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How to Find the Best Suit For Your Body Type

Man with oval body shape

As we all know, menswear is not a one-size-fits-all business. You have to make sure your measurements are correct so your suit drapes well over your body. But something a lot of gents don’t consider is the body type they have. Everyone is shaped differently, and there are different details and elements of suit design that will lend themselves to certain body types. We’re going to break down some of the most common body types. In addition, we will go over exactly what details will complement your shape.

Body Types and Shapes

Three main male body shapes. Rectangle, triangle, and oval.

There are a number of different shapes that most people fall under. The first is the triangle, where the widest part of the body is the hips. As we travel up the chest, the torso narrows, resulting in shoulders that are not as wide as the hips.

Second is the inverted triangle. In this shape, the broadest part of the body are the shoulders, and the torso narrows in from there.

An oval shape – also known as the apple – has hips and shoulders that are about equal, with a rounded torso.

Lastly is the rectangle. The shoulders and hips are about the same width, with a torso that extends straight down from top to bottom. It is considered the most proportionate, with no part being broader or narrower than any other.

If Your Body Type is a Triangle...

Man with a triangle body shape


Selecting a suit for your shape means finding a structure that evens out your proportions. In the case of the triangle, you want your suit to beef up your shoulders. Find a jacket that has a strong, rigid structure in the shoulders so that it creates a broader shape. The structure is important, rather than the size. A jacket that is too large will collapse over the shoulders and break up the shape and lines of your chest. This could make you look like a child playing dress-up in your Dad’s Sunday best.


The abdomen is the next concern. You want to simultaneously emphasize your shoulders and downplay the middle of your torso, where your waist narrows. Single-breasted suits are best in this situation – they are lighter and not as bulky as a double-breasted suit. The many embellishments that are present on the chest of a double-breasted suit draw the eye towards it, which you want to avoid. 


If you’re a triangle, you want to create an even silhouette all the way down your body. Opt for trousers that are wide-legged and uniform the whole way down, instead of tapering. This will draw attention away from the widest part of your body – the hips. This will create the appearance of an even silhouette.

Man with inverted triangle body shape

The Inverted Triangle Body Type

Understandably, a lot of the advice for this body type is going to be the opposite of what we listed above. 

Inverted Triangle Body Type: Shoulders

Find a jacket with shoulders that are less structured, to restore some balance to your figure. You also want to utilize a narrower lapel, as wide lapels tend to bulk up the chest and shoulders. A double-breasted suit will add some bulk to your middle and create more balance between your waist and your shoulders.

Inverted Triangle Body Type: Legs

For your legs, a well-tailored trouser with the slightest of tapers will work well with your shape. This avoids emphasizing the considerable differences in the widths of your upper and lower halves.

Man with oval body shape

The Oval Body Type

Dressing for this shape should focus on drawing attention away from the middle of the body to create a more balanced silhouette. It is a mistake to buy a suit that is simply bigger all around. It will be a tight fit around your middle and be baggy everywhere else, emphasizing the width of your torso. To counteract this, you have to take care to tailor your suit in a way that balances out your shape.

Oval Body Type: Shoulders and Torso

As we suggested for the triangle shape, a single-breasted suit will avoid creating bulk and drawing focus to your middle. Tapering your jacket at the waist while rocking well-structured shoulders draws attention away from your torso. A standard-width peak lapel will add balance to your chest and draw the eye upwards and away from your middle.

Oval Body Type: Legs

Wide, straight-legged pants are your best bet. They will work in tandem with your jacket to create an sleek vertical silhouette.

Man with rectangle body shape

The Rectangle Body Type

Your proportions already have the coveted streamlined vertical silhouette! However, you can complement your shape even further by selecting a single-breasted jacket with a slight inward taper at the middle. Similarly, you can highlight your body’s even proportions by selecting a slim, tapered trouser, adding more depth and contrast to your silhouette. Make sure your sleeves fit well – they should be closely tailored and break at the wrist-bone. This will help ensure you are highlighting your body’s naturally even shape.


Getting a suit that properly fits your measurements is step one. But you can boost your look to the next level by selecting a structure and details that also complement your body’s natural proportions. You deserve a suit that works as hard as you do. Get started on finding the perfect suit with personal styling advice and our expansive suite of customization and design options by booking an appointment now with one of our experts.

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The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Custom Suit Online

Detail photo of custom suit

Buying A Custom Suit Online - Where to Start

Every guy needs at least one quality suit, for all the important events in his life. When it comes to quality, you can grab something off the rack, or you can get a custom suit online. If you want to look and feel your best, then a custom suit is the way to go. Learning about the process of buying a custom suit online can help you make a decision about what option is best or you. When you go custom, you will have a sharp-looking suit that is perfectly made specifically for you. Perfect for both your body, and perfect for your personal style. 

One-of-a-kind suits for one-of-a-kind men

When you’re looking to invest in a custom suit, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first is where you will be wearing this suit. If you’re only looking to keep one suit in your wardrobe, you will want to have something made that is suitable for most events. In that case, versatility is key when you go custom. If you’re looking to add a new suit to an existing collection you already have, you’ll have to consider what sort of events this suit will be worn to. Buying a custom suit online ensures that you have access to all of the options possible. That is to say, you are not limited by what materials a brick and mortar store carries.

When to go for the custom suit? It all depends

Different occasions call for different styles and elements. The same goes for different seasons. For instance, Fall Fashion varies considerably from Summer Fashion. Additionally, some design elements are better suited to more casual events, while others should only be worn in the most formal of situations. Check out the articles we have in our Gentleman’s Cafe for more information on picking styles and elements for any occasion.

two men in different styles of custom suits. One is wearing an overcoat.

