SUIT YOUR­SELF

Hot on the heels of the be­spoke trend, Fri­day’s fea­tures ed­i­tor Anand Raj OK gets mea­sured up…

Friday - - Trends -

It was clear: the pleas­ant, well-dressed woman at chic As­cots and Chapels did not like my shoes. In fact, the mo­ment en­tered the be­spoke suit tai­lor­ing suite at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre, I saw her eyes linger just a se­cond longer at my brown leather for­mals.

Mahir Ali, the co-owner of As­cots and Chapels, greeted me warmly be­fore in­tro­duc­ing me to the lady: “Please meet Janet Small, im­age con­sul­tant.’’ Janet ex­tended her hand. The grip was firm and even as we were ex­chang­ing pleas­antries I re­alised she was look­ing deep into my eyes. Was I se­cretly pleased? It’d been a long time since any woman looked into my eyes this long.

“Your eyes,’’ she said, “they are ummm, slightly grey­ish black.’’

I wasn’t sure whether that was a com­pli­ment or a state­ment. Janet is who Mahir sum­mons to ad­vise high-pro­file clients look­ing to

im­prove their style quo­tient and I, a reg­u­lar jeans and T-shirt kind of guy, was be­ing given the celeb treat­ment.

But what does eye colour have to do with choos­ing a suit? “A lot,’’ said Janet. “Eye colour is one of the first things that helps me when choos­ing the fab­ric shade.’’

Oh, so she was look­ing at – and not into – my eyes.

“But I also spot­ted you look­ing at my shoes,” I whis­pered.

“I’ll come to that later,’’ she said. “First, let’s get you a suit.’’ I agreed.

“Go­ing by your eye colour, grey with a slight char­coal over­tone would be right for you,’’ she said. “But you also have a cer­tain mis­chievous look in your eye and to high­light that go for a nice soft pur­ple shirt.’’

Be­hind the counter, Mahir was also study­ing me. “Yes, darker colours suit your height and build,’’ he said. “They will ac­cen­tu­ate that ad­ven­tur­ous streak in you.’’

So, if some­body is not ad­ven­tur­ous but wants to por­tray that kind of a look can he wear a grey suit? I asked.

‘You have a cer­tain mis­chievous look in your eye and to high­light that go for a pur­ple shirt’

Mahir was clear: “You should wear the suit. The suit shouldn’t wear you. There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween look­ing like James Bond and look­ing like a pub bouncer.’’ Janet agreed; “If you are un­sure of what suit shade to choose, go for navy or char­coal.’’

Next was the jacket lin­ing. Mahir sug­gested pur­ple. “It’ll el­e­vate the suit,’’ he said. Be­fore tak­ing my mea­sure­ments Mahir had a de­tailed chat, as he does with all clients.

“We al­ways be­gin by ask­ing the cus­tomer some de­tails about his job. For in­stance, if he’s in bank­ing, the suit should re­flect a cer­tain strength, se­cu­rity and se­ri­ous­ness. But if he’s in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, there could be some fun el­e­ments in the suit, like a funky tie.

“Next, we ask if they but­ton up the jacket or leave it open; whether they use it while sit­ting and work­ing… All these af­fect the cut of the suit.’’

Next step: de­cid­ing the struc­ture. “Slim lapels look good for those with broad shoul­ders. If a broad per­son wears a jacket with broad lapels, all at­ten­tion will be con­cen­trated on that part of the body. But with slim lapels, the eye will travel from the shoul­der to the chest and down the lapels to the but­tons and the cuffs… the en­tire suit.’’

With the clas­sic suit still in vogue, Mahir sug­gested go­ing for a sin­gle­breasted with two but­tons.

“Next is per­son­al­is­ing,’’ said Mahir. “This in­cludes hav­ing your sig­na­ture af­fixed on the in­side of the jacket or dif­fer­ent coloured or con­trast­ing threads to fix the but­tons.”

As for trousers, the clas­sic is flat front. “Be­cause trousers end up be­ing used more than the jacket, we give two pairs of trousers with all our suits. That way you get to wear the suit for a longer time.”

And where ex­actly should the trouser sit on the waist? “An inch lower than your navel,’’ says Mahir. “If you have a paunch, wear the trousers a lit­tle higher.’’

Mea­sure­ments taken, I pre­pared to leave when I re­mem­bered that Janet had yet to tell me what she had in mind about my shoes. “Oh, it’s about the shoelaces. Go for con­trast­ing coloured shoelaces – it’ll add piz­zazz to your style. It’s the in thing – bright red shoelaces with brown shoes. Or pur­ple shoelaces with brown leathers. Or pink with black shoes.’’

I have yet to fol­low her ad­vice.

Dash­ing in pur­ple ac­cents with a sense of ad­ven­ture

Mahir Ali can help you de­velop a sig­na­ture style

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