Suits (and blazers or sport coats) come in different lengths and are referred to by chest size and length. The following guidelines are recommended for one who does not want to follow trends.
HOW ARE SUITS SOLD?
If one’s chest measurement is, for example, 40″ around; and they are 5′ 11″ tall, they might typically wear a suit that is a size 40 Regular. Other sizes typically found in stores that inventory suits would be short, and extra long. (There are extra short and XXL suits that are made, but finding them is next to impossible.)
Any suit will really only fit a person of one specific height perfectly. What if the jacket you try on is made for one who is 5/10” tall and you are 5’ 8” or 5’ 11”? If you choose a custom-made suit, the jacket will be made the perfect length for you.
WHAT IS THE “RIGHT” LENGTH FOR A SUIT JACKET ( or BLAZER or SPORT COAT)?
The answer is actually pretty simple…but needs to be followed with common sense. The correct length for a 2-button jacket is 1/2 the length from under the jacket’s back collar seam (lift the back of the collar, and measure from the seam where the felt meets the back of the jacket) to the floor. If the jacket is a double breasted or 3 or 4 button jacket, the length needs to be longer to accommodate the extra buttons…usually 1/2″ to 3/4″ extra. (The general rules such as “your thumb should brush the bottom of your jacket”, work for those few in the perfect fit category…a tailor’s tape does not err. If the salesperson assisting you doesn’t know how to measure the length of your jacket, ask for another sales person or move on to another store.)
WHAT IF I’M BUYING OFF THE RACK AND AM “IN BETWEEN”?
If one is buying off the rack, they should gravitate towards a jacket that is within 1/2″ of their actually required length. So…let’s say that you are 6″ and the actual length from your jacket collar’s back seam to the floor is 62 1/2″. The perfect length for you would be 31 1/4″. Let’s further assume the “regular” jacket in your chest size is 30 1/2 inches and the long is 32″. I would recommend you go with the “long” length jacket. If the length is more than 1/2″ off, err on the long side. A jacket that is 3/4″ or more shorter than desired is usually too short.
Also…and this is a significant tip, a jacket can usually be shortened by an accomplished tailor up to 1″ without disturbing the balance of the pocket placement on the front of the jacket. The cost should be between $25-50 for this alteration…a very efficient way to get a perfect fit vs. custom.
Thanks for following this post. We’ll discuss related issues with ties for guys who are “in between sizes” in a separate post.
For my current customers, here is a quick link to make an appointment: LINK TO CHRISTOPHER’S APPOINTMENT LOG
BUT WHAT IF YOU ARE A REAL FAN OF FASHION?
For those who prefer to be on top of today’s fashion scene, jacket lengths are currently shorter on the runways. Using the above rules, subtract one inch for your length and you should be right on track…but caution…this shorter jacket is already being replaced next Fall with longer lengths such as are recommended above!
Please send my your fashion questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vinnie Rua- Founder, Christopher’s Custom and The Style Leader For Men