Options Available When You Buy a Custom Suit Online

Go Custom: Your Build

Besides the purpose of the suit and the occasion, something you want to consider is your frame and face shape. The benefit of investing in a custom suit over grabbing one off the rack is that your suit will be designed with your shape and structure in mind. A well-made suit can work wonders on a man. For instance, it can accentuate features you love about yourself, and minimize the features you don’t. When we design your custom suit online, we take your build into account in a few ways. First, we advise you on design options that may complement and enhance your shape. And second, our tailors receive detailed information about your shape based on measurements and images to construct your suit accordingly.

Go Custom: Your Design

The design elements of a suit speak about who you are as a person and what kind of things you value. Are you a cigar and whisky kind of gentleman, or do you prefer craft beer? Do you prefer to be a quiet observer, or do you want to be the center of attention? The design elements of a suit – like the lapel style and width, or the button layout – are vital details. That’s because they can all send subtle, silent signals to the people you meet about what kind of man you are. Our stylists work with you over video chat to learn about your style, whether this is your first custom suit or hundredth. 

Buying Your Custom Suit Online

When you choose a custom suit designed online with HARTTER MANLY, you are in charge of the design and construction process. With guidance from experts, you’re in control from start to finish. And what you get is a one-of-a-kind suit for you, a one-of-a-kind guy. Our stylists walk you through all the steps of designing your suit, from the fabric, buttons, accents, and more, all online.

Your First Online Custom Suit Purchase

HARTTER MANLY has one goal above all: to create a one-of-a-kind tailoring experience for the modern gentleman. Our hybrid method combines bespoke craftsmanship and the speed of made-to-measure.  By doing so, we handcraft each piece to your unique style. Most importantly, we make sure your custom suit tells your story.

Get a Great Fit From Home

The first step towards your perfect custom suit is perfect measurements. With our new technology, you can measure yourself from the comfort of your own home using only your smartphone.

Mobile tailor by Hartter Manly how it works

Custom Suit Measurements, No Photographer Necessary

With our HARTTER MANLY Mobile Tailor‘s hands-free option, you don’t even need a friend to take the photos for you. Get every measurement down to the millimeter without a tailor or a tape measure. After that, we are ready to build!


One-of-a-Kind Suits for One-of-a-Kind Guys

With your custom suit through HARTTER MANLY, you will make all the choices. For instance, do you want your side-arm buttons glued or stitched? Additionally, what color do you want your stitches to be? Furthermore, do you want them to blend in or stand out as an accent? Need a suit to perfectly match a bridesmaid’s dress? We got you. In other words, every style and fit choice is up to you, ranging from lapel types to button layouts to vents. After you make your choices, watch your perfect suit come to life in superb quality.

Design a Custom Suit That Can Do It All

These suits feature modern twists on classic styles. Because of their versatility, you can wear them to any event, any way you want.

Can You Really Buy a Custom Suit Online Though?

HARTTER | MANLY Custom Suits Online: Superior Quality

Here at HARTTER MANLY, we create a custom suit experience that leaves you with a suit of impeccable quality, designed with your stylistic choices and measurements to ensure the best fit possible. We use European fabrics and have over 3,000 swatches available to choose from. Most of our suits are 100% wool, but we also offer cashmere and silk blends, to build a suit for you that makes the exact statement you’re looking to put out into the world. Our suits come with a half canvassed interlining (check out our article in the Gentleman’s Cafe for more information on interlining), but you can upgrade to a full canvas suit for an even better fit that will mold to your body with more with time and wear.

Go custom online with HARTTER MANLY for the options

Your suit from H|M will be a lasting investment: half and full canvas suits last much longer, and don’t lose their shape the way fused suits do. And the interlining of your suit is not the only choice you get to make. Designing your custom suit online through H|M, you will make all the choices: do you want your side-arm buttons glued or stitched? What color do you want your stitches to be? Do you want them to blend in or stand out as an accent? Need a suit to perfectly match a bridesmaid’s dress? We got you. Every style and fit choice is up to you, ranging from lapel types to button layouts to vents. Make those choices and watch your perfect suit come to life.

Here's an example:

Custom Suit Online Tool

With our online customizing process, you choose everything. From the number of buttons, down to the slant of the pocket and more. You’re the boss when you go custom.

Go custom with HARTTER MANLY for the fit

We fit better

Everyone is different, in endless ways. We go beyond chest, waist, and shoulders, because even if two people have the same basic measurements, no two shapes are identical. Bespoke suits are considered the top-of-the-line in menswear, but they have some drawbacks. They’re expensive (we mean expensive) and they’re a hassle. They take multiple fittings and require you to head into the tailor at least three times before your suit is complete. (Compare to no visits when you buy your custom suit online!) 

They work from scratch, not from a pattern, for a better fit. However, if you get your suit designed with a menswear provider that uses many measurements, you’ll get just as great a fit. Most importantly, it’s at a much friendlier price-point and comes with a lot less hassle. 

Our suits have that perfect-fit-feeling

In addition, having a suit tailored to your body and shape will do more than fit great – it will give you a unique wearing experience that you won’t find with any suit you grab off the rack. Not only do our suits look fantastic, they feel fantastic. You will find it easier to move in and it won’t feel claustrophobic or hot.


HARTTER MANLY custom suits online are made-to-measure. Specifically, they build off of existing patterns and use your personal measurements to make the required adjustments. In addition, we use 70+ measurements where most M2M suit providers will use 10 to 15.  That brings you a perfect fit that doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t take multiple fittings. Using this many measurements minimizes the likelihood that you’ll need it adjusted. Since you don’t have to take your new suit in to a tailor, there’s no waiting. You can take your suit out on the town as soon as it arrives at your door.

