The fit is the most important part of suiting. Follow this simple fit guide, and you will always look dapper in your suit.
Jacket Sleeve Length
The sleeve of the jacket finishes right on the wrist, allowing about half an inch (1-1.5cm) of shirt cuff to show – it’s a rule of thumb that’s timeless.
The sleeve stops well above the wrist and as a result, there is a lot of shirt showing. People might think you're wearing your little brother's jacket.
The sleeve of the jacket is too long and obscure the shirt sleeve entirely. Remember; sleeves are for arms, gloves are for hands.
On the side of Reda's fabric mill in Biella, Italy there is a mural with the words Il Cambiamento E Inevitabile which translates as "change is inevitable". When it comes to fashion, nothing is more certain.
Jacket lengths are a prime example of this slow, steady, cyclical change and today's guide isn't about telling what's too short or long, it's about helping you decide what's right for your own personal style.
The Rule of Thumb
For a classic, elegant look the rule of thumb applies; your jacket should reach the tip of your thumb when your hand is relaxed, if you curl your fingers you'll be able to cup the hem of your jacket in your hand.
This length suits a medium-wide collar and lapel and suits men who are taller with a larger frame.
Like I said at the start, change is inevitable, this length will become the fashion length again, it's only a matter of time.
For a modern look that suits all styles of collar and lapel a good jacket length is in line with your knuckles. This is a length that is flattering for men of all shapes and sizes and has an enduring appeal. It's neither too classic or too fashion-forward.
Short and Sharp
If you've checked out any men's style blog on the internet in the last couple of years you'll know that short is where fashion is at. It's a great look, one that makes even the most classic navy blazer feel younger, cooler and more casual, but it really has to be slim to pull it off.
Colloquially known as a "bum freezer" this length works well with a very short trouser...but more on that soon.
There are very few alterations that are really difficult to make to a jacket, unfortunately altering the collar is one of those so if off-the-rack jackets are either too big or too small around the collar then made-to-measure is your best bet to achieve a perfect fit.
The collar of the jacket sits neatly against the collar of your shirt. Perfetto!
The collar of the jacket wants to ride up the collar of your shirt. It will feel tight and uncomfortable.
The collar of the jacket stands away from the collar of your shirt creating a gap that you can stick your finger in. This is also apparent if your posture is very “forward” i.e. instead of having a normal, upright posture, your head tilts forward (this is common in very tall men and in older men). Made to measure is the way to go in this case.
In the world of tailoring, your posterior (bottom, bum, arse, etc) is actually known as your “seat”.
We still make our trousers using traditional methods, with inlays at the centre back and inleg, that allow us to achieve the perfect fit for your seat, even if our tailors have to make a few tweaks.
The trousers drape smoothly, without excess cloth or giving you a wedgie and they fit you perfectly around the waist.
The trousers fit perfectly around the waist but are either too tight across your seat or they give you a wedgie. We can fix either of these problems by letting out the inlays to give you more room, or you can go up a size to give your seat more room and take the waist in so it stills fits you perfectly.
The trousers fit perfectly around the waist but are too big around your hips (and almost certainly through the thigh). We can either take the trousers in, or you can go down a size (which makes the trouser slimmer around the thigh) and we’ll let the waist out so that it still fits you perfectly.
With the top button done up, the jacket fits close to the body, without being tight. The result is a slim, flattering silhouette.
The jacket pulls at the button when done up, causing the jacket to ride up a little and distorting the lapels as a result. The overall impression is of a man who's grown out of his suit, not a good look.
You know if your jacket is too big through the waist as soon as you put it on. Not only is it less flattering, it's also less comfortable than a jacket that fits just right.
The shoulder line is straight and extends just far enough that the sleeve skims past your bicep.
The shoulder line is pulled out of shape and the sleeve cuts in above your bicep.
There is excess fabric across the top of the shoulder and the top of the sleeve extends beyond your bicep.