Jackets, just so: guide to the perfect fit

No matter how well-made a jacket is, in the end, it’s the fit that determines how good it really looks. And that’s just where many men go wrong. If you watch the men passing by in a busy pedestrian zone for five minutes, you’ll quickly notice that not many of them are wearing a really well-fitting jacket.

A common problem is that many men buy a jacket that is actually too big for them. And even if the size is right, it’s the small details, like the right sleeve length, that are needed to perfect the look. Sadly, it’s a tiny minority of men who don’t require some alteration to their jacket. In this article, we show you what you should definitely pay attention to in terms of fit and what can easily be adjusted afterwards.

The first few points are especially important because they concern changes that can’t be made, or only be carried out at a high cost afterwards.

The collar

With a well-fitting jacket, the jacket collar sits right on the shirt collar and does not pull away from the neck, even while you are moving.

The lapel

The lapel should not protrude from the body, nor form any kinks.

The shoulder

The man’s shoulder fills the jacket without creating any tension in the sleeve fabric. The correct fit at the shoulder can be ascertained from the leaning test: when leaning against a wall, the shoulder of the suit should touch the wall in line with the man’s shoulder.

The number of buttons

The number of buttons required depends on height and body size. As a rule of thumb, the taller you are, the more buttons your jacket should have. Naturally, fashion trends also play an important role here. At the moment, two-button jackets are popular. Regardless of the number of buttons, however, what counts is that the lowest button is not fastened. Naturally, this doesn’t apply to the one-button jacket.

The optimal length of the jacket

The optimal length is determined by measuring the distance from the middle of the neck to the ground and dividing it by two. If your jacket is too short or too long, you may want to change to a longer or a wider size. It goes without saying that fashion trends also have an influence here. While over the past few years, jackets have been getting shorter and shorter, longer jackets are seeing a comeback in Italy now.

The following elements can be altered more easily.

The waist

This should neither be too wide nor too tight. And yet, the perfect size is often a matter of personal preference. As a rule of thumb, no more than a clenched fist should fit between your jacket and your stomach. Slim-fit suits can be significantly tighter though – what matters is that there’s no tension on the button. When it comes to width, the tailor can of course adjust things. Taking it in, even by a few centimetres, is usually no problem. However, letting it out is more of a problem.

The sleeve

The length of the jacket sleeve is perfect when it finishes at your wrist. A well-fitting shirt can then protrude about 2cm beyond the jacket sleeve. But so often, the jacket sleeve is worn too long. This isn’t usually a problem that can’t be remedied by the tailor. However, sleeves can only be lengthened up to a point, because frequently, little extra fabric is provided.


As you can see, the fit of a jacket is influenced by many factors. Usually, a ready-made jacket will not give you a perfect fit and will need to be altered, which is why you should budget an extra €50 – 100. But you can be sure that the alterations will be worth the extra expense – a well-fitting jacket will be a long-lasting companion.