It’s winter time and during a recent cold (weather-wise, the people are friendly) trip to East Europe, I walked into a Hugo Boss boutique in Berlin if only to check out the latest collection. Know what I found? Hugo Boss has done away with working buttons on the sleeves and that’s outright sacrilegious- It looks like it’s a real working sleeve but after a closer inspection, the eagle eyed (or gay) will notice that you’re trying to cruise by on a suit that’s subpar (though still real value for money) for a Monsieur.
How to buy a Good Suit
- The cloth: You’ll want something sturdy yet resilient (wool 120s and 200s). Flannel is classic but a tad warm for summer time so look for cotton or seersucker. During winter, flannel rocks infinitely.
- The shoulders: You don’t want to look like a quarterback in your suit so avoid anything that looks like padding. Go with natural shoulders that slope gradually. If you happen to be a gym fanatic, chances are you’d need to see if the cut fits you without making you look Hulk-esque.
- Working sleeves: The buttons should work preferably. Yes, not many people use them but it’s a mark of distinction and keen eye for detail that differentiates The Monsieur from your average gentleman. Even then the buttonholes should be handsewn and serious tailors will ALWAYS make sure they work.
- Handstitched edges: Hand-stitched edges create a slight ruffle mostly evident in the lap pocket of a jacket. It’s hallmark of a superior suit.
- Luxurious interior: One of the most reliable indicators of quality, elegant linings and piping inside a jacket with fabric edged internal pockets are a reliable indicator that your tailor knows his stuff.
- The canvas: It’s the layer of cloth between the jacket’s exterior and lining. This attribute is key, consider it the foundation for a good suit; The canvas helps maintain a jacket’s natural shape over time. Most (cheap or mass produced) suits have their canvas fused which is a synthetic interlining machine heated until it sticks to the exterior. A properly canvased suit (and one that will last you till death) is one that can be pinched between the bottom two buttonholes revealing three layers to your deft fingertips. Alternatively, a less douchey or snobbish move would be to just ask the sales person.
- The silhouette: It should fit tight but not too tight. In the words of Dolce and Gabbana, “tight enough so that you can feel the fabric”. In the words of James Bond’s armourer Q, “tight enough so that you don’t raise hands too quickly in surrender.”