Modest Men: Elements of Fit

By: Madhiha Taseen

Even the highest quality garment will not look right if it does not fit properly. Here are some things to check:

Coat

  • Fits comfortably over garments
  • Length for men – below the knee
  • Sleeve length: extends ½ inch longer than shirt sleeve.

Jacket

  • If single-breasted, the bottom button is usually kept open. If the jacket has 4-buttons, the top button may also be left open.
  • If double-breasted: the buttons are kept closed.
  • Fits smoothly; no diagonals, vertical or horizontal lines.
  • Collar lies flat against the back of the neck and is not too high, loose or low.
  • Shoulder edge is even with the widest part of the arm.
  • Vents lie flat and smooth.
  • Sleeve ends at the wrist bone when the arm is bent, to allow ¼ to ½ inch of shirt sleeve to show.
  • Length for men – the jacket is long enough to cover the buttocks; generally, the bottom of the suit collar to the jacket hem is the same length as from the jacket hem to the floor.
  • Lapel width: Narrow lapels make wide shoulders appear even wider. Wide lapels are in proportion to wide shoulders. Wide lapels make narrow shoulders appear even narrower. Narrow lapels are in proportion to narrow shoulders.

Trousers

  • Have enough room inside the waist band to be able to slip the flat of your hand.
  • Fit comfortably in the crotch; they do not hang below or are so tight that they pull.
  • The waistband on dress trousers sits at a horizontal around the navel. If the man has a fuller waist, he may require suspenders to keep the waistband in place.
  • Length for men – the hem rests on the front of the shoe with a slight break. And is tapered so that the back is ½ inch longer and touches the top of the sole; if the trousers have cuffs, the hem should be even, not tapered.
  • Cuff width: A trouser with no cuffs creates the longest, narrowest illusion. The larger the cuff, the shorter and wider the legs appear.

Shirt 

  • Collar has enough room to be able to fit two fingers; if it is too tight, it pulls and wrinkles; too loose, it looks sloppy.
  • Collar shows ½” = ¾” above jacket collar.
  • Shoulder seams sits at the edge of the shoulder on a classic set-in sleeve.
  • Sleeve cuff shows about ¼”- ½” past jacket sleeve.
  • Sleeve touches the base of the thumb, when the elbow is slightly bent.
  • Closure areas do no gape open.
  • Collar spread: a narrow collar spread and tie knot makes a wide face and neck appear even wider. A wide collar spread and tie knot are in proportion to a wide face and neck. A wide collar spread and tie knot makes a narrow face and neck appear even narrower, A narrower collar spread and tie knot are in proportion to a narrow face and neck.
  • Cuff width: The less a shirt cuff appears below a jacket sleeve, the longer and narrower the illusion. The more a shirt cuff appears below a jacket sleeve, the shorter and wider the area appears.

Tie

  • The tip should touch the top of the belt buckle at its shortest; hangs ¼” below the belt buckle at its longest. The narrower end of the tie knot is a fraction shorter. As ties come in different lengths (52”-58”), bulkier tie knots require a longer tie, simpler tie knots require a shorter tie.
  • The width of the tie knot is in proportion to the collar spread. A half-Windsor (wider tie knot) is worn with a wide-spread collar. A 4-in-hand (narrower tie knot) is worn with a narrow-spread collar.
  • A bow tie is not a broader than the widest part of the neck, and does not extend beyond the collar.
  • Tie width: A narrow tie makes a wide chest appear even wider. A wide tie is in proportion to a wide chest.  A wide tie makes a narrow chest appear even narrow. A narrow tie is in proportion to a narrow chest.

Belt

  • A classic leather belt fits so that the middle hole is the one that is used comfortably.

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