Ask Dan: Odd Sizes, Overnight Suits, Wristwear, Chinos
January 8th, 2015
Odd Size Tailoring
Q: I am an odd size. 5’4 160lbs, mostly muscle. 42″ chest. Buying suits/blazers off the rack is next to impossible. Anything that looks decent length wise (like a 38s) is usually too tight around the upper body, while anything that gives me a decent range of motion (usually something closer to a 42s) is too long, the armholes are too low, shoulders don’t fit right, etc.
I have a bunch of suits/blazers from when I was a younger, slimmer man. Most of them are in the 38s/40s range and they all have the same problem. They look really good if I am standing still with my arms at my side, but I have no upper body movement. If I try and stretch both arms forward I..well I can’t.
I’ve kept them all these years because I spent a decent amount of money on them, but I am beginning to think they are a lost cause. I am trying to lose weight, though obviously more around the waist area not so much the chest area. Do you guys think there is a possibility of them ever fitting, perhaps with a combination of tailoring and weight loss?
A: Sounds like it’s time to let go my friend. Dropping from a 42″ chest to a 38″ chest to fit into some old suits that didn’t fit that well in the first place is probably not the best solution to building a reliable wardrobe. Unless you’re planning on making some major lifestyle changes, like converting to veganism and training for a marathon, my advice would be to donate the suits or sell them on eBay if they’re still worth money. Once you’ve reached a weight that you are comfortable with and can sustain long-term, use the profit from your suit sale to invest in one or two made-to-measure suits that are cut to fit your body properly.
Overseas Overnight Suits
Q: I’m planning a trip to Bangkok. I’ve always heard that you can have custom suits made there within days, or 24 hours, with pretty good materials, for like $200 to $300. Is that an old wives’ tailor tale or for real?
A: Hong Kong used to be the center of cheap custom suits. Now it’s Thailand, but you can get them just about anywhere that cheap labor and frequent business tourism occurs. My college buddies who now live exciting lives as international businessmen have plenty of experience with these slapstick 24-hour jobs. I’ll break it own into the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good: they are usually very competent with the measuring process, which means the suit will probably fit very well (probably better than any off-the-rack suits hanging in your closet). The bad: the fabric will be questionable at best (at least make sure it’s 100% natural fibers), and the construction will be very poor. To make suit in 24-48 hours, you basically have to glue the chest pieces together. Under the hood it’s all fusing, for sure. The ugly: after a few dry cleans, the suit will start to bubble-up like an amateur do-it-yourself window tint on a 1995 Honda Civic.
Ultimately it comes down to how often you will wear these things. If you have 30 suits in rotation and wear them once a month (and rarely get them dirty), you can probably look good with these cheap jobs for a little while. But if you plan on wearing them often and relying on them long-term, I would say less is more; invest in something that is better made.
Q: Is there any logic to how a man should stack wristwear? For instance, I have a silver ID bracelet and a silver watch that I frequently wear on the same wrist. Should I wear the bracelet or the watch closest to my hand?
A: I say drop the bracelet all together, unless you frequently have problems remembering your name. Keep the wristwear to one piece per hand, or better yet, one wrist piece altogether. Preferably a well-made timepiece that is versatile and classically designed.
Q: I have a baptism, my 6 month old, next week and I wanted to ask you fellas how to “dress up” a pair of chinos. Thank you!
A: I have the perfect answer for you Sir. This is what our Style Guide was designed for. Simply filter by “Pants” -> “Chinos” for all kinds of styling ideas. You can even filter by the color of your chinos.
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Thanks for reading.
Yours in style,