What is Wednesday #9

What is Wednesday.

WIW #9

This weekly Wednesday post is aimed at answering some of the more basic and critical aspects of tailoring and the terminology we use to describe them. It stems from realizing that I’m constantly throwing out different terms with my clients and quite often they’re unsure as to what I exactly mean.  The goal of this section then is to alleviate this terminology gap and provide you with some know-how to talk tailoring with a little more ease.

What is…meant by a jacket’s expression and structure?

Suit nerds like me love to banter about this subject; at its most basic level though it refers to what happens on the inside the jacket.  This is because the level of structure on the inside of a jacket determines the expression of the jacket on the outside.  With structure it comes down to firmness – the more structure the more firm and armour-like the jacket becomes. Conversely the less structure the softer and more sweater-like the jacket becomes.  Inside a jacket you will find different layers of canvas, horsehair, felt, shoulder padding, sleeve-heads and wadding – it’s how these materials are combined that determines the level of firmness and overall structure of the jacket.


In the images above on the left we have a great view into how this influences the shoulder area. This is an example of relatively light padding – the goal in this case being to achieve a smooth ark over the ditch that naturally occurs above the collarbone while not adding any excess bulk. The result is an expression in the shoulders that creates a feeling or mood that is generally light and natural – much like we see in the image on the right.

Untitled design (2)

Another reason I’ve chosen this image is because it shows the connection between the expression of a jacket in relation to how we cut the shoulders.  In this case shoulders have been pushed slightly wider than normal as the blue lines indicate. The red indicates where the shoulder seam could have been placed for a completely different look and mood for the jacket. By cutting wider and combining it with a light structure the expression of the jacket on the whole is one of softness.

Make sense?  Again this is touch technical but critical in helping you wade through the noise that accompanies is suit terminology.  As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. Better yet book a free appointment and we can banter in person and see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Take care – Michael


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