ASK DAN: Lapels Un-Rolling, Patch Pockets, Short Jackets

June 29th, 2015


Lapels Un-Rolling

Q: Hey guys, I have a quick question about the lapels on one of my suits. It’s a pretty standard medium weight wool and I haven’t had it more than two years, but the lapels are starting to kind of “unroll”.  I know you’ve mentioned this issue in your “How to Spot a Cheap Suit” article, but I was wondering if there was anything I can do to fix it?

A:  Unfortunately not. This is a sign that your jacket is fused, rather than canvassed. The problem with fusing (fabric glue used to add “stiffness” to the chest and mark the lapel roll-line) is that, like any adhesive, it eventually loses its “stick”.  You can try pressing the lapels to roll back to the natural button stance, but chances are this will be a temporary solution at best. This is a great example of the advantage (and cost savings) of buying quality – a canvassed jacket (where the chest is re-enforced with a hand-stitched layer of canvas) should last plenty longer than two years, and never have these kind of issues. Good news is, we’ll be able to help you replace that suit soon… :)

Patch Pockets

Q: I’m looking at getting my first double-breasted suit. I know these are typically seen as more formal but I’d like to be able to use it in more casual situations as well (like using just the jacket for a night out, for example). I know patch pockets are more casual (which I like) but want to know if they are “OK” on a double breasted jacket? And should all the pockets be patch, including the breast pocket? Or just the lower pockets? Thanks for the advice!

A: Personally, I love patch pockets. I’d say probably 75% of my jackets have them – single or double breasted. Like you, I like to wear my tailoring both dressed-up and dressed-down. A patch pocket gives the jacket a slightly more casual feel (which can be perfect to offset the fact that it’s double-breasted) and is also much more practical and easy to use. To really get the most out of this new jacket, I would also recommended looking for something that is softly constructed (minimal shoulder padding, soft chest canvas, perhaps unlined). As far as double patch or triple patch, I would leave the breast pocket as a standard welt – three patches can make it look like a country shooting jacket, which is not ideal for those times when you need to dress it up.

Jacket Too Short

Q: I must admit that I just found your site recently…and now it’s changing everything I thought I knew about men’s fashion! After reading several of your fit guides and your awesome guide to buying a bespoke suit, I realized that my tailor has been cutting my jackets too short for years. They seem to be a trendy cut (the jackets end above the bottom of my seat) and I don’t think it flatters my body (large-ish hips). My question is; is there anything I can do to lengthen these jackets? If not, should I bring it up to my tailor?

A: Damn. Unfortunately, more bad news here. There’s nothing you can do to lengthen a jacket. Body length is one of the few measurements that is crucially important to get right the first time. I would certainly voice your concerns with your tailor, and see how he reacts. My prediction is that he’s going to tell you that your jackets look great that way and that it’s a more “modern cut”…since there’s nothing he can do to fix it, and he’s probably not interested in re-making all of your jackets. Either way, it’s always good to see how a craftsman reacts with an unsatisfied customer. If he’s not willing to go the extra mile to do right by you and keep your business, our online bespoke shop will be launching this September… We’ll take care of you.


Thanks, as always, for reading. Have a style or tailoring question? Hit me.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


Take me to the Shop

  • Ethan W.

    Personally, I think three patch pockets on a DB look fantastic. It’s a great way to stand out!

    This particular one from a pal of mine has got an epic pleated back and high armholes! It’s 1930s!

  • DJ Hargrave

    Couldn’t agree more with the statement on patch pockets. Great way to add the versatility or dressing up or down your jacket.


  • Austin Roberson

    Does anyone know how much a jacket can shortened? I have a suit jacket that I want shortened about 2-3 inches.

    • AdamE

      That should be possible, the question is more so how will it look. Depending on the construction of the jacket, it may work fine or look off (Think depth of vent(s), pocket placement, and button placement). Jackets are very much about proportions, generally 1-1.5″ is safe on most jackets in terms of shortening (except for the already really short length sport coats), beyond that, it depends on the placement of other design elements… taking too much off the bottom can make the button placement look off, or can look weird, if the pockets are placed too low, and or if the vent structure looks off (personally, I find that with a single vented jacket, you can usually get away with shortening a bit more, assuming the other elements look fine, whereas with a double vented jacket, it can look weird if the vents are ultra-short…)

  • AdamE

    To play Devil’s advocate on the “my tailor made my jackets too short” question, how short is too short? If they are super short that’s one thing, and there’s also something to be said for how it fits/flatters your body shape. That said, I personally prefer my jackets to be cut a little short, just shy of covering the bottom of my seat, it is a bit more modern, and more mobile, and I do find it flattering for a more athletic and muscular physique. The big plus about having jackets that are a little shorter (and another reason why I insist on having my jackets made this way) is that they tend to work better as separates… Longer jackets can look off, when paired with non matching trousers, but slightly shorter jackets tend to mix and match more seamlessly…

    So if you’re not entirely happy with the length for suiting purposes, you don’t necessarily need to ditch them. The bad news is that you might need a few new suits to fit your desired aesthetic, but the good news is you could have a set of well tailored sport coats and trousers for mixing and matching…

    That said, I never trust a tailor who won’t change the style of the garments to suit your wants and needs. I trust them to challenge me when they think I’m wrong, but that if I insist on something, to comply with my wishes. But unfortunately in this case, if nothing is said upfront, without a time machine, the jacket length is likely irreparable…

    For the unrolling lapels, I’ve seen/heard one other stop gap solution for this problem, and that is using two-sided fabric tape to hold the lapel to the face of the jacket breast. Again, the clock is ticking on the life-span of that jacket… but that might buy you a bit of a time out on self-destruction… for fairly cheap… (I’ve never tried this, but in the case where I saw this used, while he was wearing it, I could never had guessed…)

  • tommyjohn_45

    Off topic, but I was wondering if anyone out there has ever purchased Allen Edmonds Factory Seconds before? Noticed they had a rather nice sale going on (also a good sale on regular shoes), but was unsure of how distinct these “blemishes” are.

    • facelessghost

      Check out the forums over at Dappered and you’ll find plenty of examples (there was a recent thread about last week’s “tent sale”). Most of the defects are are pretty minor, but some of them are clear deal breakers. I’ve ordered two pairs. I couldn’t find a defect on the first, whereas the second pair had a massive indentation over the toe of one foot. Fortunately, returns are free if you have a local Allen Edmonds store, and pretty cheap if you don’t :).

      • Harrison G

        I would recommend seconds in general. Alden also does seconds through a shoemart but they are less frequent and harder to get a hold of. When Allen Edmunds isn’t having a seconds sale you can still always call their headquarters in Wisconsin to ask what seconds they have in stock and current pricing.

      • tommyjohn_45

        Much appreciated.

    • Alex Trambitas

      I’ve ordered a few pairs and never had a problem. Mostly minor nicks and scratches either on the sole or the inside of the uppers. And the sole gets completely redone anyway when you do a recrafting in a few years. Plus if you’re not satisfied they have free returns. I definitelyt endorse the Factory Seconds.

      • tommyjohn_45

        Thanks Alex.