Examples of hair styles on longer faces

Make a statement

At the end of the day, investing in a suit is important. So why should you buy a custom suit online? A custom suit can make you stand out at any event. With fit and design crafted to your exact specifications, going custom makes a statement about your identity and your personal style. Moreover, it will fit like a second skin and make you look and feel like the best version of yourself. A suit says a lot about a man. What is your suit saying?

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Suit Fabric and Patterns: What They Are And How To Use Them

Suit design options are truly limitless. Designs come in an infinite number of combinations – from the buttons, to the lapel, to the leg break, to the pockets. But two of the most central and visible elements of a suit are the fabric and the pattern. Because these elements are so integral to a suit design, we wanted to break them down for you so you go into your next suit purchase with a solid understanding of these basics.

The Suit Fabric

The fabric of a suit goes beyond aesthetics. You’re looking for a fabric that wears well – one that forms to your body as you wear it and one that is season and weather-appropriate. Some fabrics are more casual, while others are better for the most formal of situations. So where do you start?

Fabric: Wool

Wool is the industry-standard for formal menswear. The majority of suits you find on the racks or while browsing online are wool suits. Wool comes in a wide variety of options, including different weights and preparations. 

A swatch book showing various suit fabrics and patterns. Yasamine June Unsplash

When To Wear Wool

This means you can wear wool in many different situations. We often think of wool as better suited for winter months that call for heavier, warmer clothes. To the contrary, wool is actually extremely versatile. Besides the heavy wool for winter months, there are lighter weights that are perfect for warmer weather. The best part about wool is that all weights are breathable, so even the heavier weights aren’t stifling. 

Types of Wool

Additionally, wool comes in two different preparations: woolen and worsted. 

Worsted wools are smooth, dense, and compact. The wool lays flat when woven, and is smooth to the touch. Woolen wool, on the other hand, is perfect for those lovely chunky winter blankets and sweaters. The yarn is thicker in circumference but lighter and fluffier in makeup. It creates a more textured look when woven into fabric. Lighter weight suits are typically composed of worsted wool, while the thicker, heavier suits are woolen wool.

Fabric: Cashmere

Woven Cashmere fabrics. Though not ideal for suits, cashmere works well in a blend. By Johnstons of Elgin Unsplash.

Cashmere is fabric that is made from long, thin fibers of goat hair. It gets its name from it’s origin in Kashmir, India. Cashmere has a long-standing reputation as one of the softest fabrics on the planet, and many high-end, luxury suits contain some cashmere . As such, it does carry a hefty price tag. Generally, suits that are not 100% wool are a blend.  For instance, the fabric might entail 85% wool, 9% cashmere, and 6% silk. 

Fabric: Cotton

Cotton is light and breathable, which makes it a pretty popular choice for suits as well. However, cotton is susceptible to creasing more frequently than other fabrics, so you must tend to and maintain your cotton suits. They’re less expensive from the get-go but are unlikely to last as long as a wool suit. Cotton is best for more casual events in the warmer months.

Fabric: Linen

Linen has secured its place as the fabric of summer. It’s light, airy, and flexible, and comes from the fibers of the flax plant. However, linen does have a reputation of being very easy to wrinkle. Therefore, like cotton, it requires regular upkeep and dry-cleaning.

Suit Fabric Patterns

You can use anything as a pattern in clothing! That being said, there are some staple patterns that are more typical in men’s formal wear throughout the years. Each pattern has its own flavor and uses – levels of formality, seasons, type of event, and so on. While a solid-color suit is appropriate in any situation, you can make a statement and have a bit of fun with your attire when you wear a pattern.

Patterns: Crosshatch

The crosshatch pattern isn’t so much a pattern as it is an elaboration on solid color. The weave of similar threads creates a pattern that looks almost solid. However, there are some lighter threads that create a bit of a watercolor effect to break up the solid color. It’s perfect if you want to try a pattern but are a little nervous about being too loud with your attire.

Patterns: Herringbone

The Romans originally conceived of herringbone when creating their roadways. Herringbone pattern’s use in textiles can be traced to 600 B.C.-era Ireland. It looks like the letter V repeated over the fabric, but it’s actually composed of rows of diagonal lines that look like slashes. The rows alternate so that two together make up the V-shape. It’s a relatively discrete pattern that is great for formal settings without drawing too much attention.

Patterns: Houndstooth

The earliest examples of Houndstooth textiles are from what is today called Austria, dating back to sometime between 1500 and 1200 B.C. It’s a two-tone pattern that includes broken-up checks made up of pointed shapes. Houndstooth is an example of a tessellation – a pattern of geometric tiles that slot into each other like puzzle pieces. The continuing pattern, with no gaps and no overlaps, creates the visual effect. Because of the visual effect, houndstooth is on the louder side of commonly-used patterns. As such, you should be cautious of wearing it in formal settings. However, houndstooth can make a fun statement piece as a sport jacket.

Patterns: Stripes

Vertical stripes are either pinstripe or chalkstripe, depending on the stripe thickness. Chalkstripes are thicker and more broadly spaced, while pinstripes are very fine and closer together. Self-stripe is similar to pinstripe, but instead of using a different color thread, self-stripes appear due to a weaving technique. That is, the pattern itself comes from the fabric weave.

Patterns: Plaids and Checks

A plaid or check pattern is, essentially, a pattern in which intersecting vertical and horizontal lines create rectangular shapes on the fabric. There are a few different varieties of checks, but they all follow that general pattern.  

