Breathing New Life Into an Outdated Suit

I recently picked up an old Louis Feraud suit.

Well, ‘old’ as in manufacturing age. It was unworn, deadstock.
It was typical of the Armani-dominated late 80s and early 90s suit designs.
Single breasted, padded, slightly rounded shoulders.
Hard three button fronting, with a decently proportioned notch lapel, good gorge height and a nice low button stance.
Single pleat front trousers, which, unlike many suits of the era, had a fairly modern leg opening size and turn-up cuffs to boot. A nice high rise, too.

However, it also had the hallmark not-so-good parts of that era.
Boxy cut, unflatteringly so, and the jacket was thirty four inches long at the back.

Dated, but with plenty of potential.
A good fit across the shoulders, free-floating chest canvas, correct buttoning point for my chosen aesthetic and good construction meant a good base to build upon.
I didn’t think to take fit pics beforehand, but I’ll outline what we did to update it and turn it into a timeless cut.

Firstly, the result. Then we’ll talk about the changes.

Updating and Upcycling Outdated Designer Suits
Worn here with Charles Tyrwhitt shirt and vintage Brooks Brothers Makers tie.

It’s quite an austere design with an austere fabric to boot.
Charcoal grey self-stripe with pinstripes also.
The fabric has a nice hand to it and a solid weight.

Happily, the trousers were quite a good fit straight away.
The only alteration was to take up the hem, as they were too long for me initially.

The jacket, on the other hand, had a number of changes made.

The armholes were deepened, as there was collapsing around the chest on both sides.
It’s near never that a jacket has a clean chest on me, but this fabric demanded it.
Waist suppression was near nonexistent on the jacket at first, so the abdomen was taken in to provide some.
The length was reduced by around one and a half inches.
The sleeves were shortened by around two centimetres.

Breathing Life Into Old Suits

All up, alterations were near two hundred Australian dollars.
Which, considering that I picked up the suit from a charity store at sixty Australian dollars, makes it a bargain suit.

It’s quite at home in today’s styles, despite the traditionally dated three button configuration.
The variety of stripe in the fabric means it’s quite easy to pair with other stripes of various sizes, and makes an easier transition from jacquards and foulards in neckwear also.
Furthermore, it looks great with my Barbour and I’ve even managed to throw a baseball cap on with it effortlessly.
I’ll be getting plenty of wear out of it in the years to come.

Upcycling Old Suits

The key with sourcing suiting from charity shops is in understanding the construction.
Signs like good quality fabrics, free floating canvassing and well-made stitching are a must, as you don’t want to waste money altering a low quality garment.
Also, it should fit well in the shoulders, and have the right button stance for you.
If either of those points are off, leave it on the rack.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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