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Self measurement for first suit

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi there,

 

First of all sorry if this isn't the right place to post this - I've read a few threads on here while searching google and that's why I've signed up.

 

I'm a 20 year old trying to buy a simple smart suit for the first time, and ideally want to get something inexpensive with low hassle, hence why I'm trying to measure myself at home so I know roughly want I want when I go to a store (most tailored places round here seem to be out of my price range at first glance).

 

From measuring myself today, it seems my chest is 40" (rounding up - more like 39.5) at the widest point under arms. For off the shelf suits the chest seems to be all I need - I've been reading that in most stores the trouser waist size is decided by the jacket width with the 6-inch drop - this would dictate that I wear 34" suit trousers. I've been shopping and tried various stores' suit trousers and found that in all cases 34" is too tight (when they can fasten at all - this seems to vary by style) since unlike the 34" jeans I usually wear, they tend to sit directly under the belly button rather than the hips. After coming back, I measured my waist around the belly button (where my 'belly' is at its widest) and get 37" rounding to the nearest inch. Which is weird in itself because I found some 36" trousers which were okay around the waist.

 

This doesn't really inspire confidence as I assumed that suits off the rack would generally fit in most cases unless your body is very atypical. Are there alternative 'drops' which allow for this? Or is my assessment of 'too tight' wrong - since I'm not used to wearing suit trousers, how tight should they be around the stomach?

 

I'll probably have more questions when I think of them, thanks for reading this anyway. General advice also appreciated.

post #2 of 9
Even I don't measure myself for suits.
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by newb14 View Post

 

This doesn't really inspire confidence as I assumed that suits off the rack would generally fit in most cases unless your body is very atypical. 

 

I think that your assumption isn't even close to being right. Maybe this is really to be expected these days. "Vanity sizing" has totally disconnected women's sizes from the actual size of their clothing. Maybe it's inevitable that the same thing happens to men's clothing. 

 

I have a few suits (where a few = 21), and I never fail to be surprised by how much difference there is between manufacturers every time I go to buy another one. I've found many cases where a 38R fits me perfectly. In other cases, a 40R does. In even others, a 38S does. So the bottom line seems to be that unless you're having one custom-made, you really need to try them on to see how they fit you. And even though I usually wear a 32-inch waist, even what that means can vary quite a bit from manufacturer to manufactuer. Bottom line: try everything on before you buy it.

post #4 of 9

Found this pic, should help.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your responses guys. 

 

calcoast: Thanks for that pic: it looks useful regarding the jacket and trouser length - unfortunately it doesn't seem to answer the one issue I had, namely the tightness of the trouser waist. How tight is too tight?

 

lwmarti: I think that's good advice. I always make sure to try on everything before I buy and that's partly why I was doing my research today. Unfortunately as I mentioned, across the board I had real issue with 34" trousers which seems to be the required waist for a 40" jacket. I think your comment about vanity sizing must be the reason why I could fit into 36" waists even with a real waist of 37"-38" on the tape measure. In terms of the jacket I could imagine most likely opting for a 38" in some cases - of course that would make my problem worse as I would have to fit into 32" trousers which is really not going to happen.

 

In an ideal world I would definitely try to get something much more personal in terms of sizing but I'm just surprised that the 6-inch drop seems so standardized - unless I am either not right regarding the expected tightness of the waist or wearing these trousers wrong or something.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Sorry to double post - I want to have another look at suit trousers soon and I wanted to check specifically: what kind of fit do suit trousers normally take? Are you supposed to wear them at the waist, or lower down? How tightly are they supposed to fit around the belly? I think this must be my misunderstanding since I've seen a bunch of people posting who talk about 7+ inch drops which doesn't make any sense to me unless I'm being way too picky about the fit of the trousers.

 

I've seen some places do offer to mix and match jackets and trousers but I don't want to exclude the other options I saw because I'm wearing my trousers wrong or something.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Reeves View Post

Even I don't measure myself for suits.



That is your advice from a master tailor, get up and go and visit some shops, your approach is entirely wrong.
post #8 of 9
most suit pants have outlets fabric int he back that can be let out.
if the pants have 1.5" folded back inside. then you can add 2" to the waist.

any tailor can do this
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by newb14 View Post
 

Sorry to double post - I want to have another look at suit trousers soon and I wanted to check specifically: what kind of fit do suit trousers normally take? Are you supposed to wear them at the waist, or lower down? How tightly are they supposed to fit around the belly? I think this must be my misunderstanding since I've seen a bunch of people posting who talk about 7+ inch drops which doesn't make any sense to me unless I'm being way too picky about the fit of the trousers.

 

I've seen some places do offer to mix and match jackets and trousers but I don't want to exclude the other options I saw because I'm wearing my trousers wrong or something.

 

Where the trousers come up to on your body depends on their "rise", or basically the distance from the waistband to the crotch. Traditionally cut suit trousers should come up to your navel. However, many suit trousers nowadays are cut with a lower rise and often end up sitting below the navel. That, plus the fact that a pair of trousers marked size 36 often actually measures 37 or even 38 inches in the waist, means that you're better off trying on the trousers whenever possible. Don't be afraid to have them altered if they're tight in the waist and/or seat (as long as you're not too far off)--it's typical to need to have trousers altered to fit correctly. It's pretty routine to let out trousers in the waist and/or seat by 1-2 inches. 

 

Trousers shouldn't feel tight. You should be able to put a couple of fingers into the waistband without much effort. 

 

Another option is to buy suit separates, where you pick out different sizes for the jacket and trousers. It's not offered for all suits, unfortunately. 

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