Traditionally there is a certain way your suit should look and fit. Although some of these principles are timeless, like the fit at your shoulders, waist and chest, the rule book is being torn up by some of the more recent emerging formalwear trends. Our best advice would be that there’s no shame in trying something new, but always stick to more traditional for business dress and feel free to experiment with trouser length and jacket length trends when you’re headed somewhere like the races!
Trouser Break – If you’re looking for a traditional look then the end of your trousers should just about be touching the top of your shoe forming a slight crease in your trousers, known as the break. Be careful not to have them too long as this creates a bigger break, often with 2 or even more folds – this just looks plain sloppy, a tailor can turn up a trouser hem that is too long fairly inexpensively so there is no excuse. When it comes to the trouser length we’re going to say shorter (with a medium break as opposed to a full break) is better than too long, there is an emerging trend for shorter trouser lengths – if you want to look more trendy go for a shorter leg length, you can even flash some ankle if you’re really daring.
Suit Sleeve Length – The best way to check sleeve length is to relax your arms to your side and check that you’re always showing almost an inch of your shirt cuff. It may seem like a small detail but it will make a huge difference to your entire look. If your sleeve length is too long it gives you an almost juvenile aesthetic, not at all desirable in a formal setting.
Shoulders fitting right – One of the most important parts of your suit will be the shoulder fitting. The main thing you want to make sure is that the suit shoulder pads don’t hang over your shoulder as this will cause unsightly rumpling and bulging in the silhouette of the shoulders. Instead the jacket should just about hug the shoulder for a snug fit. The best way to get this right is by measuring shoulder length – check out our measuring article to get this right.
Jacket Length – Here’s how to check the length, cup in your palm with arms at side and your thumb knuckle should be in line with the end of your jacket. In recent years it’s becoming more and more common to have your jacket length shorter, especially as skinnier fit suits are becoming more and more on trend. For a classic fit then stick to the thumb knuckle rule, it’s good for business dress and really formal occasions like weddings, however if you’re more confident and are trying out a skinny style don’t get too hung up on it if your jacket comes up shorter.
The Jacket Waist – You should always be able to button up your jacket with ease. There should be no wrinkle created. If there is an X-shaped wrinkle around the button then this means the waist is too tight. The best way to check the fit is to place your hand under your suit jacket and it should fit nice and snug without feeling tight.