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Tips and Advice

Neil O'Brien TailoringNeil O'Brien TailoringNeil O'Brien Tailoring


Beware the charlatans

Unfortunately, there are many visiting tailors who are not entirely honest and will happily tell you what you may want to hear, just to get the order.  The most common deceits concern the origin of the garment, the quality of the cloth and the construction of the jacket.

Many will tell you that their suits are made in England or Italy and most (almost all) are not telling you the truth.  Tell them that you’re really interested in seeing the workshop and you’d like them to take you.  In most cases you’ll need your passport and to be prepared for a trip to the U.S., Eastern Europe, Egypt or Asia!

Unfortunately, with cloth it is hard for you to really know where it’s from and whether it really is a super 120’s etc.  The best you can do is check that the bunch they are showing you comes from a notable and respected producer. 

In many cases people will tell you that their jackets are fully canvassed and not fused.  They work on the principle that you don’t really understand the technicalities and that, bluntly, you’ll never know anyway.  Ask them to guarantee that if you have the garment checked and it does have fusing, then they’ll refund your money and let you keep the suit.  We’ll give you that guarantee – we know we’re safe.

The Dangers of Fusing - why it should be avoided!

In our opinion, this is the biggest danger you face when buying a suit. The vast majority of off-the-peg suit jackets, as well as those made by other visiting tailors, are machine-cut and fused. Fusing is the process whereby a synthetic product is glued to the back of the jacket cloth, in place of a 'floating' canvas. Fused jackets look stiff, 'boardy' and shapeless; they do not move with you naturally, will not breathe and are not comfortable to wear. The end result is the antithesis of a canvassed jacket. It's what you'll get from almost all our competitors; a machine-cut, machine-made, fused garment. Whatever you pay for it, the construction will be no better than a £150 off-the-peg, high street suit. Caveat emptor!

Taking Care of Your Suit

Rotation
This is the key. You must have enough suits to prevent them being over-worn. They need time to recover - see 'How Long Should a Suit Last'.

Care
As obvious as it sounds, your suit should be hung properly after each wear and if they are heavily creased, then a few minutes in a steamy atmosphere (typically the bathroom) before putting them in the wardrobe, will help the creases fall out. If you have time, then use a good quality clothes brush to lightly brush your suit before putting it away.

Dry Cleaning
We would recommend that you do not dry clean your suits too often. The process is harsh and the way that most dry cleaners press suits is often barbaric. Once per season should be enough, but this of course depends on your rotation.

The more care you take with your suits, the longer they will stay looking good.

How Long Should a Suit Last?

I wish I had a penny for every time I've been asked this question. The glib tongued response is that it depends how often you wear it, but as flippant as this sounds, it is fact. It comes back to rotation. Wool is a natural product; it absorbs moisture, grime, odours, and it needs time to recover. As part of a healthy rotation, a suit should stay looking good for 200-250 wears (an obvious quantification here is that a heavier cloth from good quality yarn will outlive a lightweight cloth made from yarn of equal quality). However, if you wear the same suit for 200 consecutive days, it would look dreadful and 'die' in half the time. It would never have the chance to recover, would be dry cleaned to excess and it's decline would be greatly accelerated.

In short... rotation, rotation, rotation.

Shoes

You should think of your shoes in exactly the same way as your suits - rotation is the key. Leather behaves in the same way as wool, facing the same rigours of moisture, dirt, the weather and over-wear. Again, they must have time to recover. Five pairs of shoes; one for each work day really isn't excessive, and if you clean them and have them repaired when necessary, the shoes you buy from us will last for many years.

Ties

Just don't spill your soup down them!

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