Kristian's Knowledge: Three Steps to the Perfect Suit

Every man needs a good suit, but what differentiates the perfect suit from an average whistle and flute?  Oliver Brown proprietor, Kristian Robson, has been advising customers for over two decades on tailoring and shares his three key steps to find the the perfect suit.


1: Picking the Cloth

Of course the cloth is the starting point, and choosing a wool worsted Super 100 or 120 is a very good place to start. Worsted means there is an extra step in processing the wool where it is combed to remove short and brittle fibres, leaving the longer ones to create a smooth and strong yarn.  Incidentally wool worsted derives it’s name from Worstead; the village in Norfolk that was the manufacturing centre for this type of wool in the 12th century. Coming bang up to date, the S number refers to the super lightweight and high-twist wools innovated in Italy about fifteen years ago.  The higher the number finer the yarn, creating a soft, silky and lightweight cloth.  But this doesn’t mean you should head straight for the Super 200s – in fact due to their fineness they are more fragile and wrinkle-prone.  And finally the weight – for a suit that will be worn all year around I advise a cloth of 10oz or 11oz.

2:  Perfecting the Fit

The sole of the suit is in the shoulders; this sets the tone for the jacket and is the most complicated, and costly, alteration for a tailor to make. The shoulders should closely follow your natural line, with the shoulder pads ending with your shoulders.  In fact this rule applies to the rest of the jacket too, it’s important it follows your shape, so particularly watch for bagging or straining around the collar and at the buttons.  Just as important is the length of the jacket and sleeves; the jacket should definitely cover your rear (!), whilst the traditional rule for jacket sleeves is that they should end at the hinge of your wrist, with ¼ to ½ inch of shirt cuff showing beyond this. Lastly, the ‘trouser break’, this is where the trousers meets the shoe, and there should be just one small ‘break’ (fold) in the cloth.

3: Finding the Devil in the Detail

Many of the suits we sell are similar, but it’s the subtle details that make a big difference and allow you to show your character and flair! Choosing a double-breasted jacket with peak lapels will give the suit a more traditional style, whilst a single-breasted jacket with notch lapels will feel more modern.  Other considerations include; straight or slanted pockets, single or double vents on the jacket and the type and number of buttons.  If budget allows, opting for a bespoke, hand-crafted suit will allow you to create a truly personalised style, and a fit that takes into account your unique stature, balance and stance; that of course is the perfect suit!