Your clothes are always working. They're either working for you or against you, but they're always working.
The other day, I'm waiting for the train to go to work, and I see these two guys standing next to each other. One is about average height and weight, and the other is maybe 5'4″ and pretty thin. They're basically wearing the same thing: navy suit, solid tie and brown shoes.
The taller guy is wearing a suit that he clearly bought off the rack at some department store. It could use some tailoring, but it looks okay overall. The shorter guy is also wearing an off the rack suit, but guess what?
It looks terrible.
He's swimming in it. It's as if he found it in his dad's closet and decided to play dress up. Compared to the guy with the average build, he looks sloppy and unprofessional.
Importance of Fit
Men who are interested in dressing well understand that fit is the most important aspect of style. But men under 5'8″ have a hard time finding suits that fit well off the rack. Most suits aren't made for shorter body types. This is why I advocate for buying custom clothing.
Buying a custom suit online can be a great way to get a high quality suit that fits very well without paying an arm and a leg for it. The problem is, most online suit makers require you to submit your own measurements. They don't have brick and mortar stores that you can visit to get measured by an expert tailor.
This is a HUGE disadvantage, especially since every company has their own unique measurement system. Some ask that you (or a friend) measure your own body, which is much harder than it seems.
Others ask you to get your measurements from a suit you already own. But what if you don't own a suit that fits perfectly? Or what if you mess up the measurements? It's not an exact science, and only seasoned tailors understand the tiny intricacies that make or break a suit.
The only way to prevent things from going very wrong when buying a made-to-measure (MTM) suit is to work with a company that:
- Cares intensely about getting it right, even if it takes longer and costs more
- Really understands body types, measurements and the principles of fit
Introducing: Dragon Inside
Dragon Inside is this kind of company. Bobby, one of the founders, offered me a complimentary suit for review purposes, and he worked with me throughout the ordering process to nail down my measurements.
Unlike other online suit makers who simply collect your measurements and go to work, Dragon Inside analyzes every measurement that you provide before a stitch is sewn.
Put simply, Bobby grilled me about my measurements. For example, here's a snippet from one of his emails to me:
“Brock – the thigh measurement at 50 cm seems a bit smaller than the average for your build. Would you be able to cross check the measurement with an existing pair of pants that fits well?”
And another one:
“The pants length at 92 cm is probably ok, but it will most likely show a bit of sock. Quite alright with me, just wanted to mention it.”
It's this attention to detail that resulted in the best-fitting MTM suit that I own:
Pretty nice, huh? Here are the details:
- Suit – The Midnight Blue Sharkskin Suit
- Fabric – 100% Extrafine UK wool
- Price – $479
- Delivery Time – 24 days
- Craftsmanship – Fully canvassed jacket
It's rare for an online custom suit company to offer fully canvassed jackets, which look better and last longer than half canvassed or fused jackets. (If you don't know what the difference is, don't worry about it. But if you want to know more about canvassing, read this article.)
The bottom line is: it's great to get a suit with a fully canvassed jacket for $479. That said, there are a couple of issues:
You should always photograph yourself wearing your new suit, then send these photos back to the suit maker and ask for their feedback. I sent these photos to Bobby, and he agreed on some things that can be improved:
- The most noticeable issue is the wrinkling at the back of the thighs. This might have to due with the rise length and where the trousers are sitting on my waist (they are relatively high compared to today's low-rise standards).
- There is some disruption under my right shoulder, which might be due to the difference between my right and left shoulders.
- The front-back balance could be improved (more on this here).
These are small things that will be tweaked for future orders. I'm confident my next Dragon Inside suit will be close to perfect. In the meantime, I'll take this suit to my tailor, and Dragon Inside will reimburse for any alterations that need to be made.
Dragon Inside has cracked the code. They're doing what many companies are trying to do – making affordable, well-fitting suits that can be ordered online. Finally! The bar has just been raised, and I sincerely hope the bigger made-to-measure suit companies take notice.
If you're in the market for a new suit, or if you've been thinking about buying a custom suit online, I highly recommend you choose Dragon Inside.
What do you think about this suit? Leave a comment below!
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