We’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, there’s never been a better time to try and find a suit that’s going to fit you well. Every maker is offering a ton of options in modern silhouettes, so whether you’re lineman-sized, Crossfit-jacked, cyclist thin, or somewhere in between, you’re going to be able to find a suit that’s going to fit. Combine that with the proper knowledge about how to get the suit dialed in with a tailor (for more on that, check this out) and you can feel confident that you’re going to look great. That leads us to the bad news. With so many options, types of fits, and different names it can be tough knowing what you’re dealing with. But, (MAJOR KEY ALERT) first and foremost, it starts with knowledge. Knowing what works for your body type is going to make zeroing in on the right fit and, then, the right suit, a piece of cake.
But before we begin, let’s have a man-to-man chat about honesty, that is, how important it is to be honest with yourself. More specifically, honest with yourself about what body type you have. Look, all of this is meaningless unless you are upfront about what you’re working with and that you know your body type. Whether you’re tall and thin or short and stocky, it’s important to have a realistic idea of your frame so that you can then find the right styles to match that frame. We’ll save you all the Dr. Phil mumbo jumbo, but know this, the guy wearing a properly fitting suit that matches his body type is going to look a whole hell of a lot better than the guy trying to squeeze into something that’s not right for him. The reverse is true as well, feeling weird about wearing stuff that’s “too tight” and overcompensating with a baggy fit is only going to have a disastrous effect on how you look. So, real talk, where you at? Got it? Good. Let’s do this.
The Athletic Man
All that time at the gym or Crossfit box is paying off and you’re looking good. You want to be able to show it off but you also want to make sure you’re not doing yourself a disservice with something that’s too tight or too big. Chances are, you’re broader up top with defined shoulders and a narrower waist, and that desirable v-shape you’ve got can be a tough fit when it comes to finding a suit. Often that standard suit set with a 10 or 8-inch drop between the jacket size and pants size isn’t going to work for you. Ideally, you want to look for suits that are sold as separates, meaning, you can purchase the jacket size separately from the pant size, ensuring the right sizing.
Fit-wise, you want to make sure you’ve got enough room where you need it but not too much that it looks like you’re wearing the wrong size. Depending on your size, a slim cut suit will work (just make sure it’s not too tight) or you can look for suiting that maintains a slim cut but has adjustments like a slightly lower armhole and increased room in the chest to accommodate your frame. Lapel-wise, a medium to wide-width lapel is going to accentuate your v-shape and a nipped-in jacket waist is going to fit you properly without having to tailor excessively. You want to maintain the slim cut proportions with the pants and make sure the taper isn’t too tight; looking top-heavy is never a good thing.
Fit Recommendation: Tailored or Athletic Fit
The Thin Man
No matter how much you eat or workout, you’re always lean. Congrats. But we know it’s not always easy finding the right fit. When you’re thin, you’ve got to find the right fit or you risk drowning in a suit and worse, looking even thinner. Thankfully though, a new breed of slim-cut suits is just the ticket. As always, you want the right balance, slim but not tight. Tight is never a good look, nor is it going to look right for a professional setting, regardless of how thin you may be.
Look for a slim cut (obviously) that features higher armholes and narrow proportions. Many slim guys still buy their suits too large so try going down a suit size by one, you might be surprised. Unless you’re popping out in all the wrong places, going down a size could give you a better-proportioned fit. Slim cut suits often have equally narrow lapels, which work well, but you could also opt for a peak or wider lapel if you want to give your shoulders a bit of heft and broadness. Below the waist, you’ll want the pants trim and with a nice taper, any billowing is only going to accentuate your slimness.
Fit Recommendation: Slim Fit
The Big & Tall Man
Just because you’re a barrel-chested (or bellied) stallion or skyscraper of a man doesn’t mean you can’t look as dapper as the smaller/thinner and fit guys; it’s just a matter of finding a fit that works for you and paying extra attention to the details. And no, just because you’re broader or bigger doesn’t mean your suit should be a size too large, in fact, a suit that is oversized, baggy, and too long is only going to make you look sloppy, not slimmer. It might take some getting used to, but you still want things to fit properly, that is to say, trim but not tight, even on a broader frame or if you've got a belly. The great news is Big & Tall brands can offer you a well-fitting suit with room in all the right areas and a silhouette that's not going to fit you like a trash bag.
Opt for a suit with a proper amount of room in the chest and shoulders to accommodate your frame and make sure the stomach area is fitted but not tight. Extra bagginess around the middle is as bad as a button pulling and holding on for dear life, so find the right balance. Avoid slim or narrow lapels, they’ll look out of proportion with your size and make sure your pants strike the right balance in fit. Don’t overlook the right hem either, an overly long pant hem is only going to make the pants look baggier, and therefore, sloppy. If you're on the tall side, just make sure you've got the right length in your jacket and sleeves. Something too short or long is only going to enhance your height, and not in a good way.
Once you've dialed in the right fit for your body type, you're probably going to need a few more tips on how to figure out if that suit fits you well. Regardless of your size, we've got a few more tips right here on how to tell if your suit fits properly.