Behind the Collection: Duncan Quinn

Full_DuncanQuinn3.jpg It actually makes perfect sense: The man to turn to for the right suit is the man that wears one everyday. That's the rationale behind Duncan Quinn, the NoLiTa-based shop and bespoke tailor founded by the New York-based lawyer of the same name. "I've always had a hand in both law and fashion," Quinn says. "So it's not really a switch—more a readjustment of the balance." What shifted that balance was the amount of attention Quinn's suits commanded, and the amount of tips and referrals he provided—from ladies on the street to men in the boardroom, it seemed no one had seen a handmade suit with a bit of flair before. "The driving force behind the shop," Quinn says, "was that I could find things that were well-made, and I could find things that had character, but not together." So Quinn, using his own well-trained eye for panache and the hands of trusted tailors (no glue or machine stitching in this shop), created a character and quality all his own. "My suits are at that fine line where one gets away with it in the office, but still definitely rocks it at the after-party later on," Quinn says. For the rest of us, that's a grey area not always so easy to navigate. Luckily however, Aaron Collins, one of Quinn's tailors and a 15-year veteran of the menswear industry, is willing to provide a cheat sheet. Here, he shares the five necessary points to scoring the perfect suit: by Derek Blasberg
Shoulder_DuncanQuinn.jpg 1. The Collar and Lapel Framing the face and the chest, "the collar and the lapel are the most important features of a suit," Collins says. "It can dictate the whole balance." They should always be starched and clean (James Bond never
had a rumpled lapel, did he?), but a simple formula exists for the size: big boys should wear slim collars and lapels, but a skinnier frame can pull off a broader 1930s and '70s-esque wider shape.
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Shoulder2_DuncanQuinn.jpg 2. The Shoulder Armani might not approve, but his softer-shaped shoulders of the 1980s are completely passé. According to Collins, the stronger, more square shoulder and shoulder roll are requisite features for the modern suit—"it is superior and more elegant to any other shoulder shape we have seen in the past decades." The shoulders should be strong, but not too rigid—the refrigerator silhouette has never been in, and probably never will be.
waist_DuncanQuinn.jpg 3. The Buttons Luciano Pavarotti never wears a double-breasted suit, and for good reason: He's, like, a thousand pounds of Italian tenor genius. Collins keeps it simple: "The more cloth you have on a wider frame, the wider you will look." Thus, slimmer figures can pull off the double-breasted suit, as well as bold stripes and checks, but, as Collins puts it, "for a client with more girth I would recommend a slimmer stripe in a high two-button or three-button suit."
Sleeve_DuncanQuinn.jpg 4. The Sleeve By slimming the armholes and moving them back on the arms, Coco Chanel revolutionized the woman's silhouette in the early 20th century—the same applies to a man's suit sleeves today. According to Collins, "the sleeves should be cut quite high to give more definition and shape in the chest and waist." No lazy, off-the-shoulder cuts here. Instead, the shoulder should stay strong, "to give the wearer a more elegant silhouette."
blank.jpg 5. The Cuff Last but certainly not least, Collins is quite curt when it comes to the cuff. "You should always show at least 3/4 of an inch of your shirt." But not much more, Collins warns—too much cuff exposure "can be considered vulgar."
Wanna look sharp? The power of a well-cut suit is undeniable, but all the elements that make it look just so are not self-evident even to those of us who pride ourselves on our fashion savvy. Duncan Quinn shows the 21st-century man how to make a statement that suits, measure for measure.
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