How It Should Fit: The Suit jacket

January 2nd, 2015

Continuing on with our “How It Should Fit” series, today we take a close look at the suit jacket. The same guidelines apply to blazers/sport coats as well.

    What is a Good Fit?

    A proper fitting garment flatters the body by contouring its natural lines. The garment should be cut as close to the body as possible without causing any pulling, wrinkling or stress areas on the fabric. You’re looking for a clean drape that showcases and enhances the natural form of the body.



    The shoulder lines of the jacket should correspond with your natural shoulder width. Beyond the shoulder seam the sleeve line should move downward immediately, not protrude outward beyond the seam (this is too small). Alternatively, there should be no “hang-time” or “lip” of the shoulder pad protruding over the arm line (this is too big).


    The jacket collar should hug the shirt collar all the way around the neck, with no gapping. There should be about about 1/2″-3/4″ of shirt collar showing above the back of the jacket, with a smooth upper back (no collar roll). With ideal proportions, the shirt collar points should also be neatly tucked under the jacket lapels.


    The front chest should be clean and neat. If the jacket is too large in the chest there will be a “pooling” or “lump” of extra fabric sitting in front of the armholes. If the chest is too small, the lapels will pull open and not lay flat, and there will likely be pulling/wrinkling in the sleeves beginning from the bottom of the armholes.


    Like a good lawyer, a good jacket should cover your ass. The back panel of the jacket should end just below the bottom of the seat, and the jacket should be perfectly parallel and level to the ground (not “hiked up” in the front or back).



    The midsection of the jacket should be as trim as possible. Ideally there should only be 2-3 inches of room when you pull the button away from your belly. The button stance (the top button on a 2-button jacket, or middle button on a 3-button) is the narrowest part of the jacket, and therefore should be aligned with the smallest part of your torso. Again, avoid stress wrinkles here caused by being too aggressive with your tailor.


    At the bottom of the jacket you’re looking for full coverage, with the vents laying straight and flat. Too small and the vents will pull open, too large and the the hem of the jacket will “flare” or “wave”.


    A trim sleeve can make a huge difference in the appearance of the jacket. The sleeve should be as trim as possible without sacrificing range of motion. What’s important here is the pitch (rotation) of the sleeve. A good jacket has a perfectly clean sleeve head with no wrinkling, twisting, or breaking down the arm. The cloth should be clean and neat (at a resting state, of course).

    Sleeve Length

    At a resting state there should be about 1/2″-3/4″ of shirt cuff visible. The shirt cuff should be trim enough that it stops at the beginning of the hand (with a little extra fabric for arm extension – “Shirt Fit” article coming up).


    Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have any questions about our online custom menswear, feel free to contact us anytime. We look forward to serving as your personal tailor and stylist. 

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier

    Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


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    • Jimmy

      Sleeve length: 1/2: to 3/4″??? It is traditionally 1cm, which is slightly under 1/2″. Having more is a fashion faux-pas

    • Juan Zara

      Any info on the fabric of the jacket? Looks damn awesome, been looking for a soft tweed/flannel in a light navy like that for quite some time! Still using Ariston, Dan?

      As per the article, I feel this could have gone into much more depth, especially considering most of what’s missing here was already written on some of your “Garment Doctor” articles, namely these four:

    • Jack Taylor

      The fit is okay but it seems too short for him in both the sleeves and body.

      • tommyjohn_45

        Body seems fine in my opinion… Sleeves are probably pushing the 3/4″ length, and with his lean frame, becomes more noticeable.

      • JBells

        I agree about the arm shortness. How would this look if you were to wear a long sleeve or even short sleeved T? I feel like this wouldn’t work

        • dmoney

          why would you be wearing a short sleeved T with a suit jacket?

    • Harvey

      Can you do one for DB suits/jackets?

    • LouCaves

      Great tips and information.

      I would’ve liked to have seen some more photos showing the right and wrong fit.

      Thanks AOS.

    • Miguel

      Love that Jacket, great tips as usual.