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Taking in the Sides of a Suit Jacket

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have an athletic build with broad shoulders and therefore have a hard time finding suits that fit me. I usually wear a size 32 jacket but have a 31 waist and am 6'0-6'1" tall. When I was a little bit ignorant in the ways of fashion, I bought a suit that fit me well in the shoulders because I thought that was the most important thing.

However, now I have realized that the jacket is too big from the chest/waist area. Is it possible for me to take it to a tailor to bring the sides of the jacket in without making the suit look weird? Is it worth it?

If anyone has recommendations on suit makers or brands that would fit someone of my build, that would be great too. I am a college student, so I would prefer prices toward the lower end but still want a quality suit.

Any ideas/suggestions/comments and recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 16
I think many on this board would say you did the right thing in selecting a jacket that fits well in the shoulders because it's the most challenging element to correct in terms of fit. On a relative basis, at least, taking in the chest and waist are far easier. If you'd purchased something that fit you in the chest and waist, it's likely it would never fit across you shoulders (based on your description of your build) and would be a non-starter.

And I assume you meant a size 42 jacket... not 32?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sorry about that. I wrote that completely wrong. I am a size 38 jacket.
post #4 of 16
A 38 jacket/31 waist = 7" drop. This is close to the norm for RTW unless you've purchased an unusually full cut jacket. The waist alteration should be minimal, but you may want to try some other brands for your next suit.
post #5 of 16
any decent tailor should be able to do it for you. Its the norm for off the rack suits.
post #6 of 16
My measurements are pretty much exactly the same as yours, though I'd wager to say that you probably have more muscle than I do, as I would never claim to have an "athletic" build (I'm just slim/skinny). For the most part, getting the jacket taken in on the sides should not present any problems, as long as the jacket in question is not of the "sack suit" variety. Anything with slight waist suppression off the rack should be fair game for being taken in on the sides without distorting the overall shape of the jacket. I highly recommend taking any suit you buy to a tailor and have him alter it to fit your body. At the very least, the tailor could provide you with an idea of whether the necessary alterations are possible without a massive overhaul of the jacket's construction.

As far as brands go, I have [unfortunately] found that the best fits tend to be for pricier, "trendier" brands. Of the 38's that I've tried on, I think the best fitting suit jackets were RL Black Label, Prada, and Paul Smith, all of which are out of your price range, as they run about $1400-1600 at full retail.

That being said, hit up any outlet stores that you can, and do not be afraid to try different sizes. While in the RL store, I tried on a Polo (blue label) suit, and the 36R fit me almost exactly like the Black Label 38R. Different brands (and different suits within the same brand) fit very differently. If you shop at the right places, great bargains are to be had.

Finally, if you're not going to be wearing the suit too much, you can look at stores like H&M, which will have suits that will fit you very well for anywhere from $175-250. Of course the one big thing you don't get is a high quality garment, i.e. the fabrics are not going to be great (but not terrible), and the construction quality will not be the best either. If you're thinking about dropping $100-200 at Men's Wearhouse or K&G or something along those lines, I'd definitely strongly consider H&M. Some of their darker suits look pretty good and don't feel too bad at all to the touch. Plus, they'll most likely fit you way better off the rack, and you probably don't need to get it tailored.

Just my $0.02.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
hey, ringo thanks a lot for the great post and your help. i also have one more question for you. what do you do about dress shirts. most of mine i buy i tend to "poof" up around the waist area when i tuck them in. any recommendations on brands or suggestions in general?

thanks again.
post #8 of 16
next time when shopping, ask first if the store carries suits in athletic cut.
this term means that for any size shoulder, the sides of the jacket and the trousers are smaller than usual. this would apply to any of their styles.
post #9 of 16
Ringo, I know what you mean. I had the same experience with different brands fitting differently and more expensive suits fitting better. A Prada 36R fit me so perfectly (would've required hardly any alterations to jacket or pants like it was made for me) but $$. Hickey Freeman 38R fits well but 36 is small. I wore a 40R Chaps Ralph Lauren at first and my tailor who's taking it in says it fits just fine in the shoulders so go figure. 36R, 38R, 40R??? With a 29W, the Chaps are a ridiculous 11" drop so I'm sticking with 38R. Try on lots of suits Omar. Only way to know for sure.
post #10 of 16

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Edited by merkur - 7/27/11 at 1:34am
post #11 of 16
sorry for bumping an old thread, but i have a question. when a tailor takes in the sides of jacket, is it the seam that intersects the pockets or the seam that leads to the side vents that get taken in?
post #12 of 16
Try MTM, it would avoid your having to take such decisions.
post #13 of 16
this is for a blazer that i wear casually with jeans. it fits me very well buttoned, but i like wearing it unbuttoned and that's when it looks kinda sloppy from the sides. i think the side vents have something to do with this. that's why i was asking if it's the seams by the vents that get taken in. i'm also thinking about getting the vents closed as i hate the look from the back and the sides when the jacket is unbuttoned.
post #14 of 16
Tailors can take them in from the back seam. Don't close the vents.
post #15 of 16
are you talking about the center back seam? if so, could they just take in the bottom without the top half and wouldn't that look weird? i don't want them to take in the entire back seam because it fits me perfect on top.
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