Finding the Perfect Fit for Suit Jackets

Few things can make a professional man look worse than a poorly fitted suit jacket. Since the jacket is a main focal point for anyone looking at you, it's also one of the most important garments to get right. Regardless if the suit's off-the-rack or custom-tailored, the suit needs to meet some basic requirements.

Sleeves on men's suit jackets should be on the long side, with cuffs hanging to the base of the thumb when your arms are at your sides. The cuffs should go up an inch or two when you bend your arm halfway, as if shaking someone's hand. Around one inch of shirt cuff should peek from the jacket in the bent position.

Necklines need to lay flat on the back of the neck, as well as the front. If you are in an ill-fitted or sized jacket, you can end up with a little fold or hump of cloth on the back of your neck. Either this needs to be taken in, or you need to find a jacket with a slightly narrower back.

Shoulders can be a difficult area to get right without custom tailoring, and poorly tailored shoulders are noticeable. If the shoulders are too wide, too narrow or too square, they can make you look like a kid in your grandpa's old coat. Make sure the shoulder area of a jacket not only lies flat, but also ends flush with the edge of your real shoulder.

The jacket should fit snugly around the ribs, but never tightly. It should fall straight from the rib cage to the bottom hem, with an optional, small intake around the waist. There should be at least one vent in back, preferably two. Vents create a smooth line for general movement and prevent bunching when bending, kneeling or sitting.A suit jacket should button and unbutton with ease, laying perfectly flat down the front and the back. It should maintain this look regardless if you're carrying a wallet, checkbook or eyeglass case. Always try on any suit with the items you normally carry to check that the garment will still look good in everyday life.

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