The suit to match the lawyer
24th July 2015
Congratulations, you have been offered an interview for that dream law job that you have wanted for ages! But now you need to make an impression and stand out from the crowd of candidates.
Making an impression doesn’t just mean having the correct qualifications and having great experience. It also means looking the part and as the saying goes, “you can never make a second first impression”.
This means that no matter whether you are a female or male candidate, wearing a suit with quality fabrics in your lawyer job interview can give you credibility as soon as you step into the room.
With this in mind we have compiled a beginner’s guide to buying a suit and have spoken to some of the most acclaimed and recognised suit tailors in the UK to help you in the process of buying a suit.
A Suit That Fits
A Suit That Fits first started tailoring suits in 2005 and after selling some suits at Hampstead market, the suit tailor has now become one of the most well-known suit makers in the UK, selling well-over 50,000 bespoke garments across the UK, Ireland and the USA.
A Suit That Fits came up with five tips to consider when buying a tailored suit for your interview:
1. Forget off-the-peg suits. They may fit you OK but they’ll never fit 100 per cent.
2. Find a tailor within your price range.
3. Talk to your tailor about the look you’re going for.
4. Wear your office gear to the measuring (no jeans!)
5. Be prepared for a few alterations after the suit is made.
A Suit That Fits have four ranges of suits, with the first range starting at just £299, making bespoke tailoring accessible to all. If that’s not enough, then A Suit That Fits are offering candidates and clients of LAW Absolute a special offer.
LAW Absolute customers can quote LAWABSOLUTE and get a bespoke shirt for just £40.
Anderson & Sheppard
Anderson & Sheppard are a well-known Savile Row-based tailor who are renowned for being bespoke masters of the 'English Drape' style, which is cut full over the chest for ease of movement.
Savile Row has the largest concentration of the highest quality bespoke tailors in the world, with each firm having a distinct history and its own cut. An Anderson & Sheppard bespoke suit, for example, is a different product to a made-to-measure suit, as the pattern is drawn from scratch by a skilled Cutter directly on to specialised paper to a client’s unique set of measurements.
Anderson & Sheppard say that lawyers and other legal professionals that are just about to order their first suit from a tailor should:
1. Have a good idea of when and where you want to wear the suit and its purpose. You can then discuss your precise requirements with the salesman before he guides you through the available cloths and styles. Anderson & Sheppard have over 4,000 cloths to choose from and so many choices of style – it can be overwhelming unless you have an idea of what you are looking for. Particular cloths are suitable for certain uses and not at all suitable for others, and being clear about the purpose of the suit helps to avoid any disappointment.
2. Do your research online before coming in. Anderson & Sheppard’s website has a film explaining the process and their new website (to be launched in March 2016) will have five further films which go in to more technical detail. You can also learn a lot about the house style and culture before you visit.
3. Email or call first to ask about lead times for fittings. You may have a special occasion that you wish to order the suit for so you need to make sure that the tailor that you have chosen can meet your deadline and include the fittings in between.
4. Ask to see some finished garments when you come in to discuss the suit. Savile Row firms have their own cuts and styles, and the staff should be proud to show you what they make without expecting you to order first. It is common for us to see prospective customers taking their time to visit three firms before deciding who they want to make their first suit.
5. Make sure that you see the cloth in daylight to make sure that the colour and texture are exactly right – try to make an appointment in the morning to make the best use of the light.
6. Although many tailors have a particular house style and cut, they will try to accommodate your wishes so do not be afraid to ask for what you want.
7. Find out bespoke garment specifications e.g. inlays and lining in coats, or trouser fronts and seat seams for trousers.
At Hemingway Tailors they believe that the way you present yourself is still one of the most important aspects of making a good impression, and as a professional within the legal sector, making a good impression is paramount. Being well dressed will no doubt speak volumes to the outside world before you’ve even said a word.
For Hemingway Tailors being “well dressed” for the legal profession doesn’t come down to a certain suit style, the onus instead is placed more on the fit of the suit itself. For women, suit styles ranging from skirt suits to dresses are all suitable options, however they say that a first day on the job might be better played safe with a trouser suit.
Hemingway Tailors add, “The fit of the suit is all important and if you want to achieve this it’s crucial to find yourself a quality tailor. While prices might vary, so will the quality of the craftsman, so be sure to do your research and take any recommendations where possible. If your budget can stretch far enough then we’d most definitely suggest a bespoke suit made from scratch in accordance to your body shape.
“This is what we like to call ‘the ultimate experience in clothing’ as the entire process places you at the focal point.”
Hemingway Tailors also understand that for many people this may not be a viable option due to budget and a great alternative is to buy a standard block pattern suit and have it made to measure. Make sure the suit is well fitted on the shoulders as this is often the hardest part for a tailor to alter.
Hemingway Tailors recommend men to wear dark shade suits such as black, navy and charcoal grey suits, whilst women may be afforded a little more room to try lighter colours that are still sophisticated. Accessories for suits such as shoes, ties, shirts, belts, pocket squares and cufflinks are also recommended.
Richard James is another famed suit maker located in Savile Row in the centre of London and their philosophy is to produce classic clothing of unsurpassable quality, but to push the boundaries through design, colour and cut.
Service and expertise is also integral to Richard James and so too is craftsmanship – as they work closely with the best woollen mills and the most exacting artisans in Britain and Italy to design and produce exclusive fabrics and handmade accessories. Richard James’ clientele include Sir Elton John and Gianni Versace.
For those working in in-house legal jobs who want one or two-button single-breasted suits, then they should head to Richard James as their collection are famed for these types of suits. Their one or two-button single-breasted suits come with slightly longer, more waisted jackets that incorporate deep side vents and a marginally higher armhole for a strikingly slim, definitive silhouette.
A bespoke Richard James suit is a unique handmade on Savile Row garment that, while always flattering, will naturally reveal something of the character of its owner and is a prime example of suit fashion.
With the bespoke service the client becomes the focal point of the design process and is never not encouraged to express himself. This is how it is ensured he really makes the suit his own.
In 2004, the ready-to-wear tailoring and bespoke services were augmented by the introduction of a made-to-measure service by Richard James, which was designed to offer the client a quick, highly efficient way of having a suit made to his own specifications. Involving just a single fitting, it’s a streamlined, time-conscious service that doesn’t cut back on quality.
If you have any tips on buying a suit then leave a comment on the LAW Absolute Facebook page – we’d love to share them.
Image Credit: A Suit That Fits, Anderson & Sheppard, Hemingway Tailors, Richard James.