In the Closet

A frequent lament around the Cherwell office is the lack of paid advertising in the newspaper. While a whimpering war chest limits the scope for editorial adventure – our foreign bureau chiefs double as exchange students – from the fashionable perspective the budget is enviably thin, apt to disappear entirely when viewed in profile, and free of any obligation to a sponsor’s portrait of the fashionable life. Blessed with such reduced circumstances, our inaugural missive suggests buying no clothes this season, and instead taking your existing wardrobe to a tailor.

Ever wonder why your clothes always look better in the window displays or the glossy magazines? The reason is fit: yours are cut to a standard body type, while the display copies have been altered, pinned, nipped, and tucked. What you see in the mirror is a semblance of this, which is why most men look like they are wearing borrowed clothes.

The solution is simple but little employed. Have your shirts taken-in at the sides, under the arms, and, if you are especially slender, darted in the back. (Even ‘slim fit’ shirts are amenable to these alterations.) Sleeves can be shortened, but a cheaper way to get the same effect is to move the cuff buttons inwards; the narrower opening rests higher on your wrist.

Jackets may be altered in similar ways, with the ideal silhouette showing daylight between the arms and the torso. Insist on having the jacket sleeves shortened a half-inch above your shirt cuff, and when the tailor resists – they always do – smile politely and remind him this is your jacket, but he is free to flounce around in his own garments.

Trousers can be taken-in along the back seam, and the legs tapered, but removing pleats is almost never worth the effort, calling for the sartorial binge-and-purge. Trouser cuffs may also be tapered, from front to back, which reduces break in the front seam without making it look as if you were preparing to ford a shallow river.