener. Simple suggestions of subtle changes can make a dramatic difference in how you look and feel.
Suit sin 4: Underestimating an impact a well-cut suit can make
When there is an abundance of choice available, it can be difficult to understand what really makes the difference between an ill-fitting suit to a truly great one. When a suit is cut to perfection, enhances your attributes and hides your flaws – that’s when you see the real impact.
A suit that is cut to your body makes an impact. People stand up and look and notice the efforts you’ve made. The clever fabric choice, the distinct details and the cut that shows you to be the sharply dressed, well put together man you are.
There’s more to a well-cut suit than most may first realise, but it comes from a good eye, a passion for enhancing the wearer and feeling comfortable
Suit sin 5: It will ride up with wear, sir
Always beware the slick salesman. Whether they are telling you that your suit looks fantastic when it doesn’t; when they tell you the colour really works well for you, when it doesn’t; or that the discomfort you are feeling will ease with wear. In some cases – for example around the arms – this last point is true, but if a pair of trousers are tight, then they’re tight.
You should be offered honest advice that serves you in the short and long term. It builds trust and makes your shopping experience far more enjoyable.
Suit sin 6: Missing the details
Along with our five previous suit sins, the fine details are what complete your suit to its final level of perfection. Choosing between a 1mm edged stitching to a 3mm stitch, a 2cm vs a 3cm turn up on your trousers or choosing natural, horn buttons make the subtle differences that elevate your image to head-turning status.
Suit sin 7: Not looking after your suits
With high-quality tailoring, it doesn’t necessarily mean they last longer unless you care for them. The reason suits made of manmade fibres last without much care going into them is because they’re near indestructible, which isn’t a good sign for quality.
So, be honest: how many suits sins have you committed?