License to thrill Part II: The Cut
When all is said and done the cut of your cloth is at least as important as the cut of your steak.
Words by: DUNCAN QUINN
If you want the best stuff you have to go to the guys who have the grass fed cattle raised on the Pampas with no hormones, steroids, antibiotics or other bad stuff injected into them and nothing to eat except for natural grazing free from ground up corn, byproducts and supplements. Or maybe one of those guys lucky enough to subsist on beer and a daily massage or two Waygu style. But ultimately you want the best stuff, not the factory farmed rubbish. Then you need to find the best butcher you can and have him give you the best cut for you. None of the leftover mechanically captured stuff. Just plain old sirloin, tenderloin or the other prime cuts.
You see how you cut it is just about as important as what it is you are cutting. And to get the best you can from it you need to have someone with training, experience, and an eagle eye for proportion, shape and form to be wielding the cutting tools.
How your suit is cut is going to depend upon the information provided to the cutter. As with anything driven by information more is better, and the better the quality of the information the better the result. Just like a computer if you feed it garbage data you get a garbage answer in return. So what is measured and how its measured is pretty important when it comes to getting your suit cut right. As with most things, the devil is in the detail. A trained chimpanzee could probably take the set of measurements Hong Kong Johnny asks for to make you that wizard suit-in-24-hours but if you want it done right there’s a lot more to it than a bunch of measurements.
Making a bespoke suit is a fusion of science and art. You need to understand the nuances of how things fit on a human body. Architecture for humans. Or body-armour for warriors. Back in the day if your armour didn’t fit you ended up dead. Nowadays you just look like you picked up your suit somewhere where you got two free with every one you bought. Great purchase. At least great in the category of “penny rich, dollar poor”.
And you have to remember, we’re all different. Different shapes. Different sizes. Different temperaments. Different goals. So how your suit is cut has to reflect that. Of course it has to fit. But what does that really mean? Who is the ultimate arbiter of what fits and what doesn’t? Some might think it is the guys you trust to buy it from. Some may think their peers. Or some magazine editor who dictates that your trousers should end 4″ above your shoes. But ultimately the only true arbiter of your personal style can be you. If you let someone talk you into buying something that looks stupid and you feel uncomfortable in you have no one to blame but yourself. And perhaps the clowns who talked you into it. But mostly yourself.
So cut. Ideally it should be a personal wrapper for you and reflect your personality. It should promote your best features. And hide your worst. Elongate if you are undertall. Slim you down if you have been enjoying life a little too much. But remember as with most things, miracles we can do, but the impossible takes a little longer. So if you’re 5′ 6″ and tip the scales at 250lbs no amount of magical work by us is going to make you look like Brad Pitt in fight club. That we leave to you. Although we can recommend a trainer and a nutritionist.
For that tuxedo we have in mind we like simple and elegant. One button, unless there’s a reason not to. You never really use the others anyway. Either a slim stripe on the trousers, or a very wide military one. Like everything else you need to commit to something and believe in it. None of this mediocre middle of the road safety rubbish. Put double vents on it, pocket flaps and a ticket pocket. All the stuff a tuxedo historically doesn’t have. After all it is your tuxedo, not rent-a-tux’s. Keep it slim. But not so slim that you can’t move around. Remember you have to whisk that girl off her feet before she undoes your bow-tie with a knowing twinkle in her eye.
Three pieces if you fancy it. Two if you don’t. And if you’re going to do cummerbund have us make one. God forbid you buy a frilly, pleated thing. You wouldn’t put wheels from a Ford Pinto on your 599 Ferrari. So why do the equivalent to your tux. And yes, surgeon’s cuffs. Unless you just don’t have any surgery to do. In which case keep it clean and don’t bother.
Its the simple pleasures we often remember most. Just as its the simplest tuxedos that most often pass the test of time.