Glen Plaid

Glen plaid, for instance, is comprised of lines of different shades. Usually, two dark and two light lines alternate with four dark and four light lines. This method creates a collection of check shapes in different sizes throughout the pattern.

Check Pattern

Windowpane checks are squares of equal size, sectioned off by a repeating pattern of equidistant horizontal and vertical lines. It is a much simpler pattern when compared to the crowdedness of glen check. Buffalo check is the plaid style that you might expect to find a lumberjack wearing – often in red and black. It’s far more casual than the other checks mentioned here, so should be reserved for statement pieces in less formal events. 


Using what you’ve learned here, you can make more informed decisions about how to dress depending on the situation, season, and level of formality. Patterns and fabrics are the two most basic elements of a suit that will declare a look’s style. Besides the pattern, the framework, bones, and everything that comes after is seasoning. Before you worry about more specific details, ensure you’re dressing in the right fabric with an appropriate pattern. From there you’ll have a much easier time making decisions regarding the more minute details, and you’ll have a perfect custom look ready to go.

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Suit Mistakes To Avoid: Do’s and Don’ts of Formal Menswear

A man showcasing how to wear formal menswear. He is avoiding common suit mistakes

Suits can be tricky business. Like every other type of fashion, there are commonly accepted do’s and don’ts for styling a suit. In addition, what’s on-trend is always shifting with the seasons, adding another layer of complexity to getting dressed. Here we will go over the most common do’s and don’ts of formal menswear, so you have a solid base upon which to start building any look.

Suit Mistakes: The Jacket

The aesthetic and style of a suit heavily revolve around angles and lines. For example, in the jacket you have the angles and lines of the lapel, the pockets, the shoulders, the cuffs, and the back vents. Therefore, a significant percentage of what makes a high-quality jacket revolves around the visible proportions. Additionally, a well-made and well-fitted suit drapes over the body and creates an aesthetically pleasing silhouette.

The Most Visible Suit Mistake: The Length

So what makes a good jacket, and what makes a bad one? To start, consider the length. If the overall jacket length is off, the whole silhouette will look off. Additionally, this element is dependent on the shape of your body. Gents on the shorter side are going to want to have their jacket end just below the hip-bones. If you’re on the taller side, slightly longer than that is the way to go. Going too long or too short with your jacket can drastically affect the proportions of your silhouette.

Suit Button Configuration Mistakes

Additionally, the aesthetic style of a jacket can make a huge difference in the overall look. Even the button set-up impacts your look. Wearing the wrong button configuration for your frame will make it look more than a little disproportionate. Most body shapes do fine with a two-button set-up, but if you’re quite tall, go for three. If you do find that multiple buttons work best for your shape, always remember to never button the bottom one.

Suit Vent Mistakes

Additionally, the vents are important. Suit jackets typically come in single or double vent constructions. HARTTER | MANLY co-founder David Manly says to always go for the double vent option. Double vent is best for both aesthetic reasons, and to make sitting more comfortable.

Lapel Mistakes

The focal point of most suit jackets is the lapel. The lapel is the the border around the collar and neck of the jacket that transitions into the edges where the two jacket sides meet in the middle. We have an entire article specifically on lapel types. Our guide explains levels of formality each lapel type. It also tells you how to pick the right one for your body.

Suit Mistakes: The Shirt

A lot of mistakes revolving around the shirt involve the outer edges of the shirt. That is, the places where the shirt is exposed, such as the cuff and the collar. 

Common Mistakes With Shirt Cuffs

The most common shirt mistake is when the jacket sleeve shows too much or too little of the cuff underneath. Make sure the cuff of the shirt breaks right around the wrist-bone. In order to keep the look proportionate, leave only about a quarter of an inch showing underneath the sleeve of the jacket.

Suit and Shirt Collar Mistakes

In regards to the collar, a well-fitting suit is one that has almost zero space in between the jacket lapel and the shirt collar. If there is too much space between the two, the suit will appear baggy and poorly-fitted.

Suit Mistakes: The Trousers

For the trousers, the most common mistakes revolve around both the fit and the style.

Trouser Fit Mistakes

At the top half of the pants, mistakes usually involve the fit of the waist. While a great belt is important for a well put-together suit, the trousers themselves should not actually need a belt in order to fit. If your trousers won’t stay up without a belt, you have two problems. Not only are your trousers too big, but they also probably don’t look great. Extra fabric around the waist that is bunched up by a belt widens the appearance of the hips. A well-fitting suit is sleek and fitted from top to bottom.

Trouser Style Mistakes

For the bottom half of your trousers, pay attention to the break. The break is the point at which your pants meet your shoes, and is a vital detail. The trouser length should create a slight dent where the bottom of the trouser hits the top of your shoes. In order to ensure this, you want the trousers to extend about half an inch past the point at which the fabric naturally meets your shoes. If they’re too long, they will look baggy and bunched up at the bottom. If they’re too short, you will look like you’re wearing a pair of pants you outgrew in high school. 

Trouser Break Trends

H | M co-founder Eric Hartter has found that many of his clients have started wearing the break right at the shoe line for a trendier, bolder look, and this is just as acceptable as long as it’s truly right at the shoe line.

A wide shot of a bride and groom wedding portrait showing the groom in a well fitting burgundy suit. He is avoiding suit mistakes.

Suit Mistakes: The Bottom Line

There are vast numbers of mistakes that can be made when getting dressed for a formal event, the majority of which revolve around angles and lines. When you’re putting your suit together, think of it like a puzzle – the pieces need to be proportionate and fit together, otherwise the whole thing is a mess. These tips are here to help you put together your puzzle so it fits perfectly when it’s complete.

