Two Aspects Of Figuration

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suit-backI 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.


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.

Comments

  1. Jake says:

    I’ve definitely found that the more you perfect your clothing, the more you will find that is wrong with it. RTW suits that once fitted me ‘fine’ I no longer find acceptable. Even MTM suits that fit me ‘really well’, I now discover have small flaws of the kind you describe. Still, I hope one day to have a tailor I’ve worked with so much as to have totally perfected my fit.

  2. M. Spencer says:

    What will happen if those curves accentuate?
    You might want to figure out why they are more pronounced and what to do about it.

  3. Stefan says:

    Yes, when I was measured for ASuitThatHopefullyShouldFit, I really didn’t need to be told yet again that one of my shoulders is lower than the other. At least he didn’t scream “MAN, YO’ FAT!”.