In a previous post, I was determined to help men obtain that perfect suit on a budget, but how should everything fit and what to look for? I’ve skipped over this topic for way too long, so fellas, no more wasting your money! Time to start looking sharp!
Before we get into specific details, it’s important to know that suits, blazers, and sport coats are not all the same. All can differ in design, material, pattern, and formality, while some can look identical. Traditionally, suits are the most fitted, sport coats, the least fitted, and blazers are right in the middle. Keep this in mind before making your purchase!
Like I’ve stated in other posts, get your weight and health in check before tailoring your dress attire. No point in spending money tailoring your clothes if they won’t fit two months later because of lousy eating and lack of physical activity!
This post will go over what to look for when purchasing sport coats, blazers, and suit jackets off the rack. The more suit jackets, blazers, and sport coats fit off the rack, the less work a tailor has to do, thus saving you money!
Also, to keep this post at reasonable length, I’ll go over the bottom half of men’s dress wear in another post!
Let’s look at how your suit jacket, blazers, and sport coats are supposed to fit in this week’s post!
Jacket Overall Length and Width
First, I’ll begin with overall guidelines for jacket length and width.
Most men either buy jackets way too long (looks like a trench coat) or too short (jacket doesn’t cover your rear end). For jacket length, there are many different methods men’s fashion “gurus” go by, but different bodily proportions make this tough to determine. For me, I use the rule of thumb measurement for jacket/blazer/sport coat length. If you stand-up straight, with your arms by your side, where ever your thumb lands should be the end of your jacket/sport coat/blazer at that location. The issue with this method is when a man has long or short arms! Whatever method used to determine length, make sure your jacket covers your butt!
As far as suit jacket, blazer, and sport coat width goes (how tight or loose it is), you most likely won’t find one that isn’t too big off the rack unless it’s a slimmer fit. This is where tailoring comes in handy! However, you do not want to purchase an off the rack jacket that’s too small! Jackets too tight or narrow will have a “X” shape when buttoned up (if you CAN button it up). It’s not supposed to fit like a straitjacket. Let your body breathe a little!
The last and most important thing to remember about jackets that are too short or too small is that a tailor cannot fix this! Don’t waste your money.
Sport coat, blazers, and suit jackets’ collar issues aren’t commonly talked about, but are very noticeable. There are way too many reasons why collar fit issues occur, so I’ll just go over what to look out for!
Your jacket should sit flush against your dress shirt’s collar showing close to no space between the two. Sometimes, you’ll find a jacket that’ll have a gap of an inch or two. Other times you’ll see a large lump form in the back of your neck area. Both should be avoided!
Collar issues are extremely expensive to fix, if they are even fixable! Get this right when buying your suit jacket, blazer, and sport coat off the rack.
This is probably the biggest mistake I see when it comes to suit jackets, blazers, and sport coats, mainly because it’s so easy to spot. Jackets/blazers/sport coats with too big or too small shoulder fittings throw off the proportions of your body tremendously!
If you ever went shopping at any well-known retail store, lots of suit jackets, blazers, and sport coats contain padding in the shoulder areas. This is for people with sagging shoulders (usually elderly folks), which helps them keep a natural look to their frame. However, if you don’t have this issue, it can cause your shoulders to stand out more than normal! If you’re a young lad, try to purchase your sport coat, blazers, and suit jackets with zero to minimal shoulder padding!
Also, you want the seam of your sleeve to meet right at the end of your shoulder. If a jacket is too large, you’ll see some crumpling of the upper shoulder area. You want this area to be as straight and smooth as possible. A jacket too small will have noticeable pointy shoulders.
Shoulders too small are not fixable at all! If your jacket’s shoulders are too large, it can be fixed IF the tailor knows what they are doing. From experience, this won’t be cheap!
Lastly, we will go over proper sleeve length and pitch.
Jacket, blazer, and sport coat sleeve length is another common mistake I’ve noticed, especially sleeves that are too long. There should be around ½ an inch (give or take an eighth of an inch) of visible dress shirt cuff. Your sleeves should not cover the entire dress shirt cuff, but don’t let parts of your sleeve show either!
Sleeve pitch issues are caused by improper alignment with the proportions of your body with the suit jacket, blazer, and sport coat’s sleeves. Usually a spiraling wrinkle effect will appear on the sleeves when standing in a neutral position if your sleeve pitch isn’t correct.
This fix cost a lot of money, if it is even fixable!
Hope everyone learned a thing or two about proper suit jacket, blazer, and sport coat fitting! Once you get your jacket/blazer/sport coat tailored to your body, there’s no going back. You’ll begin to notice how most men have no sense of traditional style once you join the tailoring bandwagon. Help a fellow brother out and share your knowledge! For a more detailed pictorial layout on men’s dress attire, check out “The Art of Manliness” blog post. I highly recommend it!
If you’ve missed last week’s blog post on our 5-day trip to Zion National Park, then check it out here!
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“A well-tailored suit makes a long-lasting impression.”
Book of the Month: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k” by Mark Manson