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Suit Jacket Length – How Long Should a Suit Jacket Be?

man wearing a gray suit buttoning his jacket with text reading 'suit jacket length. how long should a suit jacket be?'

The Easy Way To Measure Suit Jacket Length

Q: Dear Black Lapel, how long should my suit jacket be? I heard of the “cupped fingers” method (you should be able to “cup” your fingers over the end of the jacket when your arms are hanging from your sides), but I also heard this can be inaccurate. What’s the correct method? – Tim M.

A: For the most part, if you use the “cupped fingers” method to determine the appropriate suit jacket length you’ll be okay. However, this method may not only be vague to some, it also obviously depends on arm length of an individual; since arm length can vary even amongst gentleman of the same height, this can sometimes lead to jackets that are slightly longer or shorter. Technically, the jacket length should be approximately half the height of the distance between the point that is the base of your neck down to the ground. Here is what we mean:

man standing straight wearing a blue suit with three lines that point to his neck, hands, and feet

Pictured here: Baltic Blue Freco Suit by Black Lapel

Since the majority of us do have arm lengths that are proportional to our height, if you measure from the point at which your shoulder meets your neck down to the point between your Basilar joint and your first thumb knuckle (proceeding image), your jacket will come back at the appropriate length.

Below is an image of a stunning Black Lapel suit with the ideal jacket length.

close up of a man wearing navy suit near his hands, and the next panel showing the same photo but zoomed out with his hand by his side, labelled "just right"

Pictured here: Navy Blue Suit by Black Lapel

If you have any specific questions or comments about this topic or any others, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at concierge@blacklapel.com!

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24 thoughts on “Suit Jacket Length – How Long Should a Suit Jacket Be?”

  1. Kanika Sharma says:

    Hey..!! Yes i ‘m agree. This is a right way to wear.

  2. Josh says:

    Length of jacket: for me it cuts across my thumb knuckle. If it’s at the thumb tip it’s too long. Base joint of thumb looks like a woman’s jacket or something peddled by GQ for a while before they suddenly change course and favor an ultra long jacket. I have spent $100 to shorten a jacket by an inch and a half to get the sweet spot.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nailing this part of the fit is pretty important, you clearly understand! Hopefully, you can avoid spending that much cash to secure the fit in the future, have you tried going custom? 😉

  3. kevin newman says:

    why cant i find a suit or jacket with the body longer than the normal length of down to the finger tips .if there is a suit or jacket like this what is the style called please .hope to hear from you regards kevin

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’ve already found suits and jackets cut exactly the way you want them. This very website is chock full of custom suits and jackets that are all made to your measurements.

      But the bigger question here is why would you want a jacket cut with an extra long body? Unless you’re going for the Steve Harvey circa 1999 look, we do not recommend making a jacket extra long.

      By the way, Steve has stepped his style game up significantly since the old Kings of Comedy days (Exhibit A). He credits his wife for helping him upgrade his look. And since that’s her in the photo with him in Exhibit A, we’d trust any advice she’s giving on looking good.

  4. Shahid says:

    What is W7 and SE fabric/ material as shown on the inside pocket label of my Brioni suit and what is 100% Cupro in the same suit.I am a little worried as I paid a lot for it and don’t want ending up with an ordinary sort of fabric/material

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hi, Shahid. We sell Black Lapel suits, so we can’t really address your concerns about a Brioni suit. Check out our threads and if you have any questions about them, let us know.

    2. Marc Rib says:

      Figured I’d answer Shahids questions even though it’s off topic of the thread. The meaning of W7 is, ‘W’ is wool and ‘7’ is the level of how fine the wool is. SE is silk, so your jacket is a wool silk blend. I was once told that W3 is super 150s which is Brionis standard fabric so I would guess that W7 might be Super 16os or 170s. The lining is Cupro which is a type of rayon made by dissolving cotton cellulose with cuprammonium salts and spinning the resulting solution into filaments. This is the material you would find the lining made of in many of the highest end suits. You’re not getting regular fabric by any stretch of the imagination as Brionis fabrics are top stuff. Enjoy!

