Six signs of an ill-fitting suit

Despite the suit being without a doubt the epitome of male elegance, so many besuited men still look unpolished. Most often, it’s simply down to the wrong choice of suit – not so much in terms of size or quality but a structure that is intended for a different physique. Here are six common traits of an ill-fitting suit to watch out for, some of which can be altered, others not so easily.

The collar gap 

This is the clearest of signs that a suit jacket is not the one for you. Usually, it’s the result of a collar that is too large for the circumference of the neck, although posture, shoulder width and slope could also be a cause. It is both difficult and time-consuming for a tailor to fix this, making it best to avoid at all costs.


Lapel ‘pop’

Like the collar gap, when the jacket’s lapels bulge upwards, it’s due to the structure of the jacket being different to that of your frame although, it could also be a result of the jacket being too tight at the chest. Moving the buttons further sideways, closer to the edge of the jacket can help loosen the jacket’s fit but there is no guarantee the lapels will lay flat on the chest as they should.

Jacket width 

It could be that a jacket fits snug at the shoulders but too loose elsewhere. This is usually the case for men with particularly broad shoulders. On the other hand, it could also be that a jacket fits perfectly at the waist but too loose at the top. This is the problem faced by men with a sizeable belly.

Whilst jackets can be taken in, at least in certain parts so as to give a tighter fit, one cannot take in too much without distorting their proportions. One easy way of telling if the jacket width is right for you is by placing your fist between the jacket’s upper button and your body. The width should be close to the actual size of the fist.

Jacket length 

This is mostly an issue for short men, on whom suit jackets often reach too far down the thigh consequently, making the legs look too short. To calculate if the jacket’s length is right or not, extend your arm sideways along the length of the jacket and close your palm. The jacket should not reach below that level. 

One can also opt for a slightly shorter length if, by allowing more of the trousers to be exposed, the result is more flattering in terms of visual height. However, due to the location of the side pockets being fixed, there is very little of a jacket’s length one can shorten without these appearing too low.

Sleeves’ length

It might seem obvious that one would know when a sleeve is too long but it’s still common to see men with a suit jacket’s sleeves that cover a large chunk of their hands. There is no rule as to the exact length of a jacket’s sleeves but generally, this should allow for the shirt’s cuffs to be slightly exposed, especially when the arms are bent.

Trousers’ fit and break

Of the pieces that make up a suit, the trousers is often the least problematic but it is important that it keeps the lower half of the body looking proportionate to the upper part. Hence, the trousers should not look too wide as to make the legs appear chunky. Ideally, trousers are tapered at the bottom, allowing for a more streamlined effect that adds visual height. For the same reason, a full trouser break will make the feet look stocky, resulting in a shorter silhouette.

Final word

It’s the suit’s structure that gives the wearer that sharp look and definition but like a piece of armour, it’s only effective if it fits the wearer perfectly. With most affordable options being off-the-rack designs, finding a suit that fits you in a way that seems like it was made for you is close to impossible. Although alterations can transform the way a suit looks on a man, in a way that makes it more flattering, it is best to go for one that requires minimal intervention. This might mean having to try on a number of different designs from different brands.

Finally, just for this month, any alterations required for suits or jackets bought from our shop will be done free of charge.

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