When purchasing a bespoke suit, besides the jacket collar, there are many discussions to be had. My personal method tends to work in the following order:
- Discuss the needs of the client
- Discuss the desired style
- Start from the collar, finish at the ankles.
- Take measurements
- Assess the unique body pattern
Now, every tailor likes to work differently but this is my favoured method. It allows me to evaluate options as we measure, or double check any details before finalising with the client. Perhaps in the initial discussions, a client will request a side vent on the jacket, but upon measuring and examining the unique body pattern perhaps a closed jacket or a single vent is more adequate.
The Suit Collar
The ONLY place to begin discussions. Here, your tailor is looking for a couple of things. Number one is the height in relation to a shirt (you’ll want to show 1/2″ of shirt collar above the jacket collar, just as you’ll show 1/2″ of shirt cuff at the sleeve). Your tailor will be taking into account the placement of your head for this. Whether you stand up straight with your head back, or slouch forward with your head dipped, your tailor will spot the cut needed.
The second thing that your tailor will want to look for here is the “Gorge”. This is the point where the collar ends, and the lapel meets (if you look at any suit in your wardrobe, you’ll spot this point immediately). The importance of this detail is that it must be in the correct place to give the wearer height, yet still appear aesthetically correct. Too high, and it will appear as though the collar is too tight around your neck. Too low (like Armani circa 1980’s) and it will make your garment appear softer, when perhaps you’re looking for a more rigid look.
Principle of the detail
The only principle that I adopt here is that the gorge of the collar should look like it’s in the correct place. If you notice it, if it sticks out like a sore thumb, perhaps it’s not quite right. It should be to the anonymous benefit of your jacket, not a fashion led decision which ends up becoming a regrettable choice.
What else can you do?
The collar is usually made in matching cloth to the suit. Some people like to have a contrasting collar on their suits, such as a velvet, suede or leather. These can be done in an amazing variety of colours to match or contrast with the cloth of the suit.
Underneath your collar, we have a “Melton Piece”. Now, the job of the melton is to actually hold the shape of the collar. It’s a felt-like material which provides structure to prevent “rolling” over time. Many people like to choose themselves a contrasting melton colour to add some detail to the jackets. Modern ideas have even embodied the insertion of an embroidered personal message on the melton piece, or even just the client’s name.
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