I discovered an interesting aspect of figuration today, while being measured for a new suit. (Figuration being the process where a tailor adapts a suit to your particular bodily quirks – the steps beyond just making sure the shoulders are the right width.)
The tailor pointed out that I have a slight stoop forward, slightly prominent shoulder blades, a hollowed lower back (partly due to being slim) and a large seat. If you can imagine that effect down the line of my back, it produces a S-shape – exaggerated curves caused by the shoulder blades and bum, with a hollow in between.
Most other suits I have follow the line of my back, meaning that the rear of the skirt kicks out a little over my bum. To correct this and mitigate the S-shape, a little more fullness will be added in the small of my back with this suit. But a little will be taken out of the front too, so that the waist size remains the same. Effectively, the lower half of the jacket will be swung backwards a touch.
On my previous suit I had also noticed that the collar stood away slightly from the back of my neck. A fairly obvious fault. But it was also pointed out this time that, when I looked at the suit from the front, this standing away was most prominent on the right of my neck.
This, it seems, was because I leant ever-so-slightly to the right, as well as a little forward. That was noticeable both at the neck but also below my right arm, where the cloth collapses a little between the waist and scye. Rebalancing the suit a little, so it is slightly lower on that right side, should correct this.
Both of these are aspects of fit that I have never noticed before, but of course now will not be able to ignore. Like the day after I had my first bespoke shirt fitted, and realised all my shirts had a slightly short left arm.
These are the pleasures of bespoke, such as they are. Every time you improve one facet of fit, you discover another that is wrong.
I admire tailors and shirtmakers for being able to spot these little things. But I do wish they’d stagger pointing them out to me.