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If the suit fits, wear it!

Wendy Johnson

You cringe. Absolutely cringe when the man in your life dons a suit and doesn’t look his best. Perhaps the fit is too tight or too loose, the sleeves are all-consuming, the pants drag on the floor or everything is, well, messy. How does George Clooney do it?

‘Many women are fascinated by men’s fashion and gobble up tips on what works and what doesn’t,’ says Pip Morgan, from Braddon Tailors. ‘They’re amazed at how easy it is, when armed with the right knowledge, to get things right. One 20-minute measuring session … some discussion on colours, patterns, shapes and fabrics, and, bingo, the George Clooney look is on its way.’

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Pip Morgan of Braddon Tailors. Photography by Stella-Rae Zelnik.

‘Women love men in a great suit and tie and about 75 per cent of men who visit our studio bring their partners,’ says Pip who owns the London Circuit studio. ‘We’re receiving more questions from women about what their partners should wear, in professional and casual environments. It’s a great learning experience.’

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Joining in is Henry Carter Neckwear, owned by Canberra’s Jason Segrott, with a superb selection hand printed and woven silk ties from renowned Como in Italy and Macclesfield in England, as well as pocket squares, scarves and other accessories, all made using the finest silks, wools, cotton and cashmere. Braddon Tailors is the sole stockist of Henry Carter products in the ACT.

Pip says this is a chance to be exposed to the latest in menswear style and benefit from guidance and advice in an informal atmosphere. Many men are truly confused about the basic rules, including what to wear in a conservative work environment, at interviews, and how to marry jackets with jeans for a smart, but casual look.

So what are the most common issues with suits bought off the rack? Here is the inside scoop from Braddon Tailors and Henry Carter Neckwear.

Shouldering.

‘If shoulders aren’t created for the person’s size and individual shape—say a square or a rounded shape —the jacket look is thrown out,’ says Pip.

‘No matter how much a suit costs, it will never hang well and will look too small or disproportionally large without properly measured, balanced and created shoulders. This is why we use cotton for shoulder pads, not the foam which is standard for off the rack clothing and many cheaper custom services. It creates a perfect shape and a lovely, smooth, soft hang.’

Buttons.

‘Men rarely think about buttons,’ says Pip, ‘yet their position dictates the shape of the jacket and where the waist is best created. If buttons are too high or low they throw the proportions out, even if the rest of the jacket fits well. So we’re meticulous about button placement.’

Sleeves.

‘Most guys buy jackets with comfort in mind and don’t worry about the sleeve length,’ says Pip. ‘And for some strange reason Aussie men don’t show a lot of shirt cuff even though to break the line you need at least 3cm showing. Also, if sleeves are too long the arm is engulfed with fabric. It’s not a good look.’

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Trousers.

‘Most trousers are far too long, even touching the ground,’ says Pip. ‘This creates a puddling effect. It draws the eye to that part of the body and makes the legs look chunky. Ideally you want minimal break at the front of the pant so it cuts the shoe at the right place.’

Backside.

‘Off-the-rack pants have extra fabric around the backside because they’re made for many body shapes and sizes and not tailored. This makes men look like they’re wearing a giant nappy,’ says Pip. ‘We measure precisely and cut the fabric so trousers are comfortable through the rise, around the hips and waste without any “nasty special effects”.

Rule of three.

‘An outfit has three components—pants and jacket; shirt; and the tie and pocket square,’ says Pip. ‘The cardinal rule is that two items should match and one should contrast. Never wear a plain shirt, a pinstripe suit and a patterned tie. And ensure your ties and pocket squares don’t match. They should complement each other, providing a contrast if possible.’

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Braddon Tailors, who showcased their latest collection at Fashfest 2014, avoids fads in fashion and garments that wear out in a season or two. Instead, they specialise in made-to-measure clothing using refined techniques and luxury fabrics that hold shape for years.

‘We want men to feel confident that their clothes are comfortable, fit well and make them look their very best,’ says Pip.

Photography by Stella-Rae Zelnik.

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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