A new client of mine recently purchased a garment from an unnamed online 'made to measure' service prior to finding our shop. While I must admit the garment was an admirable fit considering the minimal number of measurements taken; the client was not particularly happy and asked for my opinion. Among other issues, the jacket was a poor fit around the shoulder, where the back was loose and creases had formed diagonally at the back of the underarm. I thought this might make for a useful article as it's something I often see and something rarely accounted for in many high street retailers.
Clients drive to work, sit down, immediately collapse forward and hunch over their keyboards, stay there for 10 hours, go home, collapse in front of the TV/Book and repeat ad infinitum.
Above are two photographs of myself. On the left I have an exaggerated forward shoulder and on the left I have forced myself into an almost 'erect' position. These two positions represent the extremes of shoulder posture. Most people will find themselves somewhere on a spectrum between one and the other. More and more, I see forward shoulders due to the IT trade being so prominent in Cambridge. Clients drive to work, sit down, immediately collapse forward and hunch over their keyboards, stay there for 10 hours, go home, collapse in front of the TV/book and repeat ad infinitum. I'm no better myself, years of studying at a desk (History, not tailoring tbc) left me with the same issue.
In these two photos you can see the primary sign of a forward shoulder, or possibly a sloping shoulder, which are the telltale pleats in the front of the shirt running diagonally down from the clavicle to the arm pit.
Returning to the online made-to-measure jacket; as you can imagine my client has forward shoulders. While he measured his shoulder, chest and sleeve correctly, he could not communicate to the garment's producer, through measurement, that his shoulder was forward. A suit jacket is not the sum of the client's measurements only; It must include corrections for posture. Shoulders are not the only joint where measurements only tell half the story. Weakness in the abdominals can lead to a collapse in the lower back or lordosis. This will push the stomach forward into the front of the jacket and leave a vacuum at the small of the back. Measuring the waist will not provide any of this information. Rowing can pull the arms into external rotation and change the angle of sleeve, bench press can pull the arm inward causing the same issue in the opposite direction. I could go on, simply put, always remember your body exists in 3 dimensions and a card board cut-out with your chest, waist, shoulder and arm length is not enough for a perfect fit.
If you are considering having a made-to-measure garment fitted please feel free to contact me. Our service, via Canali, can accommodate many of these issues as we fit you in person. Book an Appointment