  5. Gabriel says:

    I have read a few online style guides, including GQ and Esquire, odd enough, each of them have different views on the proper length of suit jacket. GQ overtly promotes shorter suit, while Esquire prefers suit should be long enough to be “cupped”. Conservative stylist on styleforum.com, on the other hand, prefer classical lenght suit. I am totally confused. I own a suit that covers my buttocks, but in front, it covers my privy completely. I wonder is this suitable because most models I’ve looked online have their front part dangling above their privy. I guess maybe they are models, so they have longer torso, while I am shortly built, about 170cm, that’s why the suit looks longer in front.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      There are definitely some differing opinions out there, Gabriel. The best part is, they’re all correct. The “rules” governing suit jacket length are really rules of thumb and don’t need to be adhered to strictly.

      Everybody is different because every body is different. What works on models in magazines may not work for you. If your jacket covers your butt and you’re happy with the way it looks, don’t fret over it. And, of course, be sure to order your next suit from us so you can specify exactly what length jacket you’d like 😉

  6. David says:

    what is the color of the suit pictured above?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That is the Charcoal Herringbone suit, David. As the name implies, it’s charcoal, but there is a small herringbone pattern that adds just a touch of vertical lines to the suit and lengthens the wearer. For that reason, it’s a great choice for a shorter gent, but it looks great on tall guys too.

    2. John says:

      Maybe the image shown has been changed (2014>2016) or your monitor’s colour balance needed adjustment 🙂 , but the pictured suit looks to me like their ‘Spanish blue’ herringbone suit. [https://blacklapel.com/shop/suits/spanish-blue-herringbone-custom-suit/]

      1. Black Lapel says:

        You’re right about that, John. A lot’s changed since 2014! This is indeed the Spanish Blue Herringbone Suit now.

  7. Rich says:

    ^^^ the suit above is really close to being “over- tailored”. Too close to the margins for comfort.

    Those slacks have zero break. That guy is just-a-little to close to creasing-from-sitting then winding up with high waters for comfort.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’re talking about the jackets here, but since you mention it, yes, the pants are on the short side. That’s the beauty of a custom suit, you can get your pants as long or short as you’d like.

  8. Rich says:

    Jaime: you can have your tailor taper your shirts and I promise that they’ll never roll or bunch up again.

    My guy charges 10 bucks a shirt and my guy is one of the best tailors in the the world (Ercole). Shirt tapering is such a sweet tailoring trick.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Or, and we’re just spitballing here, Jaime could get a shirt that is made to his measurements and fits him from the custom clothier of your choice (ah-Black-Lapel-em).

  9. Arthur Diaz says:

    One question. My suite fits perfectly except when i extend my arms. It feels like its going to rip. Can this be altered? The length is great except for this detail.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It depends on what you mean by “extend my arms” Arthur. If you mean, that when you reach for a door handle you’re afraid you’re going to bust through the fabric like The Incredible Hulk, that’s a problem. You’ll need to see a tailor for specifics, but chances are there’s some fabric there to alter your jacket.

      If, on the other hand, you mean that when you extend to block a three-pointer in your suit with your jacket buttoned you’re feeling a little stretching, the problem may not be the suit…the problem may be that you’re playing pickup ball in a suit. Your best bet is to get thee to a tailor chop chop!

  10. Roger says:

    He’s likely describing the roll under the collar. The cause is one of two main things: square shoulders (where rtw shirts are all made for regular sloping shoulders); a broad upper back or prominent scapula stretching the shirt over the shoulder blades. Other minor anatomical peculiarities often contribute.

    That’s the cause. The solution is either to look for shirts with the least roll and patronise that cut/shape or to have them made.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’re probably right Roger. Thanks for chiming in!

  11. Jaime says:

    I have a question….why is it that my shirts on the back top has a fold? and what can i do to prevent that from happening?

    Thank you,


    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Jaime – Can you send us a photo of what you mean to concierge@blacklapel.com? We’ll have our in-house stylist take a look and help you figure it out!

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