When it comes to suiting, think of it as the frame of a door. You, of course, are the door in this instance. But the suit should do its part in framing the shape of your body and your body alone, as a door frame does to its door. While many people purchase suits off the rack, they will almost never fit in this way, which is why suit alterations are so crucial for looking at one’s best.
A well-fitting suit says a lot about the person wearing it. On-lookers get a peek into the wearer’s personality, likes and dislikes, and attention to detail. This could work either in favor of or against the wearer and when it comes to fit, that’s typically the element that crafts first impressions.
While each individual body may require different alterations, here are some of the most common to ask for when getting your suit tailored:
One of the more visually obvious changes needed is to the length of your suit pants. When buying off the rack, waist and length sizes may already be available, which comes in handy. However, in many other cases, pants are sold with a “raw hem,” or a pant that is to be shortened after purchase based on the wearer’s specific length. Traditionally, a slight break at the bottom of the leg has been seen as the standard, with the hemline reaching over the top of the shoe. In recent years, with more slim-fit garments on the rise, little to no break has been the desired look, with the hemline sitting at or slightly above the top of the shoe.
The Sleeve Length
Sleeves do have a traditional tailoring standard to help contrast the jacket from the shirt. Suit jacket sleeve alterations should be first measured with your arms by your side and should just reach the wrist bone. The shirt underneath should extend approximately one-half inch below to ensure color contrast and levelness. Because no one is perfectly symmetrical, it’s best to measure each sleeve to appropriate for each arm.
Chest and Stomach
After both the pants and sleeve, the chest is the next piece of the puzzle a good tailor will look to for possible alterations. Easy indicators of needing the chest and stomach areas tailored include buckling of the lapels and collar or excess fabric around the torso. Your tailor should determine the best fit for your body type and distribute that space evenly on both the left and right sides.