With the vast number of styles of suit jackets now available, it's pretty key to have a basic understanding of which styles flatter your natural proportions. Too large and you will look sloppy, too small and you'll see strained material and restricted movement. Everybody has different proportions, following these general rules will help you find a jacket that emphasises your best features.
As James in the video states, the shoulders should sit flat, while the jacket collar should sit snug against the shirt collar and follow the curve of your neck. Finding a comfortable fit around the collar keeps both the shirt and jacket sitting snuggly around your shoulders and the back of the neck. From a tailor’s perspective, changing the fit of the collar is considerably more difficult than other alterations; therefore if you are looking to buy an off the peg jacket we recommend that you pay particular attention to how the jacket sits on the shoulders and around the collar as possible.
In terms of the shape of the jacket, it's important that the arm hole is cut is high as possible as this gives the jacket it's shape. Again if you're looking to purchase an off the peg jacket, ensure that the sleeve is cut nice and high under the arm. Then but taking the waist in a little you will add more shape to the jacket and give the classic tailored look.
Bunched up shoulders, caused by the sleeves being sewn at the wrong angle will cause wrinkles, making the overall fit look sluggish. Watch out for shoulder divots and shoulder rumpling, these are tell-tale signs of an ill-fitting suit and make you look sloppy. Shoulder divots appear when the suit is too large at the shoulders, causing the padding to jut out from the body and the suit material to fall past it. This is where the real benefit of a tailored suit is apparent, as the tailor will ensure the cut and angles fit your own shape so that the material always sits nice and flat across your shoulders.
The sleeves of a suit jacket should leave the shirt sleeve is slightly exposed. One or two centimetres is the average amount, less is more conservative, more a bit more flamboyant, so the colour and amount of collar you show is often a reflection on your personal style.
How long should a suit jacket be? The longer the length of a jacket the more opportunity there is to emphasise the shape between the shoulders, waist and hips, but it should only just cover the seat.
A well tailored jacket will create a refined silhouette, with depth in the lapels and always sit flat across the body.
For more insights into tailoring, see our full tailoring video series in association with Savile Row tailors the Cad & The Dandy.