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On Jacket Length

ZzzRain

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It's partly a matter of style. Some tailors like to cut coats with a slightly longer front balance, such that the front of the jacket hangs a little lower than the back when you view the jacket from the side. Other tailors like the back to be even with the front. But when the back is longer than the front, things start to look off. It can also look like the coat is riding up on you at the front, maybe suggesting that you have a bit of a gut.

In ready-to-wear, you'll often find that the front balance is longer than the back to account for a gut. If you have a bit of a paunch, then the coat needs a bit more cloth to cover your stomach. This "lifts" the front balance, so that if you have a lower front balance to begin with, it ends up being even on a paunchy stomach.

Mark at The Armoury explains this concept at the end of this video.

Learning a lot from this shared video, especially on the part of demonstrating the proportion. Mark mentioned that sport jacket could be shorter because they visually look longer and I also saw lots of examples from Isaia and other trendy brands tend to have shorter sport jacket. Just wonder whether sport jacket should follow the 'cover the butt' rule?
 

dieworkwear

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Learning a lot from this shared video, especially on the part of demonstrating the proportion. Mark mentioned that sport jacket could be shorter because they visually look longer and I also saw lots of examples from Isaia and other trendy brands tend to have shorter sport jacket. Just wonder whether sport jacket should follow the 'cover the butt' rule?
If we're talking about a classic tailored aesthetic, then I think jackets should always cover your butt. There are some casual takes on the classic tailored jacket, which don't have to follow this rule, but they're mostly outside of the scope of what's discussed on this side of the board.

That said, I find that "cover your butt" is a somewhat imprecise concept. More important, I think, is to just make sure the jacket looks right. I think sport coats can be a little shorter than suit jackets. But I think a lot of guys wear jackets that are too short.

A few years ago, I asked a bespoke tailor how does he assess whether a jacket is too long. He said he just goes by his eye. I think if you look at enough photos of well-dressed men, you start to get a sense of what looks right. I think "half jacket, half trouser" is a good rule. You can adjust at the margins, but I generally think of it as a matter of maybe a half inch or so, not really much more.
 

Ziqianzhu

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If we're talking about a classic tailored aesthetic, then I think jackets should always cover your butt. There are some casual takes on the classic tailored jacket, which don't have to follow this rule, but they're mostly outside of the scope of what's discussed on this side of the board.

That said, I find that "cover your butt" is a somewhat imprecise concept. More important, I think, is to just make sure the jacket looks right. I think sport coats can be a little shorter than suit jackets. But I think a lot of guys wear jackets that are too short.

A few years ago, I asked a bespoke tailor how does he assess whether a jacket is too long. He said he just goes by his eye. I think if you look at enough photos of well-dressed men, you start to get a sense of what looks right. I think "half jacket, half trouser" is a good rule. You can adjust at the margins, but I generally think of it as a matter of maybe a half inch or so, not really much more.
Great points! Since I started following people on Instagram, permanent style and your blog, my taste and eyes have significantly changed, or to say improved.
 

ballmouse

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The 'right' length of the coat to me is dependent on the rest of the coat. Hence the above description why tailors go by their eye and why you see actors wearing different length coats between films from different decades and each look right based on the rest of the fit.

The 39 Steps (1939)



Whiskey Galore (1949)
 

dieworkwear

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The 'right' length of the coat to me is dependent on the rest of the coat. Hence the above description why tailors go by their eye and why you see actors wearing different length coats between films from different decades and each look right based on the rest of the fit.

The 39 Steps (1939)



Whiskey Galore (1949)
I think that suit would look better with a longer jacket and slimmer trousers. As is, the proportions make him look stubby.
 

Jnarcane

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Below is a recent linen jacket from Yeossal. I have concern about the length (my fault, if anyone’s!) and am not sure how to resolve it, as the rules of thumb proposed in this thread suggest different lengths in my case.

