It is Difficult to Overestimate the Importance of Fit

I know I have banged on about this on this blog at numerous points but it is genuinely difficult to overestimate the importance of fit. I was reminded of this earlier today.

A few months back I bought a couple of pairs of trousers in the M&S Summer sale. Typically I bought them in 36Long, even though it is a size too large, because they are a little more roomy than 34Ls. I really dislike trousers which cling to me too much. Slim fit trousers are a no, no

However, whilst going for a size up means I get a bit more wiggle room, it also means that the trousers don’t sit properly because the waist is a bit too large. The best solution is to have the waist adjusted. Less effective is to wear a belt or braces.

These particular trousers were tricky ones because they weren’t overly big. I could get away with wearing them as they were because the slightly bigger waist meant that the trousers sat at my hips rather than waist. So they were OK, not brilliant, but OK. So I ummed and ahhhed about whether I would have them adjusted. Indeed I’ve been wearing them off and on over the last few months without adjustment and managing OK.

However, I decided that I would indeed get them adjusted. I am interested in awesome after all….

The last pair of trousers that I had adjusted turned out to be a bit snug. My tailor was unpersuaded that I was a size 34 waist. I insisted that I was (and I used to be) but the adjusted trousers were definitely a bit too snug at the waist.

So I measured my waist carefully this time round to make sure I did not make the same mistake. I was 34 waist. Just….. However an adjustment to 34.5″ would give me some space to tuck my shirt into my waistband.

Dropped them off last week. New instructions. Adjust to 34.5″ waist please. She must have been busy because it took a week to get them done. Picked them up this evening as I was leaving work and couldn’t wait to try them to see the results.

Would they be over snug like the last ones? Would I regret the extra half inch? Or was it insufficient? Should I have asked for 35″? I needn’t have worried. The new 34.5″ waist was exactly the right fit. Snug but not tight at the waist. Perfect.

What I was not prepared for was just how adjusting the waist transformed the fit of the trousers in general and how the transformed fit in turn transformed the way the trousers worked for me and how I felt about them (and in them!).

The trousers cost me £15, down from £25, and the adjustment cost £7.50 each. However, the adjustment makes them look a million dollars.

It simply reinforces my central argument. It’s not colour, fabric, texture or price that are the most important elements when building a wardrobe. Brand is virtually irrelevant. What separates good from great is fit.
Get your clothes to fit you well and style will be effortless, whatever you’ve spent.

So if you haven’t been in the habit of doing so, get your trousers and suits adjusted so they fit you just right. It will be like getting a new wardrobe.

Look into it.

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4 thoughts on “It is Difficult to Overestimate the Importance of Fit

  1. My compliments to you for building a website that quite possibly inspire men in their efforts to dress better. What I don’t understand is, why are you building up a wardrobe consisting of garments in – let’s be honest about it – the lower quality bracket? It seems that you purchase quite a lot of clothes thus spending a fair amount of money. Why not buy less items in a higher quality? Stay patient, save your hardearned money, skip the M and S sales items and every once in a while buy something fantastic that you will own for decades. I’ll bet you’d enjoy your higher quality items more.

    1. Thank you for the comment Christian.

      I think I am building up a wardrobe in the lower price, though not necessarily lower quality, bracket. I am doing this for a number of reasons, the primary one being that I am a man of modest means but wide ranging interests.

      Your argument that I should buy fewer more expensive items that I can keep for decades is, I think, flawed. What you overlook is that one HAS to keep more expensive items for decades in order to get full value. I’ve written about this in a previous post: Cost v Quality.

      So who is to say that it is somehow better to have an item than costs £500 and keep it for 10 years rather than something that costs £50 but lasts for 3 years?

      Moreover, I have to say that I am not fully persuaded that the jump in quality from say M&S to other higher cost outfitter is necessarily obvious. On some technical pieces, like jackets, there can be quite a difference, I acknowledge, but on many simpler pieces there is only so much that a tailor can achieve in the construction of a pair of trousers.

      Moreover, the point of my blog post was this: if you get clothing that fits you really well, it won’t matter too much where it’s from or what it costs, it will have the about the same effect.

      But to each his own.

  2. Re-reading my own comment I have to say that it perhaps came out rather snobbish, not intended. I, too am a man of modest means, so I have to be very careful where I invest my clothing budget. I hate to pay for brand value and I’m only focused on getting proper value for my money.

    6-7 years ago I discovered Charles Tyrwhytt on the internet. Browsing through their website I was amazed to discover that almost every item was subject to a discount of +50%, so being naive I thought to myself that I had to take advantage of this generous offer before sale ended. I bought several shirts, ties, trousers and accessories. Receiving the items I was appalled at the level of quality (or lack thereof) of every single item I had bought. The 25 pound shirts retailing for 90-100 were of a very dubious quality, bad fit and poor construction. Little did I know that CT always sell their products on sale and that the sale price reflects exactly the quality of the clothes. 1 year after purchase I had discarded every single item and was left with a feeling of having thrown 1500 pounds out the window. That experience reflects the worst price/quality/value ratio I’ve ever come across. Nowadays, I buy my shirts from Hilditch & Key, Turnbull & Asser and Eton, and never at full price. During sales a H&K shirt can be had for 25-50 pounds, much the same as CT and the difference is immense.

    If you don’t believe there’s much a tailor can achieve with a pair of trousers I suggest that you look to Cordings, they make wonderful, long lasting and good looking trousers with a fantastic feel when wearing them. And, they are reasonably priced, especially during sales.

    While I agree with you that fit is probably the one most important issue I think that quality is not a very distant second and I don’t agree that you can have the same effect as long as the fit is good. Quality is not limited to good looks, rather being comfortable and long lasting.

    But, like you said, each to his own.

    1. Hey Christian glad to hear that you are a kindred spirit, a man of modest means looking to make the most of his budget.

      I completely agree with you that quality is a very close second to fit. I also agree that quality is more than looking good. We are definitely on the same page at this point.

      However, I suspect that you probably are a man of more discerning taste than I am; I’m pretty ecumenical.

      Interested to hear about your experience of H&K shirts. Haven’t got round to adding any of those to my collection thus far. Certainly didn’t know it was possible to get H&Ks for that kind of price. I shall certainly look into this in the future. Thanks for the heads up.

      I don’t have many CT shirts in my collection. Most of mine are from T M Lewin or Hawes & Curtis but I’m sorry to hear your experience of CT was as bad as that.

      My own experience of CT has been more positive. However, of the three CT is my least preferred for shirts.

      Might need to get you to do a guest post on your H&K experience.

      What do you think?

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