Holiday season has arrived! Your schedule is probably jam-packed with corporate holiday parties, weddings, and end-of-the-year conferences, so you’re going to be getting a lot of mileage out of your best suit. ‘Clothes make the man’ is what they say, and for once, a cliche actually rings true. A poorly-fitting suit can take you from polished to sloppy in a single shoulder seam, and that’s most definitely not what you want when it comes to the most important events of your year.
Lucky for you, a tailor can fix a lot of the major issues men have with the fit of their suits. But how do you know if you need to see a tailor? Here’s a quick and easy guide for you: four easy-to-spot ways to find out whether or not your suit looks dapper or dumpy.
Suit Jacket: Shoulders
Shoulders are arguably the biggest problem area when it comes to suit jackets and blazers. For future reference, a good rule of thumb is to buy a jacket that fits well in the shoulders, and have it taken in everywhere else, because shoulder seams and armholes are the most difficult spot for tailors to fix. To tell if your jacket (or even your shirt) fits in the shoulders, just see that the shoulder pad seam lines up with the end of the bone in your shoulder. If it does, you’re in good shape! If it goes past your shoulder, you probably look like you’re swimming in the suit, and if it doesn’t reach your shoulder, that’s probably not even comfortable.
Suit Jacket: Buttons/Length
Aside from being too big or small in the shoulders, your jacket can be too long for your torso. Luckily, hemming can fix this fairly easily. A quick way to tell whether your jacket is a good length for you is to check the top button of a two-button suit or the middle button of a three-button suit. These indicated buttons should never sit lower than your navel; if this is the case, then your suit jacket is too long and will throw off the proportions of your outfit.
Another good way to tell whether your jacket is the proper length is to that your knuckles are even with the bottom of the jacket when your hands are down at your sides.
Suit Jacket: Sleeves
Maybe you’ve done the shoulder trick, but you’re not sure if the sleeves are the appropriate length. The sleeves of a well-fitting men’s suit jacket should fall where the base of the thumb meets the wrist. Maybe you want to show off your watch, but too-short jacket sleeves look silly. Sleeves that are too long will, again, make you appear to be swimming in your clothes, which isn’t flattering. Leave a quarter-inch to a half-inch of shirt cuff visible for a polished look.
Suit Pants: Length
You simply can’t have pants that are too long or too short if you want to look polished, no matter where you’re going. The key is in the “break,” which is the name for the small wrinkle caused by the cuff of the pants falling over the top of the shoe. There should be a one-inch break; if there is no break, your pants are too short, and if there is a large break or multiple breaks, your pants are much too long.
Of course, you could simply take your suit to the tailor and they will tell you where the it needs to be adjusted, but this is a good, quick starter-guide that can help you avoid an unnecessary trip.
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