Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On The Street… So Close, Fifth Ave

- Great color coordination between the jacket, pants, and shoes. The white shirt gives a crisp effect but blue could have been a very nice choice also.

- The only thing hampering this look is that the jacket is just too long and the sleeves are just too long.
The good news is that both of these issues are easily fixable. Even taking a half inch off the length of the jacket would help and the pocket placement is high enough that it should not throw off the overall balance. The sleeves could use a little cuff peeking out, GQ says 1/4 inch but that doesn’t sound like enough to me, I’m thinking a half inch at least.


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  1. OdJe

    August 22, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Nice look… for an older gentleman. I’d hate to even try it!

    By the way, you’re definately right about the length of the jacket and the sleeves – now only if I can get my tailor to listen to me and shorten mine!

  2. Butch

    August 22, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Well, the jacket AND pants are too long, I’d say, so the eye is pulled down, down, down to the shoes, which I’m not sure can stand the scrutiny. Anyway, color’s indeed pleasing.

  3. tee

    August 22, 2006 at 9:43 am


  4. John the revelator

    August 22, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Actually, in this case it could very well be that it is the shirt sleeves that are too short. It’s very annoying to shorten the jacket-sleeves too much, only to find that after a couple of months of wearing the sleeves are drawn even further up becuse of the wrinkle-effect…

  5. Patrick

    August 22, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Is it just me or does the jacket seem a tad too big too? It looks a bit loose at the bottom. Could just be the effect of the jacket and pants being too long.

  6. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 10:17 am

    1) Tee, just in case no one bothers to tell you, I will volunteer: Typing in all capital letters is like screaming at your readers. Not only will capitals make your very interesting comments harder to read, but they are also likely to bias the average netizen against you.

    2) Sart: I agree; it’s great color, and nicely echoed in the background too. Nice catch.

  7. jeff

    August 22, 2006 at 10:25 am

    I wholeheartedly agree about the jacket and pants being too long in this instance. I too have bought my last 2 suits one size down. One of the best moves I ever made. The other great move was discovering a tailor. It is amazing how even off the rack items improve one-hundred fold with minor alterations.

    -Jeff S.

  8. Alice Olive

    August 22, 2006 at 10:38 am

    He breaks my heart – we can’t see his face!

  9. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 11:51 am

    Thank you for this blog. I’m getting a good fashion education! I live in a fashion-challenged city in the South, and I really appreciate the inspiration and instruction!

  10. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    This strikes me as a perfect example of how many American men have the right raw materials in their closets but don’t pay attention to the little details that would really pull their look together.

    This IS a great combo of jacket, pants and shoes in theory, but (as others have noted already) in practice everything’s too long, and I think he just looks sloppy. The big break in the pants is as bad as the sleeve length, IMHO.

    I don’t necessarily blame the man in the photo. In my experience, salespeople often force overlong jackets, sleeves and pant legs on their customers. Unless you’re a guy who cares deeply, you probably assume that the salesperson knows better and just go along with them.

  11. Trenditional

    August 22, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    I am going to echo the group, in saying the jacket is too big. I’m almost wondering if that isn’t his correct size? Also, what ever is on his right hip is pulling on the coat from the underside (he should put his cell phone in his inside pocket).

    I do like the colors, maybe a trip to a quality tailor would help significantly. Like Jeff said, a relationship with a good tailor will make any suit look 100 times better.

  12. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    I’ve always used 1/2 inch on the sleeves , think that’s a better look …. when a shirt sleeve bunches up , 1/4 inch isn’t enough

  13. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    I think that the comments about men’s suit salesmen hit the mark …. They always try to fit me with a too-long jacket sleeve , and “insist” on a break in the pants …… they need a few lessons from this blog !!!

  14. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    I have a Canali suit jacket that I would like to shorten a bit. The store owner said that was an impossible alteration. Do I see from the posts that it is possible? I love the suit otherwise-

  15. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    I love your attention to details on men’s clothing, and wish you’d also do the same for women. Especially work clothing, since you seem to focus on casual clothing for women.

  16. Butch

    August 22, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    Anonymous, shortening a jacket can be a bit of a walk on the wild side. It’s almost major surgery, the reason why most store tailors will dissuade you from having it done. One consideration, as Scott mentioned earlier, is pocket placement–if the jacket is shortened, will the pockets ride near the hips? It’s also expensive to have done by an “outside” tailor, who must also know what s/he is doing, as correct shape/line must be maintained. Better to choose a different cut in the first place.

  17. EnidP

    August 22, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    I agree with the lenghts of the sleeve and jacket but I still think he pulled off a great color combo for a summer suit…

    ENID P.

  18. PJS

    August 22, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    I wish I’d had this site to educate me when I moved to New York ten years ago, raw and unformed, from Arizona.

    Sadly, I’ve had to learn it all on my own. Oh, Sartorialist, where WERE you???

    Glad someone brought up the too-long pants on this fellow.

  19. Chris

    August 22, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    What is the ‘proper’ length of a jacket?

  20. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    First I should say I love the blog and have really enjoyed reading it. So thank you.

    I myself have a pair of pants that is too long that I’ve been meaning to have shortened, but I’ve been putting it off as I don’t know the location of a good tailor. Can anyone recommend a good tailor in the Washington Square area?

  21. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Let me jump on this “too long” bandwagon – jacket sleeves and pants.
    It appears to me that the buttoned jacket seems a little cinched giving the lower part a not so flattering flare. The right sleeve of the jacket looks like it ends just below the wrist, however the left sleeve appears to be much lower on the hand (could be just prespective) but ~3/8″ off the right would suit me. With the pants, perhaps a belt & 2″ shorter. The shoes need a lot of TLC (read: polish). I also think that bags with longer handles are awkward looking for Guys.

  22. Jay

    August 22, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    Great tips again Sartorialist!

    * I buy my suits ‘cut to the bone’
    * I want the length of my pants a bit short, so my half height shoes shows up nice.
    * ALWAYS show cuffs. Average 0.75-1 inch
    * ALWAYS were LONG socks (to the calfs)
    * Always wear matching shoes & belt

    I always enjoy your postinsg!

  23. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    Okay…you want to know what *I* think? LOL. Top to bottom: the jacket fits well at the shoulders and chest and at the collar. Then, when it gets to the button it appears a little tight…perhaps our gent has a little paunch or a slight inner tube that is pulling the drape. (The jacket could be let out a bit, or our model could use to tighten up a bit.) The jacket’s length IS a bit too long, as if he’s a Regular but he bought a Long by mistake. I’ll say it again, despite the trendy short cut currently on the runways in the EU, and these words aren’t directly from me: “When you put on the jacket, you should be able to cup the bottom in your hand right where the fingers begin from the palm.” (Source: http://www.ehow.com/tips_108131.html) In this case the jacket ends at about his second knuckle – so at least an inch or more too long. It’s hard to tell about the jacket’s sleeve length, but yeah, if he’s wearing long sleeves underneath (and he should be, right?), there should be some 3/8 – 1/2′ of white showing. I agree with Sart, the 1/2″ is better; forget about 1/4″. Next, the pants: too long, way too much break. With that full a cut, I’d like to see a nice crisp crease so that the fullness is mostly profile. The shoes look a bit like the rest of it – good attempt, but failing to make the grade. They’re a bit rundown, no? Or maybe just too flat and casual. Some great well-constructed shoes would punch this whole look up a sizeable notch, no? How about the same color in a suede lace-up? How about a tie? I would recommend it. Our model went 90% of the way to putting it all together and then left out this finishing touch. There’s nothing casual about the jacket with a white shirt, or the grey pants and the briefcase except for the missing tie and the too-casual shoes, so I think there’s a mismatch of intentions there. Either that, or in any case, here it’s about fit, fit, fit. I like the color combo, but maybe the tie could’ve added a bit of color. Oh, lastly and respectfully, I think the diagonal background has a skewing effect on the photo. Did I go on too long? Well…you asked! ;-) – JCH

