Tailor's note: May 2020 - Casual Tailoring

Designing your custom suit can be a tricky thing. Suddenly something you’ve only ever thought of as a whole item needs to be broken down into the sum of its parts.

These notes are based off conversations with customers and are designed to help make the process a little more familiar.

 

Disclaimer: These ideas are based solely on my opinion, please feel free to ignore, flout and disobey at every opportunity.

 

This edit is for a client looking to add some informal pieces to his wardrobe. 

Taking tailoring out of an office environment means there are fewer rules to follow. This can make it harder to know where to begin. Here are a few things to consider: 

1. Cloth

When it comes to colour and print you can have more fun with casual tailoring. Whilst some of the bolder prints can be overwhelming as a full suit, paired with chinos or jeans, a colourful window pane check becomes less garish.
Or if you are looking for something classic, stick to neutrals like navy or grey but introduce a donegal fleck or a houndstooth. Prince of Wales checks can be really smart as well, particularly in a light, warm shade of brown.
You can afford to go for something softer and less structured than a suiting because you don’t have to worry about how the trousers will age.
Lambswool and flannels are my personal favourite. Or for summer I love a cotton twill or a linen blend. The advantage of cotton over linen is that over time it softens rather than creasing which makes for a more polished aesthetic.
Having said that, there are now some amazing linen blends which age
really well. Additionally, cottons and linens tend to come in a wider
variety of hues than suiting.
Hugh in Green Seashell

2. Pockets

The second easiest way to make a tailored jacket seem more casual is to add patch pockets. They are the most casual style of pocket and can make even a very classic suit seem more relaxed. You can develop this further by adding bellows pockets (patch pockets with a pleat in them so that they can expand and hold more) which are traditionally found on country tweeds. Adding them to an urban cloth, like a navy twill, makes for a nice juxtaposition. This goes for anytime of year. Patch pockets on linen are particularly practical as on looser weaves they age better than pockets which require cutting into the cloth.
Corduroy jacket with patch pockets

3. Trousers

The easiest way to make a blazer not look a suit jacket is to pair it with trousers which don't match. In the summer, a pair of light chinos will make a navy jacket seem much less formal. And for winter months try a pair of jeans with warm coloured flannel. 

4. Cut

When it comes to cut there are 2 important things to think about.

• What will wear you underneath the jacket?


It is unusual to wear a jumper under a suit jacket so they can be cut with a close fit. A more casual jacket might be thrown over a chunky knit or even another lighter jacket.

• What will you be doing whilst you wear it?


On the whole, a suit jacket is worn for meetings and maybe a bit of sitting at a computer. Both need less range of motion than something you might wear in your time off. Will it be something you wear in the evening for moonlit dancing? Or rambling through the countryside?

If the answer to these are a big jumper and cutting some shapes then you will need more room in the fit than a modern suit jacket. And it should have less structure than a suit jacket, soft Italian shoulders, a less built up chest and more relaxed canvassing.

5. Details 

Here is where you can have more fun than with a sombre work suit. Have you thought about

  1. Lighter/contrasting buttons
  2. An open pleat in the back
  3. Action back pleat
  4. A neopolitan shoulder

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