I’ll be honest, without fit, fashion is bullshit. The clothes you put on represent you and if you’re completely unaware of how they should fit, it’s not surprising that you aren’t confident dressing yourself. There’s no shame in admitting ignorance, as long as you’re open to learning.
I want to discuss the different areas of menswear and how each of them ought to fit to keep you comfortable, confident and looking good. Today we’re going to discuss suit jackets.
The fit of jackets has changed a lot over the years, from 80’s Wall Street boxy fits to more European slim fits with little to no extra room anywhere. Ultimately, it’s about what you personally enjoy, but what tends to look best is a slim fitted jacket. If you’re able to buy bespoke, do it. If not, find a tailor you like and is open to your input.
- The shoulders should rest just a bit wider than your actual shoulders so you have some room to move.
- The sleeves will often be a bit wide on an off-the-rack suit so if you’re someone with a slimmer build, don’t be afraid to have the tailor bring the sleeves in a bit so fit your arms better.
- Sleeve length is of major personal preference. Personally, I like them a bit shorter so as to show off some shirt sleeve and also leave plenty of room for my watch and bracelets. If you’re not a watch or bracelet guy, find sleeves that hit your outer wrist bone. Then find a shirt with sleeves long enough to show about a half inch past that bone.
- Jacket length is pretty universally agreed that it should reach between where your thumb connects to your hand and the middle thumb knuckle. Put the jacket on and let your arms hang to your sides. Any shorter than that and it’s too short, any longer and it’s too long. This is with a suit jacket, sports jackets and blazers will be a bit shorter.
- Finally, the waist, which is the area in the back middle of the jacket, exactly the opposite side of the buttons. This is the most important area to ensure a fashionable fit. A lot of guys like it to be totally snug when their top button is buttoned, but you can leave a bit of room if you prefer. If you’re able to sit down in your jacket without unbuttoning the top button, odds are your jacket is too big.
These are the five basic places that a jacket’s fit are important. If you’re getting something bespoke or made to measure, be specific with what you want. Go into different stores like Zara and H&M because their fits are often quite slim and will give you an idea of how tight you like your jacket. Just as too big will look sloppy, too tight will do just the same.
Here are some great jacket options to start with and you can head to your local tailor if you need any alterations: