G&H Travel Jacket 1

There are so many things to say about how a suit fits. 

Here’s one, the simplest. Pretty much everything can be altered in a suit except the shoulders. Obviously the jacket cannot be lengthened; but the sleeves can be lengthened or shortened, the waist taken in or let out (both trouser and jacket), the crotch taken out/in and the trouser legs lengthened/shortened. 
So when you try on a ready-to-wear suit in the sales, look at the back of your neck (in a mirror) and the shoulders. The back of the suit should neither stand away from your neck, or wrinkle up and create a little ridge behind the lapel. The first shows the cloth has too much slack, the second that it has too little. Equally, the shoulder of the jacket should go straight out and not dip; and your shoulder should not be visible pushing at the cloth of the sleeve. These are signs that the suit is too big and too small, respectively. 
Another good thing to look at is the cloth across your back. Check for lines of tautness (probably across the shoulders) or slack under the arms (indicating drooping shoulders). Then take it to a good tailor to get anything else altered. 
(Whilst I learnt these tips by reading, I recommend trying on several suits to make sure you can spot the signs. Even try on your existing suits to see what you can spot, before you go shopping. I didn’t really know what much of this meant until I’d seen it for myself.) 
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Well, I know this is an old post of yours, but I’m seeking advice on this very question.

A few months ago, I was compelled to buy an OTR suit for a funeral. (Not compelled to buy the suit, rather, compelled to go for OTR due to time constraints.)

It doesn’t fit. There is a small ridge behind the collar, too much material on the shoulder blade and in the chest (nevertheless, the arm holes are too small), and the shoulders a touch too wide. The waist needs to be suppressed a bit, yet the suit doesn’t draped very well over my backside.

The question: is it worth it to have a tailor make a run at fixing this or should I just write it off? I think I’d be willing to put USD250 toward it — or is that good money after bad?

Best regards, and thanks.


Hi Simon
Forgive me if this should have been posted somewhere else: I have a lovely gunclub tweed jacket by Drakes from the era when Caruso made for them. It has padded and wadded shoulders which, though subtle and fairly soft looking (like your Caraceni herringbone jacket), are rather too structured and square for my current taste, and it doesn’t quite work with casual trousers like jeans. So my question is: do you think the padding could be successfully removed, turning it into a unstructured shoulder? Could you recommend a London-based alterations tailor for the job? Many thanks


Thanks Simon I’ll heed your advice!