24 January 2014

From cloth to suit (part 3): Specifcations for the suit

The suit I've been discussing in two previous posts (part 1, part 2) is currently in the hands of the Cad & the Dandy tailors. There is still some weeks until the suit is finished but I thought I could use this post to tell about the ordering/design process at Cad & the Dandy and also talk about the specifications for my new suit.
Although the Cad & the Dandy has everything available on their website for you to specify all the details you like for your new suite, they differ from many of the online services in the way that they will not let you take all measurements yourself before you place your first order. You will have to make an appointment at one of their three locations in London or in New York. You can read about my first appointment with Cad & the Dandy in this previous post. When your measurements have been taken and tweaked they will be saved and you can access this information through your account on their website. When you have had your account set up you can order online. If you later want to make minor changes to your measurements, this can be done from home and saved to your account.

The design system on the website is very easy to follow and gives you plenty of options for the design of your new garment. This is very useful for everybody living too far away from London or New York to actually visit them whenever wanting something made. The first part of the design process is to decide what you want to have made: a suit, shirt or an overcoat. If you choose a suit, you can choose between a three piece or two piece, just a jacket, trousers or waistcoat, or a dinner jacket or a morning suit. The next step is to decide what fabric you want and what lining you'd like. The selection of fabrics and linings on the website is big enough to allow for most tastes, but if you visit them and look through their fabric swatch books you will literally have thousands to choose from. You can also buy your own fabric, which I did for the suit this blog series is about and I wrote about here. I have ordered a lining for the suit in a plum colour, corresponding to the pink/purple checks on the fabric. For the back of the waistcoat, however, I have ordered a dark navy lining. The reason for choosing a different colour for the back of the waistcoat was that I wanted a more discreet colour in case I should happen to drop the jacket at one point.  


Your initial options in the online design process.
Screen shot from the C&tD website.


You can chose between a relatively large number of fabrics online.
Screen shot from the C&tD website.

Having decided what you want to have made and from what fabric, it's time to decide on the specifications for the jacket, trousers, waistcoat or whatever it is you are ordering. To give an idea of what options you have I will take you through the specifications for my new suit and what I usually choose. The first thing to decide is if you want the jacket to be double or single breasted. I always chose single breasted jackets for the simple reason that it will make the suit more versatile and it is less likely that the suit will be unfashionable in a few years. The next choice you have to make is probably the most important one, the cut of the jacket. Your choice will largely depend on your body shape. I always go for the tailored cut which is narrower at the waist and gives a more slender look. It basically looks more like a suit that's been tailored for you and I would definitely recommend that option if you think your body shape allows for it. You don't have to be skinny to look good in a tailored cut, but I guess there is a point where one should consider a normal or even a loose cut. In the years before I bought my first C&tD suit I probably would have had to go for a normal cut, but rather than buying a suit at that point I took action and lost a fair bit of weight to get back to a shape I was more happy with and one which could better carry a tailored cut suit. 
Now that you have decided on the basic look for the suit, it's time to decide on the important details which you should largely choose based on your own taste. This is were you can really personalise your suit. How do you want your lapel, notched or peaked? Do you want a button hole? I have usually chosen a notched lapel, basically because it's the safest option, but I'm sure I'll try the peaked lapel in not too long. I also always go for a button hole on the lapel. Next is the buttons on the jacket and sleeves. Unless you are very tall, you can basically go for whatever option you want. Very tall people should possibly try to avoid a three buttoned jacket. I usually go for two buttons but I also like three buttons. I am less comfortable with the single button jacket. Regarding the number of sleeve buttons, I must admit I haven't given it much thought but I always choose four buttons. I also like the buttons to be separated because I don't really like kissing buttons. Next up are the pockets, and in my opinion, this is one of the more important choices regarding the jacket. The pockets define the jacket. If you want a very clean, modern look, you could opt for two pockets without pocket flaps. That's not an option for me though, I like the pocket flaps and the ticket pocket is a must. I also prefer the cut away pockets to the straight. The last thing you have to decide is if you want none, single or double vents. I always choose double vents. 


The disign options for the jacket.
Screen shot from the C&tD website.

Having finished the jacket, it's time to start with the trousers. I usually get two pairs of trousers for the simple reason that the trousers wear much quicker than the jacket, and with two trousers the suit will last very much longer. Also, if you choose different designs for the two trousers, you'll get two different suits when switching the trousers. For my new suit I have ordered one slightly modern looking pair and one with a more classic design. For the cleaner look I decided on no turn-ups, no back pockets, no pleats, and belt loops. For the classic looking trousers I went for turn-ups, single pleats and one back pocket. I also decided to drop the belt loops for the first time and instead go for the buckle side adjusters. For both pairs I have chosen not to add brace buttons as I never wear braces, both pairs also have the standard slanted side pockets and I always prefer the buttoned fly to the zip. If I would only get one pair of trousers, I would definitely choose the classic looking pair. 


The disign options for the trousers.
Screen shot from the C&tD website.

This time I have also ordered a waistcoat. For me, the waistcoat is not a must but I think it gives a suit the little extra when that is desired. My new waistcoat will be single breasted without a lapel. It will have two pockets, five buttons and a pointed bottom. Quite a clean looking waistcoat.

The disign options for the waistcoat.
Screen shot from the C&tD website.

The other posts in this series: part 1part 2part 4

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