Sport Coat Sizing: Men's Guide

how to size a men

Sizing a men's sport coat can be a tricky task, but with a few simple steps, you can ensure you get the perfect fit. There are several key measurements to take into account when sizing a sport coat: chest circumference, shoulder width, and waist circumference. To start, use a soft measuring tape to measure your chest at its widest point, usually right under your armpits. This measurement will typically determine your jacket size. Next, measure your shoulder width by wrapping the tape around your shoulders at the widest point, with the end touching your shoulder tip. Finally, measure your waist circumference at its narrowest point. With these three measurements, you can refer to a size chart to find your ideal sport coat size. It's important to remember that sizes may vary depending on the brand, so trying on different sizes and fits is recommended.

Characteristics Values
Chest circumference Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest, usually under your armpits.
Shoulder width Measure from the center of the collar to the tip of the shoulder.
Waist circumference Measure the narrowest point of your waist.
Sleeve length Bend your arm slightly at the elbow and measure from the center back of the neck, over the shoulder, and down the outside of the arm to your wrist.
Jacket length "Short" for people 5'8" and shorter; "regular" for individuals 5'9" to 6' tall; "long" for people between 6'1" and 6'4"; "extra long" for people 6'5" and taller.


Chest circumference

To determine your chest circumference, wrap a measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest, usually right under your armpits. Keep your arms out to the side and ensure that the tape is snug in your armpits. Bring your arms down and check that the tape is level across your shoulder blades at the back and over the widest part of your chest at the front. Do not hold your breath or suck in your stomach as this will affect the measurement. Note that your chest measurement will typically be your jacket size.

If you are measuring yourself, stand in front of a mirror so you can see yourself from all angles. It is also helpful to wear the clothes you would usually wear underneath your sports coat. If you have a partner to help, ask them to take the measurements for you.

If you are measuring over clothing, wear something light. It is also a good idea to take the measurement twice: once wearing light clothing and once without any clothing. This will ensure you get the right size.

If you are measuring a jacket, lay it on its back and button it up fully. Use your hands to flatten out the chest and torso completely. The bottom front hem of the jacket should fall below the back hem. Position the sleeves pointing up and find the corner where the side of the jacket meets the armpits. Measure from this point straight across to the opposite edge where the armpit and torso meet.

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Shoulder width

The shoulder width of a sports coat is one of the most important factors in determining the fit. The shoulders of a jacket should highlight your natural silhouette with smooth, uninterrupted lines and a clean drape throughout the upper chest, upper sleeves, sleeve head, and shoulders. The shoulder seams of the jacket should end slightly past your shoulder bones without pushing past the top of the arm. The jacket shoulder width should be slightly wider than your shoulder bones by approximately 0.5 inches (0.25 inches on each side). This creates a silhouette that tapers gradually from the upper body down to the midsection, ensuring a clean drape in the torso and sleeves.

If the shoulder width is too narrow, the fabric will pull tightly across the upper arms, causing tension and a distorted shoulder fit. This will likely be uncomfortable, even if the rest of the jacket fits well. Increasing the shoulder width will relax this tension and allow the sleeves to drape properly and comfortably.

On the other hand, if the shoulder width is too wide, the shoulders will be exaggerated and sag noticeably. You may see wrinkles running from under the jacket lapel to the shoulder edge and a bulge of excess fabric creating a dimple at the top of the sleeves. Even if the rest of the jacket fits, an oversized shoulder fit will make the jacket look sloppy, as if it's a size too large. Decreasing the shoulder width will give a more flattering appearance and clean up the drape of the sleeve.

It's worth noting that tailoring the shoulders of a jacket is not an easy task and often requires changes to other parts of the garment. Adjustments to the chest width, sleeve width, or centre back seam may correct some issues, but it's best to consult a professional tailor for advice.

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Sleeve length

First, the sleeve length of a sport coat should complement the style of the coat and the occasion. Generally, a more traditional or conservative setting calls for a more subtle display of the shirt cuff, with just 0.125" or no cuff showing. In contrast, a more fashion-forward or trendy setting can accommodate a more generous 0.5"-0.75" of the cuff. Regardless of style or setting, the sleeve should never extend beyond the heel of your palm.

