Advice from a Suit-Maker

Patrick Grant, the owner of the Savile Row fixtures Norton & Sons and E. Tautz, shares his tailoring tips.

Rule #22
Get a Uniform
"Men do well when they find something that works for them and stick to it, rather than continually try to reinvent the wheel—one of our customers must have 20 double-breasted jackets in the same cut. If you establish your own sense of style, you don't subject yourself to the vagaries of fashion."

Rule #23
You Can't Beat English Tailoring
"I definitely have friends who wear Italian-style suits, which are softer and have less structure. But I prefer English tailoring, which gives suits more shape and a well-defined shoulder. To me, it just looks sharper."

Rule #24
Mind Your Silhouette
"You can tell a good handmade suit by looking at it from 50 yards off—it's about overall harmony and balance. The trousers should be slim, the shoulders narrow, the waist nipped."

Rule #25
Don't Go Too Short
"A suit jacket should come down to the first knuckle on your thumb. Too many people are cutting short jackets now, and they just make men look too heavy in the middle."

Rule #26
Keep Your Cuff Buttons Buttoned
"I think undoing the button on your cuff looks kind of naff. It doesn't signify quality anymore because there are plenty of working buttonholes done by machines."

Rule #27
Go For Side Vents
"Most of the suits being made on Savile Row have two vents because it's considered almost cheap work to do fewer. A jacket with one vent or no vents uses much less cloth, and it's much less sewing."

Rule #28
Gray-Flannel Suits Always Look Good
"They just work brilliantly with everything. They're elegant without being stuffy and look beautifully luxurious."

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PLUS: WHAT TO LOOK FOR BEFORE YOU BUY

Rule #29
When your jacket is buttoned, you should be able to fit a fist between your chest and the fabric—no more, no less.

Rule #30
Before buying a suit online, try it on in a store first to make sure the shoulders fit, as sizing varies widely among brands.

Rule #31
Your jacket sleeves should reveal about half an inch of shirt cuff. If they don't, try a short size instead—you could save yourself a trip to the tailor later on.

Rule #32
Choose fabric according to how often you'll wear the suit. The most versatile option is a soft but durable wool like super 120 (a measure of yarn fineness; any higher is too delicate for daily use).

Rule #33
Your pants should sit at your waist (not your hips). You should be able to fit one finger into the waistband comfortably.

COATS >>