When most people think of “Canadian style,” it’s for chopping wood or matching your facepaint to your hockey jersey. But Montreal and other French-speaking Southeastern cities house a number of homegrown labels equally suited for the streets of Paris or Milan. And from that world emerges the Tom Ford of digital custom suits: Indochino’s Director of Apparel and Merchandising, Tom Kearnan.

In short, Indochino uses measurement algorithms to build custom-made suits through their website. For any suit-nerds following them from the start (probably just me), their development has been a bit like watching a successful startup grow. But while companies like Twitter and Uber borrow manufacturing terms for the ephemeral (at Pinterest they “ship” their new “product” which to everyone else looks like updating their website), Indochino uses startup methods to actually ship a fine product.

We grabbed Kearnan for a few minutes to talk about how we can all look our best next week on Formal Friday. Read and learn. Related note: Anyone who uses the hashtag #FormalFriday on October 9th will also be entered to win a $449 made-to-measure Indochino suit! Just another great reason to swank it up

“Any suit can be improved with two simple alterations: getting the sleeve length or pants adjusted. That’s inexpensive and those two details can make you look so much better.  Your personality comes alive when you’re wearing clothes that fit you properly.”

On October 9th, we’re asking guys and girls to dress up for Formal Friday to raise money for Career Gear. What should the man who doesn’t wear a suit much know first?
A good question is, do you want to stand out or fit in? At a job interview you want to fit in navy or dark charcoal suit. White or blue shirt with maybe a simple polka dot tie. But when you’re looking for a promotion you want to stand out. Show some of your personality.

But how do you stand out without looking like you’re starved for attention?
To stand out is fit: a slimmer-fitting suit. Wear a bright sock. A nice move is to wear a cutaway collar that completely shows the knot of your tie. People will look at your tie and then directly at your face.

I never thought of it that way.
One thing we stress is guys being individual in their look. Even myself, I’m a big sneakerhead. If I can get away with a pair of trainers with one of my suits I will.

essential navyEssential Navy Suit, $449

What’s the easiest way to really go big on Formal Friday?
I like to have lots of color in my wardrobe. I’m very lucky that I have access to it. Today I’m wearing a burgundy flannel suit. It’s so easy to just wear blue and grey and never update your look. But once color gets back into men’s fashion, the whole industry gets a lift.

Let’s go down the fit: Shoulders.
That’s the most important fit. The sleeve should begin right at the shoulder edge, not hanging over. And sleeve length is equally important. You don’t want to look like a lost little boy in your dad’s suit. The sleeve should end right at your “wrist knuckle” just before where your hands begin.

Some of the guys we saw get outfitted at Career Gear had never worn a suit before. But they knew instinctively when it wasn’t the right fit.
Any suit can be improved with two simple alterations: getting the sleeve length or pants adjusted. That’s inexpensive and those two details can make you look so much better.  Your personality comes alive when you’re wearing clothes that fit you properly.

blue gray birdseyeBlue Gray Birdseye Suit, $649 

How about in the chest?
We actually build that right into our algorithm. There are places where if your chest measures 40 inches they will just cut the cloth like that. We automatically build a comfortable 3 inches into that. We call that the “ease” of the jacket.

What’s the biggest reason a jacket doesn’t “work?”
The length of the jacket itself is so important. If it’s too long it makes you look shorter. Imagine if you made a soft fist, you’d want the jacket to just reach the knuckle on your index finger.

I just want to go on record as saying that is controversial and I applaud it. When you have a 40-inch chest and you’re alone in a suit store and you want a slim-fitting suit you end up picking a 38 that you can’t button, but which has nice slim sleeves.
It’s just amazing how much better a custom suit can feel.  It’s like you’re wearing your favorite jeans and a hoodie. It’s just effortless.

premium midnight tuxedoPremium Midnight Blue Tuxedo, $649

It seems guys just feel more excited about dressing up nowadays.
I’ve always noticed that every time we come out of a recession, dressing up comes alive. With the young guys: A lot of their dads never owned a suit. And these kids don’t want to look like their dad, they want to look like their granddad who had a Harris tweed sports jacket and smoked a pipe.

It’s weird how the things we say never go out of style actually do.
We’ll be coming out with new tuxedos and dinner jackets soon. As a man you only need a new tuxedo if you gain or lose weight. But you can improve your look by subbing in a dinner jacket. It’s a James Bond year. We always do more tuxedo business when one of those is coming out.

Wow. Maybe I should go all in for Formal Friday with my tux and dinner jacket.
I hope you do and we’ll be hashtagging #formalfriday right alone with you from our office in Vancouver. We think this is a really great thing you’re doing, and it’s going to have a great effect on a lot of young men out there who need it.

Join thousands of men and women who are dressing up for a good cause. Go formal with Made Man and Career Gear on Friday, October 9th to help empower men in need with resources, training and suits they can use to rejoin the workforce. Because for every photo posted to Instagram or Twitter and tagged #FormalFriday, we’ll donate a dollar to Career Gear. Learn more at mademan.com/formal-friday.