The Fit Guide: Coats

The Fit Guide: Coats

 

Words are fine and dandy, but there’s really one way to determine whether or not your clothing properly fits: trying it on.

Topcoats and trench coats are designed to be worn on top of things. To get the most accurate results, wear your coat over a well-fitting suit jacket.

Disclaimer: These rules are just "standards"—and no one has a "standard" body. Ultimately, the most important indicator of fit is how clothing looks and feels on you. Finding a fit that's right for you is more important than following the rules to a T.

  The shoulders of the coat should not end before the shoulders of your suit jacket (left), or extend over them (center). They should be aligned with shoulders of your suit jacket (right).

The shoulders of the coat should not end before the shoulders of your suit jacket (left), or extend over them (center). They should be aligned with shoulders of your suit jacket (right).

Shoulders
The shoulders of your coat and your actual shoulder bones don’t need to line up exactly. You want it to align with the layer in between—the shoulders of your suit jacket.

  The armhole should not be so high as to cause pulling (left), or so low as to appear baggy (center). It should leave about one inch of excess fabric (right).

The armhole should not be so high as to cause pulling (left), or so low as to appear baggy (center). It should leave about one inch of excess fabric (right).

Armhole
Your coat’s armhole should be a little more generous than your suit jacket’s, but still be close-fitting to maximize movement. Look for an inch of extra fabric below the armhole, but no more.

  The back of the coat should not be so tight as to cause pulling (left), or loose enough to appear baggy (center). It should fall flat (right).

The back of the coat should not be so tight as to cause pulling (left), or loose enough to appear baggy (center). It should fall flat (right).

Back
The back of a coat doesn’t have be as fitted as a suit jacket’s, but it should still have a straight silhouette without any bagginess. The fabric should lay smooth throughout—pulling is a warning sign that it’s too small.

  The chest should not be as tight as to cause lapels to bow (left), and should not be so loose as to appear baggy (center). It should fall flat without excess fabric (right),

The chest should not be as tight as to cause lapels to bow (left), and should not be so loose as to appear baggy (center). It should fall flat without excess fabric (right),

Chest and Midsection
Don’t expect the chest and midsection to be as contoured as a suit jacket—it needs to be loose enough to fit over your jacket easily and comfortably. It should still fall straight without any excessive fabric, but look out for lapels that “bow,” or stick out. That’s a clear sign that things are too tight.

  The coat sleeve should not be short enough to expose the suit jacket sleeve (left), and it should not be long enough as to extend beyond the wrist (center). It should just cover the suit jacket sleeve (right).

The coat sleeve should not be short enough to expose the suit jacket sleeve (left), and it should not be long enough as to extend beyond the wrist (center). It should just cover the suit jacket sleeve (right).

Sleeve
Here’s an easy one. You want the sleeves to be long enough to cover the sleeves of your suit jacket, but not so long that they’re in danger of hitting your knuckles.

  The coat should not be so long as to fall below the knee (left), but should not be so short as to end below mid-thigh (center). It should fall somewhere between the mid-thigh and knee (right).

The coat should not be so long as to fall below the knee (left), but should not be so short as to end below mid-thigh (center). It should fall somewhere between the mid-thigh and knee (right).

Length
Length can vary based on height, but in general you never want the hem to fall completely below the knee or come up higher than mid-thigh. Go too long or too short, and there’s a chance the hem will flare out like a skirt.

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