I recently had the privilege of accompanying one of my best friends on a custom suit shopping expedition to Indochino‘s pop-up-turned-flagship store in downtown Toronto.
My purpose was to provide advice and moral support as the lucky bastard searched for what might potentially, very soon, become his wedding ensemble. (Three cheers to that!) I located him at the back of a well-lit showroom lined with hanging swatches of super 100 wool and silk jacket lining as his affable Style Guide finished taking his measurements. A pleasant experience followed as we were guided through fabrics and other made-to-measure details he’ll need to decide before he ties the knot. With a few minutes left in his appointment, I was also given the chance to be professionally measured myself for the first time in years. Now, I feel like a new man.
Many guys only have a vague idea of what their measurements are. This information can be based on measurements they took themselves — an iffy proposition if you flex the wrong muscle here or cut off part of your hip there — or the size of clothing they already own. That means a lot of their information can be inaccurate or, worse, useless. After all, knowing your shirt’s a size medium won’t help when you splash for a suit.
Beyond the standard chest, inseam and waist, our guy at Indochino took more than a dozen measurements and even noted some postural nuances. (If you insist on measuring yourself, they show you how to do it right on their site). A master tailor may calculate a score more in the process of crafting a bespoke number. No matter where you obtain it, a professional data set has a way of granting a guy the confidence he needs to drop the equivalent of a paycheque on a pricey investment piece he has to live with for the next 10 years.
Therein lies the beauty of being measured: it takes the guesswork out of things.
Having your measurements is useful even when you’re not taking the made to measure route or looking for a suit. Grabbing a new pair of jeans, for example, won’t be the hit-and-miss process it once was when you discover your yoke length and front rise in addition to your inseam. For shirting, a neck measurement is often a truer rule than chest size or those woefully inconsistent S/M/L mall standards. Shoulder width is especially handy, since it’s one of the few off-the-rack suit jacket measurements that’s almost impossible to alter.
The more details you know — the better the fit — the better you look. Simple.
You can book an appointment at your local tailor, but most sartorial professionals will accommodate walk-ins provided you give them a bit of advanced warning. If you can’t find a clothier in your area, many high-end chains and department stores offer measuring services for free. The time commitment is rarely more than 10 to 45 minutes.
If you haven’t already, I suggest you get acquainted with a tape measure. You’ll be glad you did.