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Three Basic Alterations Every Suit Jacket Needs

Three Alterations Your Jacket Needs

When you put on a suit jacket in the morning, do you want a stylish, well-fitting outfit that makes you feel invigorated, or an out of date, ill-fitting suit that makes you feel drab and uninspired?

As Tom Ford famously said, “Dressing well is a form of good manners”, bringing about a mantra that all men should bear in mind when getting dressed each morning.

Even if you can’t afford a bespoke suit, you can instantly upgrade the look of your suit by making sure it is clean and well-fitting. If you’ve invested in a good quality suit, it is even more important to get it fitted, to avoid devaluing your investment. Here are three simple alterations that should be performed on every suit jacket to elevate and maximise your look.

Sleeve Length

The sleeve length will make or break the look of a jacket. Too long and it will give the jacket an oversized look. Too short, and you’ll look as though like you’ve outgrown it. An appropriate sleeve length shows that the wearer pays attention to their attire.

For Professionals: The jacket sleeve should end around the wrist bone, with the shirt cuff peeking through around 1/2″ (1.3cm).
For Style: The jacket sleeve is shorter, with up to 1″ (2.5cm) of the shirt cuff showing.

Sleeves are usually shortened from the cuffs, with the buttons, vent and the shams (decorative buttonholes) are replaced. Some brands favour the traditional surgeon’s style cuff, where the buttonholes are functioning. To alter this you will need an experienced tailor who can shorten the sleeves from the shoulders, so the details on the cuffs are not disturbed.

Sleeve Taper

Another secret to a better-looking jacket is in the width of the sleeves. It is a fairly easy process to taper this part of the jacket and can be altered to the right proportions for your body. 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 your fitting session, to ensure that the tailor allows for extra room required.

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 a 3cm allowance, allowing you to bend your arm comfortably.

Taper the body

Shaping the torse is perhaps the most important alteration you can and should make to a jacket. The body of the garment should not be skin tight, but it should also not swim on the person. The best look is when the fabric floats on top of the wearer’s natural curves while providing a structured look that hides imperfections.

The back three seams of the jacket can be tapered to follow the curve of the spine. 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.

Any excess fabric around the mid-front can be slightly reduced by taking in the two front seams, BUT not so tight that it cinches the waist like a female jacket.

If a jacket is too tight at the midsections, we can let out the seams by up to 3cms. If more than 3cm is required, it’s advisable to purchase the next size up, and have the shoulders adjusted to fit instead.

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