The Right Fit: Ensuring Your Suit Works for You

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The Right Fit: Ensuring Your Suit Works for You

The Right Fit

Suits can be tricky: there are a lot of nuances that go into suit construction and fit that can make or break a look. The jacket, the shirt, and the 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. 

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

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 shoulders are typically considered the most important aspect of a jacket’s fit, because they act as the framework for the rest of the jacket and its drape over your body. 

The shoulders should lie flat, with no ripples or lumps – ripples or lumps can both be indicative of shoulders too long or too short, because the lumps can be caused by the edge of the shoulder, where it meets the arm, pulling back over the surface of the shoulder, or they can be caused by an excess gathering of cloth hanging over the edge of the shoulder. As a guide, you want the shoulders to be no narrower than your own, and slightly wider than your own, so there is room for the meeting between the shoulder and the arm to rest over the dress shirt without pulling taut.

Next, look at the buttons. If you’re in your ‘natural stance’, at least one of your buttons should be done. How does the jacket look when it’s stretched around your torso? If the lapels are hanging down, angled off your chest, the fit is too loose. If the button is pulled taut and the bottom, inner corners of the jacket are flared outwards, it is too tight. As with the shoulders, you want no strain, and no wrinkles.

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, there will be bunching 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, but it could also be due to poorly fitted shoulders, or an incorrect size for the back panel.

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, they should not be pulled outwards; if they are, 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.

The Shirt

The shirt is not quite as complicated as the jacket, and 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 shoulders of the shirt should be an even closer fit than the jacket. You don’t want any over-extension at the point where the shoulder meets the arm, it should be as close a fit as possible without being tight – which would cause the shoulders to bunch up.

The shirt sleeves should end at the break of the wrist, where the large wrist-bone is, with the recommended half-inch of shirt cuff peeking out from underneath the jacket. The shape of the shirt should be slim against your torso with a natural taper near your waist. For shirt length, you want there to be enough extra fabric to easily be able to tuck the shirt in, and enough that if you lift your arms, it won’t untuck on its own. A good guide for the correct amount of extra fabric is you want the extra fabric to reach the v-shape panel at the top of the inseam.

The Trousers

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 underwear, without pulling tight or draping too loosely: if the seat is too tight, there will be lines just under the buttocks where the fabric is stretching. If it is too loose, the extra fabric will drape down over your thighs. 

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, lest you look like a high school skater dude 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 at which the hem of your pant meets the top of your shoe – is likely the most crucial part of a trouser fit. You want it to just rest on the top of your shoe, but that’s about it, resulting in a slight inward dip right above the front of the pant leg, where the two elements meet.

The Elements Combine

When you put all these together, a description of the 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.

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Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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The Ultimate Guide to Dressing Your Groomsmen: How to Ensure Your Guys Look Their Best

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The Ultimate Guide to Dressing Your Groomsmen: How to Ensure Your Guys Look Their Best

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and you want everything to be perfect. A big part of that is making sure everything looks great, because the pictures taken will be something you cherish forever. Here’s a handy guide to ensuring your groomsmen party looks awesome on your big day.

First, determine what direction you want to go in

If you want the look to be tight-knit and styled to a T, you can choose matching attire for all of your groomsmen. This is the more traditional option in wedding attire, but it’s not required. You can opt for a look that’s more broken up and allow your groomsmen a bit of freedom to express themselves on your big day. Give them a general guide including the theme of the wedding, color palette, and environment your wedding will take place in. Of course, you’ll want to have them run their final looks by you before they commit so no one comes at you with a look straight out of left field, but it can be fun to let your groomsmen express themselves. If you do want to go this route, consider including one element that is static for all of your groomsmen, whether it is matching shoes, cufflinks, or pocket squares.

Consider the tone, theme, and style

The days of requiring three-piece suits in weddings are long gone. Weddings can have a wide variety of themes, tones, and styles, from beach-themed to rustic to black tie. You want your party’s attire to match the tone of the wedding – your guys would stick out like a sore thumb if they wore tuxedos to a beach wedding. While you do want your group to look formal, there are a lot of options for groomsmen attire that can be used for any theme imaginable. Doing a rustic theme? Consider forgoing the jackets and dress your guys in suspenders and a bow-tie. Getting married by the sand and the waves? Try lighter linen suits. Are you a country couple? Nice, dark, denim, crisp white custom shirt, and cowboy boots look great if they look neat and tidy. You want your party to fit in well with the style your wedding is going for.

