A recent client decided that because the changes he envisioned and planned for himself were coming to pass, it was time for his wardrobe to catch up to this new life. He talked and listened, I measured and analyzed, and together we chose the components of his first custom made suit.
“For an extra $50, you can have a fancy lining,” the tailor at the menswear store said.
Offering me, an image consultant and a costume designer, the choice of linings and buttons, let alone thousands of fabric swatches, is like letting a child run loose in a candy store – the shiny, fancy lining choices, from solids to birds-eye patterns, delighted my vision, and I imagined how each would look under the gorgeous navy blue window pane wool check I picked out for the suit.
Though the shape certainly compliments a man’s build, business suits tend to be very limited in colour and are so often dark. The beauty of the lining – especially a fancy one, is that it is something of a stylish accessory to the suit; lining can be seen as a feature that adds interest and punctuates the common garment, and can act as a palette with which to illustrate the bearer’s character (much like a tie can, but on a different scale).
In a suit or sports jacket, a specialty lining adds a touch of class and to me, indicates self-respect. A guy’s choice in lining can give him an undisputed distinction and undoubtedly a tasteful reputation. And it is possible that – gasp! – he might look like he’s worth more?
Ted Baker, a favourite UK suit designer of mine, does exquisite linings as seen here. His inside work appears as a constructed piece of art, brilliantly coloured, textured, and shaped. Of course, not just anyone could wear a Ted Baker – wearing a suit with a lining such as this would be worn by a guy of considerable confidence and fearlessness, I’d expect, not to mention a guy with good sense of fun.
Other and more reserved types have many lining choices, lower in key than the Ted Baker sorts, that look just as attractive: elegant, subdued tone-on-tone fabrics, stripes, and muted solids cut in the traditional manner to compliment the suit fabric.
Lining is much more than the smooth slide of a suit jacket – it covers the raw edges of the fabric below and seals the garment; lining backs ties to slip an easy knot, it sometimes zips in and out of overcoats, warms your winter boots and gloves, and can make up the entire back of a vest or waistcoat to keep the heat down when wearing a jacket. Lining is also a practical way hold to a guy in place while he takes a dip in the pool, if you know what I’m saying.
We considered the fawn-coloured fabric with the thin blue stripe, and the faint pattern on the light blue lining, but in the end, my client, a subtle fellow, chose a quietly bold yet gentlemanly navy and red paisley to line his suit. I couldn’t contain myself.
“They’re going to have to start paying you more!” I exclaimed.