Whether you’re building your business wardrobe or looking for a dinner suit for your next black tie event, the most important factor when it comes to men and clothing is always the fit. You can have a flawless Italian wool men’s suit, a perfectly pressed formal shirt, an elegant silk tie, and even remember to polish your shoes, — but if your suit doesn’t fit you properly, people will notice. You’ll either look like you raided your big-brother’s closet or even worse, you’ll look like the suit you have on “used to” fit you, but maybe you’ve gained a few pounds. Since neither of these are the look we’re going for, let’s examine exactly how men’s suits should fit. Here’s a quick checklist for you to follow.
Men’s Suit Perfect Fit: The Jacket
Let’s look at your men’s suit jacket first. Here are the areas to get right:
- The most important fit in a jacket is in the shoulders. I literally cringe every time I see a man whose shoulder pads and seam extend past his actual shoulder. The seam should end with your shoulders…period.
- When your jacket is buttoned, you should only be able to fit a flat hand under the lapel. If you can put a fist in without the suit pulling at the button, you’ve got too much material.
- If your arms are resting at your sides, the bottom of your jacket should be even with your knuckles.
- Where should your jacket sleeve end? Pay attention since this is a problem area. We’ve all seen the poor chap wearing the suit jacket with sleeves that were too long. Again, it makes one wonder if you’ve borrowed the suit from your brother. Jacket sleeves should end where your thumb meets your wrist. Between a quarter and a half inch of your shirt cuff should show.
Men’s Suit Perfect Fit: The Trousers
- Your trousers are not intended to be worn on the hips. They need to be worn on your waist for a clean line. If you wear them lower, they will bag and bulge, giving you a sloppy appearance.
- The bottom of your pants should hit and have a one inch break at the top of your shoe. You do not want them to be bunched up; which is what happens if they are too long.
- If the material is of a heavier weight, like wool or tweed, having cuffs on the bottom of the pant legs will help with the way they drape and hang.
Be sure to pay attention to these details. They make all the difference in a gentleman’s appearance. It’s important to develop a discriminating eye when it comes to men’s suits. You should be able to look at any man and in a matter of seconds determine whether or not his suit fits him properly. Practicing an awareness of how other men dress and the way their clothes fit their bodies is a great way to build yourself a mental portfolio of how you want to come across to others. Every time you notice a well dressed man with an air of confidence, take an extra moment or two to determine why you feel that way. Is it the fit of his men’s suit? Is it the fabric, the color, or the way he paired his gray suit with the perfect caramel coloured shoes? When you take the time to notice, you’ll be able to adopt the same traits that you admire and incorporate them into your own wardrobe.
Remember, start with fit and work from there. It’s the most important part of looking sharp in men’s suits.