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Case Study: Ed DeShazer

Ed Deshazer Portrait

A man who is organized and adaptable, Ed DeShazer lives a life of maximum efficiency. It is how he made it this far, and how he continues to find success throughout his life. He always uses his previous successes as launchpads for what comes next, without letting any bit of effort go to waste.

Ed's Story

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Ed was a student athlete who made his way through college on a full-ride athletic scholarship. He’s had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was very young, working on ventures that ranged from food trucks to nightclubs. Ultimately, however, Ed found his passion in education.

Ed Deshazer

Today, he acts as the Executive Director for the Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy, continuing to work towards the goals and principles that the Academy was founded on while simultaneously utilizing his many proficiencies and experiences to improve upon the original vision for the school.

The Academy serves students from all across Milwaukee. To further the capabilities of the Academy in serving its student body, Ed has brought his experience and training in Restorative Practices, which aims to improve and repair the relationships between people and communities. In this way, Ed and the Academy are able to do more than just educate students. They are able to heal and further develop the communities that these students come from.

Ed DeShazer

Case Study: Efficiency

Efficiency is the name of the game for Ed DeShazer. The traditional mall shopping experience is not his preferred method of building his wardrobe – it can be messy, exhausting, and ultimately does not even provide maximum quality. So Ed needed to find something different. Something better.

Enter David Manly. After becoming friends in college, Ed and David continued their relationship as they moved into adulthood and began their respective ventures, which eventually necessitated Ed upgrading his wardrobe. And David had the solution in HARTTER | MANLY. Thus, a partnership was born.


Ed DeShazer Case Study


Ed appreciates the ease and efficiency the HARTTER | MANLY experience offers. After purchasing several suits from the H | M catalogue when he was first building his business wardrobe out of college, Ed knew he had a reliable outfitter to help him with his wardrobe. A self-identified minimalist who likes to stick with what works, Ed found comfort in the fact that his measurements were kept on file, dispensing the need to take new measurements each time he needed a new suit. Ultimately, this made his wedding – normally a stressful time for most – a walk in the park.

HARTTER MANLY custom wedding suit lining

Ed is a singular type of man, with a look that is all his own. So on his wedding day, he knew he needed a suit that was all his own as well. With the guidance of HARTTER | MANLY’s style experts, Ed was able to design a custom suit just for him, without any hassle. Ed knew his wedding was a day he’d never want to forget, so he designed his custom suit with this in mind. Now, he has a physical token that holds the memories of the best day of his life.

Ed DeShazer and Bride

A Gift for Groomsmen (& Women!)

Ed wanted to do something nice for his groomsmen (and groomswoman) as well. In lieu of a traditional gift for those who would stand beside him on his wedding day, Ed elected to purchase a suit for each member of his wedding party. The ease and adaptability of H | M’s made-to-measure fitting allowed for each individual member of his wedding party to look great in a suit that fit them perfectly. This even included his groomswoman, who was able to have her suit made just for her body, without having to worry about differences in cut or style.

Ed DeShazer and groomsmen

Case Study: Conclusion

With HARTTER | MANLY, Ed is able to continue to work towards his goals and look great doing it, without having to worry about hassle, snags, or hold-ups. A luxury-level experience with ease-of-use and efficiency to spare is what makes HARTTER | MANLY the perfect choice for Ed DeShazer when he’s looking to suit up.

Ed DeShazer in custom Hartter Manly Suit
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Full Canvas vs Half Canvas: Custom Suit Interlining Options

All of Hartter Manly's suits come with half canvas as standard. Image shows two men in suits and overcoats with half and full canvas interlining.

Suits are complex things. There are many aspects that go into constructing a quality suit. From the lapel roll to the cuff break to the interlining, you’ll have a lot of choices when designing your custom suit. Today we’re going to talk about custom suit interlining options. That is, the options you have for the lining that holds your suit together.

What exactly IS interlining?

At its core, interlining is the layer of fabric that goes between the inner and outer layers. It’s what allows the suit to hold shape, kind of like a skeleton. But as with many things in life, there are different levels of quality when it comes to interlining. In the end, what kind of fit your suit has all depends on the suit’s construction. In turn, many times the construction depends on the price point you’re willing to work with.

Price points for custom suits

Suits can vary greatly in price. You can find some suits as low as $50, and some go up to far beyond a several thousand. There are many different factors that go into deciding a suit’s price, and one of them is the interlining type. There are two main variations on suit interlining: fused, and canvas.

Full canvas vs half canvas and other custom suit interlining options

Interlining Options

Fused: Cheap in price AND quality

A fused interlining is a thin sheet of fabric (usually wool) heated and pressed between the inner and outer layer. It’s cheap and easy to produce, which means that suits constructed with a fused interlining are usually less expensive. In fact, roughly 95% of off the rack suits are fused. But there are several downsides to getting a suit with a fused interlining.

Since a fused interlining attaches directly to the inner and outer layer, it can feel pretty stiff. In addition, it is also less breathable. So not only will you be hot, you will also be sweating a lot. More sweat of course means more dry-cleaning. Over time, excessive dry cleaning will start to break down the interlining altogether, and that will diminish the suit quality and the fit. With a broken down interlining, the outer fabric layer will bubble up. The fit will get less flattering. Instead of forming to your movements, your suit will sit on top of your body and will sag.

Canvassed: High-class, high price

If you’re looking for a better fit and don’t mind shelling out a bit more cash, consider getting a canvassed suit. Canvassing is a form of interlining where a layer of fabric lays between the inner and outer layers of the suit. While canvassing fabric is usually linen or horse hair, other variations exist. Since the interlining only makes contact at the points where it is sewn, a canvassed suit is very breathable compared to a fused suit. It will move and shift with your body. Even better, the more you wear it, the better it will fit as it begins to mold to your shape.