Coordinate with your better half

While it’s important to perfect the look of your groomsmen so they blend with your attire, you also need to be sure their look complements your partner’s party as well. Your groomsmen don’t have to match your spouse-to-be’s party perfectly, but as long as they have similar elements here and there, or common colors, everything will look great. In fact, you do want there to be a little bit of variety between the two parties, so that you and your partner’s parties say a little bit about who you each are as people. The most common way to tie the two parties together is to use elements with similar colors. You can either use colors from the same family, or you can have them use a separate color that is part of your wedding’s color palette and will be used throughout the ceremony in other elements, such as bouquets, seating, or decor. HARTTER | MANLY’s customers often match their garment’s button stitch to the bridesmaids’ dress color, or match the tie and / or pocket square.

Keep cost in mind

Typically, groomsmen pay for their attire themselves, whether they purchase the look or use a rental service. Your groomsmen might come from a different income level than you and even each other, and you want to be sure that you’re not throwing a massive unexpected expense at them. Keep the cost in mind as you’re building your look, and get your groomsmen’s thoughts up front on what they are comfortable paying.  If the party can afford it, purchasing custom suits is always best to create the vision you are going for.  You can often get discounted rates for larger parties and share the cost with your groomsmen as part of their groomsmen gift.  If purchasing isn’t an option, avoid the boxy brands and go with a shop that understands fit.

Remember every guy is different

Your groomsmen are probably of all different shapes and sizes. You want to pick a look that is going to look great on all of them. If you are worried about the look you pick being unflattering on certain guys in your party, consider giving them the basic parameters – color, fabric, elements like tie and pocket square – and then allow them to find a fit that works for their shape. In a situation where they are all of vastly different shapes, it may be a good idea to go with the concept we mentioned at the beginning, having them all wear different things with some smaller elements in common or go the custom fit route. 

Tying it all together

There’s a lot of work that goes into making your big day perfect for you and your partner. Every single element says something about you two as people and your relationship as a whole. Dressing the wedding party is one of the most important aspects of creating a wedding to remember, and there are many different approaches you can take when crafting your look. Sit down with your guys and your better half and talk about the style and tone you want your wedding to have, deliberate a bit, and use these guidelines to create the perfect look for your big day. Happy planning!

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Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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Head to Toe: Footwear Styles for Men

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Head to Toe: Footwear Styles for Men

You’ve got the suit, but to make your look really pop, you need to be sure your footwear matches the statement you’re trying to make. The shoes you wear can make or break a look; that’s why it’s so important to select the right footwear for it. We’re going to talk about different styles of footwear, and what looks they most complement.

Loafers: Penny, Bit, and Tassel

Loafers are among the more casual shoes on this list. They do not have any sort of lacing or fastening system; instead, they are designed to be slipped on. Thus, they are not quite suited for evening wear. There are a wide variety of loafer styles, including the penny, the bit, and the tassel.

Penny loafers rose to prominence in the 1950s, and are named for the strap of leather that runs across the forefoot, leaving a small diamond cut-out that has just enough room for a penny. In the early days of their use, many men did in fact keep a penny in that slot. One theory as to why they might have done this is because one or two pennies was all that was required to make a call in a phone-booth.

Tassel loafers are a bit flashier; they have more decorative lacing across the top, as well as a pair of tassels. To leave room for the tassels, these loafers typically have lower vamps – the vamp is the piece of leather that covers the main body of your foot (the space between the toe and the ankle). A low vamp ends closer to the toe, a high vamp ends closer to the middle of the foot, back towards the ankle. Shoes with low vamps have typically been considered to be for those of us who are up there in years, but a man of any age can rock them; just promise to avoid wearing them with full business suits. You can get away with darker denim or mismatched suit combos.

Bit loafers, originally developed by Gucci – which is why they are sometimes called Gucci loafers – have a bar of metal that runs over the top of the shoe. They were put on the market to strike a balance between comfort and style, allowing for men to wear laid-back loafers to dressier events. If you tend to dress on the more conservative side, you may want to forgo bit loafers when wearing your finest suits, but you can wear them with dark denim or odd suit and trouser combos. If you want to make a statement, however, wear them to business meetings and the like. As a general rule, though, they are not suited for tuxedos or black-tie events.

Derby/Blucher

Derbies – or Bluchers, if you prefer – are lace-up shoes, typically lower-cut. They have an open-throat lacing system. The lacing system on a shoe depends on two elements: the vamp, which we mentioned above, and the quarters. Whereas the vamp is the piece of leather that sits over the middle portion of the top of the foot, the quarters are the two sides of leather that wrap around the heel and meet at the front of the ankle, where the eyelets are placed on either side.

