Part II: Sizing, Fits, Cuts, All That Jazz
Alright gents, so where were we last time? Oh right, you just found your suit guy. Congratulations. It’s always a major milestone in a man’s life. Similar to when you find your hair and beard guy.
We left off when your new anointed suit guy measured your chest to figure out your base jacket size. So, let’s play out how a jacket try-on session would go. After grabbing your chest measurement, your suit guy will most likely grab a few more measurements. Chest overarm, shoulders, and waist measurements. These measurements will help him figure out which size and/ cuts to start with. There are correlations between those measurements which would indicate how proportionate your body is. Gents, there are some situations where being proportionate is beneficial… This is one of those situations. If you’re proportionate, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an off the rack suit.
Next, your suit guy will grab you a jacket to try on based on your measurements and the parameters you’ve given him. He helps you put on the jacket. As your arms slide into the suit jacket, make a note of how easily your arms go in through the sleeves. Ideally you don’t want it to slide in too easily since that would indicate a loose fitting or an oversized jacket. On the other hand, you don’t want it to fit like a straitjacket either. Not that any of us knows how a straitjacket fits like… Let’s say that your arms slide in with relative ease, then so far so good. Sleeves of the jacket will look nice and clean. Now that you have a jacket on, all you suit virgins will feel the shoulder padding to be a bit restricting and a foreign feeling on your shoulders. That’s normal, you’ll get used to that feeling. Shoulder paddings on suits are meant to hold the chest piece and arms in unison. Therefore, when you move your arms, you’ll feel the connections to the chest piece. I know, it sounds a bit pedantic. A cool byproduct of having shoulder paddings is that they accentuate your shoulders… “Need a shoulder to cry on, ladies.”
Alright so what to look out for when you have the jacket on? First, look at your shoulders front on. Shoulder fit will make or break the look of the suit. Ideally, your shoulders will just align with the suit jacket shoulder on both the horizontal and vertical axes. Sounds a bit jargon-y? Let’s talk specifics. Are your shoulders bulging against the suit jacket shoulders? Even though most of us, with our proportionately sized arms… won’t run into that issue. However, if you’re a hammer curls bro, then it might feel a bit too snug; you’ll either have to go up a size or try a different fit (athletic/relaxed). On the other hand, if you fall in the other end of the spectrum, then you might have different issues. Are the suit jacket shoulders encompassing your shoulders too much? Making you look like you’re wearing a cardboard box? All my narrow-shouldered brethren will run into that issue. You’ll have to go with the slimmest available cut. Whichever end of the spectrum you fall in or even if you’re somewhere in between, talk to your suit guy regarding any concerns that arise and what your options are.
I think we’ve focused on the shoulders enough. Next, look at how the lapels are resting on your chest. You want it to rest fairly flat against your chest. Once again depending on which end of the body build spectrum you fall in, the lapels of the jacket might pucker up or the chest piece of the jacket might just feel too big on your chest. Tailoring can help fix those issues. However, with off the rack suit options, there might be some tradeoffs. Fit the shoulders then it doesn’t sit on the chest right. Fit the chest then the shoulders don’t fit right. If you see yourself running into those issues, then you’ll have to choose fitting which part of your body is your priority. I’d go with shoulders since the body of the jacket can be tailored to make the jacket fit look just fine front on without having to compromise a good shoulder fit. Thereby ensuring you stand head and shoulders above the rest…
Gents, it’s okay to settle sometimes. If you’re a difficult fit then you’ll just have to make some compromises. Analogous to real life if you think about… I might be a getting a bit too philosophical about suits here.
Side note if you’re Mr. Muscles or just a hard fit off the rack, then a custom-made suit aka the notorious bespoke suit would be the way to go. You work hard building up those guns, you don’t want to ruin the visual with the straitjacket suit look.
Alright, so that’s all the major fit criteria out of the way. Next you want to fit the body of the jacket. The good news is that it’s the most common and easiest piece of the jacket to tailor. There’s always a caveat; if you’re a bit on the chubby side and the jacket button is more than an inch to closing then you might have to try some relaxed fit options. Lastly, you want to check the length of the jacket; you want the top half of your body to look in proportion to the bottom half of your body. That’s the rule of thumb for the contemporary look. Jackets usually come in short, regular, and tall. But they can always be adjusted according to your preferences/needs similar to the length of the jacket sleeves.
Remember gents, a form fitted suit will boost your stocks no matter your body build. Someone’s gotta be turned on when you’re wearing a form fitted suit, otherwise you’re not doing in right…