Learn About Quality Suits
Any type of suit, blazer or overcoat can be judged on 3 criteria: fit + fabric + make.
Fit: Perfect Fit vs. Poor Fit
You can distinguish a PerfectFit from a PoorFit by the visible creasing in the garment. There are two types of creases:
These creases indicate there is not enough fabric. Fabric shortage creates creases that run horizontally, straining the fabric.
These kinds of creases indicate excess fabric. Excess fabric width creates creases that run vertically, whereas excess fabric length creates baggy creases that run horizontally. This means the garment is either too big or too long.
A PerfectFit is unique to you and varies greatly among individuals. It's a combination of what feels comfortable and what is aesthetically pleasing to your eye.
The larger and wider the garment, the more
comfortable the fit (to a certain extent).
The smaller the garment, the more aesthetically pleasing to the eye (to a certain extent).
To achieve your PerfectFit, consider when trying it on:
Is the garment comfortable?
Do I like the way it looks?
How to Achieve the PerfectFit?
Hall Madden Ready Made
Ready-made suits (sometimes called "off the rack) are already made using a pre-made, unmodified template and you choose from existing sizes. Our ready-made suits are the best value in the marketplace; we compiled tens of thousands of custom-made suit data to offer fits for most shapes and sizes in our ready made line with minimal alterations necessary. $450+
Hall Madden Custom Made
Custom made suits use an individualized pattern to make a suit for you from scratch. Only buy a custom made suit from an expert who has been highly trained in how to create a suit for you that conforms to your body's unique shape and contours. When you meet with us, you are meeting with a passionate menswear expert who has been personally trained by founders Richard Hall and McGregor Madden to make you look your best, guaranteed. $950-3000
First and foremost, focus on the big picture
Don't get too caught up on details like thread count and fabric composition and lose focus of the main purpose of any fabric: Does the fabric look good on you and will it help you achieve your goals? Although looking good is obvious, everyones use for a suit is different and can vary from, "I want to portray stability yet aggressiveness in a boardroom" to, "I want a suit that is fun for events, yet I can still wear to the office." Once you establish where and when you'll wear the suit, then choose a fabric. During our appointment with you we'll discuss your lifestyle and help guide your decision. Knowing whether a charcoal micro-pinstripe from Loro Piana Tasmania or an ink-blue twill in VBC Revenge would be appropriate is where our expertise comes to the forefront during your fitting.
Hall Madden tip: When talking about "suiting", this term refers to the fabric used to make the suit, whereas the term "suit" refers to the finished garment itself.
Understand the effect of incorporating these various raw materials into your garment's fabric.
The most prolific material used in men’s suiting and jacketing. Woven from the hair of sheep, the highest quality wool used in suiting generally comes from Australia or New Zealand. The climates in these countries provide a unique condition for the sheep’s fleece to grow in very long staple fibers that are thinner. The end result is a fabric that has high breathability, supreme softness and incredible durability making it ideal for being woven into suiting in a variety of ways. Wool fabrics tend to be very crease resistant, drape and recover quickly and are naturally anti-microbial, which means it requires less regular cleaning. Wool quality is typically expressed in “Super” numbers, which generally grades wool according to fineness of the fibers, with higher number meaning a finer fiber.
To find the best cashmere fibers, you have to travel to inner Mongolia. While cashmere taken from goats can come from a variety of places, this specific region’s intensely cold climate makes fibers very long and thin. The result is an incredibly soft hand and superior warmth with a fraction of the weight. When a small amount (5-10%) is blended with wool, the result is a suiting fabric that feels remarkably lofty and luxurious. While cashmere garments command a higher premium, the texture is a worthwhile experience to indulge.
