Custom suits are all about superior fit. The Sharpsuiter takes about 20 measurements to ensure that each garment is highly customized to the client’s body and comfort preferences. But do these numbers tell the entire story of a person’s shape and posture? Usually, yes; but not always.
In many cases, there is even more to fit than a series of numbers. Alana attaches a few client photos to each suit order. And last year, we fine-tuned our fitting process even further with two new features: the use of shoulder-slope measurements and fit models.
The shoulder-slope measurement is simple but sometimes critical to how a jacket fits through the shoulders, underarms, and chest. Alana takes the shoulder slope measurement by using a smartphone angle-meter app. One corner of the phone rests at the intersection of the client’s neck and shoulder. The slope measurement result (usually between 12 and 27 degrees) is based on where the opposite corner of the phone falls on the client’s shoulder. A higher number correlates with a more sloped shoulder. A lower number correlates with flat shoulders (which are more commonly referred to as “broad” shoulders).
What’s the point of shoulder slope measurements? People come in all shapes and sizes, and shirts and jackets should line up with individual shoulder angles. When shirts and jackets feel perpetually tight around the armhole and the front of the shoulder, this is a symptom of above-average shoulder slope. When jacket lapels “pop” or bow out rather than lay flat when the jacket is buttoned, this is usually because the client has below-average shoulder slope. (Think of a square peg and a round hole!) Shoulder-slope measurements are a great help in preventing these problems.
To add another layer of assurance to the custom fitting process, The Sharpsuiter purchased a set of “fit model” suits last year. These are standard-sized jackets and pants from the manufacturer (40 regular jacket, 38 waistband pants, etc.). Alana brings along a few of these fit models to fittings with first-time clients. Based on the client’s chest size and waistband, the client may try on a couple jackets and pants to assess which ones fit the best. Because they are not custom garments, they will not fit perfectly. The sleeves may be all wrong. But fit models help in a few key visual ways: they show how the garment drapes, and they help the client communicate ideal comfort levels. For example, two clients might be the same size, but one will prefer the fit of a 39.5 fitted jacket, and one will prefer a 40 regular. One client might want looser pants, and one might want a more fitted thigh and knee. Each client’s custom order will be designed accordingly.
Here’s one more benefit of trying on fit models: ripples on the back or arms of the jacket can indicate posture and arm rotation nuances of an individual client. With the help of fit models, we are able to pinpoint and account for these irregularities. And when a fit model does happen to fit well, we might make only minor changes to that garment’s standard measurements.
Can all these details sound a bit tedious, at first? Perhaps, but they’re worth it! The smallest details of fit can make all the difference, and we take a 360-degree view of each client’s needs. If you know somebody who will appreciate and benefit from these custom fitting services, please let us know.