With a huge range of different clothes, tons of different styles, and lots of different fits, these days it’s tough to know if your fit, well, fits. But, there are a few simple tips to know to make sure what you’re trying on and buying is fitting you properly. Once you’re shopping with the right info and you can confidently try something on and gauge how it fits, you’ll not only be shopping smarter but more efficiently as well.
Before we begin, let's talk about Rule #1. First and foremost, know your body type. Whether you’re tall and thin or short and stocky, it’s important to have a realistic idea of the right styles to match your frame. Regardless of size, you always want things trim but not tight. Whether you’re large or small, things that are baggy, too long, or bunched up are only going to look terrible. You want to be able to move comfortably and naturally but you don’t need to do squats or dunk a basketball here, so keep in mind the balance.
Suits Jackets or Blazers
With a suit or blazer, you always want to focus on shoulder fit first and foremost. No matter what a tailor says, the fit in the shoulders has to be correct and no amount of tailoring wizardry can compensate. So what’s that look like? Good question. It all comes down to the shoulder pad. If it’s overhanging the point where your arm meets your shoulder, it’s too big. If the rounded part of your shoulder is bulging way past the end of the shoulder pad of the jacket, it’s likely you need a bigger size. Ultimately, the shoulder fit is tied to the fit across the upper back as you don't want too much stretching across the upper back. But, if you've got the correct shoulder fit, the back should be pretty close.
At the chest/lapel area, you don’t want the lapels popping or bowing out, that’s a sign the jacket is too small. Around the waist, you want a slight bit of tension on the top button and a close fit, but you don’t want so much pull on that the poor button that it's hanging on for dear life. Alternatively, too much room around the chest and stomach is going to look baggy and sloppy. Finally, the rear vents in the back of your jacket should not flare away from the body, and the jacket or blazer should be long enough to cover your backside.
For more, check out our suit fit guide right here.
Chances are, your collared shirt is either way too tight or ridiculously loose. One of the major signs that your shirt is too snug is when you turn your head and the collar turns with it. The standard rule of thumb is you should be able to fit between one and two fingers between your neck and the collar of your buttoned shirt comfortably. Any less and you're probably walking around looking like an encased sausage. If you feel too much restriction in your shirt, it’s time to go up a size. The chest and body of the shirt should fit closely, especially if you're wearing a suit jacket or blazer over it, but not so tight that you're testing the strength of that button stitching.
The cuffs of your shirt should hit right where your hand meets your wrist - leaving more than enough room for your timepiece to get some much-needed attention. When your arms are bent, your cuff should move no further than one inch up your wrist, you don’t want to look like a teenager going through a growth spurt here.
If you want to make sure you look clean, crisp, and well put together in your favorite tees, make sure they’re the right length. You should be able to twist, bend, and make natural movements without exposing your stomach or back (or, god forbid, your ass crack). You want to plan for some shrinkage over time (sorry Costanza!) but ultimately you want the shirt hem to hit at about your hip. To keep your t-shirts in pristine shape, lay them flat to dry so they don’t shrink in the dryer.
While the amount of taper you have in your pants is a personal thing, you never want something that’s constricting your legs. Finding that line between trim and tight can take some experimentation, but ultimately you want things to fit close to the leg with comfort and with a gradual taper down towards the ankle. In terms of pant break, it’s up to your own personal preference on which style you prefer, but a 1/4 to 1/2 break will definitely ensure you look polished. If your pants legs are too long and they reach down to the top of the heel and are pooling around the ankles, it’s time to visit your tailor. With denim and chinos, you can opt for a bit shorter hem or cuff them up to your desired length.
At the waist, you want to strike the line between a proper, comfortable fit and not having any excess fabric bunching up at the waist when you tighten up your belt. On the other side of the coin, if your button is pulling hard and you’re losing feeling in your lower extremities, it’s time to face the music and go up a size. You don't want to risk ruining your social life or not being able to have kids.
When people think of impeccable style, you want them to think of you. Your wardrobe should fit to flatter your body. This may mean spending the extra time and money getting things properly tailored, but it’s definitely worth every penny. When your ensembles fit perfectly, you'll look good and feel even better.