Three-Piece Spring Suits feat. Ryan Devens

March 24th, 2014

Ryan Devens runs the made-to-measure suit program at San Francisco based Taylor Stitch, but he honed his style while apprenticing for a master tailor in Nashville Tennessee.

“I wore suits every damn day there. Parties, coffee shops, mexican restaurants, the grocery store. You see, in Nashville, or really the South, wearing a suit is easy. People like them. They respect them.

When I got a tip that Taylor Stitch out in San Francisco was on the hunt for someone to help start their custom suiting program (using Southwick out of Haverhill, MA), I snagged a plane ticket. Two weeks later I moved to the West coast to help the brand expand into made-to-measure suiting to complement their already existing custom shirting program (Gambert Shirting out of Newark, NJ).”

Naturally, Ryan knows a thing or two about Southern-friendly lightweight suits. Here he highlights one of his favorite moves: the lightweight three-piece.

1. Seersucker Surgery

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“I snagged this southern classic years ago while working for J. Crew.  It went on crazy sale, and even though at the time I didn’t really understand the nuances behind a seersucker suit, I figured I might as well buy one for 150 bucks.

As far as tailoring goes, this suit has been under the knife so many times I’ve lost count.  I went through a REALLY tapered leg phase, and this suit unfortunately went through it with me.  Luckily, my tailor rightfully anticipated I’d want the pants let out one day, so she left all the fabric inside.

Wearing this suit in California is the easiest way to “subtly” remind people that I’m not from “round these parts”.

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“The first thing I look for in an off-the-rack suit is the line of the shoulder. I happen to have very sloping shoulders, so when I put on OTR suits, my shoulders just don’t fill the space needed to ‘lift’ the suit in order to drape properly.

For custom suits, I use a device that’s similar to a builder’s level to measure the natural slope of the shoulder in order to ensure we cut the the garment at the proper angle for the client.

After having my eyes opened to the shoulder shape, I’ve had most of my suits “re-shouldered”, by trimming down the padding and recutting the slope.”

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  • Sunglasses by Illesteva ·
  • Custom Japanese Chambray Shirt by M. Gambert for Taylor Stitch ·
  • Necktie by The Hillside ·
  • Pocket-Square by Otis James ·
  • Navy Suede Loafers by Billy Reid
  • · Beige Seersucker Three-Piece Suit


Cotton Seersucker Suit in Heather Gray

2. Chambray Suit

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“This is about as lightweight as it gets.

Once I realized that Southwick could work with pretty much any fabric, I called our production manager and asked him if we had any dead-stock chambray laying around.  A few hours later, he showed me something like 20 yards of beautiful washed selvedge chambray that had been abandoned in the factory for a few months.  I clipped off 5 yards and shipped it to the factory the next day.”

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“After working at J. Crew during the Billy Reid collaboration (one of his rewards for winning the CFDA award that year), I became fixated on the chambray two-piece suit he designed for that collection. I re-created it and added a vest – I thought it would be a dressier take on a casual fabric that isn’t often used for making a suit.”

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  • Custom Horizontal-Stripe shirt by M. Gambert for Taylor Stitch ·
  • Floral Necktie by Taylor Stitch ·
  • Pocket-Square by Otis James ·
  • Watch by Timex 1800 for J.Crew ·
  • Tortoise Sunglasses by Warby Parker ·
  • Tassel Loafers by Billy Reid
  • · Blue Lightweight Chambray Three-Piece Suit

3. The Linen Difference 

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“I love pale grey suits, but they’re a little harder to tailor. Unlike darker suits, they show every wrinkle, shifty taper, bit of excess fabric, or that male-version of a panty-line…light grey suits bare all.  However, throw linen into the equation and everything changes. Linen has a looser drape and a natural wrinkle that drifts the fabric away from the body…so it always looks a little easy going and care-free.”

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“As far as pants go, I really like no break whatsoever.  I realize that a shorter hem can look “too short” a lot of the time, but if the trouser is tapered enough below the knee I think you can get away with a slightly cropped hem…especially in a warmer weather fabric. ”

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  • Red Gingham Shirt by J. Crew (tailored) ·
  • Chambray Bowtie by J. Crew ·
  • Vintage Pocket Square ·
  • Sunglasses by Ray-ban ·
  • Belt by Taylor Stitch ·
  • White Buck Wingtips by Cole Haan
  • · Gray Linen Three-Piece Suit

 

Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Ryan for participating!

Yours in style,

Articles of Style

 

Photography by Alex Crawford