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Virginia’s Custom Tailors since 1936

FAQs

Question:
At six feet tall I am never sure what length my suit jackets should be.  Some fashion styles call for shorter jackets.  What is the right length?

Answer:
Most ready-made clothing manufacturers assume you wear a long if you’re six feet tall or more.  If you’re one of those guys who measure right at six feet-or just over or under-it is difficult to know which length is correct.  Your decision has to be based on the cut of the jacket and your own body proportions.  If you’re selecting a suit, you have to take into consideration the fit of the trousers as well.

As a tailoring rule, the most flattering jacket length for each individual is that length that gives the wearer the longest leg line and still covers his buttocks.  With custom tailoring we like to strike a balance between the upper and lower torso so you don’t look disproportionately long in the legs or appear that you are all upper torso and no legs.

Question:
Can I wear a striped tie with a striped shirt?  What about with a striped suit?

Answer:
While some would say, “Enough already with the stripes,” if you’re the adventurous type you could pull off a look that works if you follow some simple guidelines.  First, when it comes to lining up the stripes, a little goes a long way.  Next, keep the color palettes in the same family. Finally, watch the size and scale of the pattern, being certain to vary the scale, like wide with narrow.  Wear a wide stripe tie with a narrow-spaced striped shirt or a narrow-spaced striped shirt with wider spaced striped suits. You have to feel comfortable with what you’re wearing, of course, so if stripes-on-stripes isn’t your thing, stick to convention. Dressing well should be a fun form of creative self-expression, so break old habits and be a little brave when it comes to mixing it up.

Question:
How much of my shirt cuff should show past my coat?

Answer:
The sliver of sleeve that peeks out from a suit coat acts as visual punctuation. It gives the arm a definite ending point and creates balance within the ensemble.

Approximately one-quarter to one-half inch of sleeve generally shows past the coat sleeve.  Allowing the sleeve to extend farther may make the coat look too short, while showing less sleeve creates the opposite effect. The shirt sleeve generally ends at the wrist bone, with a cuff snug enough to keep the sleeve from sliding on to the hand, yet loose enough to allow freedom of movement.

Question:
How do I choose between cuffed and plain hems on trousers?

Answer:
Cuffed hems add weight and importance to the gentleman’s trousers. Their function during movement is to cover the sock and continue the trouser’s crease. Cuffs create a dressier look, so can be reserved for suit pants, except tuxedos.

More casual fabrics, such as twills, poplins, or corduroys can be worn without cuffs. These fabrics do not demand a heavier hem, and are easily weighed down by unnecessary fabric. Clothing that is dress casual or business casual can be worn without cuffs.

Question:
How do I determine quality in suit fabrics?

Answer:
Natural fibers make for the finest suit fabrics. While a small proportion of polyester or nylon can add strength to a suit, too much synthetic fiber can detract from its important qualities. Wool, whether in a summer or winter weight, “breathes,” allowing air to pass easily through the fibers. This reduces the need for frequent dry cleanings.

Look for fabric that isn’t shiny, and that lays down comfortably when worn. Fabric should feel smooth and supple to the touch. Winter fabrics may be more substantial, but should still feel natural to the hand. Summer fabrics may include wool and silk blends, giving them a lighter feel while retaining the soft, relaxing feel of natural fibers.

Question:
What is the rule on sock color?

Answer:
Socks, when visible, act as an extension of the trouser leg. Choose socks in a shade that blends well with your suit fabric. Matching suit to sock eliminates calling attention to the ankle in those moments when the trousers’ movement reveals the sock, such as when sitting or walking briskly. Trousers should be cut long enough to cover socks at all other times.