I went against rule number one when considering tailoring modifications–altering your jacket shoulders. For a (recovering) vintage collector like me, the risk was completely worthwhile in order to try to salvage some of my most prized pieces.
“What Should I Wear To A Job Interview?” is one of the most common questions we get here at Styleforum, and the answer is always rather blunt: you should wear a suit and tie. This is absolutely never wrong for an interview once you have graduated from high school. It may be that your interviewer is not expecting you to be so “dressed up,” but nevertheless it is not a mistake for you to look your best. That means wearing a conservative but sharp outfit that adds to your appearance without competing with you for attention.
- A single-breasted, two or three button, navy or dark gray/charcoal suit (i.e., jacket and pants made of the exact same fabric, not just same or similar color), tailored to fit you (especially make sure the sleeves are not down to your knuckles and the pants are not puddling around your ankles). If you don’t own a suit, read the Styleforum guide to buying your first suit.
- A white, spread collar, long-sleeved dress shirt with single cuffs (i.e. not French cuffs/double cuffs)
- A silk tie in a solid or simple pattern (pindots or stripes, for instance). Almost any color will do well with a white shirt and either of the aforementioned suits.
- Black cap-toe shoes and black belt (or suspenders/braces instead if your suit pants take them – but this is rare on ready-to-wear suits today). Check out this thread on Styleforum for more information on black formal shoes.
- Socks in the same color as the suit.
The above outfit is never wrong for a job interview. Nor is a job interview a time to get “creative” with your outfit, especially if you are not already well-versed in suit-and-tie-wearing, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this.
If you want to deviate from the above suggestions, you can wear a light blue shirt instead of a white one without much risk. In the United States, you can wear a button-down collar instead of a spread collar. Outside of England, in many industries, brown cap-toe shoes with a brown belt are acceptable substitutes for their black counterparts.
You can add a white pocket square in a “TV fold” without much risk, but if you’ve never worn such an item before, don’t make this the first time. It’s also fine to wear navy socks with a gray suit, gray socks with a navy suit, etc..
Avoid black socks or any kind of “fun” socks. Finally, an understated watch is acceptable jewelry, but do not wear a sports watch or a bulky and/or gaudy watch. Other than a wedding ring, this is the only kind of jewelry that is acceptable.
- A black suit (navy or grey only).
- An ill-fitting suit (get your suit tailored by someone experienced after purchasing). If you’re unsure about what could be tailored, read here first.
- A wrinkled shirt (iron your shirt before wearing).
- Shoes with square toes and/or rubber soles.
- Scuffed or dirty shoes (make sure your shoes are well-polished – if you don’t know how to do this or don’t have the proper equipment, visit a cobbler or read this guide).
- Bright colors or wild patterns (you do not want to be competing with your clothes for attention).
- Buttoning the bottom button on your jacket (it’s not meant to be buttoned – never do this).
- Removing your jacket (keep it on, with possible rare exceptions).
Here are a couple of examples of good outfits from Styleforum users. These men would be very well dressed for a job interview:
Somewhat riskier would be wearing French cuffs (double cuffs), as the cufflinks may be too flashy. Their appropriateness depends on your region and industry. Barrel cuffs (single cuffs) are always acceptable. More extravagant shoes such as wingtips fall into the same category. A suit in a subtle pinstripe or a striped shirt (with one color stripe on a white ground) can also work, but needlessly increase the difficulty of putting together a nice outfit. Any other kind of patterned suit should really not even be considered. Likewise, three-piece or double-breasted suits should be avoided.
Anything not mentioned to this point, such as wearing a sweater, a bowtie, a novelty tie, loafers, a cherry red dress shirt, etc. with your suit should be absolutely avoided. Remember, this is a job interview. You want to look professional, but with few exceptions, this is not a place to demonstrate your personal style.
If you are absolutely convinced that a suit and tie would be inappropriate, for instance, if you are told specifically not to wear a suit and tie, lose the tie before you lose the jacket. Wearing a tie without a jacket makes you look like a cell phone salesman at the mall. A professional might wear a sportcoat and trousers with no tie, but never a tie without a jacket. You will have more latitude in these less formal situations, but the same principles of keeping your clothing clean, simple, and well-fitting still apply.
