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Suit jacket length


Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2003
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I have been browsing suits (the mall, Brooks brothers, etc.) and find that I seem to fall between a 40R and a 40S. It seems that an R is an inch too long and an S an inch too short.

My understanding was that the bottom of the jacket should be at about the thumb nail. Usually a 40S will come to there on me. But at Nordstrom yesterday I got conflicting information. The salesman measured me and said the bottom should fall half way between the collar and the floor. He measured the 40S and didn't say anything. Then he summoned a coworker who did the measurements and declared that the 40R was right for me. The bottom of that jacket came down to me fingertips. I thought it looked too long - almost ridiculously so - but he insisted that it is better to err on the side of longer than shorter.

On the way home I picked up Alan Flusser's Dressing the Man and found that I was right about the thumbnail, but measuring is the correct way to figure it. So my dilemma is that store sales people may tell me what I want to hear or what they think, neither of which may be correct. I want my suit to look right for my body so I may just have to find a competent tailor to explain it to me. There must be other factors, such as extending the look of the leg, to take into consideration. Also I wear a 31" waist so I have a drop of 8 inches or more to contend with. I'm five foot nine, but I feel like I am of a freakish in-between height for suits. Anyone else have this problem, or a solution (other than expensive custom-made suits)?



Distinguished Member
Mar 12, 2002
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I am about the same size as you. Bjorn H's comments on the link that was provided says it all. I, too, was convinced by a caring, knowledgable Brooks Bros. salesperson that I am closer to a Short suit than a Regular. Some of those Regular sized suits I had been buying for years made me look "like a boy" as Bjorn put it. However, thanks to this forum, I took the plunge and sought out tailors who make custom made suits. And really, for just a little bit more, you can get the perfect fitting suit. I would never go back to off the rack. The one tailor did everything--cut the fabric etc... Both tailors took extensive measurements and took the time to have a couple of fittings to get everything just right. I cannot tell you the number of compliments I've received about these suits. And when a suit is custom made or made to measure, you can select the fabric, design...everything you want. A well made piece of clothing will last for many years. It is a wise investment. Good luck.

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