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Garment Doctor: Side Crunching

Garment Doctor: Side Crunching

“It doesn’t fit me right” is the main reason people throw out their clothes and buy new ones.

This is not only frustrating, it’s also a waste of time and money, and it’s bad for the environment.

I get it, nobody wants to wear a garment that doesn’t look right, is uncomfortable, or makes them feel self conscious. The thing is, a lot of “fit problems” can be fixed by your local tailor, for a relatively small expense.

So we put together the “Garment Doctor” series to highlight specific fit issues, why they happen and how to fix them, with the goal of saving you time and money and helping you live a more sustainable lifestyle.

In this edition, we’re taking a look at what I like to call jacket “side crunching”.

To begin, the photo directly below shows how a properly-fitting suit should look in a standing, natural position (in my opinion). Notice the fabric is draping cleanly across the body, providing full three-dimensional coverage without any visible pulling, creasing or wrinkling.

Common Issue: side “crunching” caused by a low shoulder.

Everybody is unique and every body is uneven in some way. This is why becoming a master bespoke tailor is a lifelong pursuit – they’re engineers who use complex geometry to work two-dimensional fabric around the laws of physics and gravity.

Most of us have one shoulder that sits physically lower than the other (this can be caused by genetics, injuries, overusing one side of the body, carrying an unbalanced load routinely, etc).

If the jacket is not properly cut for uneven shoulder slope, the following can occur:

The fix: there are two possible fixes to this issue.

1. Cutting down the low shoulder to accurately follow the slope of the body. This is major surgery. It involves removing the sleeve, seperating the front and back panels, and recutting the shoulder lines. You’re looking at probably $100+ in alteration charges – if your tailor even offers this service.

2. Add minimal padding to “lift” the low shoulder. When some guys hear the words shoulder padding they freak-out because of the current obsession with the “soft shoulder”. Keep in mind that padding will not make the point-to-point of the shoulders any wider. It will simply balance out your right and left slopes for better symmetry and smoothen out the “crunching”. This is a much easier fix for the tailor. He simply trims and fits the pad as needed, opens up the jacket lining beneath the shoulder and sets the pad in place. He may also need to move the front button a fraction, since the panels might shift as a result of the new pad.

I hope some of you found this helpful. My intentions are not to have guys running to the tailor to fix every little wrinkle (life is all about trade-offs), I simply want to share what I’ve learned about tailoring and alterations to help guys understand what is possible and what isn’t.

Thanks, as always, for reading. 

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier