Welcome back to the gentleman’s Gazette. Today,
we have a two-part video series for you about how a suit should fit. In the first video,
we discuss all the basics and in the second one we go to more advanced things so you look
your best and you know what to look for in a proper suit and when to leave it behind.
You could hear it all over the place, fit matters the most and while I wholeheartedly
agree, the problem is, it’s rarely outlined what that thoroughly means so you can follow
a script book and say this is a good fit, this is a bad fit. For that reason we decided
to create the ultimate suit fit guide so it’ll be very easy for you to buy a suit and judge
whether it fits you or it doesn’t and ultimately, it will make you feel comfortable and look
your best. The big question is why should you care about
fit? First of all, a well-fitting suit is almost
as comfortable as wearing a sweater and sweatpants. Second of all, it makes you really stand out
from the crowd and people will look at you and think you’re really dapper but they can’t
pinpoint that it’s a fit of your suit. So of course, you want to ask why does a properly
fitting suit make me look better? The answer is actually quite simple; a suit
hides everything that’s asymmetrical about your body and has all the flaws, at the same
time highlighting features such as your shoulders and your chest, giving you a natural v-shape
that’s very flattering and attractive. So if you feel more comfortable, it has an impact
on the way you look, the way you stand, and the way you walk. Everything says I’m more
confident and that little extra notch will help you to land that job or get that respect
that you deserve. So what’s the big problem?
When I’m on the street, I see 99% of the men wearing suits that fit not so well or terribly
ill and even sometimes when people tell me “oh I found a suit that fits like a glove”,
chances are their standards are not high enough so they just are satisfied with something
that is not really a proper fit. So before we go into the details, what exactly
is a suit? A suit means it is a matching garment of jacket
and pants made of the same cloth. You can add a vest, you don’t have to, if you do it’s
called a three-piece suit; if not, it’s called a two-piece suit. It’s double-breasted or
single-breasted, doesn’t matter. The term suit comes from the French “suivre” which
means to follow. That means the jackets follows the trousers or the pants follow the jacket.
So the pictures you can see here are suits; matching pants and jacket. What you can see
here, is a combination, for example with a blazer or a sport coat or a tweed jacket .
So first, let’s start with the fit of the jacket.
The first thing you can look at when you buy a suit or have a suit made is the collar of
the suit. It should fit snugly against your neck without being overly tight and it should
never stand away or gap. If you have a round shoulder the way I do, chances that your jackets
gap more easily are much higher than if you have a straight posture. Because of that,
you always have to go to the alterations tailor or talk to your made to measure provider or
tailor and make sure you get a proper fit. The problem is when you stand, most jackets
look good, the issue starts when you start moving when you lift your arms and you still
want that jacket collar to sit tight against your shirt collar. So your natural movements,
sit down, move your arms, drink something from bottle, maybe eat, and if it stays in
the back and it stays by your shirt tips, you know you’ve got a well-fitting collar.
Even if you have an ill-fitting collar, the good news is it can be fixed by an alterations
tailor so just pay attention to that. It’s not an easy fix but it can be done.
Next up is the shoulder. Ideally, you want the shoulder seam on top
to be just slightly extended from the bone on your shoulder. Unlike a dress shirt which
ends exactly at the bone, you want it to be slightly hanging over to give you a broader
look and enable a range of movement because when you have multiple layers of fabric, the
outer layer always has to be a little longer to be comfortable, you want the top part at
your shoulder to be smooth and not puddling. If you encounter a jacket that has puddles,
it’s too big, you should leave it behind because changing it is almost impossible. You also
have a poorly fitting shoulder if you see huge dents right underneath the top of the
padding and your actual arm. It makes you look more like a football player and you should
always leave those suits behind. On the other hand, if your shoulder is too
tight, you’ll have a hard time moving forward and moving your arms naturally because it
constricts you in the back. If you’re unsure, you can always measure your shoulder width
from bone to bone and at about half an inch or a centimeter to get the right shoulder
width that you should have in a suit. Next up are armholes.
