Garment Doctor: Posture Adjustments

January 21st, 2016

It’s been a while since we published the last article in our Garment Doctor series, where we break-down fit issues for specific body types and explain the appropriate alterations.

We’ve been doing plenty of digital fittings lately, putting all this “garment doctor” knowledge to real life application and revealing to our readers/clients the impact that a properly tailored garment can have on both their long-term wardrobes and their confidence level. It’s always rewarding to put a client in a garment that is properly adjusted for him – it’s a very satisfying experience, for both the wearer and the tailor.

Today we’re taking a closer look at posture adjustments, which are foundational to bespoke fittings as they can be difficult (and in some cases impossible) to recut post-production.

Proper Posture Adjustment

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Will has great posture. He’s slightly erect, but very has a very close to “normal” balance. This charcoal birdseye jacket has already been adjusted for his posture, as you can see by the clean drape of the garment.

What we look for here is the collar of the jacket sitting snugly against the collar of the shirt, a smooth upper back line, a clean sleeve pitch, and most importantly, the bottom hem of the jacket being straight and perpendicular to the floor (not higher in the front or the back).

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“Stooping” (Head-Forward) Posture Issues

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A client with head-forward (slouching) posture (or an overly large back, as seen on some athletes and body builders) typically causes the back of the jacket to “lift”, the vents to swing open and the seat to “wave”.

The pattern adjustment here is to lengthen the back of the jacket through the middle to give it enough radiance so that the collar reachers the neck and the bottom of the jacket can cover the seat, laying flat. Unfortunately, this adjustment is virtually impossible to perform on an off-the-rack (or already cut) garment (since very few have the necessary seam allowance to be lengthened).

Many clients with head-forward posture also have a collar gap issue. Part of this “stooping” posture adjustment raises the collar to sit forward on the neck as well.

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Here’s a close-up of the seat “wave effect” common on clients with stooping posture:

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“Erect” Posture Issues

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A client with erect posture has the opposite fit problems. The back of the jacket is longer (lower) than the front, which causes the lower back of the jacket to land on the top of the seat, causing a “pooling of fabric” at the low back.

Guys with erect posture also often stand with their shoulders back (chest open). This can cause the lapels to “pop” off the front chest, as well as cause extra fabric to pool around the shoulder blades in the back.

The pattern adjustment here is to shorten the back of the jacket through the middle so that the bottom hem and vents lay smooth and flat, take-in the half-back slightly, and send additional radiance to the front chest.

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Just a little food for thought today. I hope this helps answer some questions about why/how we use a “fit assessment garment” to create the final pattern(s) f0r each of our clients. Keep in mind that this is only one of hundreds of “checks” that myself and our team of tailors perform for each client, and they are almost always used in combination with other adjustments that are particular to the client’s needs and preferences.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford. Modeling by Will Howe 

  • AdamE

    I know I fall on the more erect posture side of things, but with shoulders slightly forward, so I tend to get a divot forming in the chest area on most non custom blazers when standing… My last M2M suit it was giving them fits, since it wasn’t quite right, and their tailor tried a few times to adjust it, before finally adjusting the pattern, and remaking the jacket from scratch (that time they nailed the fit), and the only adjustment needed was to sleeve length…
    Another great post though, it’s great to learn the details and the why behind the stuff we see and experience…

    And agree with TO, Will looks on the fast track to business in the front and party in the back…

  • TO

    What do you mean “through the middle”? Visually I imagine the center-back seam getting longer with everything else remaining constant.

    • Dan Trepanier

      What I mean is that it’s not just lengthened from the bottom (or top) but the entire pattern piece (in this case the two back panels) are drafted with more/less “radiance” through the upper back… I should start including pattern diagrams in these “garment doctor” posts, for the real menswear nerds like you and me, TO :) Cheers brother.

      • TO

        Hmmm I’d still need clarification to know for certain what you mean, sounds very particular. Yeah diagrams would be great:) …Almost as great as Will’s hockey hair right now! (If he sees this you may have to explain that to him, lol.)