While we all like to think we possess a knack for getting dressed in the morning, it’s safe to assume there are few that know everything and even the best can trip up over the simplest of tasks (just look at #2 below).
A cheat sheet, like the one you would never admit to your boss helped you through your university exams, can be a handy thing to have at various points in life.
Whether it’s to make sure you’re getting it right in front of the mirror each morning, or to feign knowledge during your next trip to the tailor, here’s the crumpled up paper with the answers to some pressing tailoring topics.
1. The Savile Row Trouser Fold
When it comes to suits, any advice that comes from the golden mile of tailoring in London’s Mayfair is likely a safe bet to follow. The Savile Row fold, used for generations by the staff that work in the street’s recognisable institutions – Gieves & Hawkes, Anderson & Sheppard, Huntsman – puts an end to the issue of trousers slipping off the hanger.
Start with the hanger (preferably wooden) on the rail; it should be one that has the bar across the middle for trousers (obviously). Hold the trousers upside down, with one leg either side of the hanger. Fold one leg through the hanger over the bar, until the hem sits just above the crotch. Fold the second leg through the hanger and over the top of the first.
Never find your trousers on the floor of your wardrobe again.
The Savile Row Trouser Fold: Video
2. The Military Shirt Tuck
Believe it or not, you’ve actually been tucking in your shirt wrong. It’s time to forget how you have carried out this simple getting dressed task all these years and start practising the military tuck.
The main benefit of this technique is that it eliminates the muffin-top billows of material that poke out above your waistline, but it also ensures a creaseless front.
As demonstrated in the video below for Slate magazine, the technique involves a few basic steps:
- First, tuck the shirt in and zip up but don’t button your trousers.
- Next, run your thumbs around the waistline, removing any wrinkles from the front.
- Crimp the shirt at the sides, and pull any excess material to the back.
- Lastly, tuck in the back and button up your trousers.
The Military Tuck: Video
3. Fold Your Jacket Inside Out When Packing
If travelling for business, it’s advisable to wear your suit on the plane to avoid wrinkles. But perhaps you have a casual engagement to attend on touchdown, or you simply need to take multiple suits.
There’s nothing worse than opening your case to find a crumpled heap of fabric where your blazer once was. However, folding your jacket inside out can minimise this.
Start by holding the jacket vertical and pulling one of the shoulders inside out. Next, tuck the opposite shoulder into the inside out one and line up the lapels. Finish off by folding the jacket in half horizontally before packing.
See full instructions with images at blacklapel.com.
4. Double Up On Trousers
It will come as no surprise that suit trousers go through twice as much wear and tear as a jacket. With that in mind, it makes sense to double up when buying off-the-peg.
Most high street suit sellers – including Marks & Spencer, Charles Tyrwhitt, T.M.Lewin and even those in department stores such as John Lewis like Richard James and Ted Baker – offer their suits as separates. Therefore, to ensure your suit goes the distance, consider buying two trousers for every one jacket.
This means if your trousers run their life beyond repair, there’s a backup on standby. This is particularly important with unique colour or patterned suits as losing the trousers could mean the end of an outfit if no longer in production.
5. Button It Right
Yes, some suits are expensive, and we’re all for getting our money’s worth. But that doesn’t mean you have to make use of all a suit’s functions. This is particularly important to remember when buttoning up your jacket.
On a two-button jacket, only the top button should be fastened. The bottom hole or slit should remain as tight as the day it was made, because it should never be used.
The same goes for a three-button jacket, The middle button should be your first port of call, and the top can be closed at your own preference, however the bottom should always remain unfastened. Just remember: sometimes (top), always (middle), never (bottom).
Graduating to double-breasted? A similar rule applies here, the bottom right button – provided you opted for a DB jacket with more than two buttons – should always be unfastened.
5 Quick ‘Don’t Forgets’ When Wearing A Suit
- Don’t forget to unfasten your jacket buttons when sitting.
- Don’t forget to keep it simple. There’s no need for a pocket square, tie bar and lapel pin all at once. Opt for two of these accessories at most.
- Don’t forget to wear a classic watch. But remember that ‘classic’ doesn’t have to mean expensive.
- Don’t forget to remove the stitching on any vents.
- Don’t forget to always leave your bottom button undone.