Showing posts with label Three Button Suits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Three Button Suits. Show all posts

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Broke, So Let's Fix It pt 2

The weather gave me a serious head fake on the morning of the day I was planning to take pictures of the sapphire blue suit I took for alterations and adjustments about 3 weeks ago. The day started off overcast with a slight chill in the air. The perfect weather to counter with a trevira wool suit. My glee, however, would be shortlived if not fleeting because as the morning wore on it started getting warmer and warmer, and by midday I was somewhat discouraged to continue with the 'photoshoot' because a spring sunset isn't easy on the body either. Now imagine me in a trevira wool suit taking pictures and sweating profusely. By late afternoon, around four o'clock the weather had reverted to the slight chill. I seized the opportunity. I proceeded to bust out a few shirts, ties, socks and accessories to complement the suit. As the rest of the pictures will evince, sapphire blue is an incredibly amiable colour that allows for endless combinations.

A caveat: if I cut a gaunt figure it's because of weight loss underpinned by a semblance of a salubrious lifestyle. I started this year on an unhealthy, overweight 94kg. My best, slimmest pair of jeans were strangling the life out of my waist and thighs, I needed a self imposed intervention. So, what did I do? I hit the road; jogging almost everyday a distance of about 10 - 11km. In July, I went back to the gym and when I weighed myself I was at the lowest I can ever remember; I was at a very light 85kg. How did I lose that much weight? It has been a combination of jogging, playing basketball twice a week, and somewhat watching what I eat. I've just recently gone back to the gym, just to build on my light, slim frame and push my weight back to the ideal, 88 - 90kg.

Now to the suit. I've got to hand it to the gentlemen at Soli Omar Tailors, they know their stuff. Yunus is always helpful, patient and engaging. Whenever I visit, I always ask for him because he and I have a wonderful rapport. Another helpful individual is Mohamed, the owner's son. He is always on hand to lend some advice and also school me on aspects of tailoring and his family's business. I really appreciate how they allow me to stretch their service to me and indulgences, even though some of them are whimsical or wishful thinking.

This was a total surprise to me. When I explained my wish for double vents to be inserted in this ventless jacket, the answer was an immutable "no". One vent was possible, but two? I was pretty much reaching. Imagine my surprise when they unfolded the jacket and two vents had been inserted. I was over the moon. Once more Soli Omar Tailors proved to me that 'there aint no problem that they can't fix'.

Apart from having the jacket taken in on the sides, I also had the sleeves shortened. The trousers came out perfectly as well. The length was reduced which resulted in one break. The bottom was also reduced. I'm sure the above image shows all this.

A closer look at the jacket evinces tightly pressed lapels. The top button was removed to effect a two button stance. No time for a boxy, stuffy 3-roll-2. The top button hole was stitched shut with a thread of the same hue. God bless them. Now how did they go the extra mile? Both lapels were stitched on the underside against the jacket just to keep the lapels in place and the 2 button stance constant and totally negate the semblance of a 3-roll-2. I also appluad them for doing this without me having thought of it. I surmise the reason being a story I once relayed to them about another jacket which was pared down to two buttons, after a visit to a dry cleaners, and after firm instructions not to roll the lapel back to a 3 button stance because the top button had been removed; when I received the suit back from the dry cleaners it had been rolled and pressed back to a 3 button stance even though the top button was missing. Even after strict instructions not to do so. I had even showed them what I was talking about. What followed was a vituperative jab at their customer service and how unhappy I was. Their attempts at redoing the jacket and remedying the situation did nothing to mollify me. I've never been back.

I like this button stance because it aggrandizes a deep V in the jacket, the lapels are wider and, it is a throwback to the 80s when the top button hit right at the navel.

I think the best complementary footwear in this context, especially taking into consideration the accessories; a green tie, green checked pocket square, would be ox-blood or chestnut brown shoes. I guess I can start preparing for next winter now and get a pair.

This was a first in many things. First time I'm wearing this embroidered check shirt with a tie. I also had it taken in on the sides and sleeves. A genuine silk pocket handkerchief pilfered from my father's wardrobe. I was instantly drawn to the quality, texture and feel of this handkerchief. When I popped into my breast pocket it just stood steadfast in the pocket, with a slight but ebulient overflow to the outside. I somewhat always have a challenge with pocket squares that don't hold firmly in place, they always slip and disappear into the pocket. This silken one was a breath of fresh air and a new experience. I will definitely be looking at acquiring more quality pocket squares and handkerchiefs. I just won't be breaking the bank though.

These yellow silk knots were a deft touch. It was the first time wearing them since receiving them as a gift from my brother. I finally got to put them to good use, they are incredibly serviceable.

The work done on this suit was quite extensive but worth it, especially in terms of the cost as well. I paid only R175 for the jacket and R50 for the pants. I would be remiss if I didn't thank the gentlemen at Soli Omar Tailors for their commitment and dedication, and for always assisting me with a smile. I can definitely vouch for them because the work of their hands is meticulous, thorough and immaculate. If you're looking for their exact location it is 331 Monty Naicker str (formerly Pine str) Durban. For further info you can also call them on 031 3055856.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's Official, The Prodigal Suit Has Come Home

Finally, I've been reunited with my long lost velvet suit. The story of this suit has more twist and turns than the toilet saga involving the Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress. And a storyline that spans...five years. I feel like using the word 'commissioned', however that's a misnomer as this suit was hastily put together in November 2006, thus negating any positivity the word 'commisioned' is supposed to invoke. When I first had it made, in 2006, the final product was a three-piece velvet suit. Look, if I knew then what I know know about sartorialism then I would've had the jacket constructed in the mould of a dinner jacket. The pants and waistcoat would've come out a lot sleeker and fitted. All three pieces would've been interchangeable, and functional as separates. However, that's not the case. I digress.

