The Importance of Proper Fit in Menswear
“I can’t wait to get out of this suit and tie!”
How many times have you heard men say this?
Or what about this line?
“I can’t wait to take off this suit and slip on comfortable jeans and a t-shirt.”
Contrary to popular belief, men’s dress clothes should always be comfortable.
There is a popular myth that business attire and dress clothes by nature are not comfortable.
If they are not, it’s not the nature of the clothes it’s the bad fit.
Suffering for beauty’s sake does not do a man any good. If the fit of a garment makes a man uncomfortable he will look it.
Indeed, a man looks his best when his clothes fit so well he barely notices them.
On the other hand, if his suit or dress shirt are too tight, they will be pulling and choking at every turn. If it is too loose, a man looks like he had to borrow some clean clothes from his bigger older brother. He will be fighting the extra fabric all day long.
A man’s clothes send a message to the world about him.
If they fit him well he will always make a good impression.
Most men today wear poorly-fitting clothes, and it is not hard to see why. The menswear sold in stores are cut to fit as many men as possible, and that means big.
At the same time, the fashion-industrial complex creates new so-called styles by bending or breaking the time-honored traditions in menswear.
Designers and commentators debate whether baggy or fitted pants are ‘in’ this season while neither look as good as the timeless middle-ground.
A good deal of men still rely on women to hold their hands through shopping trips. But since the prerogatives of fit are altogether different for women’s clothing, the results are often sorry.
Finally, when you are buying a garment, the retailer haslittle incentive to tailor it properly,since nobody seeks out a mall store because he’s heard they do great alterations.
It falls to each man to take responsibility for the fit of his own clothes. He must not to be swayed by the selection of poor choices or the dubious influence of models, a salesman, and the opposite sex.
The first step in acquiring properly fitting clothes is knowing what proper fit looks like.
In general, clothes should be comfortable, but not loose. Pants should be worn at the natural waist, near the navel. Young people with flat stomachs may choose to wear them lower, as has been the style for a decade or so, but they gain little in doing so.
The man with a belly, on the other hand, looks much better with high-rise trousers draping from his middle than with his stomach spilling over a low-rise waistband.
The trouser cuff’s bottoms should touch your shoes’ uppers but must not touch the ground. The most standard length brushes the top edge of the sole at the back, for a slight break in the front.
Shorter pant legs, just brushing the tops of the shoes, can look better on the shorter man, and also him to show off his socks and shoes.
Additionally, men under 5’9″ do better without cuffs on their trousers, but should they want them they should be in proportion to their stature, 1¼”-1½”, while men over six feet take cuffs 1¾”-2″.
If a jacket has any hope of looking good it must fit correctly in the chest and shoulders.
When you stand with your jacket buttoned and arms hanging loosely at your sides, the jacket’s lapels should lie flat against the front panels, the buttons should hang close to or rest lightly on your stomach, and your biceps should just barely break the drape of sleeve from shoulder.
Of the many other factors involved in fitting a jacket, the chest and shoulders are the most important and the hardest to alter.
Your shirt should always be tighter than your jacket, or you will you end up with clumps of fabric that have no place to go.
The cuffs should protrude ¼”-½” from the jacket’s sleeves when you stand with arms hanging; the collar should cover ½”-1″ of your neck above the jacket collar.
There is of course much more to say about the fit of these and other garments. These points are intended merely to illustrate the basic idea of fit.
Buying clothes that fit means buying clothes that fit your body, as it is, and not measuring them to an idealized vision you have of yourself.
Many men, when getting measured for a suit, will stick out their chests and stretch their spines, striving toward some idealized masculine figure. Unless this is how you stand normally this is not how you should be measured. You can round your height up an inch on your driver’s license but you only hurt yourself by embellishing for your tailor.
Similarly, in certain cultures where weight loss is an obsession, some men succumb to the folly of ‘buying skinny.’ That is, they buy clothes one size too small, anticipating a perfect fit when they lose weight. This is a dangerous proposition for your bank account and your self esteem.
Almost any shirt, sweater, or jacket that fits you well will still fit well if you gain or lose ten pounds.
Men’s trousers are the most sensitive, but even these will withstand small fluctuations in weight.
When your waistline does shrink or grow by a half inch or more, they can easily be altered, often several inches in either direction.
Unless you are still going through puberty, you have nothing to gain by selecting clothes which do not fit your body as it is today.
It is a magnificent feeling to put on clothes that have been tailored to fit you perfectly.
You feel light and comfortable. Your clothes seem to float around your body. They are not tight or heavy anywhere. Clearly, getting such clothes retail is nearly impossible, or more men would do it.
While there may be a suit that fits you perfectly somewhere, your odds of finding it are slim.
Even to build a small wardrobe of decently fitting garments, a man must spend many hours searching through racks and trying things on.
Fortunately, though, custom made tailored clothing is as affordable as designer brands. Once you know your dimensions and have a trusted source, it is simple to get custom fitted clothes that you feel and look great in.
Want an easy info graphic guide that shows you how to dress for your body type?
<<< Or click on the image.