My latest experiment with designing a formal suit
The main elements:
- near black navy blue fabric
- four buttons that buttons up to the chest
- white shawl lapel with paisley design
Referenced against standard black suits
With this new trip to the tailor’s, I attempt to design an over-the-top formal dress wear that is more formal than the normal formal.
The reference for formal suits is, which I seek to outdo, is without a doubt a solid black colour or grey colour suit.
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Custom sterling silver buckle by Keching
My last two suits
Brown checkered (tailored 2012)
The collar and lapels of my brown checkered suit are normal. The pockets are regular as well. The sleeves and cuffs are not out of the ordinary either.
However, because of the fabric design and colour, it may be considered too flashy for some gentlemen.
Pastel blue seer sucker (tailored 2012)
Similarly, most aspects of my pastel blue seer sucker are run of the mill. Even before exploring my design considerations in detail, the colour would have overshadowed them.
Hint: see both my jacket’s pockets, as well as top collar.
Midnight blue formal jacket
First, I chose a near black midnight blue fabric. It is as formal as black and I need not touch black fabric which I personally think is a colour that can only be used at funerals. The most black suits I have ever seen at a wedding is a friend who works in the finance sector but I digressed.
As I intended to tailor an over the top formal jacket, I further turned to military uniforms where formal is institutionalised and strictly enforced. Their dress uniform has four buttons resulting in a high first button that starts at the chest. I opted precisely that for my jacket.
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Replacement belt straps for branded buckles
Shawl lapel with paisley design
I already have two jackets with the regular top collars and lapels. Perhaps it is time to try a shawl lapel. This would allow me to shun the regular looking traits easily found at banquets.
While shawl lapels are not uncommon but it is almost impossible for one to be spotted among guests at a wedding except on the groom.
My free size mannequin is bigger than I am. As such I can’t button the 4 buttons for full effect. Neither am I able to button my shirt’s collar button.
These were my options for my shawl lapel:
- same navy blue fabric
- black fabric (perhaps with sheen)
- light colour fabric for contrast
High collar meant the total amount of white was minimised even as I used it. A low hanging shawl lapel would have meant that I needed to consider not using white.
An endless self reminder
I constantly remind myself that regardless of how exceptional I think my suit jacket’s design might be, it is likely to be just another jacket in the world’s collection of jackets. The following photo illustrates exactly this point.
I have but blended in, in the sea of gentlemen.
Any agency that I might perceive to have had in the design are likely to be limited to the choice of the fabric. I.e. replace the fabric of the two coloured jackets above with black fabric and we get a black formal suit like most other suits.
To think of myself as exceptional would be to deceive myself. It is only through understanding the limits set by natural rules that I can truly break new grounds. Otherwise, I can simply throw in any elements and call it design.
With NY hat
Over the years
Looking like a bank teller.
Had my cowboy hat with me. Would look better on a horse to hide my small body frame. Swapped the navy blue pants out for a white pair.
Worn for the first time at a friend’s wedding. Went with a prior grey pair of pants. Single cloth wrapped button at my cuffs.
A navy blue belt with my custom Goh sterling silver buckle.
Wearing my paisley design scarf for the first time. Went without the belt intentionally in order that focus be on my scarf and lapel.
I was getting married and my collar had turned yellow.
Crown Tailor removed the collar without taking the suit apart and retro fitted a new one by hand stitching as the suit is intact.