While the perfect suit might sound elusive, it’s in the reach of every man and his tailor. It isn’t defined by the fabrication, colour or pattern; the most important element of a great suit is the fit. It’s what defines made-to-measure, and it’s why so many gentlemen make the informed decision to choose suiting made especially for them. Only your tailor can help you achieve the perfect fit; below are the key considerations they’ll follow in your consultation.
General knowledge indicates the jacket should fall just below your bottom, and it’s a rule most men follow faithfully. However, the jacket length varies based on your height. Shorter men should wear a jacket that sits midway between the beltline and the crotch; taller men’s jackets should sit below it. If you’re unsure of how you want your jacket to look, seek your tailor’s advice and err longer first. It’s easier to shorten the jacket, but letting out the hem at a later date isn’t an option.
Anyone who knows tailoring will look at a suit jacket’s shoulders first. It’s important to get this part of your suit right, as it’s nearly impossible to fix after the fact. Your jacket shoulder should lay flat, perfectly in line with the natural flow of your shoulder. How do you know it’s flat? There should be no divots, creases nor rumpled of fabric. If you have rounded shoulders, the rule doesn’t change for you, but you might want to discuss padding with your tailor to reduce the rounded shape.
When it comes to sleeves, you should display a small portion of your shirt sleeve. Your jacket should sit on the wrist bone so there’s enough space for the shirt cuff to show.
Your jacket should hug your body lightly without making you feel uncomfortable. This means you can stand up straight with ease, without pulling at the buttons. Likewise the fabric should be tailored close to the body—any excess fabric will make you lose your shape. There’s no shame if your frame does fluctuate, just choose a more generous fit so you may wear your suit year-round.
Your collar should rest on your shirt collar. They should be no noticeable gap between the two, nor should they be inseparable. A good fit doesn’t look or feel constricted.
Armholes that sit high are the more flattering and tailored look, but they shouldn’t dig into your armpits. You should be able to move your arms freely without feeling like your entire jacket is moving with them. If that’s the case, your tailor will need to increase their size.
The waist of your trousers should be your exact size, meaning it should stay fast without a belt. Suit trousers sit higher than casual trousers like chinos or jeans. Just as your jacket does, the seat of your trousers should lightly hug your behind without squeezing it or being baggy. Finally, opt for a slight break in the trouser leg—a fold at the approximate height of the ankle. Though a full break is classic and no break is daring, a slight break works for every man and follows a time-honoured tradition.
We hope your next appointment with your tailor is informative, armed with an understanding of fit basics. Master these with a skilled made-to-measure tailor and leave no room for error.