Monday, March 9, 2015

Reader Question: Ganglitude, Surmounted

"Matt" declares and inquires:

I'm working to transition from lower business casual (khakis and polos) to higher business casual, which will involve more fitted shirts and occasionally suits. I'd like to do it correctly...In addition, nearly everything I get must be tailored, or often built. Long arms and torso, and very little fits me off the rack or even from the package.
Matthias, dear reader, it sounds as though you are afflicted with the gangly.  I am not a gangly person myself, but some of my best friends are gangly.  Many of our nation's most famous power forwards, strong safeties, and presidents have been gangly.  You know who else was gangly and dressed like a ****** *** ***** **ing *** ** * boss?  Cary Grant.  You are in great company.
Your biggest problem will be shirts.  You, like every other reader of this blog, will definitely have to order shirts with a specific sleeve length (no more "34/35" for you) and collar circumference.  You will have to go somewhere to get measured--your local menswear shop can do this.  You will probably never buy a dress shirt in a store again as a result, except perhaps Brooks Brothers or Thomas Pink (drool). 

Start out at Paul Fredrick; their shirt skirts are longer than is average these days, which is good for a long torso.  Introductory white oxford deal here.  Good place to start for you sounds like button cuff with a button collar (assuming you will wear a tie only irregularly).  Get 3 with button collars and one Windsor spread for when you wear a tie with a jacket.

Last, if you have a long torso, you will probably need pants with a longer rise.  This means you will probably not look proper in modern-cut suits like the kind you would get at Banana Republic or J. Crew.  Pants length is not a problem if you buy pants with unfinished hems.

JAB carries a lot of long-size jackets and suits, and their default pant fit has a lot of room in the crotch (easily handled by your alterations tailor, not the one that works in the back at the local JAB).  Never pay more than 66% off list price at JAB. 

Drop another comment if you have more questions.  I live to serve.


  1. You are correct on shirts being my frustration. I walk into shops and say "16 x 36", and they laugh at me. I follow up witth "I'm actually 15 1/2, but I can compromise if I have to, as long as it doesn't fit me like a sack".

    They laugh harder.

    Do you have suggestions or follow ups for pants - suit or more casual? I'm a fan of pleats. I feel they look better, move better, and are more comfortable. My wife pushes for flat fronts. I think I look like a badly designed muppet when I wear them. End the madness.

    Thank you so much!!!!

  2. Tall guys look better in pleats. Otherwise, you have this massive expanse of uninterrupted pelvis fabric. Besides, pleats are coming back, according to various trend pieces I've seen in my e-travels.

    NB Paul Fredrick even carries 16-37 shirts.

    If you can't find trim fit in your size, check out the comments on this post for a useful strategy:

  3. What about the Custom Shop?

    They travel around, with "Trunk Shows".  Have even come up to Boston.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  4. Cliff--I always walked past their DC shop on my menswear rounds when I worked downtown. Their prices seem reasonable for made to measure suits and shirts--seemed like their package deals meant you could get a solid basic wardrobe for about $2000 (2 suits plus shirts and ties), whereas I am more of a cheapskate for the time being. I should have put my hands on their fabric some time to see if it was worth the price.


Questions, comments, and style ideas welcome, provided they are expressed respectfully.