There may not be a reality show about it, and no one is doing it to specifically revive, revitalize, or dare I say “gentrify“ an outdated fashion, but it is a thing.
Just like flipping a house, the principle of flipping a suit is finding a gem and polishing up. Basically, recognizing the classic, unending, and preserved style in a vintage or second-hand suit, and, like any other suit, identifying where adjustments need to be made to make that suit, and that style, yours.
The suits I look to for flipping are neutral classics or what I would call, Third Bear Suits. That is:
The jackets are of typical length
They have two buttons
The lapels are neither too wide nor too thin
In other words, just like Goldilocks found with the third bowl, chair, and bed, they are just right. Of course, that’s not to say they don’t have their own, unique embellishments, whether a vest, chalk stripes, peak lapels, or made of tweed. Rather, details like that are what should draw you to it to begin with.
Although, avoid leisure suits, or those jackets from the 90’s that have several million buttons.
The point is that you find a unique, vintage, classic piece, of high quality, that already has its own stories, and you cut it right to give it a new episode by making it truly yours. This is a piece, with a tale, that’s now your turn to tell.
If you’re ready to take on this hobby, this is my absolutely non-comprehensive checklist for a choice find:
No pleats. Unless you’re reading this from some other time in which they are acceptable.
Shoulders. Even if the body is huge, as long as the shoulders fit, the jacket can be cut to you. If they are either too big or too small, put the suit down, it’s a loss.
The fly. Basically the same as above. The fly determines the rise of the pant, and is all but impossible to alter.
Pockets as patches. If the pocket is sewn on to the jacket as opposed to in, this can cause trouble if you need to shorten it.
Stains. …Ummm, I’m out, but do whatever you’re comfortable with.
The last thing is really the bottom line with any alterations on anything, have a tailor you trust, know how you want the suit to fit, and be clear.
Otherwise find a suit with a story, and add your chapter. Good Luck!