Getting Dressed Again

Getting dressed again in a post-pandemic world

Getting Dressed Again

Give your style a kickstart after a year of sweats

I like clothes. I wouldn’t be in this job if I didn’t. But over the past year working from home, I haven't put much effort into getting dressed. Weekends came and went, months passed and I'd still be in the same rotation of sweats, tees and jeans. I'm sure you can relate.

But as the world opens back up and we start returning to life in the office, out on the town and around the people we've been socially distant from, we're faced with some choices: What do you want to look like? What kind of life do you want to live? And how can we get excited about getting dressed again?

One thing is clear: we're all ready for a change, right? And we could all use some fun in our lives. We're seeing that guys are already buying more clothes. So take this as an opportunity to try something new. Pull on a color or pattern you haven't worn before. Have a little fun with your clothing, with your shoes and accessories. Mix some prints and fabrics and don't take it all too seriously. Keep the comfy shorts you've been wearing, but pair them with a bold shirt and a pair of loafers. Or get yourself a proper sports jacket, but wear it as casually as you would a Patagonia fleece.

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Suitsupply custom program
Suitsupply custom program

That's my plan. I want to put a little more effort into my attire. A few weeks ago, looking to branch out sartorially, I decided to try Suitsupply's new custom program. They've had customizable suits for a while, but now they offer a full tailoring program of made-to-measure suits and jackets, shirts and trousers, even outerwear. You can build a garment completely online or start it on the website and then go into your local store to finish out the details. What's more, it's available in a wide range of luxe fabrics from some of Europe's most renowned mills.

Incidentally, for as much as I like clothes and as often as I've had my clothing tailored, I'd never gone full custom before. Mostly because it's such an expensive proposition and for someone who doesn't wear a lot of suits, I could never justify the cost. That's where Suitsupply's affordability comes in handy. Michael Rooders, the brand's made-to-measure specialist based in Los Angeles, walked me through the process. He measured my entire torso and asked me questions about how I liked things to fit. With nearly a decade of experience under his belt, he had a lot of intel on the ins and outs of custom clothing.

Suitsupply custom linen check Havana jacket
Suitsupply custom linen check Havana jacket

For example, I wanted this jacket to be more casual—light enough for a California summer but still sharp enough to wear basically anywhere. I decided on a linen fabric with a subtle check pattern by the venerable Irish mill Baird McNutt. And I figured a half-canvas construction was the way to go because I wanted it to be breezy. But Michael suggested going full-canvas. “It allows the jacket to breathe, so it's a slightly better option for lighter jackets,” he said. “It just hangs better, plus it molds to the body to help retain its shape as well.”

For the uninitiated, full-canvas refers to the inside of a tailored jacket. It's an inner layer made from horsehair canvas that allows ultra-fine fabrics to drape more comfortably while the structure of the pieces help the jacket mold to your body over time for a truly personalized fit. I also learned that it lengthens the life of your jacket by distributing tension at stress points and helps it hold up to repeated dry cleaning.

Suddenly, it was clear that I was in good hands. It's helpful to have a second, skilled set of eyes to help make these decisions. After Michael waked me through my options for the details—you have your pick of buttons and button-holes, linings and stitching—we finalized the larger components of the jacket. Those included everything from shoulder type to pockets. I decided on patch pockets to, again, keep it casual. The plan is to make this my sophisticated swap for my usual chore jacket.

Suitsupply custom linen check Havana jacket
Suitsupply custom linen check Havana jacket

Then it was time to try on some dummy jackets to finesse the fit. “One of the best benefits is that there are no compromises,” he says while tucking and pinning the fabric on my sleeve. With a bespoke jacket, you can correct all the mistakes nature left you to deal with. One shoulder slightly sloping? Nothing a few quick stitches can't fix. I learned everyone has a different natural waist. If you've ever buttoned a jacket and felt that uncomfortable snugness in your midsection, it's not your belly. It's that the button likely needs to be lowered. “Honestly, even a quarter of an inch can make a jacket look and feel so much better,” Michael says as he pins where my jacket's new button stance will be.

Suitsupply custom linen check Havana jacket
Suitsupply custom linen check Havana jacket

Just 27 days later, Michael emailed to tell me that my finished jacket had just come in. It was shocking to me that something could be sewn especially for you in that short of time, for this affordable of a price. Pulling it on for the first time felt like slipping your hand into a cashmere-lined leather glove—it was cozy and luxurious, but easy to move in. It's casual and cool, yet it makes me feel remarkably put-together. I can throw it over a T-shirt with some jeans and a pair of loafers. I can pair it with simple chinos and a denim shirt when going out to dinner. Of course, I will wear it to the numerous summer weddings that I hear are coming my way. So as we walk the line between the two extremes of dressing down and dressing up in a post-pandemic world, my jacket will be the soft suit of armor that gets me through it all.

Linen check Havana jacket,
from $399 at Suitsupply

Suitsupply Linen Check Havana Jacket

Be Your Own Style God

Looking good these days is more about looking authentic. Does what you have on actually feel like you? Does it suit your personal tastes and complement your personality as much as it does your physique?

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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