Hitting All the Right Places

April 25th, 2016

There’s a certain feeling you get when a garment is hitting you in all the right places.

That’s why the tailor has been a respected profession for hundreds of years. It’s not just about clothes, it’s about individual service, expert advice and providing all the tools for a man to dress with confidence.

To give you an example, here are some of the things our tailors look for when performing basted fittings and cutting garments for our clients.

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    Jacket Length

    The front of the jacket should hit around the crotch level (the bottom of the trouser rise). Of course, this can change depending on the height, shape and proportions of the client. When we talk about custom tailoring, it’s important to understand that there is no one answer for every body type. The goal is to review the client’s physicality and cut the most flattering garment for him personally.

    Button Stance

    The button stance is typically the smallest part of the jacket (the point of greatest suppression). For that reason, we typically aim to have it line-up with the smallest part of the torso. For some guys (usually thinner guys) this means down by the naval, for other guys (usually heavier guys) it could be up toward the bottom of the rib cage.

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    We like to cut the armhole as high as we can, without sacrificing comfort. A higher armhole can give the jacket a greater range of motion, and a more flattering cut through the chest and lats. This is one of those “measurements” that is virtually impossible get right without using a basted fitting to test it (especially since “comfort” is inherently an element of personal preference).

    Shirt Collar/Jacket Lapels

    On a spread collar shirt, the collar points should tuck under the lapels of the jacket (see above). This creates a smooth balance between the garments by tying the lines together. Also, don’t forget the proportion rules of ties, collars and lapels.

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    Shirt Sleeve Length

    Shirt sleeves should cover the entire wrist and hit the beginning of the hand (the cuffs should be narrow enough that they don’t creep over your thumb). There should also be additional length in the sleeves to allow you to extend your arms without them traveling too far up your forearms. Usually 1/2″-3/4″ allowance is enough, without causing excess billowing when your arms are straightened.

    Jacket sleeve Length

    We usually shoot for a 1/2″ of shirt cuff showing below the jacket sleeves, although this can also change depending on the height and proportions of the client. With shorter clients we sometimes go for a little more, and taller clients a little less. Of course, most guys have a personal preference here, which is again why the basted fitting is so important; it allows us to get your direct input on all these elements before cutting the final garment.

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    Jacket Collar/Shirt Collar

    From the back view, there should be roughly 1/2″ of shirt collar showing above the jacket collar (both of which should be hugging the neck smoothly). For some clients this means bringing the collar upward (like Will here, due to his erect posture, long neck and sloping shoulders) and for some clients it means bringing the collar downward and squaring the shoulders (if you suffer from that annoying collar roll, for example).


    The shoulder seam should hit just before the downward slope of the arm begins. Since our jackets are soft and unpadded, we sometimes bring the shoulder line upward slightly on clients who are fit (already larger in upper body) and have sloping shoulders (like Will here). The key is that the fabric has a smooth drape without sacrificing comfort or range of motion.

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    Jacket Back Length

    Like a good lawyer, a jacket should always cover your ass. The hem of the jacket should also be balanced from front to back, and sit perpendicular to the ground. For some clients this means shortening the back and lengthening the front (“erect posture adjustment”) and for other clients this means lengthening the back and shortening the front (“stooping posture adjustment”)… It gets a lot more complicated than that, but this is meant to be high-level.

    Trouser Waist

    The waist is cut to your actual waist measurement (so you don’t need a belt) but with a little room for breathing, pizza and beer. The try-on trousers (basically a free pair of pants for new clients) has a huge benefit here as well, because one man’s tight is often another man’s loose.

    Trouser Rise

    We cut a mid-rise trouser that sits at your natural waist and gives you ample room to use your pockets. I can’t stand the trend of low-rise trousers that sit down on the hip bones like women’s jeans. You have a natural waist, and that is where your trousers should be sitting. They look more elegant, they’re more functional and they’re more comfortable.

    Trouser Break

    Generally, the taller the client, the more break we suggest (just like the wider the client, the wider the leg opening we suggest). Of course, we know this one is largely a personal preference (and often cause for great debate). Check out our guide to pant breaks for more on the topic.