Found primarily in Peru, the alpaca provides a fiber that is similar to sheep’s wool, but warmer and naturally hypoallergenic. Two types of alpaca create provide unique fibers that have different uses. One type has a sponge-like texture that can give garments a fuzzy nap, ideal for sport coats. The other has no crimp and can be used in a more flat manner, typically for suiting. Alpaca blended jacketing makes for a great balance of warmth and toughness to provide the textures you’d expect from a Shetland tweed, but with none of the itchiness and remarkable softness.
Like all fibers, cotton comes in different grades and grows in different regions. What’s known as Egyptian cotton (grown, of course, in Egypt) becomes Pima cotton in Peru or Supima cotton in the United States. The important characteristic of fine cotton though comes from the same basics of any other fiber: long staple length. These fibers are stronger and softer. And cotton’s versatility allows it to be woven in many different ways for different uses. Densely woven twills make for great chinos. Cashmere-blended cotton makes for luxurious casual suiting. Corduroy makes for a comfortable winter trouser alternative to chinos. And velvet can make an elegant dinner jacket. Other weaves such as seersucker and pincord make for great summer suits. And cotton’s ability to be easily dyed allows for it to be available in many brilliant colors. We choose to use cotton for our vegan suiting as well, which tends to look best in black or navy.
It’s said linen was the first fiber to be woven into clothing. It’s also the toughest natural fiber, making it resistant to tearing and wear. It's also the most wrinkly (and difficult to drape). It’s open weave and coarse texture makes it ideal for summer suiting. More casual than a worsted wool suit, the relaxed, louche charm lies in the wearer’s carefree attitude to embrace creases to better deal with the heat. Air moves easily through the garment and we generally recommend a lighter construction given the nature of this fabric. A bit of wrinkle resistance can be obtained by blending linen with silk (giving it a “wet” texture) or cotton. And when blended with wool it lends its slubby nature to the fabric that looks great in summer sport coats.
You might typically think of silk for use in neckwear in menswear, but it also is used in suiting and jacketing. Silk can add more color vibrance, reflective sheen and soften the hand feel of a fabric. Yet, when silk is in its unrefined state, the texture is slubby (similar to linen) and this can add texture to a blazer fabric and is most often found in summer fabric collections. When used in suiting, generally no more than 15% is used as it's slightly more prone to wrinkling than wool.
Microns & Mills
The "Super" number for a wool fabric refers directly to the measurement of the fineness of fibers. The higher the number, the smaller the thickness of the fibers, measured in half-micron increments from 19.75 microns (Super 80s) to 13.25 microns (Super 210s). Thinner fibers means more fibers per linear area and will results in a softer, lighter "hand" feel.
The mill is the factory that takes raw materials -- like wool -- and mills it into fabric. The best mills in the world have been around for generations like Lanifico Ermenegildo Zegna, Vitale Barberis Canonico and Loro Piana, sometimes going back hundreds of years and sourcing the best raw fibers for production.
Hall Madden Tip: Most people believe that the higher the "Super" number, the better the fabric. While this is generally true when comparing fabrics within the same mill, it does not translate as an industry standard. An Italian milled 110s is superior to a Chinese milled 140s, for example.
What is suit canvassing?
A suit's make is how it is constructed. Although there are many details to a suit's construction, the suit canvassing is by far the most important. Suit canvassing is the canvas chestpiece between the outer fabric and the suit liner and is what gives the suit its shape. The suit canvassing is what contours over your body and determines how the suit's fit will look over time.
Types of Canvassing
A fused suit is poor quality but quite common in the suiting world due to its cheap cost. The canvassing is glued to the outer fabric. A fused suit doesn't move with the torso and bubbles over time when cleaned.
A hybrid approach that combines fusing with a partial floating canvas. The lapels have a bit more shape as does the upper chest, but not the entire garment's front.
The best type of construction, where the canvas is stitched in so it floats between the layers of the suit. Over time it molds to your body and the chest and lapels hang naturally to retain their shape.
Full Canvas Handmade
Going one step further, our handmade construction features a greater amount of handwork in setting the jacket's canvas. Ideal for our luxury fabrics that require more fine-tuned attention.