Last week I wrote about designing my first bespoke suit with Chicago’s Chris Despos. Chris called me up only a few days later to tell me he would have my first basted fitting ready Saturday. So I dropped by Oak Street and the suit is really starting to take shape.
Fittings themselves are nothing new to me, but I’m not used to being the guy in the suit. I’m used to watching, asking questions, shooting photos, and generally lurking about, but not actually being part of the process. It’s a little intimidating.
When I arrived, Chris was just steaming the basted suit out, getting it ready for try-on. At this step in the process, it’s more about Chris making sure he’s on track than giving me a good sense of what things will look like. The main thing here is balance and making sure the broad proportions are on point.
The trousers have no waistband, pockets are still way off, and there is still a lot of extra leeway built into each component for later adjustment, but the general structure is there.
The trousers went on first, and once the button- and fly-less trousers were pinned in place, it hit me just how high they were. But in a great way. Having them on my natural waist with two pleats and a straight drape really helped minimize my prominent hips and seat. The legs themselves don’t yet have their full shape, but the lines are already very elegant and elongating. Funny that what will be the most voluminous trousers in my closet will also be the most slimming.
When Chris slipped the coat on me, we immediately noticed that it was a good inch or so too long. I took it off and on the spot Chris adjusted the basted length so that we could work on the rest of the silhouette effectively.
At this stage there is no real shape added to the coat from the basic measurements. It’s better to start large and work in than to have things pulling and snagging. The arms though already have a beautiful curve to them that you would never find on something ready-made.
At one point Chris ripped the back-collar off, pinned it a little higher and started playing with how to best balance the back around my shoulder blades. By raising the whole thing up a little bit, Chris will allow things to drape from my neck and shoulders as much as possible, keeping pressure off the back.
I think the most shocking thing was just how light the whole affair felt. Because there is room in all the right places, I didn’t once feel like the basted suit wasn’t moving with me 100%. It’s a really weird feeling for someone used to clothes fitting somewhat poorly in a number of places. I couldn’t be happier with the suit at this point.
Next step will be a second basted fitting in a week or two, during which Chris and I will do things like work on trouser shape, the curve of the coat’s quarters, and lapel shape.
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