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Suit Jacket Length

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
How really should suit jacket length be established? In dressing the man, Flusser mentions two heuristics: "˜the extended thumb' and "˜cut the overall length in two'. He then goes on to say that a top tailor will use neither and trust his eye. In Clothes and the Man, he says that the jacket should be just long enough to fully cover the buttocks but otherwise minimize length to maximize leg line, except for short or tall men for whom the jacket should be longer. I've read here, at least Manton has stated, that the jacket should be on the shorter side (relative to "˜cut in half', I think?) for shorter men to lengthen the leg line, which makes sense to me. On the other hand, all of the tailors I have used recommend jackets that are longer than necessary to just cover my behind. (I am on the shorter side, 5'10"). What are the real rules?
post #2 of 6
I am 5'10" also. I have all of my jackets cut so they just cover my backside. Substantially all of my suits and odd jackets are side vented. I find that this jacket length along with side vents of 10" give the maximum length to my legs anf give me a slightly taller and slimmer appearance, both of which are important to me.
post #3 of 6
It also depends on your figure. If you are just shorter than the norm it's not critical. On the other hand, if your legs are missing a few inches like me, a normal length jacket looks plain silly. This is coincidentally my main problem with clothes. B
post #4 of 6
Quote:
How really should suit jacket length be established?  In dressing the man, Flusser mentions two heuristics: "˜the extended thumb' and "˜cut the overall length in two'.  He then goes on to say that a top tailor will use neither and trust his eye.  In Clothes and the Man, he says that the jacket should be just long enough to fully cover the buttocks but otherwise minimize length to maximize leg line, except for short or tall men for whom the jacket should be longer.  I've read here, at least Manton has stated, that the jacket should be on the shorter side (relative to "˜cut in half', I think?) for shorter men to lengthen the leg line, which makes sense to me.  On the other hand, all of the tailors I have used recommend jackets that are longer than necessary to just cover my behind. (I am on the shorter side, 5'10").  What are the real rules?
Jacket must cover your seat. I am 5'11" as well.  Perfect jacket length for me is 31 inches from the bottom of a jacket collar.  This will cover my rear end and does not leave excessive cloth. This is why I like Brioni RTW suits the best because they have perfect length for me. Napolitian suits are much longer.
post #5 of 6
I agree that it should cover your butt. My upper body is proportionally longer than my legs, so if I use the "thumb rule" the jacket will be too short. On the other hand, someone with long arms will end up with a jacket that's too long.
post #6 of 6
I confess that I do not understand and never have understood what Flusser means by applying the term "cutting in half" to the length of a suit coat.  Suits are after all made of the same cloth, and the eye tends not to focus on where coat ends and trousers begin.  I agree that "cutting in half" is an issue with respect to odd jackets, which is why, all other things being equal, shorter men look better in suits.  But this is true no matter what the length of the coat. As to "the rules": I believe that the only inviolable rule here is that the coat must cover your behind.  Anything less looks feminine. The other rule is not so much a rule but a principle: everything in proportion.  The problem is: what is the right proportion?  It would be nice if a simple formula like "under the collar to the floor divided by two" worked for every guy.  But it doesn't.   Some have longer torsos, others shorter.  Also: it is true that in general the goal of getting coat length right is to lengthen the leg line.  But that should not be the goal for someone 6'6" who is 3/5 leg and 2/5 torso.  Etc.  In general, the shorter you are, the longer you want the leg line to be.  Hence a ratio of coat-to-trouser that favors the legs is good.  The taller you are, the more you want the ratio to be even.  I don't think anyone benefits from a coat that is more than half their collar-to-floor measurement. Therefore, the only reliable guide is the eye.  Determine your needs from your height and build, and then try on a ton of coats until you find the length you like.  Then measure it from under the collar along the center backseam.  That's your ideal coat length.  Or let a tailor make you one, and ask him to pin at a few different lengths during the basted stage.  And the length you like best is henceforth your coat length.
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