Full canvas

Compared to a fused interlining, a canvassed suit is both more expensive to produce, and more time-consuming to construct. As a result, you will definitely see the quality reflected in the price. If you are going to a tailor to have a bespoke suit made, be sure to check that they will be creating a canvassed suit for you. There’s no point in paying to have a bespoke suit made with a fused interlining. That would entirely defeat the purpose of having a custom fit.

Diagram showing the difference between full canvas suit and half canvas suit. Both are excellent custom interlining options for your suit.

Half canvassed: A healthy middle

If you’re interested in a canvassed suit but can’t quite afford the price, consider a half canvassed suit. This suit is constructed with a combination of both fused and canvassed interlining. You will have canvas interlining through the chest, lapel, and down to the pocket. The lower half of the jacket is fused. Fused interlining on the lower half is alright since the drape isn’t quite as important there. It’s okay to let the suit taper down so that it has freer motion. You want to retain the heavier structure on upper half of your jacket, where it can serve its purpose. The canvas interlining must form to your shape to accentuate it. That, after all, is the point of a well-fitted suit.

How Can You Tell If A Suit Is Full Canvas or Fused?

If you’ve found a suit you’re interested in and want to know what kind of interlining it has, you can use the ‘pinch test’. Use two fingers of each hand to pinch and separate the inner and outer layer on the chest. If you can feel a third layer in between, then the suit has a canvas interlining. If you can’t feel a third layer, it is because the suit has a fused interlining. 

Which Custom Suit Interlining Option Should You Choose?

In virtually all situations, a canvassed suit is the way to go. Canvas gives the best fit and drape, and the longest lasting suit. As mentioned above, the more you wear a canvassed suit, the more it will adjust to your body. The fit will actually improve over time. While fused is a more economical option, we think your best bet is to go at least half canvassed. It makes a big difference if you’re looking for a proper fit. Though canvassed suits are not the cheapest choice, they will last longer and only look better as time goes on. If you can, splurge. At the very least, go half canvassed. Your closet, and your body will thank you.

HARTTER MANLY's Custom Suit Interlining Options: Half or Full Canvas

HARTTER MANLY’s entry level suits are half canvas. Since we choose to only produce the highest quality garments, we offer you an upgrade to full canvas at cost. That means you get the absolute best price on full canvas interlining. Because of our pricing, 90% of our customers pick full canvas for their custom suits and jackets.

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Lapel Varieties: What They Are and When to Wear Them

Lapel varieties example of notched lapels. Both men wear stunning custom suits with perfectly measured lapels.

The lapel is one of the most noticeable aspects of a suit. It works to frame your shape and draw the attention of a viewer’s eye to preferred features and attributes. There are many lapel varieties and they each work for you a bit differently; they are each suited for different occasions and each do different things to work with your shape and features.

Lapel varieties diagram. This diagram shows The Slim Notch, Notch, Slim Peak, Peak, and Shawl lapels

Lapel Varieties: The Basics

Before we get into the different styles, let’s discuss the basics of lapels. Just what exactly is a lapel? A lapel is the matching parts on each side of the jacket, right below the collar, where the fabric folds back towards the shoulders. The average width for a lapel is 3.5 inches, but they can range anywhere from 2 to 5.

Which Width?

Slim lapel varieties

Skinny lapels have rapidly risen in popularity in recent years: they are very on trend, but it’s important to know what width is best for your body. Slim lapels work best on slim guys. If your frame is more on the broad side, avoid the slim lapel, as the proportions will be off and your body will overwhelm the lapel, making it look like it doesn’t fit properly.

Wider lapel varieties

Wider lapels – in the 4 to 5 inch range – typically work best with broad frames. Our signature Wide Lapel Suit, “Houndstooth” is a classic wide lapel suit that accentuates a broad frame.

However, that’s not to say skinny guys should avoid them entirely. If you go slightly wider than average with your lapel as a skinnier guy, you can broaden your frame. Just don’t go too wide since that can let the lapel swallow your look.

Wide Lapel Collection from H|M

Lapel Varieties: A Lapel for Every Man

Now that we’ve covered how to find the correct lapel width for your body and situation, let’s talk about lapel varieties, or the different styles of lapels. The three types of lapels are notched, peak, and shawl. They each best work with different suit styles and on different shapes. Here are the need-to-know basics of the different styles.

The Notched Lapel

A notched lapel is the most common type of lapel. It is called notched because the two layers of the lapel meeting together form a sideways V-shape, or a ‘notch’. It’s the easiest to produce, and therefore the cheapest, but it’s also preferred for most everyday suits. 

When to wear it

You’ll want to wear a notched lapel on a single-breasted suit. It is the standard lapel found on most suits directly off the rack. It is wonderfully versatile and works for most business attire, nice dinners, and other semi-formal events. If you only have one suit, make it a notch, as it will work for most events.

What to look for

When selecting a suit with a notched lapel, you want to look at the size of the notch in comparison to the width of the lapel. They should be in even proportions: if you have a slim lapel, you want a smaller notch. If the lapel is bit wider, look for a larger notch. This helps keep the look balanced, and ensures that the lapel doesn’t overwhelm the jacket.

An example of a peak lapel. Though you have many lapel options with HM, we favor peak lapels as standard for most of our suits.

