3 BASIC ALTERATIONS you must make to every suit jacket
by Clare Sheng
If you are to put on a suit jacket in the morning, would you want it to be your most stylish, well-fitting outfit which makes you feel invigorated and confident; or an out of date, ill-fitting suit that makes you feel drab and uninspired?
Tom Ford famously said, “Dressing well is a form of good manners”, and this is a mantra that all men should bear in mind when getting dressed each morning. Even if you can’t afford a bespoke suit, upgrade the look of your suit instantly by making sure it is clean and well-fitting. If you invested in a good quality suit, it is even more important to get it fitted, to avoid devaluing your precious purchase.
Here are three simple alterations to a suit jacket, that should be performed on every suit jacket, to elevate and maximise your look.
The sleeve length will make or break a jacket. If too long, it will make the jacket look too big, and if too short, like you have outgrown your jacket. The correct length shows the wearer pays attention to their attire.
Professional: The jacket sleeve should end around the wrist bone, with the shirt cuff peaking through around 1/2″.
Fashion: The jacket sleeve is shorter, with up to 1″ of shirt cuffs showing.
The sleeves are usually shortened from the cuffs, and the buttons, vent and the shams (decorative buttonholes) are replaced. Some brands favour the traditional style of surgeons cuffs, where the button holes are cut open. This is when you need an experienced tailor, who will be able to shorten the sleeves from the shoulders, so the details on the cuffs are not disturbed.
Taper the sleeves
The width of the sleeves can also be tailored, and this is the secret to a more polished looked. Taper the sleeves from the elbow down, so the end of the sleeves wrap comfortably around the shirt cuffs, allowing about a finger’s extra width. If you wear French cuffed shirts, then bring the shirt along to the tailor during alterations, to make sure the tailor allows for extra room.
The upper arm can also be tailored if necessary, and should curve comfortably around the arm. The fabric should float on the arm with about 3cm allowance, allowing you to bend your arm comfortably.
Taper the body
The most important alteration you can and should make to a jacket is tapering of the torso. A jacket should not be skin tight, but also should not swim on the person. The best look is when the fabric floats on top of the curves of wearer’s body, while complementing the wearer by providing a structured look that hides imperfections.
The back 3 seams can be tapered to follow the curve of the back, and the vents should sit flat and closed around the bottom without pulling open. The front of the jacket should also sit flat against the upper chest. Some people may find there is some excess fabric around the mid front, this can be slightly reduced by tailoring the two front sides, but not so tight that it cinches the waist like a woman’s jacket.
If a jacket is too tight at the midsections, we can make it bigger be letting out the seams by up to 3cms. If more than 3cm is required, it’s advisable to purchase the next size up instead, and have the shoulders adjusted to fit.
Want to know more?
The Suit Book – Everything You Need to Know About Wearing a Suit