Sports Coat: Baggy Or Right Fit?

is my sports coat too bug

A sports coat that's too big can ruin your entire outfit and give off an unkempt impression. So, how can you tell if your sports coat is too big?

Firstly, check the shoulders. If there's loose, bunching fabric around the shoulders, or indentations at the top of your shoulder, the coat is too big. The shoulders should sit flat and neat from the top of your shoulder to your upper arm.

Secondly, examine the arms. Stand up straight and let your arms hang by your sides. Ideally, you should see about half an inch of your shirt sleeve exposed. If the jacket sleeves cover your entire shirt sleeve, they are too long.

Thirdly, assess the jacket length. A sports jacket should typically end somewhere around your hands. If it stops below your hands, it's too long.

Lastly, inspect the collar. There should be no gap between the collar of the jacket and your shirt – it should lie flat and smooth against your neck. If there's bunching or wrinkling of fabric under the collar, the jacket is too tight.

If your sports coat is too big, consider getting it tailored or purchasing a new one that fits better.

Characteristics Values
Shoulders Should be smooth and contoured to the shape of your body.
Should not extend past your natural shoulder.
Should not have divots or be sagging.
Arms Should be long enough to expose half an inch of the shirt cuff.
Jacket Length Should end somewhere around your hands.
Collar Should be clean, smooth, and not bunched up around the neckline.

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Shoulder divots or sagging

  • The suit jacket's shoulders are too big and extend past your natural shoulder.
  • The wearer has sloping shoulders or a slightly hunched-over stance, but the jacket is constructed with more square shoulders, or designed for a man with an upright stance.
  • The jacket's armholes are too small or shaped differently, relative to the size and shape of the wearer's arm.
  • The armhole of the jacket does not match the angle and shape of the wearer's shoulder.
  • The shoulder pads of the jacket are broader than your natural shoulder.

To check for shoulder divots, a simple test is to stand with your jacket on and your arms at your sides, and touch a wall with your arm as if you're about to lean against it. You should feel the padding touch the wall, followed by your upper arm. If you see an indent right at the top of your shoulder, the coat is too big. The jacket should follow the lines of your body smoothly.

If you're experiencing shoulder divots, you should try on different jacket fits and brands. You could also try going down a size, or opting for a brand with a more relaxed, less structured shoulder.

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Collar gap

A collar gap is a gap between the lapels of a jacket and the collar of a shirt. It occurs when there is too much space between the two collars. Collar gaps can be caused by an imperfect fit on the chest or shoulders, incorrect posture, or a neck that is too long for the jacket cut.

A well-cut jacket collar should sit naturally with less than half an inch between the two collars, and there should be no gap at the back or sides. To prevent a collar gap, the jacket collar should follow the line of the shirt collar exactly, almost as if they are stuck together. The jacket collar should never move away from the shirt collar, even if the wearer's arms are flailing above their head.

If you are experiencing collar gaps, a skilled tailor may be able to fix the issue by considering factors such as how the shoulders are cut or how the chest fits. However, in extreme cases, the collar may need to be removed and recut, but this is not advisable as it will likely never result in a perfect fit. Therefore, it is best to consider the collar gap from the start when purchasing a jacket.

To determine if your sports coat is too big, put it on and wear the clothing you would typically wear underneath, such as a dress shirt and a tie, or something more casual. Then, look in the mirror and check for the following signs:

  • Loose, bunching fabric around the shoulders, midsection, and along the sleeves. The sports coat should fall nice and even, so if you see bunching, it may be too big.
  • A gap at the collar. If you see a collar gap between the coat and your shirt, the collar may be too big and need resizing.
  • Divots at the shoulder. If you see an indent at the top of your shoulder where your arms start, this is another sign that the coat is too big.
  • Fabric pulling or stretching in any direction, which indicates that the sports coat is too small.
  • Extra fabric bunching up anywhere on the coat, which suggests that it is too big.
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Jacket length

The length of a sports coat is important for achieving the right look. The ideal length depends on your height and proportions. If you are over 6 feet tall, the sports coat should end at your lower crotch area, around the bottom of the fly of your pants. For those under 5'9" , the jacket should end at the mid-crotch, or about halfway down the fly. Another way to determine the right length is to consider where you wear your watch—the coat should end at this point when your arms are by your sides.

If you are taller than 6 feet and the jacket is too short, it is best to try a different one, as tailors usually cannot lengthen jackets. Similarly, if you are shorter and the jacket is too long, it can only be shortened by an inch at most without altering the coat's proportions.

The bottom edge of the sports coat should generally end between the two knuckles of your thumb. This rule can be slightly bent when wearing a casual sports coat, as they tend to be a little shorter.

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Arm length

The sleeve length of a sports coat is important to get right. The sleeve should end just above the wrist bone, or the hinge of the wrist. This will allow for some shirt cuff to show, which is considered stylish and is a universally accepted look.

The amount of cuff that should show is a matter of personal preference and will depend on your style. If you prefer a traditional or classic style, or you are wearing the jacket in a conservative business setting, you may not want to show any cuff at all, or just 0.125". If you prefer a more fashion-forward style, you can show up to 0.75" of cuff. In general, showing between 0.25" and 0.5" of cuff will strike a good balance and will look stylish without being too bold.

If you are wearing a watch, make sure you leave enough space under your cuff to accommodate it. A shirt cuff should be able to go over and cover some of your watch when your arms are relaxed by your sides.

If your sports coat sleeves are too long, you can get them altered by a tailor. However, remember that suit jacket sleeves can only be shortened and not lengthened.

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Body/button closure

When it comes to the body and button closure of a sports coat, there are a few things to consider to ensure a good fit. Firstly, it is important to note that sports jackets are typically designed to be worn open, giving a smarter and more casual look. However, there are times when you may want to button up your coat, and it is important to get the right fit to do so comfortably.

When buttoned, there should be some slight pull on the fabric, but not so much that the buttons are at risk of popping off. If there is excess fabric in the midsection when buttoned, the coat is too big, and if the seams are stretched to their limit, it is too small. A good rule of thumb is to be able to fit one open hand between your buttoned jacket and shirt, and when you make a fist, the jacket should become snug.

When trying on a sports coat, a simple test to check the button closure is to put your arms by your side and touch a wall. You should feel the padding touch the wall, followed by your upper arm. This indicates that the jacket is following the lines of your body smoothly and the closure is correct.

If you are experiencing issues with the button closure, such as excess fabric or pulling, it is best to go up or down a size, depending on your measurements and the coat's cut. A tailor can also help with alterations to ensure a perfect fit.

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Frequently asked questions

If there is fabric bunching around the shoulders, this is usually indicative of an oversized jacket. You should also check for divots or sagging from the front and side view of the jacket shoulder.

The length of your sports coat depends on your height and proportions. If you are over 6 feet tall, the jacket should end at your lower crotch area. If you are under 5 feet 9 inches tall, the sports coat should end around your mid-crotch.

Ideally, you should see about half an inch of your shirt cuff exposed, separating your hands and the jacket sleeve. If the jacket sleeves cover your shirt cuff completely, they are probably too big.

The collar of your sports coat should be clean, smooth, and not bunched up around the neckline. If there is a gap between the back of your shirt collar and the jacket's collar, this is a sign that your jacket is too loose.

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