6 Tailoring Tips in Choosing an Off-The-Rack Suit Jacket

Buying an off-the-rack suit may be frowned upon by the fashion-forward, but the truth is that it can be a great way to find a quick get-up for a formal event.

Buying a suit off-the-rack may not be recommended by the fashion-forward, but it is a good option when you are in need of a suit but short on both time and money.

You wouldn’t fare well if you simply picked a random jacket and wore it straight to your event. Wearing an ill-fitting suit is only slightly better than arriving naked.

However, finding a suit jacket that fits your body well is not impossible. Here is our guide to purchasing an off-the-rack suit jacket that looks and feels nice.

1) Shoulders to Shoulders

An important factor to consider when looking at a suit jacket is the shoulder span. Tailors agree that the shoulders of any jacket should end at your shoulders; anything longer will take away from the definition of your frame, and anything too short will be uncomfortable to wear.

2) Hand to Chest

The next thing to look for would be the chest fit of your suit jacket. A simple way to check would be to slip your flat hand into the suit, under the lapels, with the top button fastened. If you ball your hand up into a fist, then the suit should pull at the fastened button.

3) Sleeve to Wrist

Another obvious checkpoint in your quest for an off-the-rack suit is the sleeve length. A short sleeve will look awkward when worn over a dress shirt, whilst a a long sleeve would cover your dress shirt entirely.

Your jacket sleeves should fall to the point where the base of your thumb connects with your wrist. Some tailors would fashion it a bit shorter as well in case you would like to wear a watch to show off.

4) Button to Navel

 A less popular known styling detail when wearing a suit jacket is where the buttons are positioned. The top button of a two-button suit or the middle button of a three-button suit should never reach below the navel.

5) Knuckles to Bottom

 The final size factor to look at would be the full length of your jacket. It might variate depending on style, but you would commonly aim for a length where the bottom of your suit jackets is level with your knuckles.

6) Patterned to Finish 

Once you are satisfied that the size fits your body nicely, taking a look at your overall outfit would finish the look. The colour and thread pattern of your pants should match your jacket, and your dress shirt should either contrast with the rest of your outfit or blend into it. Your shoes should also be the same colour and style as your belt, as well as colour-matched with the rest of your suit.


These six simple tailoring tips can make choosing your off-the-rack suit a highly fashionable style choice.

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