Anatomy of a Suit Jacket (Part 1)

One question we get on a regular basis is where to buy a suit.

Every guy should have at least one suit that looks great and that they are comfortable wearing. But there is a lot more to buying a suit than just pulling it off the rack.

The better question to ask is, what are you looking for in a suit? And that begs the question, do you even know to look for? For years, I didn’t have a clue.

The following list isn’t exhaustive, but here are a few things to think about:

Lapels

Peaked vs. Notched.

There really isn’t any debate here. Peaked and notched are the most common types of lapels and the decision comes down to preference. You can diversify your wardrobe by owning both. Decide for yourself, but you should know the difference.

A Notched lapel forms a V-shape where it meets the neck-collar. This style has edged out the Peaked lapel in recent years and is a fine choice for any occasion.

The Peaked lapel forms a point that juts out where it meets the neck-collar:

Pockets

The pockets on a suit are called besom pockets and are sewn into the suit rather than attached from the outside. They can have slits or flaps (Again, no debate here, mostly preference – see below)

Ticket Pockets

Ticket pockets (left: both images) are about as old as suits themselves and have British origins. It’s a third and smaller pocket situated just above one of the standard pockets. Nowadays it’s just as common to see a ticket pocket as to not. It does add some sophistication and practicality to your suit. It’s not a must-have, but certainly worth considering.

Pick stitching

Pick stitching is evident by the visible stitches around the edges of the lapels. This is a fairly common accent and that’s all. To some, pick stitching used to be a sign of a well-made suit, but that is not necessarily the case anymore. If you’re buying your first suit or a go-to suit you should probably opt for standard stitching.

Jacket Length

Rule #1, the jacket should cover your seat (the gentleman’s term for rear end). There really aren’t any other hard-and-fast rules. There are various ways to measure the length. One that works well for me is making sure the jacket reaches the second knuckle of my thumb when my arm is in a relaxed state at my side. Keep in mind, men come in different arm lengths, torsos, and builds. If all else fails, just follow rule #1.

Suit jacket length

Sleeves

The sleeve length should end right at the top of your hand where it joins the wrist. When your arm is fully relaxed and at your side, about ½” of the shirt should peak out past the sleeve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Fossil Watch)

Functional Buttons

Functional buttons have long been a feature of high end, custom tailored suits. Many fine (and pricey) suits, however, do not come with standard functional buttons. If you own a suit that does not have them you can always have the button holes opened by a tailor for a small price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there is much more to the makings of a great suit, know the vocabulary in this post and you’ll be fine.

Have a question about an upcoming suit purchase that we didn’t answer here? Leave a comment or email us!

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