How a Suit Should Fit

Nailing the fit of a suit is the most important aspect of suiting. Even if mermaids spun the fabric from gold, your suit will look like nothing more than a pricey garbage bag if it doesn’t fit right. So, to ensure your next suit fits like a glove, we’ve compiled this part-by-part set of guidelines:

The shoulder

The shoulder of your jacket should lie flat—no creases, divots or bumps. Here’s a tip: The shoulder will lie flat when the seam of the sleeve meets the seam of the jacket at exactly the spot where your arm meets your shoulder. 

The waist/button closure

The sides of your jacket should contour cleanly to your torso. If there are too many folds or it makes a straight line from your armpit to the hem, it’s too big. Conversely, if the fabric pulls from the buttons when it’s closed, or you can’t raise your arms for fear of ripping a seam, it’s too tight. Also, it’s worth noting that a more tailored waist creates a more dramatic V shape, which will make your shoulders look broader.

The seat

No saggy bottoms or underwear lines, guys. The fabric should drape over your derriere and touch your underwear, but passers-by should not be able to tell if you’re wearing boxers or briefs. Also, there should be no major creases (horizontal, under the butt = too tight, vertical-ish on the backs of the thighs = too big).

The arms/sleeve length

Your sleeves should end just above the hinges of your wrists. You’ll know you got it right when a quarter to half inch of shirt cuff shows under your suit jacket. Bonus: this is also a trick to make your arms look longer.

Jacket length

Attention, short guys: longer jackets don’t make you look taller. In fact, not only does a long jacket not add inches, it actually makes your legs look shorter. To ensure your jacket is the right length, place your hands at your sides. If the middle of your palm matches up with the hem of the jacket, it’s the right length.

Pant break

Nothing makes a suit look sloppier than pants that are too big. You can tell pants are oversized by the break (where the hem meets the top of your shoe). If deep folds are piled high above your shoe, they are too big. Ideally, you want the pant hem to just touch the top of your shoe, exposing most of the laces.

***If you’re a visual learner, here are excellent graphics from The Art of Manliness that show not only how a suit should fit, but also how it shouldn’t: How Should a Suit Fit? Your Easy-to-Follow Visual Guide.***

Of course, there is no better way to achieve a perfect fit than an in-person consultation at Binghams. Our tailor can make you taller, thinner and better looking in just a few stitches.

Come in and see us. We are located here.