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New guy needs help with Athletic Cut suit styles

nGoldenm

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Hi guys, I came here because I'm looking for some help. I'm a college student who is about to graduate and start going to lost of job interviews. I have a suit that I've had for some time, but I never felt like it really fit me the way it should. It always looked very "boxy" I guess would be the word. I was shopping the weekend for a sport coat (for an unrelated reason), and one of the salesmen in a department store measured me. He said that I was a 43L athletic cut. I believe he said that my chest measured 44, and I wear between a 34-36 size pant depending on the make. I tried on an athletic cut jacket in 43L, and it fit me perfectly. Since I'm in college, I don't really have a lot of money to spend on a suit right now, so I was thinking about going the eBay route or an altered off the rack suit if possible. I don't know what I should be looking for though.
  1. Can a regular off the rack jacket be altered to the athletic cut of the jacket that I tried on? The salesman told me that if you do this that the jacket would "look funny" and that you need to get one that was specially "athletic cut". However, I don't trust salespeople.
  2. What should I look for in a jacket if I'm going to get it altered this way?
  3. How would I know from looking at the measurements if a jacket is athletic cut?
  4. What are the most important measurements of a jacket that need to be correct or cannot be easily altered?
  5. Conversely, what are the most easily altered measurements?
  6. For the pants, what should I look for? For example, is it easier to size the pants down or up, and how far can you go? Same thing for length.
Thanks in advance.
 

AB01

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I have these issues too.
Make sure first that the shoulders on the suit are the right size. The mid-section can be taken in to give more of a shape, leaving the chest roomy. The sleeves can always be shortened, including moving the sleeve buttons up.

The pants will be a new issue for you that you didn't have with sport jackets.

If you are athletic, you will have a big suit jacket that comes with big pants as well (intended for fat people probably). Try on a pair from the next size smaller if this is the case. Where I went they couldn't sell me the smaller pants with the bigger jacket. They had to restitch the bigger pants to be an exact match of the smaller pants. The salesman wanted to squeeze me into the jacket that came with the smaller pants, until I explained I would outgrow it due to heavy lifting - he understood.

I feel your pain.
 

dsmolken

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Originally Posted by nGoldenm
[*]For the pants, what should I look for? For example, is it easier to size the pants down or up, and how far can you go? Same thing for length.
[/list]

I'd like to know that as well; I have a fairly heavy lower body with a 35" waist and 40" hips. Narrow pelvis, big asscheeks. And I'm pretty fat at the moment so this is probably only gonna get more difficult to fit. How much is it possible to take off the waist without reducing the room in the seat? Salespeople tell me it's not a problem, but see above about trusting salespeople.
 

DerekH

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Originally Posted by dsmolken
I'd like to know that as well; I have a fairly heavy lower body with a 35" waist and 40" hips. Narrow pelvis, big asscheeks. And I'm pretty fat at the moment so this is probably only gonna get more difficult to fit. How much is it possible to take off the waist without reducing the room in the seat? Salespeople tell me it's not a problem, but see above about trusting salespeople.

Absolutely
 

DerekH

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Originally Posted by nGoldenm
Hi guys,

I came here because I'm looking for some help. I'm a college student who is about to graduate and start going to lost of job interviews. I have a suit that I've had for some time, but I never felt like it really fit me the way it should. It always looked very "boxy" I guess would be the word. I was shopping the weekend for a sport coat (for an unrelated reason), and one of the salesmen in a department store measured me. He said that I was a 43L athletic cut. I believe he said that my chest measured 44, and I wear between a 34-36 size pant depending on the make. I tried on an athletic cut jacket in 43L, and it fit me perfectly.

Since I'm in college, I don't really have a lot of money to spend on a suit right now, so I was thinking about going the eBay route or an altered off the rack suit if possible. I don't know what I should be looking for though.

  1. Can a regular off the rack jacket be altered to the athletic cut of the jacket that I tried on? The salesman told me that if you do this that the jacket would "look funny" and that you need to get one that was specially "athletic cut". However, I don't trust salespeople.
  2. What should I look for in a jacket if I'm going to get it altered this way?
  3. How would I know from looking at the measurements if a jacket is athletic cut?
  4. What are the most important measurements of a jacket that need to be correct or cannot be easily altered?
  5. Conversely, what are the most easily altered measurements?
  6. For the pants, what should I look for? For example, is it easier to size the pants down or up, and how far can you go? Same thing for length.

Thanks in advance.


There is only so much a jacket can be altered until it looks funny. Presuming that the shoulders and chest fit you will, the waist of the jacket can be taken in a good 2-3 inches to give a tapered look to the jacket.

Nothing in specific you should look for other than the initial fit.

You can't really tell OTR if a suit is 'athletic cut'. The only way would be brand name and if they sell any suits with 7" drop as opposed to 6".

Shoulders, chest and length of jacket.

Sleeves and waist.

Since you are looking for an athletic cut suit, you will probably favor slimmer pants. That means you would probably want to buy the smaller pair of pants and have them let out so that you get a slimmer look through the leg. Most dress pants can usually bet let out ~2" through the waist.


With a budget in mind you may have to go to a store that sells pants and jackets seperately. Such as Mexx, H&M, etc. These stores don't really sell that great of a suit but it will do the trick and you can have it altered by a local tailor.
 

