Men’s suit tailoring, whether for weddings, work, or pleasure can be quite a daunting experience - especially with the plethora of clueless tailors in the UAE. Here at Mr. Draper, we pride ourselves in everything menswear. With our recent launch of tailoring with our partners, the Custom Shop New York, we have come full circle with our offering. Now, all under one roof, you can tailor your everyday suit for work AND pick up your evening and weekend wear; all with the help of your own personal stylist.
If you're ready to step it up a notch by getting your own Custom Made suit, then you've come to the right place. As one of your more pricey purchases, and certainly the most complicated you'll make, it's important to get it right. Keep reading to discover the ins and outs of everything tailoring.
Before getting started, you need to be clear to yourself and your tailor on what it is you want. Ask yourself these questions.
- Purpose - what and where will you wear your suit, and how often will you wear it?
- Season - which season do you intend to wear your suit?
- Body shape - what is your body shape and will you keep it this way?
- Comfort - what level of comfort are you looking for? This will tie in with purpose
Know the answers to these questions. From here… You can still go wrong, so continue reading.
Fabrics and patterns
Deciding on what fabric is best for your suit is important. And complicated. Of course you want a superior fit and a luxurious touch, but also something with breathability, softness and most important, durability and longevity.
Wool is an excellent choice for suits due to its versatility and refined look. As wool is a natural material, it means that it breathes well, making it a wearable option in both the heat of the day or the cool of the night.
Most wool requires the natural fibre to be spun but not a type of wool called worsted. Worsted wool is a compact textile that’s smooth and hard-wearing, so it’s perfect for suits that are worn on an everyday basis. For everyday use here in Dubai, we recommend a lower thread count.
Wool has many resounding qualities that make it the preferred fabric for suits. It's extremely versatile and can be used from head to toe. It can be made into very fine and silky threads, to thick, coarse yarns meaning you have a choice of fabrics that range from lightweight and smooth, to thick, hairy and coarse.
The thicker wools are great insulators of heat and although It may not get too cold outside here in Dubai, the offices and malls get close to freezing when the AC is cranked up! Your best bet though, is a wool woven deliberately loose from very fine fibers so that heat can escape, and you'll find, because wool is naturally breathable, you'll do quite well with it here in Dubai.
One big reason we favour wool is because of its resilience. Twenty or thirty years can easily be the lifetime of a well treated wool suit. You can even pass it down to a son when the time comes!
Maybe not so important here, but if, like many here in the UAE, you intend to return to your home country one day, this is somewhat of an unsung property.
Which wool to choose?
Generally speaking, the higher the twist (or woven) count, the more expensive and less durable your suit will be, but it will be finer and lighter. And then you're lower twist counts are typically cheaper and more durable and therefore recommended as your dailys.
Cotton is the second most popular fabric for suits and is also made from natural fibres. Cotton suits move and breathe well but do have a tendency to crease easily, which can make the tailoring look sloppy. It’s a flexible material, however, with it’s biggest advantage being that it can be easily be adapted to all shapes and sizes.
Polyester is a lower quality fabric made on of synthetic materials, usually fiber and wool blended in order to keep the price low. We don't recommend polyester suits here in Dubai, not just because they look cheap but because they don't breathe leading to your overheating and unwanted perspiration.
Linen is great for hot climates as the fabric is extremely breathable and tends to be far more porous than wool. However it doesn’t lend itself to tailoring that well and can quickly look crumpled. We suggest unstructured (Minus the some of the inner linings) tailored linen jackets for casual and social outings so that they're worn sparingly to keep them in good condition. Think Dubai World Cup, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the polo events at the Habtoor Polo club.
Cashmere on its own, or as a blend, is at the more luxury end of the tailoring market. Luxurious as it is, it can also give an unwanted shine to a suit. This may lead to confusion with polyester, which we definitely don’t recommend on account of its synthetic fibres and cheap look. Depending on whether you want something European looking or not, cashmere may not be suitable for work but is a definite hit for leisure activities.
Next up is patterns. Quite possibly the hardest part. Those that have tailored a suit before know that you can spend hours looking through swatch books and be none-the-wiser afterwards. It's incredibly difficult visualising what will transition well from a small square of fabric to a suit on your specific body type.
