Coats & Jackets

How a blazer should fit

How a blazer should fit

If you had to wear a blazer a school, odds are you never had one that fitted right. First you were given one three sizes too big and told to grow into it. Then you grew right through it, until it looked like your jacket had been hot-washed. But the blazer would like a second chance to prove its worth. And this time, it wants you to realise how much better it looks when you nail the fit.

On most garments, perfect fit has a few different meanings depending on taste. For tailoring, there’s pretty universal agreement on what just right looks like. Odds are that one that’s not made just for you won’t be perfect at first – every body is different and brands create clothes to fit as wide an array as possible. But that’s where a tailor comes in – for around £20, they can fix almost anything.

That ‘almost’ is important, though. The closer your new blazer is to correct, the better the end result will be. Get these seven points correct and something off the rack can look nearly as good as bespoke.

 

Shoulders

When you’re checking the fit, make sure to wear your blazer with whatever it will pair with most often; could be your favourite work shirt, could be a band tee. That way you’ll get an accurate idea how it’s going to fit every day. “The seam should sit squarely on your natural shoulder and not be too tight or too loose,” says Thread stylist Brooke Philips. “If it doesn’t fit you on the shoulders, then it’s basically impossible to tailor. And when the shoulders are even slightly off, it will make your whole frame look off.”

 

Collar

The collar of your blazer should rest against your shirt collar, which in turn should hug the back of your neck. Any gap here is a giveaway that your jacket is too big, and puckering fabric means you need to size up. “A skilled tailor might be able to fix this, but it can be complicated,” says Brooke. “It’s better to just get it right from the off.” You also want to avoid a jacket that gobbles up your shirt; the blazer collar should at the midpoint of your shirt collar, revealing a half-inch or so of the fabric below.

 

Chest

With your jacket buttoned, slide a flat palm between the lapels and your shirt. Now, make a fist. “The jacket should pull,” says Brooke. “If it doesn’t, it’s too big.” Now take your hand out and look at the lapels; they should sit flat against your chest. “If they’re bent and stand away from your chest, or you can see tugging around the button, you need to size up.”

 

Waist

A blazer is designed to create a V-shape from your shoulders to your waist. It does this in two ways; padding up top and narrowing at the bottom. The degree to which it nips in is known as ‘suppression’, and it’s a great way to create a waistline, even if you don’t have much of one. “In a perfect world, you can see daylight between your torso and arm,” says Brooke. “But don’t go so suppressed that you can’t breathe.” A blazer should never be skin-tight.

 

Sleeves

Besides having enough space for your arms, sleeve length is the difference between precise fit and the look of a hand-me-down. “They should hit between your first thumb joint and your wrist,” says Brooke. If you’re wearing a shirt, there should be about a quarter- to a half-inch of cuff on show. “But the nice thing about a blazer is that you don’t have to wear a shirt, so you can go for something like a long-sleeved polo and allow that to peek through.”

 

Buttons

‘Button stance’ is not a Neneh Cherry B-side, but rather refers to how high the buttons sit on a jacket. A deep button stance means the fastening sits lower, creating a longer lapel gorge, which lengthens your body. A high button stance does the opposite. If in doubt, the sweet spot is just above your navel. “A two-button blazer has a lower stance than a three-button, and higher than a one-button, so suits most people,” says Brooke. “Three-button blazers aren’t great if you’re shorter or larger, as all that detail only exaggerates things.”

 

Length

Jacket lengths change with trends, but going too short or long is the quickest way to make your blazer look dated. “A good rule of thumb is for the end to be in line with the bottom of your fly,” says Brooke. “If you had to go longer or shorter, I’d say go longer as you can always get it taken up.”

 

Words: Tess Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Brooke Philips