There’s no sense in spending so much money on a nice suit if you can’t pull it off. Too many men out there are walking around in suits that don’t fit their style – or even worse, that aren’t made to fit their bodies.
If you’re going to wear a suit, you have to wear it right. You need to learn how to tell if a suit fits and only leave the house in a suit that sits well on every inch of your body.
This isn’t difficult to do. It’s just a matter of learning how a suit should fit and recognizing the signs that it may be too big or too small for you.
Here are 7 rules to use when assessing the fit of a suit.
1. The Shoulder Pads Hug Your Shoulders
The shoulder pads of a suit’s jacket should stop exactly where your shoulders do. If they go any further, the suit will look too big. If they stop before the end of your shoulders, the suit jacket will look and feel small.
Such a cut will make it hard for you to raise your arms or move about when wearing your jacket. It’s uncomfortable to wear, and not the best sight to look at, either.
2. The Jacket Closes Properly on Your Torso
After checking the placement of the shoulder pads, assess how the rest of the jacket fits on your torso. The best way to do this is by trying to close the buttons.
A 2-button suit should have the top button closed. A 3-button suit should have the middle button closed. You always want to leave the bottom button open, and there shouldn’t be a need to close the top button on a 3-button suit if your jacket is made right.
The button should close with ease, but not in a way that there’s a bunch of extra space left. It should feel kind of like the button on your trousers – snug and securely in place without pulling on your body of reeling too tight.
3. There’s Room for Your Hand to Slide Under the Jacket
The buttons are a good sign to tell whether or not the jacket is made well for your torso. But, there’s one more thing to do if you want the absolute best fit – slide your hand under the jacket.
You should have just enough room for your hand to go in between your jacket and your shirt. If you have more room – like enough to make a fist under the jacket – the jacket is too loose. It will need to be taken in a bit to best complement your body.
4. The Jacket Sleeves Show a Bit of Your Shirt
The next detail you want to check on a suit is the sleeves of the jacket. Relax your arms by your sides with your palms facing in toward your body. Stand sideways in front of the mirror and see where the jacket sleeves stop in relation to your shirt sleeves.
The shirt sleeve should be popping out by about 1/4-1/2 of an inch. This is one of the most telling signs of a well-tailored suit. You want to be able to show off your shirt and flaunt your whole look.
If the jacket sleeve is too low, it will cover the shirt completely and it may “swallow” your arms. If the jacket sleeve is too high, it will make you look too big for the suit because the shirt will show all the way to where it meets the cuff. You want to find the perfect balance between showing too much of your shirt and not enough.
5. The Jacket’s Length Stops at Your Knuckles
While you’re looking at the jacket sleeves and how your shirt shows, take a look at the bottom hem of the entire jacket. Where does it stop?
You want the hem to cover the top of the trousers and your belt. But, it shouldn’t go so far that it sits below your fingertips. The ideal place for a jacket’s length to stop is where your knuckles begin when your hands are flat on your side.
This makes the suit proportional to your body.
6. The Back of Your Trousers Fit Snug
As important as the jacket’s fit is, you also want the trousers to fit just right.
Begin assessing their fit by turning around and looking at how they hug your rear end. The pants should fit smoothly on your bottom.
You don’t want them to be too loose and create a baggy, improper look. They shouldn’t be so snug that the entire curve of your rear is on display, though. Yes, the jacket will cover your rear in most situations, but you want your pants to look right as you’re standing up from a dinner table or when you decide to skip the jacket and dress a little more casually.
7. There’s a Trouser Break
A trouser break is a wrinkle in a suit’s pants where the bottom of the pantleg meets the top of the show and it bends in a bit. This is the ideal place for a pant leg to stop.
Anything lower looks sloppy and unprofessional. Anything higher makes you look like you’ve outgrown your suit.
However, there are some men who like a high hem on their pant leg!
You may see a few men in your office who wear suits with a hem that sit an inch or two above their shoe. Such a look is usually worn with low-cut socks that don’t show. Cropped trousers help show off the shoe and it adds a bit of personality to a look.
It’s easy for most people to tell who does this on purpose and who doesn’t know where their suit hem should sit, though. Keep this in mind when checking the fit of your new suits in the future.
How to Tell If a Suit Fits When Getting It Customized
When you’re getting a suit tailored, it’s not going to fit right until all the adjustments are made and the final product is ready. But, you can still learn how to tell if a suit fits before it’s taken in by communicating with the person who is customizing it for you!
The best thing you can do if you want to be the best-dressed guy in the office is to create a relationship with your tailor and learn from them. Listen to what they have to say as they’re fitting you and pay attention to the styles they suggest for you.
If you’re in the market for a new tailor, you’ve come to the right place!
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