Whatever you wear, wear it confidently. If you arrive in a suit and your interviewer says something like, “you didn’t need to dress up for us!” don’t look sheepish, just smile and say, “I wanted to look my best.” Finally, and I hope obviously, but perhaps most importantly, nothing is less stylish than poor personal hygiene. Get a decent haircut, take a shower, and clip your fingernails!
If you’re still not sure about what to wear, visit the Styleforum Style Advice forum and ask for help here.
This is an edited version of an article published on Styleforum in 2012 by Styleforum member Shawea.
by Jefferyd (Jeffery Diduch)
A few years ago I wrote a post about canvas suit construction which some of you may remember. As a continuation of the featured articles on StyleForum I thought I would update and condense some of the information to reflect current trends in manufacturing, and also to bring the information to newer members who may not have seen it.
The illustrations below show where fusible, if any, is applied for the different techniques, as well as where and how canvas is used. In-depth exploration of the various layers hidden beneath the chest felt can be found all over my blog.
First, a word about canvas.
Canvas is typically a blend of wool, often cotton, and animal hair, mainly horse and camel hair. The principal characteristics of the wool and animal hair are that they can be molded using humidity, pressure, and heat, and the fibers will retain a shape; think of how a woman uses a hot curling iron to shape her hair. Horse and camel hair have the additional benefits of being lightweight but very resilient- hair from the mane is softer while hair from the tail is quite stiff and wiry. Different types of fiber will be woven in combination with the wool and or cotton to produce various grades of canvas and haircloth which are used in combination to build the foundational structure of a coat.
In the photo below, from left to right, are haircloth, which has a lot of roll due to the horsetail strands, wrapped hair cloth which is softer and less expensive than haircloth, wool canvas, and the black item is fusible.
The wool canvas forms that main foundational layer of the coat, then smaller pieces of haircloth or wrapped hair are used to build structure to the chest and shoulder, and these are covered by a piece of felt, domette or flannel to prevent the hair, which is wiry, from scratching the wearer. Sometimes the horse hair will poke through the layers, sometimes protruding out of the garment; this is an annoyance more than anything and can either be snipped away or pulled through.
FULL CANVAS GARMENTS
A garment which has a canvas structure running all the way from the top of the shoulder to the hem is known as a “full canvas garment”. It is very easy to determine whether a coat is fully-canvassed- take hold of the lower front of the coat and peel the two layers of wool (the front and the facing) apart- if you can feel a third layer floating between the two, that is the canvas. There were instructions floating around for a pinch test in which you pinch the chest and pinch the sleeve, but for reasons which you will soon see, this is not a reliable indicator.
Fashion has skewed toward lighter, finer, and more delicate cloth weights (a trend that I see starting to reverse itself) and these fine cloths can be very difficult to handle in construction, and be very sensitive to humidity. The Japanese, whose weather drove the march toward lighter cloths but whose humidity was detrimental to those cloths, were champions of a fairly recent technique of “skin fusing” the front- a lightweight fusible would be applied to the front part of the coat to give it stability when basting the canvas to the front, and to help prevent puckering from humidity. Some western manufacturers have adopted the technique for problem cloths so it is entirely possible to come across a front which has soft fusible on it, despite it being also fully-canvassed. More on fusibles shortly.
Notice that the canvas covers the front, including the lapel- the canvas will be rolled and padstitched in the lapel, which gives a certain amount of bloom or roll to it, which can be seen in better garments.
• Hair canvas gives a roll and support to the front that fusibles can not;
• Floating canvas will never delaminate (bubble).
• Expensive in terms of both materials and labor required;
• Poorly-inserted or shrinking canvas will case the fronts to pucker which is extremely difficult and often impossible to fix on a finished garment.
[For more information, check out How Much Does a Quality Suit Cost?]
FULLY FUSED GARMENTS
And now a word about fusibles.
