There are some things that are uncomfortable to talk about, like when the person sitting across from us has food stuck in his teeth or a chunk of hair sticking up on top of his head. Of course, we know that the person we are speaking with is not able to see his teeth, nor can he view the top of his head, and we really don’t want to say anything to embarrass anyone.
During a business lunch, there is almost always at least one person in a group who is wearing a suit jacket that has a ball of fabric bunched-up and sticking out directly from behind the neck. It seems shallow to draw attention to such a thing. After all, we don’t want to come across as obsessive people who nit-pick about such details.
Still, fabric bunching behind the neck can be distracting and is an issue that is a pity to have to deal with on an otherwise good suit. And so, when we visited Cifonelli recently, we asked Cifonelli Master Tailor Massimo about the matter, and solicited his advice on how to correct such a problem.
Massimo revealed that fabric bunching behind the neck can be caused by different things, but is often the result of buying a jacket with a sleeve pitch that is the opposite of a person’s natural posture. That is–if you have the posture of a military soldier and buy a jacket that is designed for slightly slouched shoulders, then when you sit down, the fabric behind your neck may bunch up and stick out. To test out this phenomenon, pull your shoulders backwards and notice how excess fabric gathers on you back.
On the other side, if you have naturally sloped shoulders and buy a jacket made for a very upright posture, then the same back bunching phenomenon could occur when you sit down. To understand this result, slouch your shoulders forward, while pulling the fabric on your shoulder backwards.
What can we do to avoid, and if necessary, correct the problem of fabric bunching behind the neck, especially in the sitting position?
As animated by Style Forum’s tailorgod
To avoid the problem, be familiar with your natural posture. If your shoulders have a natural downward slope, make sure you buy a jacket with a sleeve pitch that is pitched forward, just like your shoulders are positioned forward in front of your body.
If your posture is naturally upright, make sure you buy a jacket with a sleeve pitch that is pitched backwards, just like your shoulders sit backwards, away from your body.
However, if you’ve already bought the jacket, and you sit down and notice a big ball of fabric is already bunching up behind your neck, then there are at least two things a tailor can do to correct the situation:
1. The simple correction of opening the seams where the collar meets the jacket fabric (behind the neck), removing some fabric and closing up the neck area on the jacket again. This correction takes about two hours to complete by an experienced tailor.
2. The more extensive surgery of removing the sleeves in order to re-pitch the sleeves to match the natural posture of the wearer. This correction takes around four hours to complete by an experienced tailor. If work has to be done to reset the lapels or open up the jacket sides to remove excess fabric, then more time will be required to create a good fit.
PREVENTION IS KEY: SIT AND CHECK !
Keep things simple: when you buy a suit jacket, make sure you sit down as you would sit down at a table during lunch, for example, and experiment with various sitting positions, while noticing in the mirror whether you have fabric bunching behind your neck, or not.