Originally published 8/24/11
1. Thy clothes shall skim thy body. Not cling. Not billow.
As Beth so often puts it, you want your clothes to follow the shape of your body no matter what shape it happens to be. Even if you’re heavy. Too big and you’ll look weighty, too tight and you’ll be uncomfortable (or, make others feel uncomfortable). Honor thy seams. A shoulder seam goes on your shoulder. Not halfway down your tricep.
2. Thou shalt develop a relationship with a great tailor.
Worth mentioning over and over again. Having not just a tailor, but a tailor you’re proud to call your tailor, is a huge advantage. It’s the difference between looking good and looking awesome. It’s the difference between looking like everyone else and looking like you.
3. Thou shalt never buy a suit, blazer, or sportcoat with poor fitting shoulders.
It’s the easiest way to waste a large amount of money. The shoulders must fit off the rack. Stand next to a wall with the jacket on. Slowly lean your shoulder into the wall. The pad and your shoulder should hit at the same time.
4. The better shape thou art in, the better thy clothes shall fit and therefore look.
There’s a reason why guys like Daniel Craig look good in a suit. It’s because they exercise like hell and know how to resist that piece of cake.
5. Thou shalt remember that sizing is not consistent across brands.
A medium at Old Navy isn’t going to fit the same as a medium from Calvin Klein. It’s entirely possible to sway between a 38R, 39R, 40S, and 40R in suit sizes, and Small, Medium, and Large in off the rack stuff. Just depends on who makes it.
6. Thou shalt get thy dress shirts tailored.
There are very, very few shirts on the market that don’t require a little nip at the sides if you’re reasonably in shape.
7. Thou shalt embrace the medium break.
It’ll never go out of style. The medium break, slight break, or half break isn’t short enough that your pants are high-waters and stick straight, nor do they gob up around your ankles. Socks show when you sit.
8. Thou shalt button thy blazer when thou stands up.
This is more about utilizing good fit. If you don’t button your jacket when you stand up, don’t even bother to get them tailored. You’ll get used to it over time and eventually it’ll become second nature. What looks better driving down the street, a sleek car with great lines? Or that same car driving down the same street… with its doors open?
9. Thou shalt go with what thou thinks fits best, and be wary of those who say different.
How many times has a salesman in a department store tried to put you in a jacket or a shirt that’s way too big? Conversely, if you like your blazers a little longer and don’t like how the shorter tail-trend looks on you, then don’t budge on it. You know what looks best on you. Stick to your guns. You’re the one wearing it after all.
10. Thou shalt recognize that fit is paramount to everything else.
No matter how good the clothes look on a hanger, if they don’t fit, forget it.