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    BurgundyBrownSuit (4 of 5) (2)

    The Burgundy Worsted 2-Piece Suit

    Have questions about fit or tailoring for your body type? Use the comments section below or hit us directly at service@articlesofstyle.com.

    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier

    Photography by Alex CrawfordModeling by Will Howe

    • Jamie Saunders

      A custom made suit is always a far better choice than buying something off the rack. As opposed to the suit at display, blue coloured suits are in trend this year.

    • alexa.a

      thank for great article

    • Samuel

      As I have a short torso and long legs, wearing pants at the natural waist results in a “pants pulled too high” effect. Thus, I have been wearing pants at my hip bones as it balances out the proportions when I tuck my shirt in. Do you think this could be an exception to the rule of pants worn at the natural waist?

    • http://www.17verses.com Malcolm

      As a man with a bit of a gut, I find that wearing pants at the natural waist is uncomfortable. Sure, it creates a cleaner drape but I’m constantly adjusting and to a degree, I feel like my torso is cut shorter and thus I look/feel shorter.

      • cam

        get some brace buttons sewn into your trousers and go with braces. game changer

      • JoeFromTexas

        As a fellow large gutted man, Having pants at the waist (with the pant button pretty much right on top of the belly button) is a much better look than having the gut hang over the belt/pant. The adjusting is a bit of an issue (but less so if you get pants that fit well and comfortably at your waist, which calls for a higher rise than a lot of modern pants), but braces/suspenders will change your life. So comfortable, especially for a big dude and no worrying about adjusting, squeezing, or pulling.

        But, braces or not, getting a sufficiently high rise is the key. There are brands that still make a medium to high rise pant, gotta keep looking and find the one that works for you.

    • Jeanscuffed

      Yo Dan, are ya’ll able to make a wider width waist band?

    • twotone

      The trousers are off. They need more opening to cover 1/2 of the shoes, lengthened to have break and cuffed.

      • tommyjohn_45

        As stated above, a matter of personal preference, up for great debate. I think the cut above is spot on and cannot stand when half my shoe is covered. Feels like I’m wearing bell-bottoms and I hate the way opening bounces around as I walk… To each his own.

        • http://mensstylepro.com/ Sabir M. Peele


        • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

          This is EXACTLY why we do the basted fitting. It gives every client the opportunity to share their personal feedback…because achieving the “perfect fit” has as much to do with the client as it does with the tailor. Cheers fellas.

    • cam

      hey dan, regarding jacket length. do you subscribe to the idea that the length of the jacket should be determined by dividing the distance from the collar’s seem to the floor in half as seen here: https://drinkinanddronin.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/flusser-001.jpg

      im assuming, as stated above, this may be dependent on the individual and somewhat subjective.

      • twotone

        I agree with you on this. The jacket in these photos is at least 2″ too short.

        • TO

          2″?! No way. Maybe on the set of Boardwalk Empire, but not in real life… Imo

        • cam

          i never said the jacket was too short

        • AdamE

          Disagree (might be 1/2″ short for some sensibilities)… I generally buy into the CYA mentality, but I find that cutting a jacket a bit shorter gives you more flexibility splitting up the pieces to wear as separates (for me I would probably ask to shorten it by another inch-ish)…
          It’s a jacket, not a dress… it’s generally assumed that we’re wearing trousers (rather than leggings as some women do) so you’re not at risk of your arse literally showing…
          The problem with that text book guide for proportion, is that it works in a text book, but does not account for the human factor (we have different torso:leg length ratios)… That makes a lot of sense in designing off the rack suits, but the whole point of going custom (MTM or Bespoke) is that you move away from rigid ratios, and the focus is on fit to your body, rather than your body, to the fit…

          • TO

            If you have a ‘fuller’ arse it still shows… Personal pet peeve. I have worn a (new thrifted) blazer recently that exactly covers my seat with jeans and couldn’t have been happier with the look (see photo, wish it showed full length)

            • TO

              Here we go (shows jacket length over jeans)

      • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

        Hey Cam. For me it has more to do with the client’s proportion of torso to legs, as well as the length of their arms, how they wear their trousers, and their “problem areas” that they are trying to mask… For example in some cases a longer jacket can help hide a belly or pear-shaped hips… It’s really a case-by-case basis, as standardizes “rules” like this don’t really hold up for everybody, every body…