Bruno knows

Pal Zileri’s master tailor Bruno Magnaguagno speaks about how precise measurements and cuts play a defining role in creating the perfect suit, and provides expert advice on the latest trends in formal wear.

Bibek Bhattacharya        Print Edition: January 27, 2008

There used to be a time when bespoke tailoring was reserved for those who couldn’t buy off the peg clothing—the tall, the short, and the thin. But now, increasingly, more and more affluent and discerning consumers are going for finely tailored suits, even if, like the Venetian master tailor Bruno Magnaguagno, they are blessed with the perfect fit.

The pedigree: The master tailor for the Italian brand Pal Zileri, Bruno has been handling the sumisura or the made-to-measure line for the past few years. And he’s been a tailor for nearly 30 years. He really knows all about business suits and the things you should do to buy yourself the perfect suit.

TIP #1

A good tailor is a must: A good tailor is indispensable, he says. Styles change every year, but some of the basics (lapels, the number of buttons that suit you) remain the same, and the classic styles don’t ever go out of fashion.

TIP #2

Know what’s hot: “Stuffy is definitely out”, says Bruno. “So while it is important to look good and dignified, you should go for subtle things like a nonpadded shoulder. Believe me, you can look great without looking topheavy.”

TIP #3

Insist on perfect measurements: “Before anything else, we start by taking measurements. Elements like the sleeves and the shoulders have to be just right. Then ask to see the fabrics. We do try to keep our advice at a minimum, but we help you understand your build better and dress accordingly,” he says.

TIP #4

Get the shoe right: “The only thing I agonise about is that whenever men think formal, they go for black shoes. I don’t understand why. Brown, for instance, looks great with light coloured suits,” he suggests.

The perfect corporate look

Here are some expert tips from Bruno Magnaguagno on how to complement that perfect business suit.

Get it right

1 Jacket: Dark colours work best, and if you have to wear a stylish suit, then why not go for pinstripes?


Large build: Three-piece suit
Slight build: Two-button suit
Normal build: Three-button suit.

2 Tie: Go for interesting patterns when you’re choosing a tie. And select a tie that fits your build.


Large build: Large tie
Slight build: Thin tie
Normal build: Normal tie.

3 Lapels: Lapels are very important. A well-cut lapel gives your suit its character, and completes your ‘look’.

4 Pocket square: A perfect pocket square always complements your suit well.

5 Shirt: A crisp white shirt is the best bet. But feel free to match your shirt with your suit any way you’d like.

6 Cuffs: The amount of cuff you show depends on you, but do show some.

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