If you've ever had a suit made here in Dubai you'll know the 'yes-men' don't fill you with confidence as they give you the nod on each and every fabric. This is where having your own Mr. Draper Personal Stylist comes into play. They'll guide you on timeless picks that match the purpose of your suit, and most importantly, they'll actually tell you what patterns do not work with you and your frame so you don't end up with a suit you'll never wear!
Create a Profile and book an appointment to come in and see the patterns for yourself.
Cut & Style
There are three main cuts to consider: the British, the American, and the Italian. Your nationality is of no importance here, these are simply the leading tailoring styles that most suit designers or tailors will follow. Bearing in mind the body type information and advice we’ve already given you, let’s take a look at each of these classic tailoring examples.
The British suit cut is all about functionality and durability, coupled with elegance and style. Originally designed for the British gent who’s on the move and needed to be ready to any weather, it’s both formal and elegant. It’s a cut that fits closer to the body, usually with tight fitting sleeves ending with cuffs and a high arm hole. Trousers are higher cut than other suit patterns with 2-3 pleats. Think David Beckham and Daniel Craig and you’ll be able to picture this timeless, iconic suit style. The British Cut can be adapted to suit most body types, so it’s a surefire win for men who prefer a more traditional style.
- Stiff canvas – this gives a more controlled looked to the jacket
- Moderate shoulder padding
- Single or double breasted
- Low gorge lines
- Surgeon’s Cuffs
- Heavy cloth – more durable
- Hacking pockets
- Dual vents
- Button place narrow – near the waist to make the jacket appear longer
- High waist
- 2-3 pleats
- Average Build
- Fashionable Appearance
- Holds up to decades of use
- Ideal for formal parties and business meetings
The British Cut Summarised:
A formal and elegant fitting look; Cut closer to body with tight fitting sleeves ending with cuffs and a high arm hole.
The American style of suit first achieved popularity in the early 19th century courtesy of the pioneering Brooks Brothers. Favoured by well-to-do Ivy Leaguers, the American Cut distinguished itself with a single vent in the jacket, higher armholes, straight lines, flap pockets and natural shoulders with no padding for a softer silhouette. The original American suit pants were baggy, more for the likes of Al Capone. But, over time, American suits have adapted and are now extremely comfortable and forgiving to most body shapes. Featuring a single-breasted jacket with two or three buttons, the American Cut is usually made from a lighter material than the heavier cloth used for the British Cut, so ideal for warmer climates.
- Straight silhouette, baggy
- Low armhole
- Straight flap pockets
- Natural shoulders, little if almost no padding
- No darts in canvas
- Three buttons (but you should only fasten the middle one)
- Single vented
- Full cut pants
- Typically, no pleats
- Strongly built gentlemen
The American Cut Summarised:
A classy look that emphasis on flexibility and comfort
Not comfortable in the stiff and structured British Cut, the Italians evolved the British cut to accommodate more stylish trends for slim bodies and warmer climates. Popular amongst Europeans, this cut plays on the smaller waist of the average European to create a dramatic inverted triangle. More outlandish that the classier British Cut and comfortable American Cut, the Italian Cut is perhaps a bit too much too soon for most people and something to be eased into.
- Light cloth & light canvas
- High buttons
- Flapless pockets
- High gorge lines
- Very padded shoulders to produce the V-shape
- No vents
- Shorter jacket length
- Tapered waist
- Tight hips
- Traditional Italian cut has one break however the modern Italian cut has no break
- Tall & slim men
- Fashionable, look for creative designing
The Italian Cut Summarised:
This slim fitting cut is stylish, authorative and fits many shapes but offers a lot less mobility as there are no vents and it's slim fit cut makes movement quite restrictive.
Bespoke Suit Tailoring by Mr. Draper
So, there you go. A ten-minute tailoring read packed full of advice and top tips courtesy of Mr. Draper. If you’re looking to upgrade your suited self then look no further than our bespoke tailoring advice service. To access our unique range of suit design advice and styles, you can book an appointment to come in and begin the process with browsing through fabrics and patterns and the tailor can take your measurements.
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