Whether you’re going to a wedding, a baptism, a birthday party, or into the office, a great-fitting suit is always a stylish option, and no man’s wardrobe is complete without one. If you don’t wear suits often or if you’re buying a two-piece suit with jacket and trousers for the first time, it can be challenging to choose the right suit for you: What style suits me best? What sizes are available? How do I know if a suit fits well and how do I find the right fit?
This guide will help you find the right suit size and style for you, one step at a time, and it includes extra tips on how to get the perfect fit.
Whether you buy your suit in a shop or online, the right fit is everything when it comes to choosing a suit size. Based on your personal style and body type, you decide whether a close fit or a classic, more relaxed fit suits you best. Cuts for men’s suits usually fall into one of the following categories:
A thoroughly modern style with a narrow and tapered cut. Slim fit and extra slim fit suits have a sporty, slim line and are the ideal choice for the fashion-conscious fellow.
If you have a normal to athletic build and prefer a less close-fitting style, the regular fit is a good all-round suit option. With its slight taper at the waist, it’s a timeless classic that is as elegant as it is comfortable.
Relaxed or comfort fit
A modern suit in a relaxed or comfort fit delivers versatility and ease. This cut gives you more room to move with a longer jacket that is broader across the shoulders and has little tapering at the waist. The looser-fitting trouser has a leg cut for comfort.
Whichever type of suit fit you choose, ensuring the perfect fit – not too loose and not too tight – makes all the difference when it comes to flattering your body type. The chest and shoulders as well as the sleeve, jacket, and trouser length are all important in this regard.
To find the right suit size, you need to know how the suit jacket should fit. A perfectly fitting suit jacket sits just right on your body. It’s easy to button and the shoulder seam ends flush with the upper arm. Use the criteria below to find out if your jacket sits correctly:
With a properly fitting jacket, the lapels lie flat on your chest and don’t bow outwards. The jacket can be unbuttoned easily with one hand. If the jacket is too tight, you’ll notice the lapels pull open at the sides. If it’s too loose, there will be too much room in the front.
Tip: With the jacket buttoned, place two fingers between the jacket and your shirt above the suit buttons. If you can place exactly two fingers in the space comfortably, then the jacket sits perfectly.
The ideal shoulder width for a suit jacket depends on your build, but the shoulder seam should always be flush with your upper arm. If the fit is too narrow, the upper part of the jacket will rumple, especially around the shoulders. Similarly, a shoulder line that is too broad will create a gap at the collar and lapels. This can break the natural line of the suit meaning it won’t fit or look right.
Tip: Stand sideways next to a wall. If the shoulder touches the wall but the rest of the sleeve doesn’t, the suit is too big.
The sleeves of your suit jacket should be just long enough to leave about a centimetre of your shirt cuff showing. If your jacket sleeves are too short, there will be too much space between the end of the sleeve and your wrist. If your jacket sleeves cover your shirt and cuff links completely, however, they’re too long.
Jacket length is ultimately a matter of personal taste, but shorter jackets should cover at least your bottom.
Tip: With your hands by your sides, try to reach under the hem of the jacket with your fingers. If you can’t reach the seam, the jacket is too long. And if the bottom of the jacket ends at your wrist, the jacket is too short.
Trouser fit is also essential to finding the right suit size. The fit of your trousers depends on the cut, your build, and the suit shape you choose. Finding the right suit trousers size will mean they are not too tight, nor will they slide down. The waistband should sit just below your navel, but not at your waistline. The right trouser length depends on the look you’re going for:
Longer trousers (slight break)
With a classic slim fit suit, the length of the trousers should be just long enough for the hem to rest at the topline of your shoe, with a slight break, or fold of fabric, in the trouser leg. For trousers cut for a more relaxed fit, the leg should extend to the heel of your shoe, hiding your socks. Suit trousers shouldn’t be any longer than that.
Shorter trousers (no break)
Unlike a traditional suit, where the length of the trouser leg should end at your shoes, a shorter length is preferred for modern, slimmer cut suit styles. For an up-to-date look, try ankle-length trousers that reveal a pair of bold printed socks or – for less festive occasions or warmer temperatures – go with hidden sock liners and low-key trainers.
Tip: Sit on a chair and check how far your trousers rise up your leg. The trousers are the right length if they don’t rise up past where your calf begins. Checking for any pulling or tightness when you sit is another quick way to see if you’ve chosen the right size.
Once you’ve decided on a style and learnt the most important factors for a precision fit, it’s time to take your measurements. Many online shops now offer suit size calculators to find the right suit size based solely on your height, weight, belly shape, and chest shape.
To be on the safe side, though, it’s best to check your exact measurements using a suit size chart as a guide. The measurements you will need to determine your suit size vary between brands and between countries. The measurements listed below are the most common:
Tip: When measuring, always make sure you keep the tape measure close to your body and breathe normally to get the most accurate results.
Because sizes vary from country to country, men’s suit size charts for different countries will often include different information. Ready-to-wear clothing sizes in Europe are generally based on three different measurements: height, chest, and waist. As mentioned above, however, other measurements may also be important.
Always be sure to look at the right ready-to-wear suit size chart for your body fit. This is because men’s suit sizes are divided into three different groups based on height and build:
To make the search for a suit a little easier, most suit trousers and jacket size guides include normal clothing sizes that correspond to specific measurements and sizes. For example, clothing size S is equivalent to suit size 46 and XXL is equivalent to size 54.
Tip: Because the same size chart is used for both suit jackets and trousers and the size indicated always applies to both pieces, it’s possible to find a jacket that fits perfectly, but trousers that don’t. If this happens to you, then suit separates might be the way to go. This way, you can buy the jacket and the trousers separately and mix and match your suits as you please. For outfit inspiration and more, discover the BOSS suit world.
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