Whether you are heading to London for business or shopping purposes, a well-tailored suit should be high on your list of things to buy. London is one of the world’s most popular fashion capitals, so don’t pass up on the opportunity to leave with a truly personalised token of your time. The London shopping experience is one of the things that this city really excels in, like luxury boutique hotels in London or memorable bus sightseeing tours of the city.
The trouble a lot of people face when suit-shopping, though, is not deciding that you need a suit but rather the numerous options of suits and styles you can choose from. Here is the ultimate buyer’s guide for tailored suits in London.
Pick the suit
Don’t think about whether the fit is perfect just yet – that is still to come, right now it is just about the shape, pattern and colour. For now, picking something that stands out to you is key. Don’t leave it until you arrive in a store before you start looking for something. So, your first step is to spend time doing some research to get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like. Understanding your personal taste comes with practice. Just turning up on the day without an idea of what you like or an understanding of what you are looking for is on par with booking a room in the Devonshire Hotel London without even checking if the restaurants near Paddington have the London foods you are craving!
Doing style research does not need to be difficult or even particularly time-consuming – it can become part of your everyday life and habits. Follow some people whose style you appreciate and would like to emulate and then save things you like whenever you see them online, whether it is an Instagram post or a Pinterest Board. If you start collecting images of things you think you want to buy, it will make it far less stressful when you are ready to get shopping. If you don’t want to take the social media approach, then pick up magazines every now and then and dog-ear the pages of suits you think would suit you. You will find that the more of them you see, the more comfortable you are with what you are looking for.
This is where the fit comes into it. Ideally, if you have bought a high-quality suit, there won’t be too much you need to alter – it might simply be shortening of a sleeve or narrowing of the waist. The idea is that your decision shouldn’t be affected by something small enough to tailor. Once you have picked the suit, check with the shopkeeper whether they offer a tailoring service. This is often the case.
If you would like to do your own measurements, here is what you need to know. In order to wear the suit as fitted as possible, you need to acquire or measure the following things: neck, shoulders, chest, waist, seat, thigh, nape to waist, sleeve length, inside leg and height.
Owning a suit that is tailored to your preference and measurements is essential in making sure you are taken seriously when wearing it. But a step further in personalisation and tailoring is to buy suit accessories. Your choice on how your suit is accessorised can say a lot about its look and feel.
Another key style decision is pocket style, and there are many to choose from. To name a few, there is the jetted pocket, flapped pockets, a hacking pocket and a patch pocket. The jetted pocket is your go-to if you are going for a formal look – it is sewn flat against the suit into the pocket lining and pokes out from the pocket. The flapped pockets are not inherently informal, though slightly more relaxed in aesthetic. They are currently the most common pocket inner in men’s suits. The hacking pocket is sewn similarly to the jetted pocket, except on the diagonal. It has the additional benefit of making the wearer look slimmer, as it draws the eye away from the middle area of the bust. The patch pocket is arguably the least formal, though still stylish and a great pick for a slightly more casual, Summer suit.
The inner lining of a suit can make a big statement about the wearer of it. The truth of the matter is that a lot of the time, depending on the occasion, the lining is invisible. But when they are visible, there are various routes you can take. If you are looking to make yourself stand out, then picking an inner with a contrasting pattern to the suit, or a bold colour, or a subtly different, darker colour that makes the whole thing look slick. If you are really looking for tailor-made individuality, then you could even have your own selected inner sewn in.
The number of buttons on your suit jacket can make a statement in themselves. Generally, a jacket will have one to three buttons. The one buttoned suit is very cutting edge, and probably the most fashion-forward choice you can make when it comes to buttons. Though quite edgy and bold, the low V-style might make conservative types or those buying their suits purely for business resistant. A great solution to this resistance is the two-button suit, which is arguably the most popular type. This is because it remains quite fashionable, without pushing the V to a point that it is unsuitable for more professional events. Though the 1990s was very big into the three-button suit, it is not really that common anymore. However, for taller people with longer busts, this can actually be a very flattering look. Sample them all and try to get a feel for it, keeping in mind where you plan on wearing the suit.
London’s best tailors
Have you been convinced that buying tailored suits in London is your best bet? If so, here are the details to some of the best in the city:
Tailor Made London
020 7566 0077
80 Britannia Walk, Hoxton, London N1 7RH
Orhan London Tailoring
020 7250 3569
25A Pitfield St, Hoxton, London N1 6HB
Henry Herbert Tailors
020 7837 1452
8 Lamb’s Conduit Passage, Holborn, London WC1R 4RG