0844DFDB-005E-4F16-88EA-0A9DAEB352A8.jpeg

8AD985E8-D20B-4EEC-8719-4E9B2A675DAF.jpeg

170E58C4-E990-428A-A9EE-541E34B619A8.jpeg

To summarize the thread to date, four rules of thumb have been proposed:
  • Jacket should cover one’s butt
  • Jacket should reach the “fork” in the pants
  • Jacket should reach the knuckle of one’s thumb
  • Jacket should bisect one’s body such that the legs appear about as long as the torso
When I ordered the jacket, I had the first and second “rules” in mind. Evaluating the result, I think the first three have been respected. (One ambiguity: exactly how much of the butt should be covered? The side view suggests it needs even more length to do the full job, but the rear-rear view looks fine.)

Regardless of what a majority of the rules say, when I look at the photos, I come away with the impression that my legs are short — and certainly, by the bisection “rule,” the jacket is too long.

Would appreciate input from the brain trust!
 

Stylewords

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Below is a recent linen jacket from Yeossal. I have concern about the length (my fault, if anyone’s!) and am not sure how to resolve it, as the rules of thumb proposed in this thread suggest different lengths in my case.


To summarize the thread to date, four rules of thumb have been proposed:
  • Jacket should cover one’s butt
  • Jacket should reach the “fork” in the pants
  • Jacket should reach the knuckle of one’s thumb
  • Jacket should bisect one’s body such that the legs appear about as long as the torso
When I ordered the jacket, I had the first and second “rules” in mind. Evaluating the result, I think the first three have been respected. (One ambiguity: exactly how much of the butt should be covered? The side view suggests it needs even more length to do the full job, but the rear-rear view looks fine.)

Regardless of what a majority of the rules say, when I look at the photos, I come away with the impression that my legs are short — and certainly, by the bisection “rule,” the jacket is too long.

Would appreciate input from the brain trust!
Ok just some thoughts; I'm sure others will chime in. I think the length looks about right. The rules of thumb are just that, rules of thumb. You need to adapt them to your own circumstances. The rule on reaching a particular knuckle doesn't make any sense as everybody has different length arms in proportion to their body (though it might have a slight visual effect hinting at a jacket that seems too long/short). The jacket should cover your butt, but if you have a proportionally long body and short legs, then you may consider jacket length that only just reaches that length or even a tiny bit shorter depending on the type of jacket. Also avoid turn-ups/cuffs on pants if your legs are relatively short.
 
Last edited:

St1X

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The length seems to be fine, although the photos are taken from the above, so your legs appear shorter. Also linen jacket is more casual, so I'd be a bit less strict with my demands.
 

Jnarcane

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Ok just some thoughts; I'm sure others will chime in. I think the length looks about right. The rules of thumb are just that, rules of thumb. You need to adapt them to your own circumstances. The rule on reaching a particular knuckle doesn't make any sense as everybody has different length arms in proportion to their body (though it might have a slight visual effect hinting at a jacket that seems too long/short). The jacket should cover your butt, but if you have a proportionally long body and short legs, then you may consider jacket length that only just reaches that length or even a tiny bit shorter depending on the type of jacket. Also avoid turn-ups/cuffs on pants if your legs are relatively short.
Yeah, I understand the limitations of the rules. But my eye for length isn’t as well-trained as some here, so I’m starting by targeting the length indicated by most of the rules and adjusting from there. I’m not aware that I have odd proportions, but then, maybe I wouldn’t!

The length seems to be fine, although the photos are taken from the above, so your legs appear shorter. Also linen jacket is more casual, so I'd be a bit less strict with my demands.
I asked for the photos to be taken at chest height after @dieworkwear suggested the same to prior poster. I suppose the perspective does sell my legs a little short, though.

Just took a couple measurements. BoC length of the jacket is ~31”. Distance from the ground to the lowest part of the front of the jacket is ~33”. Maybe the perspective did me dirty after all!
 

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