Category Archives: Custom Shirts

Proportional Challenges Dressing for your Body Type Part 3

Last week, Rob asked for guidance on how to dress his 6-foot frame on a limited budget.

Rob, they say the ‘devil is in the details’. I can confidently say the devil is in ignoring the details. Details count.

Details/Construction – Coats

  • Your clothing should fit a bit on the easy side.
  • Coat lapels should be regular to slightly wider with notches that are not too close to the shoulder line. Current fashion would suggest a lapel width of 3” to 3 ½” or slightly wider if the lapel is peaked (comes to a point instead of being notched.) A natural shoulder line, slightly extended but not too padded or roped, is preferable.
  • Details, details, details. Flaps and pockets add substance and dimension. Add a ticket pocket to some of your suit or sport coats. Side vents are your best choice for the back of your jackets. A puff-fold pocket square is a good idea.
  • Two-button and double-breasted (6 buttons, 2 to button) jackets provide good lines for your build. Try to avoid three button coats with the top button being functional. (You’ve no doubt heard the “bean pole” or similar reference enough already. Let’s put a stop to that.)

In the next installment. – shirts! And in the mean time, check out The Virtual Tailor!

Proportional Challenges: Dressing for your Body Type Part 2

Last time, Rob asked for guidance on how to look great at his height of 6 feet – and on a limited budget.In your case, Rob, your height is on the tall side of average, which is a natural advantage and something to accentuate, but you will want to wear clothing that fills out the horizontal to balance and refine your look. The following guidelines will give you more detail on how to do that:


  • Emphasize the horizontal and widen your overall appearance by wearing more clothing with a horizontal element in the pattern, i.e. plaids and checks.
  • The best fabrics for you are those with texture and substance (or at least the appearance thereof) such as flannel, tweed, oxford cloth, twills and herringbones, etc.
  • Avoid fabrics that cling.
  • If you want to wear stripes, consider those that are wider set…. at least 3/4” apart. The further apart the stripes, the bolder they can be. The same advice holds for checks and plaids. Tighter patterns should be more subtle while broader patterns can be more intense.

Tomorrow, we talk construction! And in the mean time, check out The Virtual Tailor!

Proportional Challenges

Dressing for your Body Type

Rob H. writes: I am a 6 feet tall, slim guy. What can I do to look sharp while making the most of a limited budget?
TomTalks: Your question is really two parts, both highlighting issues many men struggle with at some level. One has to do with choosing styles and fit that make the most of your build (body type), and the other has to do with making the most of your wardrobe budget.
For men, the essential parameters are just two – the vertical and the horizontal.

  • Vertical: Medium or Average height (5’ 9” to 6’ 1”), Tall, or Short
  • Horizontal: Slender, Average, Muscular (athletic), or Stout (heavy)

Optimal dress based on one’s body type is essentially about visually accentuating the positive aspects of your build or essential parameters and reducing those aspects that create the most challenge.
Custom suits are all the rage these days. When a suit is made for you, it fits well. It literally emphasizes the positive in such a way the negatives are a non-issue.
It’s true the man of regular proportions (equally admired and despised by the more proportionally challenged) has more freedom within “the rules.” The rest of us would do well to pay stricter attention to some particular guidelines. Even when you wear custom suits there are guidelines that are wise to follow.
We’ll investigate those ideas over the next week. And if you can’t wait,…check out our NEW FEATURE – The Virtual Tailor. It’s a virtual treasure trove of resources to help you look your best!

‘Old School’ gets an Update

John P. writes: With Fall approaching my daughter says the time to shop is “now,” before the best options are gone. On top of that, she says my suits are ‘old school’ and need an update. I’m not sure what that means, but she probably has a point. Since I’ll be nearly starting from scratch, what should I be looking for?

TomTALKS: You are fortunate to have someone so thoughtful looking out for you. Your daughter is definitely correct that the best time to shop for clothing is before the season changes, especially if you are having anything custom made. No doubt there are some ‘old school’ practices – like the handwritten thank you note – that never lose their charm, but when it comes to your professional appearance, it’s important your dress reflect the fact you are keeping an eye on the trends!


TRADITIONAL SUITING – This Fall’s business suit is updated, yet timeless; fundamentally classic and masculine. Typically, a two-button jacket with three key elements:

  • Shoulders with moderate to sharp definition
  • A slim waist
  • Slim trousers (whether flat front or pleated)

Suiting fabrics that are a good investment would be solid neutral colors (navy and gray in particular), classic herringbones, muted stripes and classic Glen plaids such as the Prince of Wales (pictured below), especially in grey tones, using the accent colors mentioned below.

ON-TREND Suits have narrow lapels (whether notch or peak), as well as a shorter length. The look and feel is trim or closer fitting, though not demandingly tight, with all the areas of fullness cleaned up.

For those who are really “out in front”, double-breasted jackets should be on your list. A popular DB model is a clean, peak lapel, trim model, with just a touch of shoulder, …which buttons on the waist, in a classic British style.

Of course, when having your clothing made we can fit your jacket and pants however you prefer.

You walk a little taller when you sport a more updated look! Clients, co-workers, …even your daughter, will all take note!

Stay tuned for next week’s post when I will address what to wear on days and occasions that don’t require the formality of a business suit.

Sartorial regards,