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August 11, 2011

The Art of Fit: Part 1 in a Series

For my first post, I wanted to cover a topic that is the foundation of style. In my opinion, fit is probably the single most important aspect of style. If your clothes don’t fit properly, no matter how expensive or well-made they are, you cannot look your best. This general introduction to proper fit will be the first in a series of posts on fit tips covering everything from denim to suits.

As I am sure you will hear me say countless times, men in America have a problem knowing their size. I have found that the vast majority of men wear clothes that are one or two sizes too big for them. The problem with this is that it leaves you looking sloppy, no matter how nice your clothes may be.

Man on the street. The shoulders on this shirt were
about 3" off the shoulder. Also notice the billowing
around the waist and the saggy pants.

Many of my personal styling clients are reluctant to try on clothes that actually fit them. They have become so accustomed to a looser fit that they feel uncomfortable in clothes that are the correct size. Shopping should be fun, but when someone tries on clothes from one label that they believe to be the right size and they end up too small, many people start universally buying the next size up. The problem with this is that every brand uses a different fit model and, as a result, sizes vary from one to another (and sometimes even within the same brand!).

Shirt by Allsaints Spitalfields; Jeans by Juicy Couture Mens (now defunct);
Shoes by Ted Baker; Sunglasses by Alexander McQueen; Watch by Bulova.

The good news is that when shopping for clothes there are some very valuable resources at your disposal that can make your shopping experience not only enjoyable, but also productive. Most department stores, especially in major cities, have a personal shopping department. Don’t think you have to be rich to take advantage of this - it is almost always a free service! The benefit of using a personal shopper is that they have an exceptional knowledge of the product in their store and are often experts on fit and style. They will be able to show you pieces that you will like, as well as options that you might not have considered; a great way to expand you wardrobe and step up your style.

Suit by Paul Smith; Shirt by Charles Tyrwhitt; Shoes by Allen Edmonds;
Tie by Robert Godley; Belt by Lacoste; Tie bar by Kenneth Cole New York;
Pocket square by Burberry; Eyeglasses by Dolce & Gabbana.

If you happen to be shopping in stand-alone stores or boutiques, employees are often required to wear the label’s product. This first hand knowledge can be really helpful when shopping a new brand (and sometimes even a brand you know well) to get you familiar with how an item should and will fit, saving you both time and potential frustration.

More detailed posts on fit to come.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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