  24. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    it would be nice to know if the jacket is either double vent or single vent or neither…. yes i agree the jacket needs nip and tuck here and there specially around the waist but i don’t think it’s too long. there are ready made jackets that are cut long like oxxford and kiton or jackets that are cut big like zegna and isaia. one should pay attention when buying the right size jacket depending on the body type (e.g. 40R, 40L or 40S) and adjust accordingly based on the designer but keep the R, L, or S the same.

    as far as the trousers go take a look at this posting “On The Street… 57th St., New York” and check out what Luciano Barberra has to say:

    There are many schools on trouser length. In America they are often worn so that the pant leg tumbles over the shoes. Many Europeans now wear them quite short. You even show a little sock. What can I say? Perhaps we Europeans are secretly afraid of flash floods. The picture at right shows, quite literally, where I stand. I call this the Mid-Atlantic Solution since it is halfway between Europe and America. The pants just breaking lightly on the shoe. I do not want to see your socks, but I do want to see your shoes.

  25. Kathleen

    August 22, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    I wonder how old this gentleman is, though? Putting aside the issue that his suit might be bona-fide vintage (i.e. he’s been wearing it for years!), is it possible that his idea of fit is completely different? (I agree with all the comments, though!)

  26. Kathleen

    August 22, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    PS Re: Alice’s comment – yes, he’s like the Magritte painting of the man in the bowler with an apple for a face!

    (Who was referencing “The Thomas Crown Affair” the other day?!)

  27. Anonymous

    August 22, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    I suggest readers who are seriously interested in proper fit of men’s garments read http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com or http://www.styleforum.net. Both have extensive discussions on proper fit and tailoring.

  28. Elessa

    August 23, 2006 at 3:38 am

    Ha una figura da vero galantuomo..peccato che non si veda il viso..ma complimenti per il borsello..molto retrò e di gusto impeccabile!

  29. martine

    August 23, 2006 at 5:21 am

    This is the pits. This gentleman is clearly in need of a complete makeover. I am also intrigued by the ubiquitous bag/satchel.

  30. herringbonekid

    August 23, 2006 at 6:10 am

    ” What is the ‘proper’ length of a jacket? “

    if you half the distance from base of collar (back of neck) to the the bottom of trousers, that is where your jacket should end. any longer and your legs look short as seen here. you don’t have to measure it exactly…do it by eye. the too-long break also adds to the short-leg look, as if the trousers belong to a taller person.

  31. Irish Eyes

    August 23, 2006 at 8:15 am

    Jeez people, give the guy a break – if he was running for a bus none of us would notice any of this… He’s almost there – he’s got the elements. I think he looks fine. Bag’s good too. As if we’re all so perfect…

  32. kiarella

    August 23, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Minor mistakes… easily fixed but…..beheading is a severe punishment!

  33. Anonymous

    August 23, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    If he makes the bus without tripping over his too long pants or jacket sleeves you mean !!!!

  34. Anonymous

    August 23, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    for those shoppers who were dissuaded not to make any alterations you purchased the wrong size or perhaps the overly sized jacket has been deeply discounted that it’s not economical for the store to have the tailor make any adjustments.


    i think it’s time to show Mory again and i think this will really help those who are sartorially challeged or those who are not sure about proper lenght.

  35. Mr Seattle

    August 24, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    Colors are spot on. The fit is dreadful.

    The jacket is too big in every direction. Jacket and sleeve length are too long, shoulders are too wide and the cut of the body is totally wrong for this guy. Sleeves are also too big around.

    His pants are terribly long. The drapes in my living room don’t even puddle that much.

  36. Anonymous

    August 24, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    Your right Irish Eyes.
    Im the one who “jumped on the bandwagon” above. I think I did it because it was easy and not personnal. If his face were showing perhaps I would have been more genteel.
    Hell, if I just looked like that half the time I leave the house, I’d consider myself on a roll. With a little detail attention and tweaking I could convince myself that I was headed for a GQ cover shoot.

    Thanks for the reality check.

  37. dcinDC

    July 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Appears as if he’s lost weight, but hasn’t yet had time to get things tailored to his new size. I lost 20 pounds, but don’t think my clothes looked that bad – hmmm… maybe they did. Anyway, spent a small fortune on alterations, but now love my clothes again! Can recommend Christopher Kim here in Washington DC – also makes custom as well.

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