Fusible interlinings have come a very long way over the last 40 years. A German company developed the technology whereas an interlining would have a special resin applied to it which, when heated, would melt, and if another piece of cloth was pressed very firmly against it while the resin was soft, a bond was formed and the interlining was fused (or glued) to the cloth. The early days were horrific because the resin which bonded the interlining to the front failed often, causing delamination, or that infamous “bubbling” along the front. The technology has advanced greatly and these days, delamination is very rare (which is why it’s not considered a problem to skin-fuse a full canvas garment). It can still occur, however, if the garment is improperly handled.
Once the interlining has been bonded in a special machine, care is taken to make sure that the area is never heated without simultaneously applying pressure; during construction irons and presses are used, but there is always pressure accompanying the heat. If we want to remove the interlining, however (because of a faulty application, for example), we apply a bit of steam which softens the resin’s bond, and makes it easy to peel the interlining away. Any time you subject your garment to steam without pressure you soften the bond, creating a risk of delamination, which is one of the reasons I warn people never to steam tailored clothing (there are others).
Fusible interlining (a much heavier version than the skin-fuse variety) replaces the main canvas portion of the understructure of the garment, then a chest piece made of canvas, haircloth and felt is affixed along the roll line of the lapel, and tacked into the armhole but is otherwise left floating (thus the moniker “floating chest piece”). This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to stabilize the front and requires no skill on the part of the operator.
• Quick, easy, inexpensive.
• Stiffens the cloth slightly, does not provide the same type of support that animal hair does;
• No canvas in the lapel so the lapel is somewhat flat and lifeless;
• Slight risk of delamination.
HALF CANVAS GARMENTS
Half-canvas garments are becoming more and more common as they combine the advantage of both methods– a cost-saving in terms of material and labor for the application, reduced risk of distortions on the lower fronts, but the benefits of canvas in the chest and lapel, where they are needed the most. The front is fused (something, whether canvas or fusible is required to stabilize the fronts), but the fusing does not extend into the lapel area. It used to be common for the canvas to extend below the pocket, or at least to the second button, but most manufacturers now only extend it to the first button. Since there is no canvas in the lower portion, you can’t use the pinch test to determine whether a garment is half-canvas or not. When canvases were heavier you could feel down the front of the coat and sometimes tell where the canvas ended but many are using softer, lighter canvas now which is harder to detect. On finer wools, you could look for dimples under the lapel which would suggest pad-stitching, but this will be invisible on more robust cloth. In fact, the only way to know for sure is to ask a well-informed salesperson (not all salespersons are well-informed). (There are variants on the half-canvas method but for simplicity, I will consider them all the same)
Less expensive than full-canvas, less sensitive to humidity, good lapel roll.
Stiffens the cloth slightly, slight risk of delamination.
While purists will insist that only full canvas garments should ever be considered, there is a significant cost involved and so it is a little disingenuous to insist, particularly to newbs, that fused or half-canvas garments should be avoided outright. Someone who is just starting out his career will likely not have the means for full canvas, nor is he likely to be familiar enough with suiting in general to risk purchasing something off the internet in order to get a good deal.
[Check out this article to explore full canvas garments that won’t break the bank]
Half-canvas is a more affordable alternative, and if he is really on a budget, a fused garment makes an inexpensive first step; considering how our tastes and preferences evolve once we have been wearing and trying on suits for a while, it is perhaps wise to start off with a less expensive purchase and work up to the better makes once we have a better fix on our tastes and what fits and suits us.
A padded lapel refers to the fact that there is a separate layer of canvas which has been gradually rolled while stitching the canvas layer to the cloth, giving this result
A flat-fused lapel will roll a little bit, but never as much as a padded canvas lapel- compare the limp, black stuff in the photo above (fusible) to the canvas next to it.
Note: for a limited time, Styleforum members can take 200$ off a new Lanieri suit by using code STYLEFORUM200 at checkout! This offer is only good from 5/19/2017 – 5/28/2017. Visit Lanieri to make your order.
Although I buy a lot of stuff online, with clothing I’m usually hesitant unless the place has a good return policy or I know how it will fit. I especially don’t want to deal with the difficulties of returning clothes internationally. So I usually just go with makers that I know – probably like most of you do as well. However, sometimes I have placed online orders through online Made-to-Measure manufacturers in pursuit of a specific style, fabric or pattern.
