Being that it's the most visible and receives the most attention, the jacket is the single most important element in a men's suit. Unfortunately, many men overlook this critical element, wearing the same generic jacket day in and day out. But it takes more than just a generic jacket to bring a suit together in a cohesive, attractive manner. If you want to present yourself in the most formal and appropriate manner possible, you need to choose the right type of suit jacket. Choosing a suit jacket isn't always an easy task, however. If you've shopped for a suit jacket before -- and I'm assuming you have -- you probably know just how many different types and styles are available. You can find suit jackets in a single colors, pinstripe, plaid or other designs, ranging in a wide variety of fabrics and materials. With so many different choices available, how do you know which one to choose? If you're struggling to find the perfect suit jacket, keep reading for some helpful tips to make the process a little easier.
Jackets, Blazers and Coats, Oh My!
Before we reveal the steps to choosing the perfect suit jacket, let's first discuss the differences between them and blazers and coats. It's a common assumption that suit jackets are the same as blazers and coats. While they certainly share some similarities in terms of appearance, style and overall function, there are subtle nuances between them that shouldn't go unnoticed. A suit jacket, for instance, is the most formal choice of outwear between the three, making it ideal for formal suits. The sports coat, on the other hand, is the least formal, making it ideal for casual and semi-casual wear. And as you may have guessed, the blazer falls somewhere in the middle, as it's more formal than a sports coat but less formal than a suit jacket.
Arguably, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a suit jacket is the fabric. We've talked about this before on our blog, but it's worth mentioning again than suit jackets are available in a wide variety of fabrics, ranging from traditional cotton and wool to linen, corduroy and even leather (yes, there are leather suits available for sale). Each fabric has its own strengths and weaknesses. Wool, for instance, is incredibly soft, thick and contours nicely to the wearer's body. Because of its thickness, however, some men may find it too warm to wear during the hot spring and summer months. Cotton or linen is thinner, lighter and more suitable for hot temperatures.
When choosing a suit jacket, pay close attention to how it sits on your shoulders. You can usually tell if a suit jacket is too big or small by looking at the shoulders. Is there excess fabric bunched up around your shoulders? Can you lift your arms up and move them around without tugging on your jacket's shoulders? These are just a few questions you should ask yourself when choosing a suit jacket. A good jacket should sit on your shoulders, allowing you to move your arms around without possesses excess fabric.
In addition to the shoulders, you should also check the sleeves of your suit jacket. If the jacket is too small, the sleeves will typically stop several inches before your wrist, revealing the fabric of your undershirt. On the other hand, if your jacket is too big, the sleeves will stop several inches past your wrists, resulting in excess fabric being visible. So, try on your jacket and look and the mirror to see where the sleeves stop, as this indicates whether or not it fits correctly.
Watch the Lapels
When you're busy worrying about color, fabric, size, etc., it's easy to overlook the subtle details in a suit jacket like the lapels. Besides, how much of an impact do the lapels really have on a suit jacket? Well, more than you may think. Wide, large lapels have a tendency to draw the visibility away from the jacket while creating an awkward appearance. So, stick with a suit jacket with small, slim lapels. Regardless of your personal style and fashion preference, slim lapels are almost guaranteed to look better than larger, wide lapels on a suit jacket.
How many buttons does the suit jacket have? A good rule of thumb is to choose a jacket with either three or two buttons, allowing you to leave the bottom-most button unfastened. Fastening all the buttons on a suit jacket looks tacky, so always leave the bottom button undone.
One of the areas where many guys mess up when choosing a suit jacket is the sides. A well-fitted jacket will hug your sides just enough so that you can move around freely while still eliminating the presence of excess fabric and material. If you see excess fabric around your sides, you'll need to choose a different suit jacket or have your existing jacket tailored. Or if you are unable to move around freely due to the sides being too tight, you'll also need to choose a different jacket. These are just a few tips to help you choose the right suit jacket. A good suit jacket will last years, offering you the perfect choice of formal wear. But it takes more than just a generic blazer to create an attractive formal look. You'll need to find the right suit jacket, trousers, dress shirt and accessories. This article should give you a better idea of where and how to find the perfect suit jacket. While you can always cross your fingers and hope you find the perfect suit jacket at a local retail or department store, a smarter decision is to shop here at StudioSuits. Shoppers can specify their own measurements during checkout, eliminating the possibility of the jacket being too small or too big. As long as you specify the correct measurements, you'll have a suit jacket that's tailored specifically for your body size and shape.