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Proper Suit Jacket Length

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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 appropriate 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:

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 Black Lapel suit with the ideal jacket length.  Also, be sure to check out our jacket length measurement video tutorial.

properjacketlength

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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19 thoughts on “Proper Suit Jacket Length”

  1. 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. 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. 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!

  2. 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 😉

  3. 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. 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.

  4. ^^^ 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. 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.

  5. 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. 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).

  6. 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. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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,

    Jaime

    1. 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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