An Introduction to the Suit Jacket

Without a doubt, the most elegant item of clothing in a man’s wardrobe is the suit jacket. It comes as part of a set with matching trousers and sometimes with a vest in the same or contrasting fabric.

There are two main types of suit jackets – the single-breasted jacket, usually with notch lapels and the double-breasted jacket, strictly with peak lapels. Occasionally, you may find a suit with a mandarin collar but it’s not mainstream. Shawl lapels are commonly use in a tuxedo jacket.

Single-breasted jackets have a single row of buttons down the front, usually two or three; there may be an occasional four, commonly for very tall men. The jacket’s front sides only overlap enough to permit buttoning.

A double-breasted jacket has two rows of buttons, and the front overlaps enough to allow both front sides to be attached to the opposite row of buttons. These jackets were all the rage in the 80s and seem to be going through a revival of sorts with some recent high-profile adopters in David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal and even Prince Charles. The current double-breasted jackets though are only remnants of their former selves – gone are the big shoulder pads, they are cut shorter and the bulk factor is removed altogether allowing shorter men the opportunity to don one without looking all swamped up.

Jacket Fit. The fit is the most important part of the jacket and I can’t stress that enough. People have different comfort levels with how tapered they wear their jackets. This is usually done at the waist to allow the jacket to closely follow the contours of the body. It all depends on how comfortable you feel in the look. You may have noticed men who power-dress, bankers and management consultants for instance all wear tapered jackets as it is what basically creates the image. To look good in a suit, you need not have your jackets fitted to that level unless you like it that way. Although be careful that it’s not too loose either as that creates the opposite effect of a shabby image. Make sure it’s shaped well on you and the fabric does not pinch at some corners and hang loose at others.

Here are a few things other you will want to look at to ensure the rest of your jacket fits well. The waist button should rest just below the natural waist of the wearer. The length of the jacket should be in line with the middle knuckle of the thumb and the back should rest just a little below the bottom. The cuffs should rest just a little above where the wrists. This leaves room for the shirt cuffs to be seen, usually around half an inch.

Jacket Shoulders. Jackets are usually built around the shoulders, and this structure is essential to the fit of the garment. The most important function of the jacket shoulders is to create symmetry. People come in different shapes and sizes and that is true of their shoulders too. Some men have extremely broad shoulders, others drooping and some will even have shoulders of different heights. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and a well-stitched bespoke jacket will easily help to create symmetry. The padding of the shoulders is the place to start. Make sure the shoulder lines are well-defined but not exaggerated. For most people excessively large shoulder pads, for instance those that extend beyond the natural shoulder line creates a disproportionate look. On the other hand, if you naturally have small shoulders, having the shoulder pads very slightly extend beyond your shoulder line, will correct the look for you. It’s all down to your body type.

The thickness of the padding is the next thing to look at. If you naturally have shoulders of different heights, you can use the padding of varying thickness to easily correct that for you. As a general rule with shoulder padding, gone are the days when bulky shoulder pads were in trend. Today’s jackets largely have a thin padding with a slightly downward natural slant. Over-padding causes the neck and head to be engulfed by the jacket, and too thin padding does not allow the jacket to have the formal look that a suit jacket is supposed to create. What a bespoke jacket does is to create evenness and symmetry no matter what your natural shoulders are like.

Jacket Lapels. Lapels are the folded flaps of cloth on the front side of the jacket; a continuation of the jacket collar that stretches down to where the buttons begin. Lapels come in different styles and options. The most common variance of the lapels is the width. For a classic look, a moderate-width lapel is best and it works well on most occasions.

There are three basic types of lapels. The most common is the notched lapel and is the type used on single-breasted jackets. A suit jacket with notched lapels is often considered the most formal way of dressing and the type adopted by businessmen across the board. The second type, the peak lapel is more dressy than notched and commonly used on a double-breasted suit. Peak lapels create a broader and stronger silhouette with it’s fuller looking edges and arched angles – more of an occasion look and might be a bit much for the working day unless of course it comes on a double-breasted jacket. Shawl lapel is the third type and is usually found on tuxedo and dinner jackets. Here, the lapel and collar are not separate – the under collar is cut in one garment front with the centre back seam joining the two halves.

