Cheryl A. Lofton
Cheryl A. Lofton & Associates
721 T St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
“Nothing makes a statement better than a well-fitted suit,” said Cheryl Lofton. Lofton is an expert tailor; one of the only female tailors in DC, which is a male-dominated business. Lofton, a third-generation tailor, runs Cheryl A. Lofton & Associates. Her grandfather, who started Lofton Custom Tailoring in 1939, was the first African American tailor to have a location in downtown Washington, DC. She proudly took over the family business upon graduating college in the 1980s. “I love what I do and it shows in my work,” said Lofton.
After decades in the industry of striving to find a proper fit, Lofton thoughtfully comprised six tips for purchasing the perfect suit. These tips are geared toward both men and women, as tailoring is equally important to everyone. Lofton’s insight proves both reliable and helpful, trusted professional advice that is hard to come by.
Purchase year-round fabrics.
Ideal fabrics are those that aren’t too light or too heavy, like suits made of 100 percent wool. Lofton strongly recommends super 140-thread count – the higher the thread count, the finer the quality of wool. She also suggests not to be tricked by higher number thread counts because those lighter fabrics tend to easily wrinkle. Wrinkle-free fabrics, although they may be rather pricey, make traveling simple.
Look for great stitching.
“If the seams are puckering anywhere at all on the suit, run the other direction fast,” said Lofton. Stitching that gathers or pulls is impossible to fix – no matter what a salesperson says, poor stitching cannot be pressed out. Suits that are glued together, check this by seeing if you can pull the fabric away from the interfacing, will pucker after just a few cleaning and looks very inexpensive.
Know what colors look best on you.
Lofton proposes steering clear of trendy colors and obvious patterns because looks can be changed using shirts and accessories, creating more wear out of each suit. A colorful or heavily patterned suit is hard to wear time after time without recognition.
Let your tailor tweak the fit.
The first step is to purchase a suit that fits, but the next step is to find a tailor who can make the fit even better.
Don’t get hung up on labels.
While Brad Pitt may dress in custom Burberry and Gucci suits on a regular basis, this is not reality for the average person. The price tags on designer suits are outrageously expensive and not worth the bill, particularly for those who don’t wear suits on a regular basis. Also, a high-end label does not automatically correlate with high-end quality.
Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.