How can you tell if your suit jacket fits?
If you’re going for a big promotion, or you want to look your best in a new firm, a badly fitting jacket could be your worst nightmare. Not to mention how uncomfortable it could be to wear. Luckily, we’re here to help. Take a few tips from Senszio’s expert traveling tailors and enjoy super-sharp suit jackets that fit perfectly and create a great first impression. Or, better-still, talk through your options with our experienced personal stylists at an upcoming Trunk Show near you.
Note that fit might differ for double-breasted suits or three-button jackets. For the purposes of this article, we’ll look at the traditional two-button single-breasted suit jacket. This guide to jacket fit is part of our wider series on understanding how men’s office wear should fit. We have also put together advice on making sure your suit pants, shirt and waistcoat fit, to make sure your complete look is one of style and sophistication.
In today’s article, we’ll walk you through the different elements of the traditional suit jacket – including the shoulders, arms, collar, waist and length – and explain what to look for to make sure each fits perfectly. So, let’s start at the top.
Are the jacket shoulders too narrow?
If the shoulders are too narrow, you’ll see the swell of your shoulder pushing against the top of the sleeve. You might also find stretch lines running across the material and an indentation at the top of the sleeve.
Are the jacket shoulders too big?
That power-shoulders look went out with Duran Duran. You’ll know if the shoulders are too big because there’ll be a ledge extending beyond your own shoulders.
The perfect fit
Is there a clean, direct line from the edge of the suit’s shoulder to the edge of yours, just skirting the skin? There is. Good news. Your jacket fits perfectly across your shoulders.
Are the jacket arms too tight?
You’ll know that uncomfortable tight-armed feel you can sometimes get. You’re terrified of ripping your suit every time you reach for your coffee. If your biceps and elbow feel tight when you flex, your suit’s arms need to be bigger.
(Above) Tight Arm Width
Are the jacket arms too baggy?
They should be bigger, but not baggy. If they’re too baggy, you’ll see vertical wrinkles from the sleeve head to the forearm.
The perfect fit
For a perfect fit, the bicep of the jacket should not have visible creases and you should be able to bend your arm with ease.
The jacket collar is often ignored, so let’s make sure we get this right. Your suit collar needs to be level with your shirt collar. You’ll also want to see one or two inches of shirt collar above the suit. Too much material across the back and your suit will stand proud of the back of your neck. Not a good look. Too little material and your suit collar will be level with your shirt. You’ll also get horizontal folds beneath the collar.
There’s a certain amount of personal taste here. But if you look down the line of the suit at the side, it should nip in slightly where the top button fastens. What you don’t want are folds coming from the waist button. You’ll also want to be able to pull this button away from you no more than an inch or two.
(Above) Tight Stomach Area
(Above) Ideal Stomach Area
So, how long should your jacket be? It should go beyond your waist and rest on the top of the curve above your butt. With your arms relaxed by your side, the hem of the jacket should be level with the middle of your hand. You can go a tiny bit shorter for casual jackets. Note that the ideal sleeve length should finish at the end of your wrist bone. You can check by standing upright with your arms loose by your side. If you can see 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sleeve, that’s good news.
(Above) Jacket Length Long
(Above) Jacket Length Short
(Above) Jacket and Sleeve Length Ideal
The correct fit of your suit jacket is pretty intuitive. Check it over for wrinkles and wonder what they might mean. Above all, you should be comfortable in the jacket. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t perform your best. That could mean getting passed over for a promotion or fluffing a big presentation. So let’s get it right. Check out other articles in Senszio’s Suit Fit Series for further information on ensuring your office wear is comfortable, flattering and provides that all-important great first impression:
If you’d like further advice on understanding the suit style and fit that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle, make an appointment with one of our traveling tailors. We tour the world, hosting trunk shows in major cities across Europe and America, where our expert stylists can take your suit measurements and provide personalised recommendations. Find a full list of our upcoming trunk shows here.