Cary Grant

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How much can you spend? You can get a very functional made-to-order starting around $400. Made to order would allow you to get the proper sized pant, versus what would usually come with a 44 coat. Any men's store that does Choen suits, for example, will have fabric choices starting around $400+ So you're in the same price range as OTR.
 

dsmolken

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Thanks, some very useful information in the replies.

How about recommendations for shoulder padding/roping for someone with reasonably meaty shoulders and prominent upper traps? I'm fixing to order an MTM suit and I don't really know what would look best on me, though I've noticed that SF generally favors little or no padding.
 

Cary Grant

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There's a favoritism here for soft shoulders. Bespoke can give you that; not all MTM can and MTO generally not unless that's a feature of their design. So your budget plays a role here.

But padding is also relevant in the suit cut- for example, some double-breasteds certainly benefit, IMHO, in some shoulder padding.
 

nGoldenm

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Originally Posted by AB01
I have these issues too.
Make sure first that the shoulders on the suit are the right size. The mid-section can be taken in to give more of a shape, leaving the chest roomy. The sleeves can always be shortened, including moving the sleeve buttons up.

The pants will be a new issue for you that you didn't have with sport jackets.

If you are athletic, you will have a big suit jacket that comes with big pants as well (intended for fat people probably). Try on a pair from the next size smaller if this is the case. Where I went they couldn't sell me the smaller pants with the bigger jacket. They had to restitch the bigger pants to be an exact match of the smaller pants. The salesman wanted to squeeze me into the jacket that came with the smaller pants, until I explained I would outgrow it due to heavy lifting - he understood.

I feel your pain.


I think that the main problem with my jackets is that I need to the mid-section taken in. I might try to find a tailor that can try it on my current suit jacket (just a regular off the rack 43L) and see what that looks like. It's a charcoal suit, so it's very versatile. Then I'll have a better idea of what I need to look for in my new suit. I was thinking some type of pinstripe design.

Originally Posted by DerekH
There is only so much a jacket can be altered until it looks funny. Presuming that the shoulders and chest fit you will, the waist of the jacket can be taken in a good 2-3 inches to give a tapered look to the jacket.

Nothing in specific you should look for other than the initial fit.

You can't really tell OTR if a suit is 'athletic cut'. The only way would be brand name and if they sell any suits with 7" drop as opposed to 6".

Shoulders, chest and length of jacket.

Sleeves and waist.

Since you are looking for an athletic cut suit, you will probably favor slimmer pants. That means you would probably want to buy the smaller pair of pants and have them let out so that you get a slimmer look through the leg. Most dress pants can usually bet let out ~2" through the waist.


With a budget in mind you may have to go to a store that sells pants and jackets seperately. Such as Mexx, H&M, etc. These stores don't really sell that great of a suit but it will do the trick and you can have it altered by a local tailor.


Very informative. As for the pants, I work out and I have rather large quads. So I think that getting the bigger pants and having them taken in would be much more comfortable and wouldn't look like I'm wearing skin tight pants.

Originally Posted by Cary Grant
How much can you spend? You can get a very functional made-to-order starting around $400. Made to order would allow you to get the proper sized pant, versus what would usually come with a 44 coat. Any men's store that does Choen suits, for example, will have fabric choices starting around $400+ So you're in the same price range as OTR.

$400 is a little pricey for me. That's why I was thinking about looking for a suit on eBay or something that I can have altered to fit me. I would love to have a top quality suit, but my funds at this time are pretty tight. That will have to wait until later. Gotta have priorities, you know?

Essentially, I have a large chest that tapers down to a smaller waist for someone my size. I have average sized arms and rather large legs. I'm 6'4" tall and weigh in at right around 200 lbs right now.

So, what I've gathered so far is to get a regular jacket that fits me in the shoulders and length and have it altered to fit my waist and sleeve length.

So would pants that are say size 38 be easy to alter down to a 36 or so without looking odd?
 

suited

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My measurements are sort of similar to yours. I have a 44" chest and a 32" waist, but I'm only 5'11. I've basically given up on buying any dress shirts OTR, I have all of my tailor made and once you have the funds to do so, you'll never go back. I do have a few OTR suits, the rest are tailor made. With a small budget, it's going to be tough, but it can be done. If you can only spend 2-300 dollars, it may be very, very difficult. I would save up some more money, or wait and get a nice suit as your graduation gift, assuming you're getting one. I got a really nice MTM suit for my grad gift and it was well worth it.
 

Mr T

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Welcome to styleforum.

Considering your fit requirements, budget and purpose for the suit I recommend you look at Jos A. Banks Business Express suit separates. Although not a great suit compared to what many forum members wear it is perfectly serviceable for an interview suit just out of college. I looked at the JAB website and you can get a coat/pants this way for $259 total. You may want to spend a bit more to have the coat fit tweaked by a tailor.

If you have any funds left put them towards a decent pair of conservative dress shoes.

I love posts like this. They remind me of when I was starting out almost twenty years ago. I scrimped and saved and bought a suit at KB Men's store and wore the hell out of it for years until I could afford better. Good luck to you.
 

nGoldenm

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Well, just an update to my situation. I managed to get a lightly used BB Golden Fleece solid navy suit for $33 on eBay. The measurements are ALMOST perfect, 42L (chest size matches me) with 34 waist 32 inseam pants (might need an extra 0.5-1 inch added). I'll see when it gets here what all I'm going to need done to it. The waist of the jacket most definitely will need to be done. What is a usual amount to pay to have the waist of the jacket taken in a few inches.
 

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