But what makes this almost instantly recognizable fabric so special? In a word, the producers. You see, each stage of making Harris Tweed is carried out by one mill, with the exception of the weaving itself, which, by an Act of Parliament, can only be done in the of the homes of the locals who live on the islands of Harris, Lewis, Uist, and Barra in the Outer Hebrides of the UK.
Oh, there is no automation allowed during the weaving process, either. How many other products can boast the same thing in this day and age?
Even the base colors, there are a few dozen, that go into making all the other colors in these unique fabrics are made using natural methods from the flora of the islands — plants, lichen, spring and river water — I’m surprised it hasn’t been labeled “organic.”
After the making and weaving of the tweed, it still has to be inspected and deemed worthy to be stamped with the Orb certification before it is released to make you an heirloom-worthy garment. Owning clothing made of Harris Tweed is truly something special.
New colors and patterns available now! Get together with Larry and be ready to wear your Harris Tweed as soon as the weather turns.
The tailoring game is played in eighths of an inch. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but in menswear, where change is glacial at best, 1/8″ is pretty significant. Which is why anything more than that can seem like a rushing flood of icemelt and fashion.
Take the new look that you’re being asked to wear by your significant others. Your pleats are gone, for one thing, but what about your upper half? Well, let’s take a look at your suit coat and sportsjacket. What makes a modern suit? And more important, what dates your old favorite?
Let’s start with the glaringly obvious. The high-buttoning three button suits are finished. We’ve harkened back to the two button Kennedy-esque suit. With some differences.
That low buttoning point from the Armani-clad ’80s? Bend over. Does your tie fall out? Too low. But three buttons kept that tie in place, so what’s a man to do? The modern coat is made with the buttoning point placed higher, around your natural waist. That waist is accentuated with some suppression, where possible. No more sack suits. “Tailored*” is the byword here.
Now take a look at the shoulders. They are narrower in the point-to-point measurement, allowing a natural shoulder with minimal padding to end almost on your deltoid. The trick here is that the half-back measurement hasn’t changed too much. (Why is that important?So you can actually move your arms. There has to be some give at the shoulder blade, or we have to resort to spandex suits. And nobody wants to see that.)
While you’re there, take a look at the armhole. It is smaller, higher, hugging up into your armpit a bit more. The combination with the natural shoulder and the half-back makes for a lot of possible movement. There’s no extra cloth to get in the way of your arm swinging about when you hail the bartender That smaller armhole means that the sleeve itself is naturally thinner. “Proportion” is the other big watchword here.
With everything slimming down to allow more movement and lengthen your torso, the chest gets cleaned up. The drape cut (identified by a fold of material on the chest by the armhole, has given way to a cleaner Italian looking chest. It’s elongating with the shaped waist, instead of the heroic “V” shape that the drape imposed, but still proportional to the silhouette as a whole.
Finally, we look at some details.
Side vents (really useful if you stand around with your hands in your pockets) are almost required on a modern suit. Just ’cause they’re cool and kind of European. In a good way.
Your lapel has gotten narrower, too. While we at Leviner Wood caution against going to the extremes of (just about everything, but especially) a 2″ or 4 1/2″ lapel, the 3′ – 3/ 1/4″ looks right — up-to-date — and in proportion to the narrower shoulder stance.
The linings! Well, that’s between you and us. Little to none, for a sweater like feel, or fully lined in a skulls and roses fit for a corporate raider and weekend rock star. Have at it!
*Please note, when we say “tailored,” we mean a trimmer suit, but NOT a skinny suit. Proportion and moderation help us keep the suit tastefully balanced and wearable for years past any current trend. Hey, we can make skinny suits, and if you have the physique for it, go for it! Just remember, it’s a trend…
One of these days we’re going to have to change our logo. We’ve been happily making you clothing for close to thirty years now here at Leviner Wood, and this September will mark ten years of bringing you our blog and e-newsletter! That’s a lot of insight into our world.
So we thought it might be a fine time to reflect on what’s changed in menswear. What makes a suit looked dated today?
The last ten years have seen great leaps in men’s fashions. in 2009, requests for a two-button, natural shouldered suit were… nil. Everyone was wearing three-buttons. High-roll three buttons at that! Trousers were double-pleated. Shoulders were built out and drape was built into the chest. Armholes and sleeves were generous, to accommodate the Brooks Brothers like 12″+ shirt-waists. Roomy, was thought to be the key to comfort. Thought to be.
While the pendulum has swung far too far in the opposite direction in our opinion (any tighter and we’ll have to start cutting Spandex or Neoprene suits gentlemen….), fashion has given us the tailored suit, which, when cut correctly is very flattering on the majority of our clientele.
Today we are building made-to-measure custom clothing that shares most of the same characteristics that used to be found only on truly bespoke garments. From the Italians we have learned to take excess fabric out of the chest for a cleaner look and the thigh for a trimmer trouser (even in a pleated model!) The British have given us waist suppression and a higher syce (armhole) which makes the suit coat look fantastic and move with us instead of letting excess cloth in our way. That also means that our shirts have taken on a trimmer cut to fit better under our tailored jackets.
Over the next couple of posts we’ll go into what we see as the best trends for the modern man to emulate.
Next up: what should your suit coat look like in 2019.