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Making clothes fit and look new

How to take your measurements

How to take your measurements

Fit might be the most important thing to get right if you want to look good. The greatest clothes on earth will look bad if they don't fit right; if they do, even simple pieces look fantastic. For years, men had everything in their wardrobes made bespoke, by their tailor. Unless you own a few oil fields, that’s out of the reach of most modern men, so today we pick our size from a range of options.

This saves time and money, but also means that getting great fit has become harder. “Every brand displays its sizes in different ways,” says Thread stylist Alice Watt. “Some shirts are listed as S, M, or L. Some just have a collar size.” To help you choose, you need to know the shape of the body that you’re trying to dress. “If you know your measurements, you’ll instantly know which option is going to fit best.”

To make production easier, brands work to templates. But unless you’re very lucky, your body is not shaped like their mannequins. “You should know what parts of you are ‘non-standard’,” says Alice. “Some guys may need bigger collars, but if a chest is too big it billows. Alternatively, if a guy has a shorter torso then shirt length is important. It's all about knowing your strengths, problem areas and then messaging your Thread stylist to find the brands that work for your individual build and sizing.” To arm yourself with that knowledge, these are the six measurements to know.

 

Collar

How to measure it: Wrap the tape measure around your neck, an inch below your Adam’s apple and resting on your shoulders.

Why it matters: “This is how most formal shirts are sold.” You should be able to fit two fingers between skin and tape, for comfort.

 

Shoulder

How to measure it: Run a finger from your armpit up to the top of your shoulder. Start here and measure to the equivalent point on the other side.

Why it matters: “The shoulder is the one thing on a jacket you can’t have tailored. So you need to make sure it’s right.”

 

Chest

How to measure it: Around your chest, at the widest point.

Why it matters: “You’ll need this if you want to find a blazer that fits well.”

 

Sleeve

How to measure it: Start at the same point as your shoulder, but measure down your arm to your wrist. It should end where you’d like your shirt cuff to finish.

Why it matters: “It’s helpful when you’re buying shirts, although not essential as you can have a sleeve altered very easily.”

 

Waist

How to measure it: This is your waist, not your hips – wrap the tape around your torso, just above your belly button. Try to relax; if you suck in your stomach, it won’t be accurate.

Why it matters: “You need this for every single pair of trousers.”

 

Leg

How to measure it: The inside of your leg, from your crotch to the floor. Make sure your leg is straight.

Why it matters: “Most trousers are 32 inches. That’s fine if they’re too long, as you can have them shortened. But if your legs are longer, you’ll need to find brands that offer different lengths, like Marks & Spencer.”