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How a Suit Should Fit

How a Suit Should Fit

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 fittings and cutting garments for our clients.


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.


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.


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).


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier