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Wardrobe Fabrication: Tolerancing

Updated: Jun 30, 2018

This post is for all you men who have already begun building your wardrobe with versatile pieces. First of all, good work! Pat yourselves on the back. Now, in the next few paragraphs I will help you either gain more confidence in the wardrobe you've built or send you straight to the tailor.

For those who aren't familiar with the term tolerance in its engineering sense its definition is:the permissible limit or limits of variation in a physical dimension. This principle is critical to each and every piece you've acquired. Sure, you've checked all the boxes; white oxford, wool suit, dark jeans, hell maybe even a leather jacket. Having each piece, regardless of quality, is not enough.

I've seen it a lot working in retail, either an inspired gentleman or an insistent woman in his life finds a fundamental piece, then they just buy it. Few even try it on, instead using their "knowledge" of washed and worn clothes at home to gauge which size will fit them. Perhaps you're a victim of this. You've got that one shirt that when you finally choose to wear it (five days past its return date of course) you find its quite ill fitting. As men, the first thing we'll do is try and justify this disappointing piece of clothing, with many succumbing to their own persuasion. This is one of the largest mistakes a man can make. If you know anything about tolerancing a design you'll know that when you go to assemble your finished product with many slightly dimensionally incorrect pieces, your finished product may come out unrecognizable. In this same way, when you're finally piecing together all your versatile clothing if the fit of a handful of the pieces is off your entire wardrobe will look sloppy. It is of utmost importance to understand tolerancing; each piece acquired must not only meet a versatile prerequisite but also a properly fitting prerequisite. Only then when you go to assemble your day to day outfits can you rest assured that you'll look damn good regardless of what shirt or trouser you choose.


This image of Sean Connery in the 1964 movie "Goldfinger" represents a perfectly toleranced outfit, so much so that it transcends time.

Now, I realize the term "properly fitting" was used rather vaguely just now. If you don't know what properly fitting is for your body and would like to read more about how to determine if an item fits (spoiler: don't just ask a woman her opinion) you're in luck. Stay tuned for the next post in this series about fit and tailoring. Wardrobe Fabrication: Dimensioning

- The Engineer