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How a blazer should fit: a guide to getting the right fit

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A man wearing a blazer, Boss sweater and sunglasses.

Like all aspects of clothing, the best men’s suits, sports coats and blazers are influenced by the latest fashion. Sure, look at photos of confident politicians, bankers, and clergy since at least WWII, and you won’t see much variation. Maybe the jacket was a bit tighter or a bit looser here and there, the fabrics a bit more textured or shinier. But take a broader view, and we see starting to see variations, from 1940s bag jumpsuits and Mod looks, to Miami Vice style volume, to Hedi Slimanes ultra-thin looks of the years. 2000.

This look has loosened up a bit in the 20 teens, so now the latest looks to take the runway to the extreme are fuller, shorter, and squarer; almost as if designed more for lounging than for a nice dinner outside. Will you have fun wearing the look? Sure. But will it look dated in a year or two? Absolutely. On the flip side, you can find a classic jacket that will last you for the next decade, but can be so boring it looks like you’ve looted your dad’s closet.

A good blazer, like all bespoke clothing, should probably be one of the more expensive investments in your wardrobe, so you want it to have a bit of sparkle, but you also want a bit of outfit. Here’s our guide on how a blazer should fit, as well as how to shop and what to look for now.

Style elements

A man in formal and business attire walking past a business center.

First of all, keep in mind that a good blazer can practically replace a suit in these more casual and comfortable days. Need a more formal look? Wear yours with dark, solid pants in a complementary hue, a classic white dress shirt and a stylish and high quality tie.

On the way to a new client meeting? Try white jeans or lighter 5-pocket pants and a patterned button-down shirt. A romantic dinner? No one will complain if dark jeans and a V-neck tee or cashmere sweater complete the outfit. Look for a neutral color with some surface interest: a subtle plaid, an updated chevron, or a tone-on-tone stripe. A classic navy blue, khaki, olive or white is ideal for summer. Our best advice? Put yourself in the hands of experts. Head to a store where the style of the sales staff impresses you.

Let them guide you in the fit and the fashion, but show them that you also know what you are doing and that you know what you want. An added bonus: a good men’s clothing store will also keep a good tailor on hand, so if you’re not built like a crisp Adonis, you can always make a few adjustments for the best possible fit.

Blazer terminology and fit requirements

A man puts on his blazer.

Generally speaking, were still in a slim fit era. Blazers aren’t the sausage casings they once were, but rather body-conscious. A modern blazer should have a somewhat relaxed and less structured feel. The fabrics should include a bit of elasticity, so that the jacket wiggles and looks more like a really chic sweater and less like a suit coat.

1) The collar and the back

A smiling businessman with his arms crossed on his chest.

The collar of the jacket is at the very top of the lapel. This is the part that wraps around the neck. Make sure the collar is not so high that it obscures your shirt collar, and that it should not pull away from your neck. It should rest smoothly on the back.

The back of the jacket is, of course, the single panel of fabric that runs down from the shoulders to the buttocks. The back can end with a slit in the middle called a central vent; be open to the left and right, a side vent; or have no opening, forming a tube around your body where it is joined at the front. The fabric should fall smoothly along your back, without pulling, wrinkling, or wrinkling.

2) the reverse

Close up of a man wearing a suit.

The cuff is connected to the collar and folds up from the inside to form a V. These trendy Gucci cuffs are so wide they extend almost to the armpits. Some of Zegna’s latest looks don’t have any setbacks at all. We like a simple notched cuff, forming a lateral V where the cuff is attached to the collar (also called the throat). Pointed lapels look great but not normally paired with a classic blazer. A modern throat rises high enough on the backhand, probably high enough to rest on the top of your pecs, pointing towards your shoulders.

Make sure the cuffs fall flat and rest on the chest. You should easily be able to reach into the jacket under the lapel to tuck things into the interior chest pockets (but don’t get carried away; too much and your blazer will look like a busy-cheeked chipmunk).

3) chest and waist

An upper body photo of a man wearing a plaid blazer.

The chest is the front part of the jacket, falling from the shoulder to your chest and towards your pelvis. The button and buttonhole should rest just above the navel. We always prefer a two button blazer. Although you still have to button your blazer when you are standing and unbutton it when you are sitting; for adjustment purposes there should be a bit of space, say about three inches, between your body and the top button when you sit down.

Check that the body of the jacket doesn’t snag on you or crease in weird ways, especially when on the move: you shouldn’t need to finish a CrossFit in a blazer, but you shouldn’t have either. feeling like tearing something if you grab a book from a shelf or bend down to pet the dog. There should be a small pinch at the waist forming what photographers call a light leak between the body of the jacket and the sleeves.

Are those back vents flat, or are they gaping on your butt or strained? If so, the jacket is too tight. If you never miss a leg day and your booty is on point, beware: you might be hard pressed to find a blazer that doesn’t yawn or hang over your butt like a runway banner. Again, consult a good seller.

4) Shoulders

A man standing against the wall.

A simple, natural shoulder is better, but sometimes nature has other ideas. You might not have Vin Diesels shoulders, or you might find that one shoulder is a little lower than another. A little padding can make the wearer a bit bolder and stronger without making them look like they’re suited for the Super Bowl. Make sure the shoulders are aligned with the top of your arms and are not too wide or too tight. They should look natural and lie flat.

5) Sleeves

A smiling man in a blazer with his phone in his hand.

The classic ideal of a blazer was that it should show about 1/2 inch of your shirt. Of course, that assumes you’re even wearing a white shirt. We like to compromise by saying that the sleeve should land just above the wrist bone. This should leave enough room for most shirts and give you clearance for your favorite watch. (Again, check with a tailor here. One arm is often a bit longer than the other, so a modification can make the whole thing symmetrical.) If you’re a regular at the gym, be sure to leave enough room in the upper arm, too.

6) Armhole

A smiling businessman sitting on a bench in the city.

It might sound too simple: yes, this is the part of the jacket that you put your arm through. Still, a taller armhole, common on those super skinny days, can really limit range of motion. Too low and the blazer will look vintage 1980s. Make sure the armhole gives you enough room to move around comfortably.

7) Length

A smiling businessman wearing a blazer.

It used to be said that jackets should be long enough to cover your seat. Blazers have often been just a little shorter than that, with a sportier fit than suit coats. While it still doesn’t have to be higher than your butt, brushing the top of your cheeks or landing mid-peach is more modern.

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