Run though a list of any of the top 500 pictures of executive protection people on the web under images and you will see nearly the same thing – knuckleheads in black suits that do not fit, trying to look tough all with a little lapel pin that is the same (an identifier of a team). Really?
Firstly, the majority of these pictures are men who are wearing black suits with black shirts and their clothes do not fit – period.
So let’s begin – jackets are sized by chest and length. The jacket has to fit your chest and at the same time be the right length. Most EP’s buy off-the-rack cheap suits and get a jacket that is typically too big and too long. Really some of these fellows look like they are wearing a skirt suit. The jacket needs to come to the crease between the upper thigh and the butt – not higher or lower. The sleeves need to come no further than the wrist bone, preferable a bit shorter so a ½ to ¼ inch of the shirt cuff shows. If you choose double breasted suits – keep them buttoned when standing so you do not look like a luffing sail. Ensure you buy a jacket with inside pockets opposite your dominate hand so you can take on and off glasses etc… and have a quick place to stash them.
Pants should have a gentle break in the front, cuff or with no cuff the break is the same. The bottom of the pants should not resemble a pair of old woman’s stockings sliding down and giving her elephant wrinkly ankles. Since trousers get threadbare first, get two pair of trousers Spanish waist style with pleating for movement and comfort. Also ensure they are equipped with wide belt loops and proper waist buttons inside the trousers for braces. The braces and wide belt loops all have to do with making carrying any gear about your midsection easier and not having your pants around your thighs when you run – as opposed to the guy with the backwards hats that try and run from police helicopters on American News Channels.
The shirt needs to fit the neck, the chest and the arms. Some shirts may have to be a gentlemen’s cut (more cloth about the middle) some may need to be slim fit. Figure out which. The measurement of the shirt should have it come to the crease of the wrist between the thumb and the wrist bone.
Ties do come in different colors, lengths, widths and weights. The length of the tie needs to be appropriate, when tied it should come to the waist of the pants or up to an inch below the waist – without the smaller end of the tie sticking out like a bad pigtail just under your chin. These ties – the one that are too short we call subway ties as you can buy these cheap nasty ties in any subway station in New York or London. Once you have a tie of the right length, what weight is the tie – is it one of those wonder 7 fold ties or something a bit lighter. The one that is a bit lighter you will need a double Windsor knot and the 7 fold – you can get away with a half Windsor – as long as you are not too big – but if you are big guy – do the double Windsor with the 7 fold tie. Some argument has been made that in a fight, one wish is to have a clip on tie, if this is your choice find a better quality clip on.
French cuff versus regular – your choice. French cuff is better and uses the elasticized French cuff knots – not hard cufflinks. Wide collar versus narrow collar, your choice but a wider collar also more or less demands a full Windsor knot. Belts, socks and shoes – they should all match.
Shoes – should be tied shoes and should be as comfortable as possible. If you need inserts for the sole or for arch support – get it done, do not suffer. Ideally, Oxfords with rubber soles for winter and brogues with leather soles for summer.
In several pictures I found on the internet of “Professional” executive Protection firms, most looking like guys in oversized suits with zero tailoring – they looked like bad appliance salesmen – honestly. You could almost smell them on sight. One guy had a jacket that was so big, the bottom of the jacket was between his hips and knees and only the tips of three fingers stuck out of either jack sleeve when his arms were at this sides.
I can hear you – “Whoa, that is a lot of money to spend!”
- Buying the correct size suit costs no more or nor less than buying a wrong sized suit. The same is true for shirts, ties, belts and shoes. Get measured and buy what is the right size to begin with.
- Tailoring does cost money – but it is what we readymade guys can afford to do as opposed to being able to afford custom made suits and shirts. Buying the suit or shirt is the first step – getting it altered is the second step. Make the investment in tailoring your suits and shirts. Do it.
- Here is a tip: you do not have to buy new. You can find used suits, very nice suits on Esty, Ebay and other sights or even second hand shops. I pick up a black double breasted jacket for £40. Even better, it is a Brioni cashmere jacket. Retail about £1,800. I have found a Canali Tuxedo £100.00 and many more finds. A gold Charvet tie for £15.
Take the time to get your proper measurements, take the time to find what you want, buy it – pay for the alternation and look like and executive for executive protection – not like a smelly appliance salesman.
This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Baron James Shortt, the Executive Director of the IBA. http://www.ibabodyguards.com