1. Make sure the jacket fits you in the shoulders.It shouldn’t be overly large. It shouldn’t be too tight.
Most men will not buy a suit that is too tight in the shoulder area, but most men are buying a suit one to two sizes too large. Just go watch the movie “Crazy Stupid Love”.
There’s a great example of the difference of wearing something that fits you right in the shoulders.
The shoulders, to get those adjusted by the tailor, it’s kind of like heart surgery. It is one of the most difficult adjustments.
Maybe there is some tailor that has been able to make shoulders larger, but they can only make them smaller by so much. The cost is so high you might as well go look at another jacket, so that’s the shoulders.
2. Let’s talk about the neck.The neck area, you shouldn’t have a whole lot of material just sitting out.
It shouldn’t sit back from your shirt collar. If it does, it’s too large and you want to find a better fit. You can get this somewhat adjusted, but again, not an adjustment that you want to pay for if you can get a better fit right off the rack.
Another area you’re going to see in the neck is bunching in the back of the neck. This is a pretty easy fix. If you see a little bit of bunching, you should be able to get that adjusted for free at finer menswear stores.
If you’re buying this at a discount store or a thrift store, then you can just take it to a tailor and for a reasonable amount, you’re able to get that adjusted pretty easily.
3. Let’s talk about thechest and the torso, so that’s going to be the next area you want to focus on. It is okay if it’s a little bit tight or it is a little bit loose. What I mean by that is about an inch to at the most an inch and a half.
I’m going to say on the lower end if it’s tight because there’s usually not a whole lot of material in off-the-rack jackets that they can open up on the back, but if it’s lose, you can definitely bring it in about an inch and a half.
Now, why can’t you bring it in two to three inches? Technically, a tailor could make any jacket fit you in the torso area, but here’s the problem.
We start to change the lines of the jacket and we have issues with proportion, so that’s why weightlifters, bodybuilders, men that have a huge drop, perhaps they’ve got a 44-inch chest and they’ve got a 32-inch waist, so right there, 44 to 32, a 12-inch drop.
If you’ve got that type of a drop, then what we’re seeing is that almost no — you’re going to need to go custom.
The lines on most off-the-rack jackets just are not going to work for you and the adjustment would be too much in the torso.
4. Jacket length, now, I’m going to pull up a quick illustration. As you can see, I’ve got examples right here of a jacket being too short, a jacket being too long, a jacket being perfect.
You should be able to put your hands down by your shoulders and about where your thumb knuckle is at or you should be able to wring your hands around the bottom and you should be able to feel the bottom.
The jacket should cover the back curvature of your buttocks. That for me is about perfect. Another way to do this is simply to get your full back measurement, cut it in half, and add an inch.
Now, it’s trendy right now for jackets to be a little bit shorter. That’s fine. That’s an Italian look and if you’re into that, go for it. If you are a shorter man, that is a great look for you.
If you’re a taller man, if you’re over six foot, then you want to lean with your jacket almost being a little bit longer, not too much longer, not like a 1980s Armani look, but you definitely can go with a little bit longer if you are a taller man.
This has to do with understanding leg lines and things like that. By the way, if your jacket is too short or you try it on and it’s too short, do not buy it because you can’t get it lengthened.
You can get a jacket shortened by about an inch. Beyond that, we start running into proportion issues.
5. Next, let’s look at sleeve length, one of the easiest and most common things to get adjusted. Think about an inch to an inch and a half you can get adjusted, more shortening it than lengthening it.
Usually, with lengthening — well, the limiting factor of lengthening sleeves is how much material is in there.
6. Next, we’re going to talk about your trousers and we start talking about the seat.Most men are not wearing the seat too tight.
They’re wearing two to three extra inches of material in their — basically in your backside area, so have that tucked in and it’s going to look a lot better when you take your jacket off.
7. Now, the cuff, again, most men are not doing the — they’re not showing their ankles. They’re wearing way too much material down there. It’s a very simple fix to get those cuffs shortened. You want to have a nice, clean break as shown here in the illustration.
Now, let’s talk about certain things that you should look for, and I’m going to talk about four things. When you see this on the jacket, give it a second, really make sure that you want to get this jacket because these are possibly fixes that are going to cost you a lot of money, two of them have to do with the shoulders.
8. So top of the shoulder, if you see a lot of rumpling, be careful. That either is poor quality build in the shoulders or it just is not going to fit your shoulder type. Many men have really broad shoulders. They have square shoulders.
They have sloped shoulders, and that can be causing the rumpling, in addition to possibly the fit in the torso.
This is a sign of a bigger problem and you want to make sure this is the jacket for you because the alterations to get this fixed may end up costing you $50 to $100.
9. Let’s talk about shoulder divots. Now, if you check out the jacket I’m wearing right here, I have slight shoulder divots. I like this jacket. I had this made a number of years ago. Some of my other jackets, my shoulders are a bit smaller. I would say this is about as larger divots as you want to have. Once you start to have huge divots, it’s just not a great look.
10. Let’s talk about the pitch of the jacket. The pitch is how the sleeve is actually attached to the torso and right here to the armhole.
Now, you have to change the entire angle. If the pitch is off, this is an expensive fix. We’re talking at least $50. It has to be usually hand-worked, so something you want to make sure you got the pitch right on a jacket.
Now, don’t just look at one image because that’s taking it from a certain point in time. Pitch has a lot to do with the way you stand. If you’re a military man, you’re going to find you’ve got a little bit different of a pitch than a man that slouches forward.
11. Finally, let’s talk quickly about “the dreaded X”. My friend, Baron over at The Effortless Gent, I think he coined the phrase, but it’s basically when you’re wearing it too tight right here on the front and when you button up, you get an X right here in the center.