Sizing Up when Suiting Up

Men, it’s time to suit up. The corporate world still highly regards suits as the professional choice for work attire. Even veterans on Wall Street won’t allow Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to wear a hoodie to a shareholder meeting. But be careful, wearing an ill-fitting suit may be your worst decision. There are three measurements that tell a man what his best fit is: the chest, the overarm, and the waist, says Delbert’s Clothing INC.

Determining Your Suit Size

Three key measurements when looking for the perfect-fitting suit: chest, overarm, and waist. Photo provided by Delbert's Clothing INC.

To take your suit measurement, you need a flexible tape measure. You also need a friend to help take your measurements.

First, the chest is probably the most important of the three. To measure one’s chest, take a tape measure and wrap it around your chest just under the underarms. Be sure to keep the tape measure parallel with the ground; this ensures you are measuring the thickest part of your chest. In the US, all measurements are taken in inches.

The second measurement is the overarm. This is taken by doing the same as the chest, except the tape will go on the outside of your arms, rather than inside. Now, after you get this, subtract 7 inches from the measurement. Compare this new number to your chest size. Your suit size is the larger of the two numbers.

Finally, to get the trouser size right, you need to measure your waist. Typical waist measurements take the measurement from around your waist, slightly above your hip bones. Trousers also encompass your inseam, which is measured from your crotch to just above your ankle.

The fashion editors at Esquire.com have some quick, helpful tips that you can use when you’re at the store shopping for a suit. Consider these before heading to the register:

For the jacket:

  • Shoulder pads should end at the shoulder — not fall too short or extend beyond
  • On a three-button jacket, the middle button shouldn’t be below your navel
  • On a two-button jacket, the top button shouldn’t be below your navel
  • Your first knuckle should line up with the end of the suit
  • The sleeves should meet where the base of your thumb connects with your wrist

For the trousers:

  • An inch break should be between your pant cuff and the floor.

Now, you can confidently buy a suit and show up on the first day of work dressed to impress.

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