Peak Lapel Design

The second lapel variety is the peak lapel. It is called the peak because the lower half of the lapel has corners that angle upwards towards the shoulders. Those corners form a “peak” on each side of the jacket. It’s the most expensive style because of all the angles involved in production, but it’s got an edge to it that will always make you stand out.

When to wear it

The peak lapel is excellent for shorter frames because the upward angle of the peak draws the eye upwards, visually adding more height to your frame. It’s also good for more heavyset gents, for the same reason – drawing the eye up and lengthening the frame. Peak lapels are great for more formal events or situations: executive-style business meetings or functions, galas, formal weddings, or parties that call for evening-wear.

What to look for

For the width of a peak lapel, you want to avoid going too slim. That’s because it can look cluttered and you can lose some of the detail when making a peak too small.

A man looking more formal in a black shawl lapel

Shawl Lapel: For Men in Black

The shawl lapel foregoes any edges; it rounds out in a continuous curve, no notches or peaks to be found. It is best to opt for a thinner, slimmer lapel if you’re going to be wearing a shawl style jacket – it makes for a sleek look. Shawl lapels aren’t the best choice for heavier guys or those with a round face, as the curve of the lapel can accentuate the curves of the body and face. The shawl lapel is almost always limited to tuxedos and black tie events – it’s used in only the most formal of situations.

A Final Note About Lapel Varieties

As we’ve discussed here, lapels are important. They are one of the most stand-out aspects of a suit and the lapel varieties require quite a bit of consideration when you’re browsing for your look. There are many things to consider, the most major ones being your shape, the lapel width, and the lapel style. Now that we’ve discussed the basics, and some of the more in-depth concepts surrounding lapels and the lapel varieties that are available, you’re armed with all the info you need to find the perfect lapel, just for you, right here at HARTTER MANLY. Check out some of the lapel varieties on our Suits or Sports Jackets.

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The Right Fit: Ensuring Your Suit Works for You

David at a cafe table

The Right Fit

Suits can be tricky: there are a lot of nuances in suit construction and fit that can make or break a look. No matter the dress code, the jacket, shirt, and trousers all have a variety of aspects that must work together for the suit to look well-fitted and neat. Today, we’re going to look at the different elements of a suit, and talk about how to determine if your pieces have a proper fit. If you are in need of a new suit immediately, check out our suit selection that we can customize to get the right fit for you. You can also read up on our guide to your first custom suit.

How to look for the right fit

First, when trying on your suit, you want to make sure you are standing in what is called the ‘natural stance’. In such a stance, you stand straight with your feet placed slightly apart and your arms hanging loosely by your sides.

Row of suits to chose the right fit

The Right Fit: The Jacket

The jacket easily has the most elements that you need to consider when analyzing the fit of your suit. You must consider the space around the button, the collar, the sleeves, and the back panel, which includes the vents and length. The most important aspect of a jacket’s fit is the shoulders, because they act as the framework for the rest of the jacket and its drape over your body.

The Fit on The Shoulders

The shoulders should lie flat, with no ripples or lumps. Ripples or lumps are indicative of shoulders that are either too long or too short.

If the shoulders are too short, lumps appear because the edge of the suit shoulder pulls back over the the top of your actual shoulder. On the other hand, when the shoulders of a suit are too long, excess cloth hangs over the edge of your shoulder.  The excess cloth forms lumps and ripples.

As a guide, wear shoulders that are slightly wider than your own shoulders. Doing so ensures there is room for the meeting between the shoulder and the arm to rest over the dress shirt without pulling taut.

Man with suit and floral tie. The suit shows the right fit.

How Do The Buttons Fit?

Next, look at the buttons. If you’re in your ‘natural stance’, fasten at least one of the buttons. How does the jacket look when it’s stretched around your torso? If the lapels hang down and angle off your chest, the fit is too loose. If the jacket material pulls the button taut and the bottom corners of the jacket are flare outwards, it is too tight. As with the shoulders, you want no strain and no wrinkles.

The Collar Fit

Your collar is somewhat similar. If it’s too loose, it will hang back and won’t rest flat against your neck. If it’s too tight, it will bunch around the collar. You want it to rest against your neck and be closely fitted, but not too snug. You should be able to fit one or two fingers in between the collar and your neck itself. A poorly fitting collar could be because the size of the collar isn’t right for your body. Other reasons could be due to poorly fitted shoulders or an incorrect size for the back panel.

The Right Fit of the Back and Vents

Speaking of the back, the length should fall just along the curve of the buttocks. From the side view, the bottom hem of the jacket should sit right at the middle of the hand. The vents of the back panel should be sitting flat. That is, they should not pull outwards. If they do, then the fit is too tight. The sleeves come down to one thing: the amount of shirt cuff that is showing underneath the cuff of the jacket. You want there to be about half an inch of shirt cuff peeking out.

A man wearing a properly fit suit jacket.

The Right Fit: The Shirt

The shirt is not quite as complicated as the jacket, even though it obviously contains many of the same elements that the jacket does. Much like the jacket, the collar should be snug, but there should be room for one or two fingers.

The Shoulder Fit

Compared to the jacket, the shoulders of the shirt should be an even closer fit. You don’t want any over-extension at the point where the shoulder meets the arm. Therefore, it should be as close a fit as possible without being tight. That’s because if the shirt is too tight, the shoulders will bunch up.

The Right Length

The shirt sleeves should end at the break of the wrist. You can identify the break as the point where the large wrist-bone is. Stylists recommend having about a half-inch of shirt cuff peeking out from underneath the jacket sleeve. The shape of the shirt should be slim against your torso with a natural taper near your waist. For shirt length, you want enough extra fabric to easily tuck the shirt in. Not only that, but there should be enough that if you lift your arms, it won’t untuck on its own. A good guide is that the extra fabric should reach the v-shaped panel at the top of the inseam.

