Getting the fit right

One of the most important things in buying suits (or any clothing for that matter!) is fit. Not just getting the right size but understanding how certain fits suit certain body types

A suit’s fit starts at the shoulders. The edge of the shoulder should be as close to the edge of your shoulder as possible, without showing the ball of your shoulder. This will enable a cleaner fit through the chest and get a proper fit elsewhere. Much bigger than this and it looks like your wearing either your Dad’s suit if you’re young, or worse one from a vinnies store!

At the chest the garment should feel snug but not restrictive. This is where personal preference can come into play as some like jackets looser than others and here is where its Ok. However short or stout men should have something that does fit at least somewhat neat-ish as otherwise it will emphasize their height (lack of) or girth (excess of)

Through the waist of the coat is where the most variation occurs. For those who like their suits very fitted obviously slimmer here is best, and most off the rack shops offer a tailoring service where this can be achieved. For those with small or sloping shoulders they should err on the side of more fitted as this will make them seem more statuesque, and the reverse applies for square and broad shoulders, as if jackets are too slim they look like walking T’s!!!

Jacket length is crucial. One golden rule is that it should cover your seat, however rules are made to be broken and this one is currently under siege! The caveat is that you must be of average height and build to pull this off, although some small statured gents can do this well. If you are tall the jacket looks like it simply doesn’t fit properly (because it doesn’t!!) and if you’re short it can make you look overweight as it will make you look shorter and wider, neither of which are good.

Sleeves should come to the base of the thumb, guys with longer arms err on the longer side as you cant get away with any lack length as the garment will look like it just doesn’t fit

Most importantly is that you should feel comfortable in the suit jacket. Don’t just get a jacket because your girlfriend, mum or the salesperson says, if you don’t feel comfortable the suit will look rubbish as confidence will help the way you are perceived.

Trousers are quite simple. The waist should be snug enough that you don’t need a belt, but can wear one as an accessory if desired and the seat should fit neatly. These guides hold regardless of style as all trouser need to fall from the waist. A pleated pair should sit an inch above the hip bone to allow proper drape and to prevent the horrid dropping crotch seen when they are worn on the hips. The more prevalent flat fronted trouser should sit on the hips and not lower, these are not jeans they should drape not sag. Currently the fit is going to very tapered trousers which is a great line and those comfortable with should follow this, once again except for tall thin people who need to tread the middle path of not too loose and definitely not too tight as your legs will look like toothpicks! and rotund people  slim legs will only emphasize the extra girth at the waist!


Once you have found the right basic fit allow some time and expense to have the details altered, i.e. trouser length, waist, sleeve length, jacket waist adjusted, as having these final things attended to will personalize the off the rack suit and show that you care about the details. these final things will finish things off, and not having them done will turn a potentially great fit into a poorly fitted suit and reflect poorly on the wearer.

Following soon I will go into detail into what fits strange body types should look for.


About themaninasuit

I have been involved in the menswear business since university in1997. Have gradually fallen in love with men's suiting and more recently tailor made garments. I am perpetually asked for style advise and things to wear so decided to get some of my thoughts and passions out and about

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