6 Tailoring Tips In Choosing an Off-The-Rack Suit Jacket
Buying an off-the-rack suit may be frowned upon by the fashion-forward, but the truth is that it can be a great way to find a quick get-up for a formal event.
Although many may not recommend buying off the rack, they are a good go-to when you’re in need of a suit but short on time and money.
While off-the-rack suits have their merits, you wouldn’t fare well if you simply picked a random jacket and wore it straight to your function—ill-fitting suits are only slightly better than having gone naked. Luckily for you, finding a good-fitting jacket has become a science for men, and many style guides on how to properly wear a suit jacket have been made.
Here are six simple tailoring tips to remember when purchasing a suit jacket.
- Shoulders to Shoulders
The most important factor when looking at suit jackets would be the shoulder span. Tailors agree that the shoulders of your suit jacket should end at your shoulders. Anything longer wouldn’t define your shoulders, and anything too short would be too uncomfortable to wear.
- Hand to Chest
The next thing to look for would be the chest fit of your suit jacket. A simple way to check would be to slip your flat hand into the suit, under the lapels, with the top button fastened. If you ball your hand up into a fist, then the suit should pull at the fastened button.
- Sleeve to Wrist
Another obvious point to check would be the sleeve length. An excessively short sleeve would look quite awkward when worn over a dress shirt, while a sleeve too long would cover your dress shirt entirely. Your jacket’s sleeves should fall nicely to the point where the base of your thumb connects to your wrist. Some tailors would fashion this to be a little bit shorter in order to factor in a watch that you wish to show off.
- Button to Navel
A lesser-known styling detail about wearing a suit jacket would be the positioning of the buttons. The top button of a two-button suit—or the middle button of a three-button suit—should never be below your navel.
(Pro tip: When wearing a three-button suit, always remember that the bottom button is never fastened, the middle is always fastened, and the top is only occasionally fastened.)
- Knuckles to Bottom
The last size factor to look into would be the entire length of your jacket. Although it may differ depending on style, you would traditionally aim for a length where the bottom of your jacket is level with your knuckles.
- Patterned to Finish
Once the size fits your frame, a look at your overall outfit would seal the deal. The color and thread pattern of your slacks should be the same as your jacket, and your inner dress shirt should either be in contrast to or blend into your outfit. Your shoes must be the same color and style as your belt, as well as color-matched to the entirety of your suit.
These six simple tailoring tips can make your off-the-rack purchase a highly fashionable style choice. In truth, finding the “perfect” off-the-rack suit jacket is not as easy as it sounds. More often than not, you will find a good suit that misses out on either the arm length or the stomach width—which would ruin an otherwise refined look.
Not all is lost, however, as this is where having a skilled tailor on-call would come in handy. A simple snip and fit can remedy these issues and turn your off-the-rack suit jacket into a fashionable marvel.
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