I had often seen Lanieri online, and had also spent some time browsing through their thread on Styleforum, in which Riccardo Schiavotto – one of the founders of Lanieri – showcases the expanding range of options that their company offers. Browsing their website and the thread, they make clear that they manufacture 100% Made-in-Italy garments. They use fabrics from prestigious fabric mills and merchants, including Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico (both of which are investors in Lanieri), which provide choices for a wide range of tastes and budgets. They use a well-established Italian tailoring house to make their garments in northern Italy, and the cutting, stitching and finishing of the garment is done entirely with Italian labor. More or less, Lanieri is trying to remind their customers that – like food – Italians still take style and quality in manufacturing seriously.
Their attention to detail extends to customer service and marketing. On Styleforum, Riccardo listens to the concerns and feedback from the community, answering questions about the manufacturing or materials, while also working to incorporate more customization. For instance, Riccardo has pointed out that their pants feature horsehair canvas in the waistband, or that they offer a selection of horn or mother of pearl buttons. He has taken the time to listen to the community, and soon Lanieri will offer full-canvas suiting, sometime by the end of summer (currently their structured jackets feature a true half-canvas).
So when Fok, Styleforum’s owner and administrator, asked me if I’d like to write a review of Lanieri in exchange for a suit, I jumped on-board and said yes. Please note that I am under no obligation to review them in any specific way. My only compensation was a suit of my choice from a selection of their fabric offerings. You can read Styleforum’s Review Policy here.
Designing a Garment
Lanieri has a number of options that allow you to create your own garment so that it meets your sense of style. Personally, I appreciated the online visualization of the garment, which updates to show the various options you’ve chosen as you design your garment. You receive a feel for the overall look of the garment you’re creating. Of course, you are not able to see or feel the real end product, with all its nuances, until it is in natural light in your hands–but for what it is worth, the visualization gives you a sense of whether you are designing an abomination or your dream suit.
Their buyers vary their selection of fabrics each season, and offer a range of staples in addition to more exciting and more nuanced options. The fabrics have descriptions that showcase a wide range of weights, Super numbers, and weaves. The more interesting fabrics currently include some linen mohair blends, tonal Prince of Wales checks, or wool-silk blends. If all else fails or you need a staple, there is always a range of essential wool suiting.
Lanieri provides peak, notch and shawl collar options, both in more “modern” slimmer lapel widths and wider configurations. Their buttons include a range of polyester, horn, mother of pearl and/or pearlized choices. I’m a sucker for horn buttons, and would rather get a suit that already has them on it, considering that many ready-to-wear makers do not use them. Of course, you get to choose the interior qualities, including lining style, color, contrast stitching, et cetera.
You can also include any notes you want them to see prior to making the garment. I had opted, after speaking with Riccardo, to go with spalla a camicia instead of their standard suit option, spalla con rollino. If you want spalla a camicia, just put it into the notes. Riccardo has stated that one of the reasons it is only available to those that ask is because most of their clientele don’t seem to like spalla a camicia on account of the extra fabric in the sleeve head. I ended up finding that they sew it with less fabric than what you would see in a spalla mappina.
Ultimately, I opted for a half-lined Solaro suit in a nine-ounce fabric by Drago (you can read about why you want a Solaro suit here) with dark horn buttons, a mélange melton collar and beige lining. The final cost for the garment as made was $920.
After designing the garment, you fill out your measurements, guided by a somewhat campy (but not in a bad way) video featuring instructions on how to measure yourself (or rather, how to have someone else do it for you). Included in the measurements process are qualitative visualizations in order to help them understand your shoulder shape, gut and posture.
Of course, my wife had difficulty measuring, and so we had to repeat several measurements. Lanieri actually reached out to me, stating that some measurements were strange, and to please confirm them. After confirming them (good thing I did…) they sent it off to begin cutting, and the suit’s fate was sealed.
Inspecting the Result
After a little more than three weeks (my order coincided with a lot of holidays in Italy – Easter, Pasquetta, and Liberation Day, among others) my order was shipped via FedEx International Priority. Two days after shipping, it arrived at 10 AM in sunny California placed in a giant cardboard suit box; they arranged the suit folded on a wooden hanger inside a canvas garment bag. Included were spare buttons, and some information on how to care for your garment, reminding you of the importance of proper maintenance to ensure the quality and integrity of your garment. Personally, it always serves as a nice reminder to treat your clothes well.
Overall, the final product was nicer than I expected; the Solaro fabric by Drago has a wonderful hand, drape and overall color. Living in Southern California, I feared that it would be a bit too hot, but it has a surprisingly open weave. The cupro bemberg (another plus) half-lining helps keep it breathable. The buttons are solid, well shaped natural horn, and the garment has even and durable machine stitching throughout.
Because my jacket and pants are half lined, I opened them up to take a peek. Sure enough, they are using light horsehair canvas throughout the waistband (a split waistband, as the Italians like to use), and in upper half of the jacket. The shoulders have some light padding to assist in drape, and the fusing (running the bottom half of the front of the jacket) is much higher quality than what you would see in most RTW makers. I was impressed with the softness and the quality of the half canvassed garment, providing an extremely nice balance between soft and stiff construction.
With regards to fit, the jacket fits well out of the box. The shoulders hang well with a fairly good sleeve pitch. I think the sleeve length is spot on (and they have to be, since they include working cuffs). I have narrow shoulders, so oftentimes I end up rejecting off-the-rack tailoring that is either too tight in the chest or too big in the shoulders. The only thing that I would note for a future order is that I prefer my jackets to be cut longer, with most of my jackets averaging about two centimeters longer than what Lanieri chose to provide. Additionally, if they offer higher armholes, I’d prefer that too (the armhole is on par with many of RTW Italian makers) Having lived in Italy, I know the Italians do like jackets to be shorter. And I find this to be acceptable, especially with an informal fabric like Solaro. At least the jacket appears to be covering my ass.
The pants are another matter for me. While they fit in length, the waist was larger than I would prefer (especially with a split waistband since I prefer the waist snug), and the seat could be brought in slightly in order to help it drape better. Additionally, I have a forward leaning stance, so I feel they need to be be cut wider in order for the pants to drape better, since the fabric accumulates on my calves when wearing OTC socks. With shorter socks or no show socks, I don’t have that issue with these pants. I’ve since taken it to my alterations specialist to correct this.
I will note that the garment had a couple loose threads in the seams and that they did forget to include the two rear suspender buttons in the trousers. Both of these are difficult to correct, but it is a minor annoyance.
The good news is that Lanieri wants to ensure that you have a perfect fitting jacket, so they will take into consideration these alterations (you submit a form with the alterations to them in order to get a refund) for future orders, or they will remake your garments if they are deemed uncorrectable. Like any online MTM program, I wouldn’t anticipate getting perfection on the first try, but because Lanieri is invested in keeping you as a customer and making you happy, I think the opportunity here is to build a relationship between client and company.
Price, Quality and Final Thoughts
Lanieri isn’t bargain basement dirt-cheap, but for the price ($920 as ordered), you get quality fabrics, good construction, the ability to design your garment in your style, and Italian manufacturing. Within the range of fabrics that Lanieri offers, they have cheaper and more expensive options (all of which are good fabrics from prestigious Italian fabric mills); this allows you to cover your wardrobe requirements with cheaper work suits or more expensive suiting for special occasions. I think that within the market segment, they offer a product that is certainly capable of meeting your needs, and which also provides you with the opportunity to – eventually – order well-fitting garments in your own style without the hassle of alterations.
Lanieri has a wide range of sales, including ones timed to holidays. These sales provide you the opportunity to get what you may need without breaking the bank. Outside of the sales, Lanieri is worth the price, considering that staple suits from quality makers are hardly ever found in a decent sale. For a reasonable price you can get a good garment that will last you quite some time and suit your needs.
Soon, Lanieri will expand by opening an atelier in New York, providing customers the opportunity to be measured in person and see the quality of sample garments prior to purchase. In addition, with the launch of a new full-canvas option, Lanieri will be placed extremely well as an accessible option within the market for quality made-to-measure menswear.
Note: the Solaro fabric shown in the review – named Riviera on Lanieri’s website – will be back in stock on their website in the middle of June.