One thing we've learned after making thousands of suits is that every man has some sort of body peculiarity that keeps him from having the "ideal" physique. It may be disproportionately long arms, a sloped shoulder after a collarbone break, massive feet, or any number of other factors.
One of the great things about men's clothing, and especially suits, is that they can be made in a way that can emphasize or distract from these aspects of the wearer's body.
One such detail is the hip pockets on a suit jacket. We're going to ignore options like patch pockets or the sleek, jetted pocket options you see on tuxedos and focus on what most men visualize when they think of a suit.
A flapped hip pocket can be made straight across (parallel with the waist of the pants) or an angle that points in and up towards the sternum. Both are appropriate in business and casual environments and both have a long-standing history in menswear. Essentially, neither one of these is more current or trendy than the other.
The visual differences are subtle but important. A straight pocket adds some visual heft to the man's torso and also makes a more definitive line at the stomach. For men who are excessively tall and/or skinny this can be used to balance out those proportions making them appear less lanky and more filled out.
Because a hacking pocket is angled in and up, it draws people's eyes in and up towards the sternum. Making the man wearing the suit look slimmer and a bit taller. This is ideal for men with large bellies who want to appear less rotund.
However, because these details are so subtle, it's not something to sweat unless you find yourself on one extreme or the other. Men of more average builds can choose a straight or hacking pocket more so out of preference than for concern of the visual effects they will have on their bodies.
As always, style rules are written in pencil, not ink. Play around with it, be daring, show some personality, and discover your own style.
To your style,
P.S. If you want daily updates of new styles, client shots, and overall style goodness, follow us on Instagram.
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An interview with Kevin Salsbury, shop manager of Beckett & Robb, Denver, about the changing world of custom tailored suits for the men of Denver, Colorado.
What's your background in menswear?
My background in menswear has been in men's tailored clothing, with an emphasis with luxury brands, most of which were European. My personal drive...
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