When I first realised that I wasn't too happy with the final product, I decided to take it to a seamstress, who had done extensive work for my mother. I went to her with a list of all the things I wanted altered. The pants hemmed and tapered. The jacket buttons reduced from 3 to 2. The jacket was not constructed therefore it wasn't lined and, although padded on the shoulders it was not in proportion. In hind sight I was wrong to think I was the man the first time I wore it. And compliments from people, saying I looked like P-Diddy, didn't help in paring my big head which was gradually expanding.

On October 27, 2007, I took this suit to the aforementioned seamstress for all the alterations I mentioned above. Initially it was meant to be done in two weeks because I needed it for a function I was due to attend. I ended up not getting it back in time, however. I wore something different and, I largely forgot about it. Throughout 2008 anytime I would call the seamstress I would get a response that she was still busy with it. A few months passed. Then one day, on a visit to my parents, I decided to take a turn at the seamtresses shop to enquire about the suit. When I enquired from the sales lady where the suit was and if it was ready, she retorted that the seamstresses business had moved out of the building and that she was now working from home. She proffered her new number and a couple of days later I called to enquire as to the progress of the suit. I was incredulous at what my ears heard.

The seamstress claimed that since she had moved shop from the mall to another area, a block of flats instead, all her work implements and sewing jobs were put away into storage. The problem was that she had misplaced the key to the storage and therefore wouldn't be able to retrieve the suit for me. Unless I came by and helped her to break the door down, and then get my suit. I politely declined this suggestion because it seemed odd and, where do I start in breaking down a door? I remember, I was at work when I made that call. From 2009 through 2010 I never called to enquire about the suit. Nor did I make any trips to the old shop to enquire about the whereabouts of the seamstress. I also misplaced her number, so that put a stop to any attempts at making contact. I somewhat resigned myself to never getting it back, especially because after my sartorial awakening, I knew it had been a bad investment.

So much of this suit evinces my sartorial inexperience and immaturity. This is moreso evident the second time around when I assessed that the suit needed major changes. I mean, for reasons that are beyond me, I cannot fathom why the button holes on the jacket are sown shut. All three of them. Or why I even requested such an alteration, or if I really did request it.

I've been visiting with my parents this week and on a recent jog I went through a section of area that I suspected might be where the seamstress resides. A few months ago I was on the phone with her and she stated that my sister knows where she stays. So, I asked my sister to take me there. When I got there, it was as if she knew I was coming because the suit was out. Dogs hair and all. When I told the shop assistant that I was there to pick up the suit, she couldn't believe it. The suit was checked in before she was employed there.

The only piece to make it out safe before all this business is the waist coat. I've had it since the beginning and apart from a minor alteration, it's gotten some play from time to time. It's going to get some play tomorrow, and I will be sure to showcase it. At this point the jacket cannot be redeemed, except for, maybe, the buttons on the cuff. The pants need a little more work. Taking in the waist, the hem and tapering. And with the right kind of shoes, such as velvet slippers, I'm sure that'll be their saving grace.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Three's a Crowd

My disapprobation of three button suits has lingered for a while. I really can't stand them. Simply because of the stiff, boxed in effect they project. Watch an episode of Generations, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Some of the designs are awesome, truly inspiring but, add 3 buttons then, in my opinion, the whole suit loses flexibility and appeal. My biggest gripe with this suit is the dwarfed lapel often caused by the high button stance. The top button, especially if the lapel is canvassed, forces it into a stiff kink, which doesn't allow for any compromise with regards to its unbuttoning. The top button has to be fastened.

This is what I mean by the stiff, boxed-in effect. Aesthetically it is not appealing and so much is diminished by the high button stance. One really can't wear a tie bar because the tie is probably held firmly in place by the top button. So much of the shirt and tie is submerged unde the jacket, even when the top button is undone. What I have discovered are three button jackets that have a roll. A roll of the lapel that effects a two button look when the top button is not fastened. The image above is attempting a three-roll-two but is failing, simply because the lapel is pressed and canvassed, which mandates that the top button is fastened.

This post however is not a total indictment of the three button suit. No, not at all. It is just a difference of opinion even in the light of evidence that three button suits can be tasteful and exceptional. I regret why I never took pictures but, last week I took suits to my tailor to have them tailored in a few places. The biggest challenge, which my tailor found really daunting, was the removal of the top button and adjusting the lapel so that it would be a three button jacket. I am eargerly awaiting the results and will showcase them once ready. There is also one more suit I forgot to take which is in a sapphire blue shade. Since it is a heavier fabric I will have it fixed for winter 2011.

The above image illustrates a perfectly done three button jacket with a roll. Now this is a jacket I would definitely acquire because it appeals to my sensibilities and tastes. Flexible and flattering at the same time.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.