Jacket Sleeves Buttons. One of the things that distinguishes a bespoke jacket from an off-the-rack one is functioning sleeve buttons. In fact it has become fashionable to leave the last one unbuttoned as a statement to say that the jacket is custom-made. Most suits these days have four sleeve buttons but three is not uncommon. Regardless of the number, there should be at least as many of them as there are buttons on the waist, and they should be placed within a half-inch or so above the hem. Also sleeve buttons should always match the waist buttons.

Jacket Pockets. There are three typical styles of pockets on a jacket. The first is the jetted pockets. This type of pocket is sewn into the lining of the jacket and only a narrow horizontal slit appears on the side. As they appear nearly invisible, it contributes to a very sleek and polished look and frequently found on formal wear.

The second type of pocket is called the flap pocket. Flap pockets are like jetted pockets with an additional flap sewn into the top of the pocket, thus the name. It covers the pocket’s opening. Flap pockets are the most common type on suit jackets and nowadays is tailored such that the flaps can be tucked inside the pocket thus creating the jetted pocket appearance. This gives wearers’ the option of wearing the suit one day with the jetted pocket look and another with the flap pocket look.

There are also patch pockets, the least formal, and like the name suggests, a cloth is patched on the outside of the jacket to make it into a pocket.

Some bespoke jackets also come with a ticket pocket, another customisation that distinguishes a bespoke jacket from a ready-made one. It’s a smaller pocket placed above the standard pocket on the right side or occasionally on the left if that’s the wearer’s dominant hand.

Pockets are, usually, horizontally cut, but on some less formal jackets like the sports jacket you will find that they are made with a slight slant.

Moving up and common to all jackets is the breast pocket – basically a jetted pocket found on the upper-left chest. It’s purpose is not that of a pocket as such and is used more commonly for putting a display handkerchief or pocket square.

Inside pockets differ from jacket to jacket. Off-the-rack ones don’t often come with one. On a bespoke suit, it depends on the customisation requests but as a standard there is normally one on the left side and it is sewn into the lining. Some additional inside pockets for holding pens and/or credit cards are also not uncommon, another signature that the jacket is bespoke.

Jacket Vents. Vents are flap-like slit(s) in the back bottom of the jacket designed to accommodate freer movement while a person is seated for instance and for easier access to trouser pockets for the wallet. On the bespoke jacket there are three options – ventless, center vent and side vents.

Ventless jackets as the name suggests have no vent and is commonly found on Italian-style suits offering a sleek look for the back side of the jacket. Center vent is one single slit in the center of the jacket. A jacket with side vents has two vents, one on either side, usually where the trouser pockets are placed.

If there’s one point to take away after reading through the article, make sure it’s “fit”. A well-fitting suit covers a multitude of sins you may make in fabric, color and style.

Important Points to Consider When Buying Baby Clothes As Gifts

Now I have a child, one of the things I find really challenging is receiving gifts (in particular clothes) for my little girl, which turn out to be useless. This isn’t about Wholesale Baby Clothing, as I want to share my biggest frustrations, especially when others take the time to shop for baby clothing. Even more important is the thought that people spent their hard earned money on things that will never see the light of the day.

Over the past twelve weeks, I have received numerous little dresses, jackets, jumpsuits, bibs and other beautiful clothes that are now all sitting in a bag ready to go onto eBay never being worn by my little girl. Why may you ask?

When it comes to baby clothes, there are four simple criteria’s that I stick to:

1. Is it easy to put on? There’s nothing worse than trying to get a very complicated outfit onto a little squirming infant. Particularly after bathing, it is quite common for the little ones to get a bit restless especially if you take your time trying to dry out well all of the little folds around the neck, underarms and so on. Avoid buying outfits that contain many buttons on the back or long sleeve shirts and jumpsuits that need to be put over the head. Ideally, little jumpsuits that button up all the way down the front are an ideal solution for newborns.

2. What is it made of? This is a big one for me. Many of us don’t like to wear clothes made out of synthetic fibres as they simply don’t breathe inturn causing sweating and general discomfort. If an adult is either hot or uncomfortable, they can simply change. A baby however cannot. Instead, babies either cry, or if still unchanged, put up with the situation in discomfort. Secondly, many studies show that all babies should only ever sleep in clothing made from natural fibres such as cotton, as there is a lower risk of SIDS. Babies sleeping in items made from synthetic fibres such as polyester can over heat during the night without your knowledge, thus increasing the risks.

3. Is it appropriate for the weather? It’s lovely jumping online or going to the shops to find funky baby clothing that dazzles you with the gorgeous range of baby girl dresses, or little shorts and T-shirt sets for boys. You need to however take into consideration whether they these outfits are appropriate for the season. Avoid little sleeveless dresses and short sleeve outfits in wintertime; likewise thick jumpsuits may not be the best solution for summer either. If you are set on buying that little dress, and it is winter time, make sure that you buy it in a larger size.

4. What about the size – Most mothers (especially first time mums) tend to get over excited and buy a whole heap of baby clothes before the little one arrives into our world. Usually, they will be well stocked up for the first 6 – 8 weeks. When buying baby clothes, try to purchase items that the child can wear 3-6 months down the track. Also around that time, the families would have spent a great deal of money on the multitude of items that a baby needs so cash may become a little scarce – especially if the mother is intending on taking long maternity leave. Always remember though, if the baby is born in the middle of the winter, don’t buy winter clothes; rather look at items suitable for spring.

When buying baby clothes as a gift it’s quite easy to get it right. Simply consider the following: Is this outfit going to be useful, is it going to be comfortable, will it be easy to put on, and by the time the bub grows into it, will it be appropriate for the current season.

Fitness Activewear – 10 Reasons to Look Great When Going to the Gym!

For the exercise activists and the occasional exercise participant alike, going to the gym, like all female endeavors, requires a great outfit. If fashion were irrelevant in the fitness world, tennis shoes would not come in the variety of colors and styles that they do. When we feel good in the clothes we wear, regardless of the occasion we walk a little taller due to the confidence radiating from within. And who among us doesn’t want that extra push when working out? On this note we reflect on the top 10 reasons to look your best at the gym.

1. Motivation and confidence!

Fitness apparel is no exception to wearing nice clothes and feeling great in them. Feeling good about yourself from head to toe is one of the many perks of a great outfit. When you mix it with exercise and advancing your physical health, imagine the body confidence your going to have! Having so much extra motivation about how your going to look even better in your new pants will keep you going for that extra set of reps! Achieve your goals by rewarding yourself with a fitness activewear outfit!

2. Function

Fashion aside for a moment, today’s activewear brands offer so many new perks. Companies use fabrics that wick away sweat from your body and keep you dry throughout your workout. Activewear fabrics breath wonderfully and move with the body, allowing you to feel cool and your clothing to move effortlessly as you do. Also, the activewear fabrics are often colorfast, so wash after wash the colors stay vibrant!

3. Flattering

We all have areas on our bodies where we wish we had a tad extra “concealing.” Activewear can be quite flattering. Most high end brands are made from a tight stretch material that actually makes you look slimmer. When paired with darker colors it will immediately create longer, leaner, flattering lines.

4. You never know….

You never know when fate is going to play a hand, so always be prepared! You could meet the man of your dreams coming off the elliptical. The gym is a great place to meet someone who shares similar interests.

5. Compliments

The gym or yoga studio is a very social place where chit-chat normally occurs. Looking your best is a sure fire way to draw in those compliments to no end! Who among us doesn’t love getting a compliment?!

6. Motivate fellow gym goers

We all know that guys at the gym work out harder when a girl in cute workout clothes walks past. By looking good you are motivating those boys a little bit harder.

7. Competition

Lets be honest here ladies; we are all competitive in one form or another. Who can run the fastest, who can do that yoga pose a little bit deeper and who can climb the most stairs. No matter the venue, the best dressed is always a top contender. Who is wearing the best activewear?

8. Save time

Looking good at the gym means you look good on your way to the gym and immediately after the gym. Whether you are running an errand before or meeting the girls for a drink after, a well placed gym outfit can save the wardrobe changes without sacrificing the fashion!

9. Consider the alternative!

Now working out is not like going to the Oscars; we do not spend three hours on our hair and makeup prior, but some effort is still needed. How do you get that extra self assured boost when you are wearing a stained sweatshirt and dripping with sweat stains?!

10. You deserve it!

You play hard and you work even harder! Its ok, and even necessary to spoil yourself every once and awhile. It will do you a world of good to allow yourself to indulge in something that not only makes you feel fantastic but helps your health as well!

Looking good at the gym is about achieving you highest self greatness. When we look and feel our best we preform our best. Performance is altered by our emotional and mental state. Amazingly enough, something as simple as an activewear top and matching pants will have huge impacts for the better. Always be the best you can be, inside and out.

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