Three-Piece Spring Suits feat. Ryan Devens

March 24th, 2014

Ryan Devens runs the made-to-measure suit program at San Francisco based Taylor Stitch, but he honed his style while apprenticing for a master tailor in Nashville Tennessee.

“I wore suits every damn day there. Parties, coffee shops, mexican restaurants, the grocery store. You see, in Nashville, or really the South, wearing a suit is easy. People like them. They respect them.

When I got a tip that Taylor Stitch out in San Francisco was on the hunt for someone to help start their custom suiting program (using Southwick out of Haverhill, MA), I snagged a plane ticket. Two weeks later I moved to the West coast to help the brand expand into made-to-measure suiting to complement their already existing custom shirting program (Gambert Shirting out of Newark, NJ).”

Naturally, Ryan knows a thing or two about Southern-friendly lightweight suits. Here he highlights one of his favorite moves: the lightweight three-piece.

    1. Seersucker Surgery

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    “I snagged this southern classic years ago while working for J. Crew.  It went on crazy sale, and even though at the time I didn’t really understand the nuances behind a seersucker suit, I figured I might as well buy one for 150 bucks.

    As far as tailoring goes, this suit has been under the knife so many times I’ve lost count.  I went through a REALLY tapered leg phase, and this suit unfortunately went through it with me.  Luckily, my tailor rightfully anticipated I’d want the pants let out one day, so she left all the fabric inside.

    Wearing this suit in California is the easiest way to “subtly” remind people that I’m not from “round these parts”.

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    “The first thing I look for in an off-the-rack suit is the line of the shoulder. I happen to have very sloping shoulders, so when I put on OTR suits, my shoulders just don’t fill the space needed to ‘lift’ the suit in order to drape properly.

    For custom suits, I use a device that’s similar to a builder’s level to measure the natural slope of the shoulder in order to ensure we cut the the garment at the proper angle for the client.

    After having my eyes opened to the shoulder shape, I’ve had most of my suits “re-shouldered”, by trimming down the padding and recutting the slope.”

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    2. Chambray Suit

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    “This is about as lightweight as it gets.

    Once I realized that Southwick could work with pretty much any fabric, I called our production manager and asked him if we had any dead-stock chambray laying around.  A few hours later, he showed me something like 20 yards of beautiful washed selvedge chambray that had been abandoned in the factory for a few months.  I clipped off 5 yards and shipped it to the factory the next day.”

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    “After working at J. Crew during the Billy Reid collaboration (one of his rewards for winning the CFDA award that year), I became fixated on the chambray two-piece suit he designed for that collection. I re-created it and added a vest – I thought it would be a dressier take on a casual fabric that isn’t often used for making a suit.”

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    3. The Linen Difference 

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    “I love pale grey suits, but they’re a little harder to tailor. Unlike darker suits, they show every wrinkle, shifty taper, bit of excess fabric, or that male-version of a panty-line…light grey suits bare all.  However, throw linen into the equation and everything changes. Linen has a looser drape and a natural wrinkle that drifts the fabric away from the body…so it always looks a little easy going and care-free.”

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    “As far as pants go, I really like no break whatsoever.  I realize that a shorter hem can look “too short” a lot of the time, but if the trouser is tapered enough below the knee I think you can get away with a slightly cropped hem…especially in a warmer weather fabric. ”

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    Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Ryan for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style

     

    Photography by Alex Crawford 

    • Jimmy_Johansen

      Thank you, Ryan Devens! This is the first time (if not first, certainly one of the very few times) that I’ve seen someone go sockless and/or with no break and it looked authentic. Oftentimes, the guys I see with short hemmed trousers looked like their trying to be fashionable or trendy. This looks like your style and that’s the most important part. Showing off YOUR style not just a style.

      Well done! And for those who wear shorter trouser hems and have been crushing it, I mean no offense, I must have missed you.

    • Jon Hester

      It should be outlawed to possess this much swag. This is my new favorite post. (No offense, DJ. I hope we’re still cool.)

    • http://unseenflirtspoetry.wordpress.com Unseen Flirtations

      It’s weird how fabrics so comfortable can be so risky

    • Al Bizzy

      San Francisco Represent! Killed it, bro.

    • http://www.lucidlingo.com.au/ Gazman

      I know it’s fashionable these days but short jackets just look out of whack to me. Was watching a piano recital on Saturday and the young pianist wore a jacket as short as the chambrey one and every time he stood up for his bow I couldn’t help but notice how out of proportion his suit looked.

    • TO

      His suits look fantastic! Loved all three, but especially the seersucker and chambray.

    • khordkutta

      Niiice post, that chambray is killin it

    • Chris

      Solid post. The “nuances behind a seersucker suit” were mentioned in the first post but no one elaborated. I’ve always seen seersucker as a staple of southern style but I’ve always been nervous about taking the plunge to invest in one.

      Macro-shots of the fabric help me visualize the outfit, but the fullbody shots lose that detail that makes the suit. What nuances are going to educate me on such iconic suiting?

    • http://www.anorexicescapades.com/ BougieHippie

      Look three is PERFECT!

      http://www.anorexicescapades.com

    • Jakob

      That chambray suit is just beauuutiful.

    • mligon

      Can we all agree the break on the pants on looks 2 & 3 are near perfect and look 1 too short?

    • Miguel

      All three suits were really nice, the Chambray and of course the Linen were my two favorites.
      I think the waistcoat would be too much for summer but again it’s a choice thing.

      • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

        Yea, come the dead of summer I would probably drop the waistcoat… but it’s perfect for Spring.

    • Owen

      Impeccable tailoring. Bravo!

    • Jaws

      All 3 of these outfits could be #menswear parody outfits about excess

      • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

        But I think only you and your #menswear buddies would get the parody. To everybody else it’s “Ryan, you look like a handsome gentleman today”.

    • John B

      Great looks, especially look #2. The suit looks amazing and the shirt is quite unique. Horizontal stripes AND button-down cutaway collar? Not something you see every day!
      The tie bar and the vest serve the same purpose, but I don’t think it looks bad.

      • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

        I’m on the vest OR tie bar train myself, but to each his own.

        • John B

          Well, I don’t wear a tie bar with a vest either, but I won’t say he doesn’t look good because of it. On a related topic topic, what’s your take on the vest and belt combo?

    • Arthur Ejiofor

      Thought that was Dan at first.

    • WideEyesTWBlog

      Well done…I’m digging all the suits, and could definitely see myself wearing all of them (especially the chambray jacket), but what really impressed me were the shirts in the first two posts. I’ve been hunting for a chambray club-collar in a just-right shade, and have been getting to the point where I think I need to go custom to find it. I’m also really liking the rise of the horizontal shirt – not even sure if that is a ‘rise’ or a trend or anything, or if I’m just noticing it much more now, but I like the sublte ‘outside-the-box’ness it adds without being…well…trendy.

      • WideEyesTWBlog

        Oh, great neckwear as well!

    • Adam

      Love the Chambray suit! I’ve never been a seersucker guy (probably comes from being Canadian), but the chambray looks like it could be the ultimate summer suit.
      I disagree with the idea that a waistcoat doesn’t belong with a summer weight suit. At the peak of the summer, I probably wouldn’t wear one, but around the seasonal transitions, the waistcoat gives you the option to skip an overcoat… I also make it habit to get a waistcoat with most suits that i have made, because they give you mix and match options, and in more casual looks can be worn without the jacket…
      I don’t see the waistcoat precluding a tie bar… Yes, it does hold the tie in place, but the other 50% of a tie bar’s roll is as jewellery. By the “silly decoration” argument, why would a man wear a watch if they have a smart phone? I wear a tie bar with my suits (2 or 3 piece) and I wear a watch, despite having my smartphone as well, not because I need to but because I want to…

      Not sure about the long neck/bowtie comment. I’ve seen guys with long necks without the bowtie accentuating it, it may be the combination of the long neck, beard and bow tie that creates that visual elongation since the bow-tie effectively gives a visual lower limit and the beard the visual upper limit, rather than a more natural fade effect.

      • WideEyesTWBlog

        Great response re: the watch/iPhone…personally I join the flocks thinking that a vest and tie bar is overkill, but I never thought about it that way. To me, it’s just balance…with a vest AND a tie bar you just have so much going on at your sternum (jacket lapels, vest ‘lapels’, tie, tie bar, shirt). Almost in the same way that I’m not the biggest fan of the air tie (I feel like it leaves a lot of open space on your shirt that needs….something….

        Lastly, it’s also kind of a

        Really, it’s not a ‘rule’ thing for me, or even something I ‘judge’ other people wearing, but it’s just what works for me and makes me feel confident. Anyway, just wanted to chime in that I like the alternative perspective.

    • Jim

      Is it just me or when a guy with a longer neck wear a bow tie, the bow tie accentuates that a little?

    • Malcolm

      Great post. Really gets me thinking about building a wardrobe around suits instead of the typical jeans, button-ups and sneakers! Any thoughts as to whether suits will come back as a daily uniform for guys? Also, the chambray is stunning. I’d love to see that suit in ten years after the fabric is worn in.

      • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

        Hmm.. For many guys it still is their uniform. It all comes down to context and occupation.

        We are certainly seeing more guys wear them voluntarily, though.

    • Joe Taranto

      Nice post. Love the cut of the suits and the lack of a break on the pants. I’m a bit confused, however… With lightweight fabrics like seersucker, chambray, and linen – it would dictate that you’re wearing them in warmer weather, hence a 3-piece suit would be too warm. This is rather contradicting. Also, I don’t get the tie bar and vest look… The vest holds the tie in place, hence making the tie bar obsolete and just a silly decoration, no?

      • MS

        Agreed on both counts. Like “casual tuxedos” and “going sockless” in the winter, the S/S 3-piece is for those wanting dandy affectations only. Or, worse, those lucky bastards who don’t sweat like a fire hydrant.

        • John B

          The vest can make the suit an option for spring as well. Also, you could also wear the vest with the pants. I agree about going sockless during the winter though!

      • http://www.twitter.com/iPodschun Derric

        Don’t know how the weather gets in TN where Ryan is from but in San Francisco I imagine that his lightweight three-piece suits can be worn comfortably for every season but winter. I’m in southern California and could probably wear them year-round considering we get plenty of 70+ degree days during “winter.”