Secondly, achieving the perfect sleeve length involves considering the features of the shirt itself. The cut, armhole size, cuff button placement, and cuff width all influence the ideal sleeve length. For example, French cuff shirts should reach the root of the thumb, even when you move your arms, requiring an armhole that is snug yet comfortable. On the other hand, button or barrel cuff shirts should fit closely to the wrist, allowing room for only 1-2 fingers between the cuff and the skin.

Additionally, it is worth noting that jacket sleeve length and shirt sleeve length are measured differently. Jacket sleeve length is measured from the top of the sleeve at the shoulder seam to the end of the sleeve. In contrast, shirt sleeve length is measured from the centre back of the shoulder, just below the collar, extending to the shoulder seam, and down the arm to the end of the cuff. As a result, the jacket sleeve will always appear shorter than the shirt sleeve.

Finally, when measuring sleeve length, it is important to consider the rise, which refers to the distance between the waist and the crotch seam. This measurement impacts how the trousers fit and feel, and it is crucial to refer to a size chart before ordering to ensure the most comfortable fit.


Jacket length

The jacket length of a men's sport coat is indicated by a letter following the jacket size, which refers to the length of the jacket's body and sleeve. The options are short (S), regular (R), long (L), or extra long (XL). Generally, a "short" jacket is suitable for people 5'8" and shorter, while a "regular" fit is recommended for individuals between 5'9" and 6' tall. If you are between 6'1" and 6'4", you should opt for a "long" jacket, and if you are 6'5" or taller, you will need an "extra long" jacket.

The jacket length can also be measured manually. For vintage sport coats, the length is measured from the back of the collar to the hem, and "longs" are typically around 29.5" long. However, styles change over time, so it is essential to double-check the sleeve length as well. For instance, a 'short' sleeve will measure up to 25.2", a 'regular' sleeve will measure up to 26", and a 'long' sleeve will usually be 26.8" or longer.

When measuring for a new sport coat, it is important to consider both chest and overarm measurements. The chest measurement is taken by wrapping the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest, under your armpits, and then lowering your arms to ensure the tape is level across your shoulder blades and the widest part of your chest. The overarm measurement is taken with your arms at your sides, wrapping the tape measure around your arms and torso, again ensuring the tape is level. If the difference between your chest and overarm measurements is more than 7", subtract 7" from your overarm measurement to determine your jacket size.

Proper fit is crucial for a flattering look. A jacket that is too tight will make you appear uncomfortable, while one that is too large will hide your frame.


Waist circumference

When sizing a men's sport coat, the waist is a crucial measurement to get right. To find your natural waist, bend to one side and take note of the natural crease that forms. This crease will be higher than where you normally wear your trousers, usually just below the ribcage and above the belly button.

To measure your waist circumference, wrap the tape measure around your torso, keeping it parallel to the floor and level with your natural waist. Ensure the tape is snug but not too tight, allowing for a maximum of one inch of slack.

If your sport coat has buttons, they should fasten neatly over your waist without strain or tightness. Therefore, it is essential to get an accurate waist measurement.

Additionally, when measuring your chest, it is advisable to add an extra inch if you prefer a more casual jacket style.

Frequently asked questions

The three key measurements are shoulder width, chest circumference, and waist circumference.

Wrap a measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest, usually right under your armpits. Ensure the tape is snug but not too tight.

Stand in front of a mirror and hold the measuring tape across your shoulders at their widest point, with the end of the tape touching the tip of your shoulder. Double this number, as this is the breadth of your shoulders.

Compare your measurements to the size chart on the item's page. This will give you a good starting point for selecting the right size.

It is important to consider the length of the jacket. Generally, a "short" is suitable for people 5'8" and shorter, a "regular" is good for individuals 5'9" - 6' tall, and a "long" is recommended for people between 6'1" and 6'4".

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