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Meet PROPERSUIT Chicago’s New Fit Specialist: Kiyoshi Martinez

We’re proud to welcome Kiyoshi, a Chicagoland native, to our team. From writing a blog about menswear as a hobby to making a career change to work in the industry, Kiyoshi brings an eye for fit, a dedication to service and passion for tailored clothing: 

The best compliment I can receive is, “I love this suit and I wear it all the time.”

Read more at PROPERSUIT

Cool in blue

I hesitate to say this because my job involves selling suits, but suits are rarely the most ideal clothing choice when it comes to weather in the extremes. If it’s really cold out, you’d probably rather wear heavy-duty gear or thick sweaters to keep you warm. And if it’s hot, wearing a suit isn’t as appealing to most as just cruising around in shorts and a T-shirt. 

But suits do make almost any guy look great, which is often the whole point of wearing tailored clothing – vanity! So we’ve got a conundrum. 

Unlike fall and winter fabrics where you’re able to get a benefit from seasonal cloth in terms of drape, summer’s less kind. Linen wrinkles. Seersucker is only worn for about three short months. Cotton can sometimes be too thick and dense for the heat, and yet still can look as wrinkled as linen.

What’s left is lightweight wool. You’d think “Fresco” cloth is the only thing worth getting, but there’s a lot of variations out there with an open weave from different mills. Mine in particular is from Ermenegildo Zegna’s “Cool Effects” collection. 

The fabric is 6 ounces and does have a bit of a dry hand to it, but isn’t as “scratchy” as some “fresco”-style fabrics I’ve felt in the past – probably because the weave isn’t as open as others I’ve felt. To be honest, fabrics with too dry of a hand feel cheap to me, but some really enjoy that texture. 

Zegna claims their “Cool Effects” fabric “absorbs the sun’s rays,” which to raises a bit of skepticism in me as to how beneficial that can be, but after testing the suit in Texas it wears about as cool as suit can get in the heat. 

I think the main benefit comes from the weight and partially the airflow. I opted for half-lining instead of full. But the lightness of the jacket and trousers helped a lot. 

Lightweight fabrics aren’t without downsides. They’re not as crease resistant as heavier midweights might be – you’ll get some at the back of your trouser knees and jacket from sitting. A quick steam, however, sorts that out quickly. The drape also isn’t as compelling as heavier fabrics would be, but that’s the compromise. 

I did some other things to make this suit a bit more functional for travel. Patch hip pockets instead of my usual choice of jetted. I wanted to split the jacket up to wear as a sport coat with jeans. I also raised the hem and tapered the trousers a bit more at the leg opening as I think it looks a bit better when worn sockless during the warm months. 

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Suit made-to-measure by PROPERSUIT, necktie & pocket square by Vanda Fine Clothing, shirt by Hugh & Crye, loafers by Alden, watch by Swatch.  

Photo by John Cousert

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Farewell to Flannel

Despite it being technically spring for more than a month, it’s only been recently that it actually feels like the correct season. I’m no fan of cold, miserable weather, but I am a fan of wearing flannel. I’ll almost miss putting these suits away. 

I made good use of these suits through the winter and “spring”. Both are made from a hefty 340g (~12 oz.) woolen flannel from Vitale Barberis Canonico. The hand on the fabric feels substantial and the drape impressive. 

The suits are probably bolder than what many would wear in professions that still require a suit, but I’ve always enjoyed a good pin or chalk stripe (and one of the advantages of my current job – PROPERSUIT – is the freedom to wear clothing I find exciting). 

The first suit is a dark charcoal with a rust chalk stripe. I wanted to try a double-breasted jacket and trousers with single, forward pleats. I also opted to do a “tailor’s fly” with buttons rather than a zipper. 

The royal blue flannel has a double chalk stripe in silver grey. I decided to try a three-piece with a 6-button front that brought the waistcoat up higher toward the neck. The jacket is a 3/2 roll with jetted pockets and a jetted ticket pocket as well. The trousers have side adjusters and braces buttons in the waistband. 

The shoulders on both suits are more traditional, having a bit more padding. I wouldn’t personally use this for more casual fabrics, but it made sense on these suits.

At the time I was having these suits made, I was binge-watching “Boardwalk Empire”. The suits on the show are obviously of a very different cut, but what really struck me was the vibrant array of flannel fabrics worn by the likes of Nucky and Chalky. You could tell the cloth had a substantial weight and the molted surface of flannel gave the bright checks and stripes an elegant nuance you just don’t find often in men’s suits. 

I’m not a fan of dressing in costume of an era passed, but I’m always drawn toward fabrics that have a bit of something different about them than the norm. Flannel provides a great opportunity and doesn’t need to always be a shade of dull grey in your wardrobe. 

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Suits made-to-measure by PROPERSUIT, neckties by Vanda Fine Clothing, shirts by Hugh & Crye, pocket squares by Rubinacci & Vanda. 

Photos by John Cousert

PROPERSUIT Early Spring 2016 Trunk Shows

I’ll be on the road again in about a month for PROPERSUIT. If you’re looking to have something made in time for warmer weather, this is a great opportunity given the average 6-week turnaround time, putting delivery around the end of April. 

We’re adding Atlanta to our regular travel schedule on February 26 & 27. And we’re returning to Texas: Houston on March 10 & 11, Dallas on March 12 & 13, and Austin on March 14. 

For those interested in tropical wools, linens and cottons, the season’s new fabrics books will be on hand for consideration.  

You can make an appointment thru the website and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at kiyoshi@propersuit.com

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PROPERSUIT Texas fittings in January 2016

Coming in 2016, PROPERSUIT will add Texas to its regular schedule of traveling pop-ups for appointment-only fittings. We’ve been thrilled to have many clients from Texas visit our locations across the country, but now we’re making a commitment in the new year to see you in the Lone Star State. Our itinerary for the first set of dates:

  • DALLAS: Jan 14 & 15
  • AUSTIN: Jan 16
  • HOUSTON: Jan 17 & 18

We will be returning in mid-March 2016 for fit checks. Book your fitting now to arrange a time with our fit specialist during our visit. We look forward to seeing you!