Most armholes in suits are too big because suits are industrially made and they want
to have a one size that fits it all, the problem is if you have huge arm holes, it may seem
like it’s more comfortable but it actually isn’t because as soon as you move, your entire
jacket moves with you and constricts you. On the other hand, if you have a tight armhole
that ends just below your armpit, you can easily move and comfortably wave for a cab
and look dapper all day without feeling constricted. If you have an armhole that is too small,
you’ll see wrinkles on the sleeve head and it also constricts you when you reach forward
because you reach a point here that just makes it impossible to reach forward. If you go
bespoke or made me to measure, you can sometimes ask to give you a little more space in the
front the arm hole, in the back, and have it very tight on your armpit; that way you
get the range of movement, you get a nice look, the fabric drapes well and it almost
feels like a sweater. CHEST
When it comes to a good fit of the chest it’s always easy to see because some chests are
fuller and they have more fabric that drapes well and for that it’s called Drape. On the
other hand, you can have a very lean trim cut chest that is sometimes more popular with
slim fit suits but it will never have that same amount of drape. The advantage of folds
is that it makes your chest look bigger and it gives you that V shape that’s very attractive
to the opposite sex. In the 1930s, you had drape cut that was very
extreme. I think the suit I’m wearing here right now is a little more constricted but
you can still see I have excess fabric and it provides a nice silhouette of my body.
When your chest width is too tight and you move around, you can see your lapel break
a little bit simply because there’s not enough room, also you likely see vertical
pleats in the front and in the back. Ideally, you should always measure your chest
at the widest point. In Europe, a size 50 means you double it by 2 which means it’s
a hundred centimeters. If you measure 100 centimeters, you probably have a size 50,
should be right for you. If you’re in the US and you’re a size 42 regular for example,
it means the chest should be 42 regular. Now that being said, manufacturers have different
ideas of how a suit should fit and sometimes I found old English suits in a size 42 which
were way too baggy on me versus other suits are 44 and they’re way too tight.
So don’t just rely on the actual number but measure the jacket, measure your chest, and
ideally try it on. Next up are vents.
Today, most jackets have side vents, they are the most flattering. Ideally, you want
high long vents that end exactly where your jacket pocket ends. The last hundred years,
center vents have been in and out of fashion but originally, they were meant for horseback
riding so unless you wear a jacket on the back of a horse, skip it.
In the 20s and 30s, you would often see ventless jackets and it’s still popular for evening
wear becauseit gives you the ultimate clean line however, if you sit a lot or if you sometimes
put your hands in your pocket, side vents are much more flattering. Personally, I have
a big bump and because of that, it’s very easy for vents to gap but you should avoid
that. If you have a big bum, you should pay particular attention to keeping your vents
closed and I know that because I have one. If you go ventless and it’s too tight, you
can actually feel it it’s constricting you and chances are, you will see some wrinkles
above your bum. The next critical aspect of a jacket fit is
the length. It’s very important to get it right in the
first place because even though you can physically change the length of the jacket, it will always
look off if you do so. The proportions will simply not work and the location of your pockets
will seem off as well as the buttoning point and therefore if you encounter something that
is too short or too long simply leave it behind. So what exactly is too short or too long?
Most tailors will have jackets that are slightly longer in the front than they are in the back
because it’s provides a flattering silhouette. Sometimes they also do it very flat and that’s
something you usually only find at bespoke because even made-to-measure can’t adjust
the patterns to that. Also, if you have a round back for example the way I do, you need
to have extra length in the back to get the right proportion. Traditionally, the proper
jacket length always meant that at least your bum was covered.
In recent years, especially with younger men, jacket lengths have become a lot shorter and
sometimes you can find older gentleman complaining about that and they say it looks like you
got a jacket from your younger brother. The proper way to look at jacket length is
into a optical relation to your entire height and to your pants. So ideally, if you stand
and you look at the profile from the side the length from the back of your neck to the
bottom of your jacket should be exactly the same length as from the bottom of your jacket
to the bottom of your pants. Obviously, you need someone to help you with that because
you can’t measure it yourself but if you get those proportions exactly one-to-one, you
will always look very well dressed and damper and timeless.
The problem with going with the jacket is too long means that your torso appears longer
and your legs shorter which makes it look goofy. Same thing the other way around, if
you have very long legs and a short torso, it just seems off. The great thing about a
tailored suit is that it can hide certain flaws. Personally, I have a long torso and
short legs but using the suit and using those one-to-one proportions, I can look exactly
the same as someone who has long legs and a short torso or someone who has regular long
legs and a regular long torso. Next up let’s talk about the sleeve.
A sleeve should always hang very nicely without any wrinkles. If you see all the wrinkles
chances are the sleeve pitch is wrong which means the way and the angle the sleeve was
set in, that can be fixed by a tailor but they have to be quite skilled. Of course,
the sleeve length is often a subject of long discussions, and there are all kinds of opinions
and if you want to learn more about them please check out our sleeve length video where I
explain everything you need to know about sleeve length of a jacket.
One thing that’s often not talked about when it comes to sleeves is the upper sleeve. If
you want to have a great movement and a comfortable jacket, you need some extra fabric on the
top of your sleeve simply to reach forward, otherwise, if it’s too tight, it may look
great when your arms hang down but as soon as you move, you’re constricted in that
area. It’s a fault I see a lot in ready-to-wear jackets to this day, especially now that slim
fit suits are trendy. Going made-to-measure or bespoke has a great advantage that you
can specify those things and a small armhole in combination with a wider upper sleeve will
provide you a much more comfortable jacket that looks the part.
The outfit I’m wearing today is a three-piece suit tailored of a Harrisons of Edinburgh
fabric. it’s a fine hounds tooth in a dark brown with an off-white. because this is a
more casual suit, I opted for a more casual cut inspired by the 1930s suits from Clark
Gable, it happened one night. I have three patch pockets with nice pleats that open up
in front. it’s a single breasted suits but pals are not too wide not like in the thirties,
more contemporary. It’s a a three roll suit which means you only button the middle button.
The waistcoat is single breasted without a lapel and I leave the bottom button unbuttoned
because that’s a tradition and you can learn more about that in our guide here. the pants
have a fishtail back they’re tailored for suspenders specifically so there are no belt
loops. they have inward-facing pleats because I have big thighs and that gives me extra
room. I opted it for a light turquoise lining because it adds a dash of color especially
since I wear jacket unbuttoned with my best the pants have nice cuffs but the real special
thing about the suit is the back it’s a so-called action back which has shooting pleats that
makes it very easy for me to move my arms around because it gives me extra room and
it has more decorative elements and side vents which is unusual because additionally they
only had no vents. the suit was custom made for me by a tailor according to my pattern
specifications and so it’s really the style that I want it. it has a Milanese buttonhole
which you can see has a raised silk thread and it’s a very neat little detail that just
shows someone thought about. it I paired with a plain white dress shirt, it has a very closed
collar and such it’s perfect to be worn with a collar pin which I’m doing here with a gold
one from Fort Belvedere. pairs well with my orange silk knit tie from Fort Belvedere and
my gold Monkey Fist cufflinks likewise from Fort Belvedere. the ring is citrine and gold
which goes well with the warm tones of my outfit which are perfect for fall winter.
the socks I’m wearing pick up the brown colors as well as the blue of the wool silk pocket
square Fort Belvedere and the socks of Fort Belvedere as well the shoes are Chukka style
boots with a leather sole duty or welted they’re made out of a brown suede that goes well with
the ensemble I like the last about it which is round but not pointy at the same time it’s
not the usual round you’d encounter. now that you know all the basics of how a suit should
fit make sure to watch the second part because without it it would be incomplete.