How Menswear Should Fit
The Importance of a Proper Fit in Menswear
Think back to the last time you wore a suit or tuxedo all day.
How did you feel?
Were you comfortable?
Or were you saying this?
“I can’t wait to get home so I can get out of this suit and tie!”
We’ve all been there. We know exactly how it feels to be constricted by a poorly fitted suit, shirt and tie.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also know how much better it feels to wear a properly fitted suit, shirt and tie. A custom made to measure suit is incredibly more comfortable than anything off-the-rack, ready to wear (RTW) or poorly fitting. When we wear our made to measure suits we aren’t necessarily itching to get out of it the second we get home.
Men's dress clothing should always be comfortable!
When I was being fitted for my first suit at a very specific local men’s wear (think warehouse) store I was told about how a suit should fit. They explained that a suit is meant to look good first and fit comes second. Apparently it’s normal to feel restricted when wearing a suit, you aren’t supposed to lift your arms higher than your chest or be able to cross your arms comfortably. I remember being okay with this because I was naive and didn’t know what I know today. Unfortunately, I was sold into a poorly fitting suit that was very restrictive and uncomfortable.
Menswear, dress clothes, suits, tuxedos you name it, should all be comfortable! There is no reason to settle on fit in 2018 when technology allows you to order a made to measure suit for less than most off-the-rack suits. You will be able to lift your arms and feel less restricted than a mass produced, pile of sh**, suit.
First of all, all clothing should be comfortable. If they are not, it’s not the clothes that are bad it’s just a bad fit. For example, the fitting at a retail store is very simple and only involves 2 measurements, your chest and waist size. That alone should be alarming when there’s more than 2 measurements that go into creating these types of garments. What this should tell you is that these off-the-rack garments are mass produced for average people. They don’t fit anyone well. Most people require tailoring and alteration services immediately after purchasing a brand new off-the-rack suit – I know I did, and it ran me another $60!
You don’t have to suffer in uncomfortable dress clothing just to look good. If you’re not comfortable you won’t look your best, period. When your clothing fits correctly and you are comfortable you will forget you’re dressed up.
How a Dress Shirt Should Properly Fit
If your dress shirt is too tight you will feel restricted, your movement confined and you will feel like you’re being pulled and chocked with every movement. Conversely, a dress shirt that is too loose will look like you never bought new clothes after losing 100 lbs, you’ll be drowning in extra fabric. Both extremes don’t look good. Right in the middle between too tight and too loose is the perfect fit where you will look and feel your best.
The most important aspects to look at in a dress shirt are the chest, shoulder and neck areas. First make sure that you’re wearing the correct size and then try on other shirts that fit better based on your chest, shoulder and neck. Pro tip, you should be able to button the top button on the collar of the dress shirt and easily slip two fingers into the collar area. Refer to the picture above for what a proper fitting dress shirt should look like. It shouldn’t be tight or loose.
How a Suit Should Properly Fit
Fun Fact: A suit is called a suit because both the jacket and the trousers (pants) are made from the same roll of fabric. The word suit originates from the French suite, which means “following” also derived from Latin meaning “I follow”. This is because the garments all “follow” each other, overlapping and are made from the exact same fabric to be of the exact same color, shade, pattern, etc… Matching a jacket and pants that are made from different rolls of fabric that look similar would NOT qualify it as being a suit.
In general, a suit should always be comfortable to wear. Depending on the style of suit you choose to wear your comfort level can vary. Slim fit suits naturally hug the body and have considerably less room to move around in, but they provide a very styled look. On the opposite end of the spectrum are loose fit suits, they have plenty of room and provide tons of comfort at the expense of looking sleek and stylish, but you will still look professional and dressed up. Right in the middle is the perfect compromise that we call a classic fit. Classic fit suits feature characteristics from both slim fit and loose fit suit styles. Classic fit suits look good and provide ample comfort to the majority of people.
You will look your best in a properly fitted suit. Our made to measure garments are hand made using over 18 different measurements and body types to provide you the perfect fit. The fit of a suit depends on a few key points. The most important of them being your chest size, shoulder length, pant waist and pant length. Taking these measurements at the part of your body where you desire to wear them. For instance, some people prefer to wear their pants higher than others around their stomach, and measure from this point. Conversely, some people prefer to wear their pants at a lower level around their hips underneath the belly button, and they should measure from this point.
Knowing how you intend to wear your suit we can go over some basic fit characteristics.
Jackets should be comfortable, not loose or tight.
The shoulder pads of the jacket should end where your natural shoulder ends, if they overhand your shoulders they will crease and appear noticeably too large. Conversely, too small of shoulders will end early and your arms will feel very tight and restrained in the jacket.
The lapels should lie flat against your chest down to the first jacket button while your jacket is buttoned and arms resting at your sides. If they are bending, folding, or being pulled in unnatural directions your jacket may be too small.
The buttons on the front of your jacket should be easy to button. While buttoned, the jacket should remain flat and draping over your body. If you see an “X” forming in your stomach area from the button your jacket is too tight and small for you. You should be able to fit your hand into your jacket while it is flat against your body for the perfect fit. If your whole fist fits then your jacket is too big.
With your arms at your side your knuckles should be even with the bottom of your jacket. If the jacket is longer it is too big, and if it is shorter it’s too small.
The arm sleeves of your jacket should rest at the base of where your thumb and wrist meet. This is more of a general rule of thumb (ha, see what I did there?) You can always go a tad shorter, it’s personal preference how much shirt cuff you want to show off.
Pro tip: If you have a two button suit, you only button the top button. If you have a single button suit you can button the single button. If you have a 3 button suit you can choose to button just the middle or the top and the middle, but never the bottom. This is the style modern suits have adopted to over the centuries and are crafted with this in mind even though you can physically button the bottom one. If you choose to button the bottom button the flow of the jacket will be off. The story as to how this started goes something like this. A King ate too much food and had to unbutton the bottom button because he needed more room in his jacket. Overtime his people noticed this and started doing the same.
Trousers / Pants should fit perfectly without a belt.
The waistline of your trousers should be the natural level where you intend to wear your pants at. This is your waist size and your pants should be able to be worn without a belt. The belt is an accessory in proper fitting menswear, not for holding your pants up.
The length of your pants depends on you wearing them at the proper waistline height. Your pants should rest just above the floor while you’re not wearing shoes and standing straight. When you are wearing shoes the pants should just barely touch your shoes but never extend beyond your shoes to touch the floor.
Your Clothing Choices Speak For You
Subconsciously our minds notice things all around us. Noticing what people wear gives us a picture of what to think about that person. For instance, you walk into a meeting with a prospective client and before you shake hands or say anything you’ve both already sized each other up and made subconscious decisions about one another. Good or bad we all do it, and how you appear plays a large part in how you’ll be perceived. If you wear good fitting clothing then you’ll look look great while making a good first impression.
The problem is that most men today wear ill-fitted clothing on a regular basis. It’s no surprise when all stores sell clothing designed and built for the masses. The clothing in America is designed to fit as many people as possible, remember obesity rates are at an all time high so clothing sizes are trending larger too!
So what are you supposed to do when retailers are making clothes that don’t fit anyone well?
You have two choices. Try on a lot of clothes and spend hours trying to find the right fit and learn how different brands fit and feel. You could also just save yourself time and hassle by going direct to the made to measure clothing segment. We aren’t the first and we won’t be the last custom menswear company to offer affordable custom clothing. However, we believe that we offer the best price and quality out there.
The made to measure suit experience is relatively new to most people. It’s different than bespoke, but many people consider them to be one in the same and they are not. The largest difference is price and then fit. In our opinion the 10x or more increase in price is not worth the slightly better fit.
Made To Measure Suits
- Made to your body measurements.
- Customization options such as buttons, liners, etc…
- Great fit – better than mass produced off-the-rack suits.
- From $350-1000.
- More precise custom fit suit. Several follow up fit adjustments while the garment is being constructed.
- More customization, get your initials hand sewn in your cuffs.
- From low $2,000s up to $10,000!!!
It really is a night and day difference between ready to wear or off-the-rack garments and custom made ones. Sure, there may be an off the rack suit out there that fits somewhat perfectly, but your odds of finding that needle in a haystack is slim. That’s just one suit too. Try building an entire wardrobe of excellent fitting suits. You will spend so many hours searching the racks of your local stores for the perfect fit.
Fortunately for you, custom made clothing is very affordable now. In fact, it can even be more affordable than most name brands. When you don’t require alterations because your garments are made to your body measurements you end up saving more money in the long run. Not to mention that a custom made suit feels magnificent to wear, especially knowing it was tailored just for you.
Wearing something that fits right will give you the confidence to go out and win the day.
Are you ready to win? Think of Fraternity Suits the next time you need a suit or tuxedo. Our custom made menswear will fit better, be of higher quality and cost less than the traditional off-the-rack suit.
While our name Fraternity Suits implies that we cater to fraternity men, we cater our custom menswear to all men. When you get measured, select all the different customization options that make your suit unique, and wear your custom suit for the first time you are really joining an elite group of men – welcome to our fraternity, Fraternity Suits.