Man in pink suit

The Right Fit: The Trousers

The Waist and Seat

The waist of your trousers should be snug, but not tight. They should stay up on their own without a belt. The seat should rest flat against the undergarments, without pulling tight or draping too loosely. If the seat is too tight, you will have lines just under the buttocks where the fabric is stretching. If it is too loose, the extra fabric will drape down over your thighs.

How Should Trouser Legs Fit?

The fit of the legs should be straight, with a very slight taper as the pant moves down the leg. They definitely should not flair out, but they also shouldn’t end up too tight around the ankle. That is, unless you want to look like a skater wearing skinny jeans. You want the legs to taper at a slight inward tilt, but still have room for movement. The ‘break’ – or the point where the hem of your pant meets the top of your shoe – is the most crucial part of a trouser fit. You want it to just rest on the top of your shoe. It should result in a slight inward dip right above the front of the pant leg. The break should hit right where the two elements meet.

Man in blue suit standing on stairs. The suit has the right fit through the trousers

The Elements Combined

When you put all of these together, a description of the right fit seems a bit redundant, but it’s the truth: you want everything to lie flat, for the majority of the elements. If your pieces are too tight or too loose, it will cause ripples, strains, and lumps that diminish the elegance you hoped to convey by wearing a suit in the first place. Now that we’re tying it all together, these things seem obvious, but we hope that the specific guidelines we’ve put forth here will help you look at all the elements individually, so that you are left with a perfect fit, every time.

Your Perfect Fit

Ready for your perfect fit? When we make our custom suits, we alter a pattern with your exact measurements. The pattern fits your body before we start constructing the suit, which produces a suit that’s a perfect fit. Even better, our H|M Mobile Tailor calculates your precise measurements down to a millimeter straight from home. All it takes is two photos from your smartphone camera.

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How to Identify a Well-Made Custom Suit

Well made custom suit

Suits are always going to be an investment. More often than not in menswear, you get what you pay for. Here, we’re going to talk a bit about what it is that makes a suit worth more. Ensure you are making a worthwhile investment by learning how to identify a quality, well-made suit.

In order to identify a suit’s quality, you need to look at all aspects of the suit, including the fabric, the proportions and cut, the lining and other aspects of the construction, and the tiny little details, like the buttonholes and the seams.

First, What’s It Made Of?

With a cheap suit, you are going to see polyester or blend fabrics which, if you ask us, is an immediate quality disqualifier. Most well made custom suits use only 100% wool. Beyond looking at the tag for the fabric composition, you can determine quality by feel as well. Pure wool feels softer and more flexible than a polyester or a polyester blended suit. Additionally, you will see a better drape over your body, and the fabric is more breathable. If the material is blended, look for predominantly wool composition with a satin or a cashmere blend. Avoid polyester! Satin and cashmere blends with wool are some of the highest quality fabrics on the market. The suit’s tag might identify where the yarn comes from. In that case, look for Italy, France, England, or the United States.

fabric in neutral tones

Second, How Is It Constructed?

Standard Suit Patterns

All suit-making requires patterns. Where that pattern comes from can be a good way to tell the quality of a suit. Ready-made patterns result in one-size-fits-all construction. A ready-made pattern means the suit will never fit you perfectly even if you take it to a tailor after purchasing. Suits you find at Joseph A. Bank or Men’s Wearhouse all use the same pattern and will never have a perfect fit.

Custom Suit Patterns

High quality, well-made custom suits are bespoke or made-to-measure. If you want the bespoke look but don’t want to break the bank, consider our hybrid MTM process. We alter a pattern with your measurements, so the pattern fits your body before we start constructing the suit. This process produces a suit that’s a perfect fit. Even better, our H|M Mobile Tailor calculates your precise measurements down to a millimeter at home. All it takes is two photos from your smartphone camera.

Half Canvas vs Full Canvas Custom Suits

The jacket interlining is a great indicator of quality. Cheap suits usually have a fused interlining, which means the lining is glued onto the fabric of the suit jacket. High quality suits, on the other hand, have either half or full canvassed interlining. In these cases, the lining is sewn instead of glued. Full canvas means the whole lining is sewn to the jacket. For a half canvas suit, only the most important part has sewn lining: the shoulders and collar. Canvas provides flexibility and breathability in your suit. A canvassed jacket molds to your body, fitting better over time.

half canvas vs full canvas suit

Third, How Do the Details Look?

Sometimes you can tell whether a suit is cheap or quality just by looking at the little details, like the buttonholes, the buttons, and the stitching. On a cheap suit, the buttonholes are machine-made, and typically have fraying on the thread. In a quality custom suit, you will find buttonholes that are either hand-sewn, or are machine-made with a high quality machine, resulting in neater, cleaner stitches without fraying.

The buttons themselves are another good indicator. Cheap buttons may be plastic, and are more than likely attached with glue. Quality buttons are composed of nacre, or Mother-of-Pearl – the inner shell layer of an oyster, and are stitched on. Here at HARTTER MANLY, we use a hybrid approach. Our process utilizes both hand-sewing and high-quality machine techniques to construct the details of your suit. Combined with our customization tool, we can make your suit exactly the way you want.

As we all know, a lot goes into constructing a well-made custom suit. Some suit-makers cut corners, use cheap materials, or speed through the construction. In order to make sure you are getting the most for your money, you can use this guide to analyze a suit and know with certainty that you’re making a quality investment. Ready to have your very own bespoke suit? If so, start shopping for your custom suit to get the creation process started.