Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Brands: Country Road Suit

I had the privilege of being the recipient of a suit because of the work I was doing in Joburg last year. This was from October to December. Although this was a standard black suit, I found that it was a starting point in talking about suits. And what could be more apt than starting with an off-the-rack, two button suit. As a standard issue I would’ve preferred a navy or medium grey simply because the combinations are infinite. All style enthusiasts will agree with me on this point. This suit is a 100% wool, pure new wool in fact, by Country Road and the fabric is by Malfatto. It is described as a tailored fit, and being an off-the-rack suit, let’s just say that it is a tailored fit according to the standards of mass production. I will concede, however, that the jacket is more tailored than the trousers, and that I had no work done on the jacket as opposed to the trousers.

I didn't have any work done on the jacket because I chose the right size, which is a 40. For an off-the-rack piece, it fit quite well in the sleeves, throughout the chest, and the length and skirt. I don't understand this trend with cropped jackets, especially the ones that expose your backside, so I'm quite happy with the length of the skirt. It features two vents at the back, standard pockets with flaps, and just about the right amount of waist suppression to give it that contoured aesthetic.

I decided to pair this suit with a pink semi-spread collar shirt, purple tie with light blue pin dots, and a pocket square with a bright yellow trim. As I stated earlier in this post this suit is made of 100% pure new wool, which means that the fibres came from the shorn animal and spun into yarn for the first time. If you're not spoiled for choice then you should always opt for this kind of wool as opposed to pure wool because the rough, itchy kind. Another factor which makes it 'ideal' for summer, even thought it's a black suit, is that it is made from the Super 100S range. It might be lower in the grade of fibres but it is still extremely light.

An off-the-rack suit has its disadvantages and in this case it's the lining in both the jacket and trousers. The jacket lining is made from a polyviscose blend, this goes for the trousers as well. I just don't understand that pairing. It's like because the lining is made from synthetic materials is totally negates the functionality of the suit for hot weather. I said it last week, and I'll say it again, polyester is not your friend. Even the placing of the lining in the trousers is uncomfortable and it restricts a lot of movement in the thigh.

There is some pooling of fabric in the back of the jacket and this should be expected from an off-the-rack suit. No matter how tailored it can be, it can never be panacea in terms of suit sizing to different kinds of body shapes. I also seem to have a dropped shoulder and this is affecting the fit of most of my garments in the arms. One side will be perfect but the other side will be totally off. This is evident in the second image above, where there is more shirt cuff showing in the right arm as opposed to the left arm. Even so, this still doesn't necessitate the altering of the jacket. I also mostly go beltless with these trousers because the waist was altered to fit tightly and obviate the use of a belt. I am also, like Luther and Oprah, fighting the battle of the bulge, which makes a belt all the more unnecessary.

Would I recommend this suit for business? No, black is too bland a colour, as versatile is it can appear to be, it is just too boring. However, for evening or even day wear, in small doses, I would recommend it. On a trip to Woolworths in Sandton City I eyed a grey, wool-silk blend by Country Road as well, I hope to review it soon. Do stay tuned because on Friday I will be showing another way I wore this suit last year.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

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