For the man of average height whose chest size is at least eight inches more than his waist size, the principle is to reproportion the oversized shoulder with the smaller bottom.
Shoulders should be as unpadded and natural-looking as possible.
Jackets need length to balance the strong shoulder without shortening the leg line.
Minimal waist suppression.
Two-button single-breasted over double-breasted-avoid three-button single-breasted.
Lapels should be full with slight belly.
Flap on pockets.
Side vents or no vents.
Fabrics should de-emphasize bulk: solid worsteds, herringbones, vertical windowpanes, subtle stripe with no less than 3/4 inch spacing.
To fill out the jacket, Trouser must be worn as high on waist as comfortable.
Full cut through hip and thigh with taper to 1 ¾" cuff.
Trouser leg should have definite break on shoe.
Assuming a broad face and thick neck:
Vertical shirt collar such as tab or long points.
Solid, striped, or patterned neckwear.
Shirt with strong stripes.
Shoes with larger scale to balance shoulders.
THE DRESS SHIRT
THE DRESS SHIRT COLLAR
When purchasing a dress shirt that is, one intended to be worn with a necktie - consider its collar first. Regardless of whether the shirt appears to go perfectly with your new suits, or is meticulously crafted with vast numbers of stitches to the inch, or even woven in the Caribbean's most lustrous sea island cotton, if its high-banded collar looks at if it might swallow up your neck or its diminutive collar make your already prominent chin appear more so, move on. You need to focus on that portion of the dress shirt responsible for exhibiting to best advantage the body part that should receive the most attention - your face.
The triangle formed by the V opening of a buttoned tailored jacket and extending up to the area just below a person's chin is the cynosure of a man's costume. The area is usually accentuated by contrasts between the darker jacket and lighter shirt, the jacket and tie, and the tie and dress shirt. This triangular sector offers more visible layers of textural activity than any other part of a man's outfit, and the point at which all these elements converge is directly under one's chin, where the inverted V of the dress shirt collar comes to a point.
Think of your face as portrait and your shirt collar as its frame. The collar's height on your neck as well as the length and spread of its points should compliment the shape and size of your face. Within the infinite permutations of angle, scale, and mass, no single article of apparel better enhances a man's countenance than the well-designed dress shirt collar. Since a person's bone structure is fixed, although it will be affected by a weight gain or loss, the choice of collar should be guided by the individual's particular physical requirements rather than the vicissitudes of fashion. Unlike other less visible accoutrements such as hosiery or shirt cuffs, this focal point constitutes one of a man's most revealing gestures of personal style. All sophisticated dressers have arrives at one or more collar styles that best highlight their unique features while managing to add a bit of dash along the way.
Choosing the appropriate shirt collar requires experimentation and common sense. A smallish man with delicate features would be lost in a high-set collar with points longer than 3 ¼". Conversely, a heavyset or big-boned man would loom even larger and overshadow a small collar. Collars should counterbalance the facial structure by either softening its strong lines or strengthening its soft ones. Long straight point collars - those 3" or more - will extend and narrow a wide face just as the broad-spaced points of spread collars will offset the line of long narrow one.
Tab collars or other pinned collars have the necessary height to shorten long necks. Strong-chinned men require fuller proportioned collars, just as large tabletops clamor for ample pedestals to achieve aesthetic balance. Though, admittedly, button-downs can look casually stylish, they are too often favored by exactly the kind of men who should avoid them - the double chinned set. Softer-chinned men need slightly higher and firmer collars to compensate for the lack of a strong line under their face.
Throughout the eighties and up through the mid-nineties, most dress shirts-no matter how expensive-generally had collars that were to small for the average wearer's face. In an effort to convey a more casual and less structured formality, men's fashion has explored many approaches to neutralizing the collar's conventional starched and ordered format. Consequently, collars have been lowered, shortened, and softened to such degrees that the original precepts for their correct proportioning have either been distorted or lost completely. Button-downs have little or no roll, straight point collars are so short even the smallest tie knot prevents their point from touching the shirt's chest, while spread collars are so low on the neck they have been sapped of all their strength and flair. Except for those produced by a few high-end American, English, or Italian shirt makers, most dress shirts give the impression they are apologizing for their collars.
I cannot help but wonder whether the long-understood sartorial contract between a man and the conventional format of a buttoned-up dress shirt and drawn-up necktie - which, in effect, exchanged superior stature for a measure of restriction - is no longer able to be negotiated. Since many of the contemporary, more diminutive collar styles fail to heighten the wearer's appearance, they offer little compensation for their inherent discomfort. As a result, many alternatives have been put forth in an effort to replace the classic dress shirt collar composition.
However, as Oscar Schoeffler, longtime fashion editor of Esquire, once warned, "Never underestimate the power of what you wear. After all, there is just a small bit of you sticking out at the collar and cuff. The rest of what the world sees is what you drape on your frame." Therefore, the most important factor to weigh when buying a dress shirt isn't its color, fit, or price. It is the collar and its smartness for the wearer's face.
Other than the Italians, who are almost fetishistically meticulous about the fit of their dress shirts, most men wear theirs too short in the sleeve, too small in the collar, and too full around the wrist. The explanation for this is relatively straightforward: successive washings shrink collar size and sleeve length, while most shirting manufacturers allow enough breadth in a man's cuff to accommodate a large wrist girded by a Rolex-type watch.
The best dress shirt is useless if its collar does not fit comfortably. With the top button closed, you should be able to slide two-dress shirt. Most better dress shirt makers add an extra 0.5 inch to the stated collar size to allow for shrinkage within the first several washings. I would never wear a new dress shirt unless it fits perfectly around the neck in the store or when first tried on at home. If this not be the case, it is best return it or risk being strangled by a smaller collar before too very long.
The back of the shirt collar should be high enough to show 0.5 inches above the rear portion of the jacket's collar. Its points should be able to touch the shirt's body and rest smoothly on its front. When a tie is fitted up into the collar, its points should be long enough to remain in contact with the shirt's body, regardless of how sharply the wearer turns his head. No part of the collar's band should be able to be seen peeking over the tie's knot. Semi spread to cutaway collars should have no tie space above the tie's knot. In other words, both sides of the collar's inverted V should meet or touch each other while the edges of their point should be covered by both sides of the jacket's lapels.
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