Question for men who wear suits dancing. (reg. alterations)

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by gregolam, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    As a matter of comfort and personal preference, I prefer the more European style of slimmer cut jackets without vents. I just recently picked up some new suits, but before I go running off turning them all into dinner jackets, I was wondering if there are any guys here that have had problems dancing when wearing a relatively form fitting jacket. I've actually never really danced with a jacket on, but I am strongly considering doing so and want to make sure I won't bump into any issues if I have a tailor suppress the waists and remove the vents on my jackets.

    I don't really think it would be a problem, considering the kind of posture a leader assumes, but since I can't undo these alterations, I kind of want to make sure. So anybody who dances with suits...do I need to keep Jackets more loose for Tango, or should I be okay taking them all in/removing the vents?
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I am not a man, but yes, you will need somewhat looser jackets (and pants).
  3. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    Depends on your body. I used to get away with suits with a narrow waist, but two decades and 12kg later something too narrow there hinders me in dissociated movements (especially at the end of giros).

    See if you can turn your upper body violently and very far without having the thing pull at your shoulders or in your back.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Double or single breasted?
  5. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    Thanks guys,

    @lilly, I was hoping I would be able to get away with it but I guess worst case scenario is that I have one suit designated specifically for dancing. I'll still remove the vents, but it sounds like I'm going to have to be very careful about taking in the waist.

    @Sixela, I'll try that test to see if I can get away with taking a little off, I'll mention this to my tailor and see if he can help decide how loose I need to leave it.

    @zoopsia, I wish I could pull off a double but I'm not sure that I can. I only have two button double breasted jackets. Why do you ask? Does it make a significant difference when dancing?
  6. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    In my experience of the ease of wearing a suit has relatively little to do with how narrow it is cut.

    The ease of wearing a suit jacket for dancing depends mostly on how well the shoulder is cut. If the shoulder is cut well it is possible to raise ones arm without the jacket riding up. A very loose fitting suit will ride up much more before constricting movement than a slim fitting suit, but the whole suit front and back will show that it is being pulled, the shoulder will bulge, there will be visible strain on the buttons and so on - in short it will look awful.

    Factors that affect this are mainly the placement of the armhole (the closer to the natural shoulder the better). The height and width of the armhole (smaller armholes allow for more movement). The size and shape of the sleeve cap. The ratio between undersleeve and oversleeve. The shape of the armhole (round vs. teardrop shaped).

    A lot of off-the-rack suits have horrible shoulders (they are designed to look good while hanging on a hanger/ when somebody poses with them with their arms hanging by their side, not when somebody moves wearing them), and the shoulders are the part of the suit that basically can not be altered.

    I recommend when considering a jacket to check in the mirror how much it rides up when in "dance position". A well cut jacket will not ride up (well it will ride up a littel bit) ), independent of how loose it is. A badly cut jacket will restrict your movement (if it is slim) or ride up and distort its shape (if it is loose)- both equally bad.

    [​IMG]

    (note how the front of this by modern standards relatively slim jacked deforms only very little when he is raising his arm that hight - though this is probably a bespoke suit)

    Re: Vents- doesn't make a difference in my opinion - and in imho single vents generally inappropriate (unless you go horseriding :) ), and double vents are more casual/sporting which works well with tweed and similar fabrics but is discordant with more dressy suits.


    So basically my position boils down to: If the shoulder fits well it won't make a difference, and if the shoulder does not fit well it is probably not worth doing the alterations anyway :)

    Gssh
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's possible to buy an off-the-rack suit that works well for dancing. As mentioned, the armscye needs to be smaller, and the bottom of the armscye higher, and there's no really good way to accomplish that once the suit has been cut.
  8. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Member

    How are you going to survive in the high temperature and humidity at a milonga in your jacket?

    To me one of the illogical/unfair things in dancing is that the leaders/men are wearing long sleeves; they should be the ones showing skin to get rid of the extra temperature generated by leading.
  9. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That may count for northern countries with a mindset towards ecological thinking. In BsAs the air condition always seems to run day and night, so it always was very cold on the dance floor. Besides the the skin and flesh aspect: in sweden a heat coupling system links the thermal energy between a building with bureaus and the hall of a train station. A heat pump sucks up all the heat of running and floundering people and transfers it into the offices next door with people working sitting down.
  10. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    <swoon> :notworth: <swoon> a man who knows fit? nothing better. <swoon>
  11. rain_dog

    rain_dog Member

    Eeek! Noo! There's no reason you can't dance tango in a well-fitting suit. Google pictures of Fred Astaire to see what is possible in a relatively trim cut.
  12. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    my two pennorth; if you can put your arms in an embrace position and there's no tightness across the shoulders; its fine.

    just saying...
  13. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Active Member

    Gssh makes a good point. The tail suits that are worn by competitors are specially tailored (bespoke) and very expensive.

    Off the rack clothing generally will have too much padding in the shoulders and the arm holes are too low. These are made to fit as many men as possible. Some forward looking fashion (jcrew ludlow, etc) just might fit off the rack if you are lucky.
  14. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    I've had good success with suits from Dries van Noten that had almost no padding at the shoulder (why some other brands insist on making you look like an American football player when you don't raise your arms is a mistery to me). It's not bespoke but serendipitously fits like a glove. But I usually dance with a black Veronique Branquino coarse linen suit that is also very well tailored (but it's a shame she no longer has her own collection).

    It's usually quite obvious when it doesn't work.

    So it's not all dire, even if you don't have a bespoke suit.

    I have several other suits that are horrible, though (and that includes all the recent Hugo Boss suits I've ever worn, despite the company's ample 20th century experience with suits that wouldn't ride up with the right arm raised).
  15. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    I have never actually seen a competition tailsuit, but i have been curious about them for a while: When reading the threads on them in the ballroom forums i got the impression that they were similarly cut on a simplified pattern as most off-the rack suits, just instead of having "arms down" as the default shape of the shoulder they have "dance position" as the default. A lot of the contributors on those threads remark how it is impossible to put your arms down, and that they recommend taking the jacket off during breaks. Is that true? Because in that case they are not what i would call well fitting either.

    Re: For buying suits i have not found a real solutions myself. While real bespoke would be the best way to get a good suit it is out of my comfort zone price wise for a dance suit. I basically periodically go through department stores and mens stores and try on as many suits as possible in the hope that one of them works on my body. Brands are not consistent in their cuts (or sizing), nor are the same lines within a brand over different years. One of the other avenues i have been using is online made-to-measure suits. You basically have to consider the first suit to be a test-run, and then keep fine tunig the sizing and cut in communication with them, and there are sometimes big inconsistencies when the person they have actually cutting and sewing the suit in China changes, but i got a few reasonably nice midrange suits out of that. Part of the problem for me is that i don't want to go dancing in my best suits anyway - having a partner smushed against you and leavign traces of foundation and lipstick over your shoulder and sweat and deodorant over your right sleeve basically means that they need to be cleaned after every milonga, and thats hard on the fabrics. So the real question for me is how to find a decent fitting suit that i am willing to abuse like that :).

    In general i don't find suits to be much hotter to dance in than other clothes, especially if you choose summer weight wools or linnen or cotton. And a shirt is nicely wicking and cooling - in general when i dance in a suit i end up somewhat overall damp on the inside and dry on the outside, whereas when i dance in t-shirts and jeans i end up wet enough to transfer it to my partner. I usually feel more comfortable when i don't have the feeling that i am dripping on my partner :) (but then i am also not a big fan of women wearign backless dresses - sweaty skin on sweaty skin is not always the most comfortable. Similarly the texture of wet silk is not my favourite)

    Gssh
  16. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I did not realize that "looser fit" is a synonym of "ill fitted". :roll:
  17. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    I am really glad I came here to ask. I tried on a few jackets today and playing around with the armholes I see EXACTLY what you guys are talking about with regards to the holes being cut low and how that makes the whole jacket pull awkwardly when you move your arms. I am definitely glad to hear I don't have to worry about vents, because I can't stand the way they look, and also to hear the waist fit doesn't affect it nearly as much as I thought. Now I have a better criteria to look for when comparing suits, so thanks again, especially GSHH. Fortunately so far I have been lucky. I bought one cotton suit from J Crew and though the arm holes could fit a little better, the shoulder pads are very slim and overall it barely rides up or pulls in the back.

    And to Ladyleader, I have to agree with GSHH on the whole wearing a suit in the warm weather issue. When I wear just one shirt, no matter how light or well wicking, it soaks through and wetness is the only thing you would be able to feel. It sounds counter intuitive, but wearing layers actually does help as long as those layers are made from the right materials. A tight fitting cotton undershirt, an EXTREMELY thin cotton/linen button down, and a breathable suit jacket of cotton/linen/silk feels incredibly comfortable and does wonders to protect a date/partner from having to detect any dampness.

    Again guys, thank you very much. There are a ton of resources out there for guys to learn about how a suit should fit, but not a whole lot of info specifically geared towards a dancer.
  18. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Ballroom tailcoats are perfectly comfortable, and it's easily possible to put your arms down. They're just extremely warm--being snug-fitted, multi-layered wool--so wearing them around during breaks after you just finished dancing is not all that conducive to cooling off. Also, if you wear them around they'll just get damper, which isn't helpful either. I'd say those are the primary reasons they aren't worn between rounds.
  19. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    You haven't been shopping with men a lot, have you :). "This does not fit the shape of my body, lets get it a few sizes larger" is the default way many men shop, and if you hear a man say "i prefer looser fit" it usually means something like "my real size is 40L but that is hard to find, so i am wearing 48R"

    Gssh
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    My man is not that way at all. So, I thought we were supposed to consider looser fit vs closer fit... :cool:

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