Open-throat lacing means that the quarters are sewn on top of the vamp, leaving the edges of the quarters exposed. Closed-throat lacing, which is found on Oxfords (which we will explore next), means that the quarters are stitched under the vamp, so the edge is not exposed.
Because of the give and stretch provided by having the edge of the quarters exposed, Derbies are great for guys with feet that are on the larger side. As a result, however, they are a bit bulkier, not as streamlined, so the open-throat lacing is better suited to more casual looks.

Oxfords

Oxfords are widely-regarded as the quintessential business shoe. They are similar in construction to a Derby shoe, in that they are lower-cut and lace up, but the key difference is that Oxfords have a closed-throat lacing system. They tend to look a bit neater, more streamlined, which is why they are so well-suited to business looks. They go best with matching suits and evening wear. They do, however, have a less forgiving fit, due to the lack of give that comes with the closed-throat lacing. Despite that, the Oxfords are the most essential dress shoe to have in your wardrobe.

Monkstraps: Single and Double

Monkstraps, by definition, are any shoe that uses a buckle closure, rather than laces. They come in a variety of styles, but the core concept remains the same. They are definitely on the flashier side, and less formal than a closed-throat lacing system, but they can be dressed up if done properly. You could wear a pair of black patent leather Monkstraps with your suit, but any other color or material is better suited to a mismatched suit combo or darker denim. The Double-Monkstrap, then, is a Monkstrap shoe that has two buckles instead of one. It is a more contemporary look, and dare we say, more daring? Some of the more conservative among us say it’s too flashy, but if you’re all about edge and setting yourself apart, the double monkstrap may be the perfect fit for you. When considering their formality, the general consensus is that the more ornamentation a shoe has, the less formal it is. As such, most consider the single to be a touch more formal than the double. It’s typically not advised to wear them to a black-tie event, or with a tuxedo, but it all depends on your level of daring and the message you want to send with your look.

Brogues

Any shoe that has decorative perforations in the leather is considered a Brogue. Despite the rule that more ornamentation means less formality, Brogues are generally considered to be more formal than Derbies, but are definitely less formal than an Oxford. They seem to occupy the sweet-spot between the two. There are a few different aesthetic elements of brogues: perforations, pinking, and medallions. Perforations are holes that have been punched in the shoe leather in a decorative pattern. Pinking is a decorative edge created by pinking shears, that results in the edge looking like a series of triangles. Medallions are similar to perforations, in that they are holes that have been punched in a decorative pattern, but medallions are limited to the toe of a shoe. Brogues, as a style, also include Wingtips, in which a perforation is cut into the vamp in a shape of birdwings. A variation on Wingtips is Longwings, where the ‘wings’ stretch all the way around the collar of the shoe. Brogues are some of the showiest styles of business footwear available to men. They identify you as someone who thinks outside the box, someone who has a flair for the flashy. They can be worn with simple suits, but there aren’t many circumstances in which it is appropriate to wear them with a tuxedo, as the ornamentation takes away from the streamlined and neat appearance of a tuxedo.

There’s a Shoe for Every Look

We’ve discussed a number of popular footwear styles in the article, but the honest truth is that there are so many more styles out there. The shoes we selected to highlight today were picked because they are typically the most commonly worn with suits, and are essential to have in your closet for all the different events you dress up for. One thing is certain: just like suits, there is no one style that is appropriate for every occasion you may find yourself at, so we’ve gone over these to allow you to build a basic footwear collection to complement a wide variety of suit styles and events. After all, a look isn’t complete when you put on a suit. It’s complete when you dress yourself up head-to-toe.
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Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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Suits Just for You: Why Go Custom?

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Suits Just for You: Why Go Custom?

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 suit custom-made. If you want to look and feel your best, a custom suit is the way to go. At the end of the experience, you will have a sharp-looking suit that is perfectly made specifically for you, for both your body and your personal style.

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

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. If you’re looking to add a new suit to an existing collection you already have, be sure to consider what sort of events this suit will be worn to. Different occasions call for different styles and elements: 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.

Another thing 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: it can accentuate features you love about yourself, and minimize the features you don’t. The design elements can also 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 – can all send subtle, silent signals to the people you meet about what kind of man you are. When you design a custom suit with us, you are in charge of the design and construction process, from start to finish, leaving you with a one-of-a-kind suit, for you, a one-of-a-kind guy.

We’re Different. Here’s How and Why.

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 only mold to your body more with time and wear.

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. With your custom suit 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:

We Fit Better.

Every man is different, in endless ways. We go beyond chest, waist, and shoulders, because even if two men 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. They work from scratch, not from a pattern, for a better fit, but if you get your suit designed with a menswear provider that uses many measurements, you’ll get just as great a fit at a much friendlier price-point and with a lot less hassle. 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.

H|M custom suits are made-to-measure: they build off of existing patterns and use your personal measurements to make the required adjustments. Using 25+ measurements (where most M2M suit providers will use 10 to 15), we bring 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 have to take your new suit in to a tailor to have adjustments made, so you can take your suit out on the town as soon as it arrives at your door.

Make a Statement.

At the end of the day, investing in a suit is important. A custom suit with fit and design crafted to your exact specifications can make you stand out at any event you wear it to. It will make a statement about your identity and your personal style, and it will fit like a second skin, making 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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ABOUT

Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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Lapel Varieties: What They Are and When to Wear Them

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Lapel Varieties: What They Are and When to Wear Them

Source: harttermanly.com

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 multiple different styles of lapels, 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.

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?

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 you’re 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 lapels – in the 4 to 5 inch range – typically work best on men with broad frames, but 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 and let the lapel swallow your look.

Now that we’ve covered how to find the correct lapel width for your body and situation, let’s talk about 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.

Notched Lapels (both jackets)

A Lapel for Every Man

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 the best for most everyday suits. 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, weddings, nice dinners, and other semi-formal events. If you only have one suit, make it a notch, as it will work for most events.

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.

Peak Lapel

Peak Design

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

The peak lapel is excellent for shorter guys 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. For the width of a peak lapel, you want to avoid going too slim: it can look cluttered and you can lose some of the detail when making a peak too small. Peak lapels are great for more formal events or situations: executive style business meetings or functions, galas, or parties that call for evening-wear.

Shawl Lapel

Shawl: 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.

As we’ve discussed here, lapels are important. They are one of the most stand-out aspects of a suit and they 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, you’re armed with all the info you need to find the perfect lapel, just for you, right here at HARTTER | MANLY.

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Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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The Suit Interlining: Fused, Half-Canvas, and Full-Canvas

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The Suit Interlining: Fused, Half-Canvas, and Full-Canvas

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. Today we’re going to talk about interlining: 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, and what kind of fit you get all depends on the suit’s construction and the price point you’re willing to work with.

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. There are two main variations on suit interlining: fused, and canvas.

Source: Joebutton.com

Fused: Cheap in price AND quality

A fused interlining is one that 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 often leaves suits constructed this way at a lower price point. In fact, roughly 95% of off the rack suits are fused.  But there are several downsides to getting a suit with a fused interlining.

It is directly attached to the inner and outer layer, so it can feel more stiff. It is also less breathable, resulting in more sweat, which results in more dry-cleaning, which can diminish the quality of the suit and the fit, as the interlining eventually breaks down. When it does, the outer layer will bubble up, and the fit will be even less flattering. It will not form to your movements – rather, it 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, usually linen or horse hair, is sewn into the suit. With the interlining only making contact at the points where it is sewn, a canvassed suit is much more breathable. It will move and shift with your body, and the more you wear it, the better it will fit as it begins to mold to your shape.

A canvassed suit is both more expensive to produce, and more time-consuming to construct, so you will most definitely see that 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 is no point in paying to have a bespoke suit made if it’s going to be constructed with a fused interlining – it entirely defeats the purpose of having a custom fit.

Source: Oliverwicks.com

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. It will use canvas on the chest, lapel, and down to the pocket, with the lower half of the jacket being fused. If you need to, that’s an okay area to skimp on, because the drape isn’t quite as important at the lower half – it’s okay to let it taper down so that it has freer motion. You want the heavier structure to be on the upper half of your jacket, where it must form to your shape to accentuate it. That, after all, is the point of a well-fitted suit.

How can you tell what you’re working with?

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 is canvassed. If you can’t feel a third layer, it is because the interlining is completely pressed into the inner and outer layers.

In virtually all situations, a canvassed suit is the way to go if you’re looking for 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 and the fit will actually improve over time. While fused is a more economical option, your best bet is to go at least half-canvassed, if you’re looking for a proper fit. Even though half-canvassed and full-canvassed suits are more expensive, they will last longer and only look better as time goes on. If you can, splurge, but at the very least, go half-canvassed. Your closet, and your body will thank you.

 

About the Brand: HARTTER | MANLY’s entry level suits are half canvas.  Since the brand prefers to only produce the highest quality garments, HARTTER | MANLY only charges customers it’s cost to upgrade to full canvas.  The value results in 90% of HARTTER | MANLY’s customers choosing to pick full canvas jackets.

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ABOUT

Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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