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Sleeve length of suit jacket?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by FrzenRopes, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. FrzenRopes

    FrzenRopes Member

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    What is the proper sleeve length of a suit jacket in relation to the shirt? I've read that there should be about 1/4 inch of shirt sleeve showing under the jacket, but I've also read that the jacket sleeve should come down to the point where the wrist meets the hand (the same length as the shirt). And while looking around online (bensilver.com for example), the models there are wearing suits where no shirt sleeve is visible. So what is the correct length? Shirt sleeve showing or no? Thanks.
     


  2. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    The "rule" is to show 1/2" of shirt cuff, give or take 1/8" depending on your height. That means that the shirt cuff should reach the base of your thumb (slightly past the wrist) and the jacket sleeve should end at about the wrist bone or just beyond.
     


  3. lisapop

    lisapop Senior Member

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    My NY tailor, whose judgement I trust implicitly, makes a sleeve length for me that permits 1/4" of shirt showing.  There are no hard and fast rules as sleeve length can vary based on the proportions of the rest of your body.  I have a long torso, long arms, and long legs, so my sleeves are a bit longer and my trousers are a bit longer, in  proportion to the length of the jacket and the length of my legs.  Ironically, when one London tailor was fitting me for a jacket, he looked at the jacket I wore to the fitting and decided he much preferred the longer length on me, and proceeded to make his jacket for me longer, too.  If my suit sleeves were shorter, allowing for 1/2" shirt, they'd be disproporitonate to the longer specs of the rest of the garment, and everything would, consequently, be out of balance.  As with all of these technical judgement calls, find a skilled tailor whose judgment you trust and let him worry about it.  Life's too short.
    Grayson
     


  4. Lydia

    Lydia Senior Member

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    Some of us don't have the luxury of tailors, unless they are little men who don't speak English or know what collar stays are. I have long arms and am 6'1. 38ls are hard enough to find, and they're sleeves are still often not long enough and I find the body too long for my taste. My shirts, which are tailor-made are the proper length, and I often have about an inch or even more showing, which I try to compensate for by wearing sweaters (which are usually way too short in the sleeves to be worn without a shirt). Even though models are all tall and thin, it sometimes seems like very little is made affordably for my, not so uncommon, build. I guess I have to get a real job, and go bespoke.
     


  5. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    There should be 3" of cloth left in the sleeves on a decent RTW suit. And if you don't want open buttonholes, that 3" goes a long way. How long are your arms? I.e., what's the sleeve length of your custom shirts? I can understand that it's hard to find a 38L. But once found, it bloody well ought to have enough excess cloth in the sleeve, unless the maker is criminally negligent.
     


  6. Lydia

    Lydia Senior Member

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    You're right. I suppose it is a pretty obvious thing that I haven't paid attention to. By the way, do you know shops where you can get 38ls easily? I like a pretty slim fit, but traditional fabrics.
     


  7. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    If you live near NYC, I have always found that Paul Stuart has the widest variety of sizes in the store, but the styling and quality can vary widely. Beyond that, no. Sorry.
     


  8. lisapop

    lisapop Senior Member

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    Another "rule" that is often bandied about is that 1/2 inch of one's shirt collar should *always* show above the jacket collar. Not necessarily so. As with the issue of how much shirt sleeve should be displayed under one's jacket sleeve, the amount of shirt collar showing is contingent on the customer's anatomy. Using myself, again, as an example, I have a longer neck than average, necessitating 5/8 inch of my shirt collar showing above my jacket collar, 1/8 inch higher than someone with a shorter neck or no neck at all, based on my own individual neck proportions. One's anatomical proportions for shoulders and chest also dictate the individual lapel dimensions that are most appropriate. Then again, with some heavy tweed cloth, such as my 19 oz sport coats, the lapels can stand being a smidge wider which is visually in keeping with the heavier cloth. This is the case only with my 2-button jackets, of course.
    Grayson
     


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