"Many sources say that the customary length for jacket sleeves is to reveal at least 0.5 inches of the shirt cuff. However, I have not been able to find a similar custom on the length for sleeves on a top coat. Would you please tell me and the rest of your readers what is customarily accepted as the proper length for our topcoated selves?"
Despite how it looks in the drawing to the left (either the artist erred or the tops of the men's gloves are folded down), a topcoat or overcoat should fall to the bottom of the hand so it covers jacket and shirt cuff. That way, a man's gloves extend up into the sleeve and there's no skin exposed to the weather.
"When going to a new tailor, do you ever leave written instructions behind? For instance, I have selected a new tailor to make a dinner jacket for me. For once, I have very specific ideas about what I want, and feel confident that I can communicate my wants to him. However, I am sorely tempted to write a letter reiterating my specific wants and desires, to leave with him."
Specifying a drapey Neopolitan jacket to a tailor who makes clean, Roman style clothes for is a recipe for failure. I believe that we should choose tailors for their reputation and house style, and should then be comfortable enough with that style to let the tailor decide all but the major details of cloth, lining, style (double, single with three buttons, etc.), and pockets.
Past that, the fitter should be writing things down as you mention them and if you lack confidence in his ability to read what he's written you've almost certainly chosen the wrong man (or woman). I've had more than one get details wrong but that's part of the game and they are usually reparable.
Sunday, April 29, 2007