Real buttonholes

In The Secret Vice (1966), Tom Wolfe claimed:

There are just two classes of men in the world, men with suits whose buttons are just sewn onto the sleeve, just some kind of cheapie decoration, or—yes!—men who can unbutton the sleeve at the wrist because they have real buttonholes and the sleeve really buttons up.

More than fifty years later, one can buy ready-made suits with button-able-up (button-up-able) sleeves. I don’t remember exactly when they became available at reasonable prices, but it must have been at least five years since. Technology is creeping onward.

In the past ten or fifteen years, the typical ready-made man’s suit has become slimmer and shorter with less shoulder padding, probably influenced by Italian, more specifically Neapolitan, designers/tailors. The fabric has grown thinner but less rumply; the color palette borders on the impossible; linings are almost exquisite. There is a wide choice of sizes and cuts now; off the rack suits seem to fit better, on average, today than twenty years ago.

However, “the marginal differences that go into custom tailoring” can’t have simply disappeared. It probably takes a sharper and better trained eye to detect them. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to have our suits printed out for us, similar to the way 3D printers create objects.

Discover more from Winterings in Trans-Scythia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading