Modern Suiting with JJ Crotty
So on a wedding day we see a lot of suits, it is an occasion to dress up for after-all. We see fun suits, bright suits, big suits, tight suits ... such an array. Help us describe what makes a suit fit well and how to wear it. We often see folks immediately do up both buttons on their suit, we correct them there, but tell us more about the "rules" of wearing a suit?
So button rules first; On a one-button suit you can use the button or not, but on a two-button suit the option is to use the top button, but never the bottom, and never never both. On a three-button (which are rather rare these days) the option to use the top two, but never the bottom.
When you wear a vest under your jacket the same rule applies to that bottom button, keep that button open.
If you’re wearing a necktie, it should end at the middle of your belt, definitely not hang past your belt, and not short of your belt.
Belt and shoes should be close in colour, but don't need to be a perfect match. You can even skip the belt on a well-fitting suit, which makes this easier. If you opt to wear suspenders go ahead and ditch the belt. Suspenders do the same job as a belt so no need to have both.
The cuff of your shirt should extend past the sleeve of your jacket by about 1/4 of 1/2 of an inch, not hide inside and not come all the way out. You might need to get your shirt tailored, this is common. And the length of your pant leg is a personal choice and varies depending on your shoe choice, and pant tightness, degree of formality, but it should not gather or bunch at your shoe.
Your shoes should be clean and polished. Honestly, it's the first thing most people notice. A bad or worn pair of shoes could ruin the look you’re trying to achieve with your custom suit.
And boutonniere to the left.
Yes, boutonniere or lapel pins to the left.
Fun fact … we often just fake the boutonniere photos. We just take the jackets off to pin them properly and securely after we get the shot.
That’s showbiz baby.
What're some trends you've noticed for 2023 or expect to see?
Not necessarily something that is a trend for 2023, but people are moving away from standard-looking suits (ie black and navy). People still request them of course, but they are a small percentage of what I design each year. Bolder colours, gem tones like emeralds and burgundy are trending. Tuxedos are popular too, and dinner jackets, especially those with satin or velvet lapels; folks are looking more towards something unique and that stands out.
What're the most common types of suits?
The common suit style is a two button, notch lapel. Classic and timeless.
What kind of suits are more rare? For what occasion do they come out?
Rare suits are fancier, such as tuxedo's (weddings, black tie events), dinner jackets (formal events), and high grade suit wools or designer fabric (formal events). You can wear them on a regular basis, but might look a little out of place.
Speaking of materials, what types of materials are used when making a suit? What are the differences? Benefits of each?
Most custom suits are made using wool (there are options for all four-seasons, wool doesn’t mean bristly, itchy or hot), mohair (four seasons), linen (typically reserved for summer), and cotton (casual, warm weather). There are also blends, wool/silk, wool/cashmere, and off-the-rack suits can be wool/polyester, or solely polyester. Wool is the most common material as it's less likely to wrinkle and is long-lasting. Mohair shares similar benefits. Linen is an open weave, allowing those wearing it to remain cool in warm weather. It wrinkles easily though, which can be a benefit, as it adds to the look. Cotton is more casual, and wrinkles easily. It’s lighter weight and cooler than wool, but not as cool as linen.
Talk to me about the cut (length, lapel) of suits, and different ways you can embellish a suit to make it stand out more?
I aim to create a tapered, slim cut with the suits I design. I prefer trousers that end just above the shoe, or have a slight break. Lapels can be either slim, standard, or wide. I love oversize peak lapels, but it's not a look for everyone. The amount of customizing options on a suit are endless though. They can be simple, such as a cuff on the pants (my preference), or be more noticeable like contrasting stitching, Milanese lapel holes (hand stitched), or satin trim. You can create custom silk linings, printed linings, floral linings … so many options, if you can imagine it, I'm confident I can make it happen.
A suit can easily hold it’s own, but you can easily level up with select accessories like a pocket square with a proper fold, subtle monogram initials of a cuff of a fine shirt, a tie bar, slick shoes, well kept hair and of course your personality.
Tailored vs Custom - how do they differ in pricing and what're the benefits
There are three types of suits to purchase. Off the rack, which can have the lowest cost, but can still be quite expensive depending on brands. These offer the lowest entry point, and if the client has a standard shape, may require minimal tailoring. However, most bodies are unique and we all have different shapes … if the suit doesn't fit just right, it may need a lot of working at a tailor to get a proper fit.
Made-to-measure (aka custom) - These typically start around $500, but can be thousands based on the quality of the construction, customization and the fabric. These involve measuring a client and using those measurements to create a suit based on it. Quality can vary, as some companies will work from a standard template and adjust slightly, while others will create a new template for each order.
Bespoke - This is the top option, and the priciest. Clients work with a designer and a tailor. They will provide multiple fittings throughout the construction of the suit (which is typically hand made), with adjustments throughout the process to get the best possible fit.
Modern Suiting has options for made-to-measure, and I also have an option for a made-to-measure/bespoke hybrid. We take measurements, create a muslin (test suit) and check the fit at a secondary fitting. If alterations need to be made, they are noted and relayed to the tailor who adjusts the template to account for the changes prior to making the finished suit.
So there's not that huge of a gap in price from Off The Rack + Tailored vs Made-to-Measure hey?
Not much, a little more time and patience, but worth it.
So what's the timeline for custom suit?
Made-to-measure is typically around 4-6 weeks. Our two-stage fitting is 2-3 months. True bespoke can be 4-6 months.
Okay, so now we’ve got our custom suit, loving it. It’s not a single use item … we want to wear it, show it off. How should one clean and care for their suits?
Suits need to be dry-cleaned, but not all the time. Dry cleaning chemicals can actually break down the fabric and shorten the life of a suit. You should use a suit brush to brush off the suits after each wear, especially the jacket. Keep them lint free.
What is your favourite thing about suiting up?
I have always enjoyed fashion and dressing well. I got into the habit of wearing a suit on a daily basis, and it became part of who I am and I take pride in it. I actually enjoy ironing shirts, buffing shoes, and the little things that add to the look. There's something to be said about how it feels to be a sharp-dressed man, it’s a confidence booster for sure.