When purchasing a bespoke suit, besides the jacket shoulders, there are many discussions to be had. My personal method tends to work in the following order:

  1. Discuss the needs of the client
  2. Discuss the desired style
  3. Start from the collar, finish at the ankles.
  4. Take measurements
  5. Assess the unique body pattern

The Jacket Shoulders

shoulder-1Many of us take the shoulders of the jacket for granted. It’s really important in the overall cut of the suit. It’s the starting point for almost everything else that happens lower down, in terms of the fit. The most important point here is that the shoulders should look natural. Down the road of history, there were eras in which the suit shoulder was excessively wide (1980’s) and there are also factions of the industry who prefer different things, such as the Italians, who prefer to have more of a soft finish on the shoulder, as opposed to the more rigid British shoulder.

As I measure and assess clients, I’m looking for a multitude of things here. Firstly, I’m looking at whether the shoulders are normal in shape, or whether they’re more squared or sloping. Next, I’m looking to determine whether your natural stance incorporates a forward point on your shoulder. If so, how severe? Finally, I’m looking at the balance from right to left. Are you even? Or does one side fall lower than the other.

shoulder-proportionOn the more muscular body types, I’m looking at where your deltoid muscles are in relation to your shoulder points. If you’re really prominent here, I’m rethinking the position of the shoulder points. Cutting too wide can make your head appear small, while cutting too narrow can make your head appear quite large.

Summary of details

standard shoulderRope ShouldersThere’s a lot to consider here. To make it as perfect as possible, we’re discussing a soft finish vs a rigid finish, squared or sloping vs normal shape, forward points vs normal points, drop shoulders vs even shoulders and the placement of your deltoids vs your shoulder ends. The only choice you really make here is whether we have a rope sleeve head (which will stand proud on your shoulder line) or a soft crown, which will provide an elegant line from the shoulder to the sleeve.

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