Fit is important, but…

When it comes to clothing fit is important, but fit alone will not make an outfit look good. Even if it is a good outfit. There are two other factors that I always take into consideration which are proportions and silhouette. I believe that these three elements fit, proportions, and silhouette are what separates good outfits from great outfits.
FullSizeRender(20)I was writing to a reader about this very subject earlier this week. Now don’t get me wrong fit is critical. If your clothes don’t fit well the other two are off the table. Fit can even take into account proportions and silhouette. For example, a shirt should fit well around the neck, the shoulders, but also in sleeve length. All of these items correlate to silhouette. An example of how you would consider proportions for you shirt could be deciding between slim, classic, or a baggier fit. Your weight and build need to be taken into consideration, but also your legs and pants. You don’t want a slim shirt and baggy trousers or vice versa. You need to take into consideration the whole picture thinking about how these proportions effect the overall silhouette.

It is also important to note that there are several silhouettes within the trad cannon. I think that office, formal, casual, suits, sportcoats, etc., etc. all have slightly different silhouettes. There is also some personal preference such as wanting a narrower pant leg or slimmer shirt while others like myself prefer little to no break in our trousers while others want a little more break. When thinking of the classic trad silhouette I think of how items like soft shouldered jackets and flat front chinos help to shape this silhouette.

I shared the pic above because it is one of my better efforts of illustrating fit, proportions, and silhouette. I like that my pants are not baggy or slim and the length is neither too short or too long. The tie appears a touch wide, but it’s not bad. The jacket length is pretty good and the amount of cuff showing under the blazer is within the acceptable range. Overall the fit and proportions make for a halfway decent silhouette.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

13 Comments on "Fit is important, but…"

  1. John T. says:

    Ox, you’re spot on regarding what you call silhouette: slacks not too baggy, not too skinny, coat and tie in proportion and so forth. Glad you brought that up. We see examples of horrific silhouette daily, in photos of people with the means, certainly, but not the smarts to know or to be told the difference. I won’t drop any big names. Readers can imagine for themselves.
    One related question regarding your photos: That building behind you in most of your pics – it’s lovely, reminiscent of many similar buildings I’ve seen in smaller cities. It’s a solid, comforting, of an era when people cared what they built and made them to last. Is it a hotel, with offices at ground level, and now, perhaps, apartments above? If hotel, when were the glory days and what else went into the building? It’s such an inviting structure I had to ask – and perhaps you’ve already told us and I’ve missed it. I’d love to know, and thanks for your blog.

    • ^”means without the smarts to know or be told the difference…” i’m imagining a way too long tie, baggy suit, and sleeves so long you can’t even see the cuff, lol!

  2. Bob Sherer says:

    Great article!

  3. .weston.pecos. says:

    I like your tie. Not too wide. Great stripe pattern. Looks good with that outfit.

    Building behind you is stately. Shame about the body they discovered on the fourth floor, and the scandal with the City Councilman. Never did hear where all that cash came from or what happened to the money after they cleaned up after the crime. But it is a nice looking building.

  4. Roger Russell says:

    I see exactly what you are conveying and it makes sense. I probably have fallen into this trap. I like to wear bone colored five pocket tapered pants that are cut fairly slim. In contrast, I like my OCBD shirts cut full or traditional. Therefore, I guess I look out of proportion. However, I just hate tapered shirts.

  5. oxford cloth button down says:

    John T & Roger, The building behind is the Shawnee Hotel (now called Shawnee Apartment Building, I think?). It was built in 1916 as a hotel, but is now used for senior housing. It is very close to the building that I work in which is why it appears in my pictures so frequently.

  6. Steve L. says:

    Very astute. I think you could define fit, proportion, and silhouette as three legs of the same stylish stool. Screw up one and you’ll topple over. What I observe, far too often, is people ignoring one (or two, or three) of these elements in order to obsess over details like how many buttons a jacket has, whether a lapel is precisely as wide/narrow as one might wish it to be, or if a shirt is described as being fabricated in a “classic” or “modern” cut. Unless one can have clothes custom made, some sacrifices are inevitable. I see so many examples of guys who got the picky details they desired, but ended up looking like lumps because they forgot about fit, proportion, and silhouette.

  7. Richard aka Tweeds says:

    Jerrod, great look really like the three bar rep from landsend(older blog) I tried to order the same tie,but they were sold out. The only thing i would change is the cuff length on your shirt, however it is personal. I always like a quarter to half inch showing. Once again looking good.

  8. Jon DiBenedetto says:

    Hi Jerrod~ I always enjoy your blog tho I don’t really comment. I wanted to mention there’s a brand called Guideboat ( that is selling bleeding madras shirts from Chennai (Madras) in 3 colors. They look like they might be cut a bit shorter ( I’m not sure) they you like but you might want to take a look ,. best wishes & thanks for the always genial blog, Jon

  9. Andy says:

    @John T – if you Google image search on ‘Shawnee Hotel, Springfield, Ohio’ you will get some great pictures of the hotel and interior in its glory days. I found this link

  10. Blue Pinpoint says:

    The building provides a perfect backdrop for your classic outfits.

  11. John T. says:

    Activist Trad, Andy:
    Thanks for the historical info regarding the former Hotel Shawnee; I’d done a bit of poking about but your links have been quite helpful. It’s been a grand place as I suspected, a palace in its prime, as many small and proud cities once offered. The current use as a senior center seems appropriate and with a splendid web site – and still a grand building, fitting backdrop for Ox’s fashion look. Thanks again. -J

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