Fit is the number one most important element of a good-looking suit. You can have the best fabrics, the coolest shoes or the most original tie, but if the suit doesn’t fit properly, it won’t look good. And you deserve to look your best.
Does James Bond ever have his pants pooling over his shoes? Would Frank Sinatra get caught dead with a jacket that bulged at the buttons? The man should wear the suit. The suit shouldn’t wear the man.
To help you on your red carpet style pursuit, here’s our definitive guide to ensuring your suit or tux looks like you know what you’re doing
The jacket is the integral part of a suit or tuxedo. It’s what really makes a suit a suit. And while, yes, pants are so important, it’s the jacket that everyone will notice first. Every part of the jacket should fit in all the right places to ensure the sharpest look possible.
The hem of a properly fitted suit or tuxedo should hit around the middle of your hand, when your arms are casually at your sides. Too high and you get a flare above your butt. Too long and you’ll be swimming in it.
Pro Tip: The sweet spot of jacket length is right where your butt starts to curve inward
The shirt sleeve should land naturally at your wrist where your hand starts to widen. The jacket sleeve should end with enough room to show off about a half inch of your shirt sleeve. No more, no less. You can show off your cufflinks and won’t look like you’re wearing someone else’s jacket.
Pro Tip: make sure your shirt is fully buttoned and tucked in to gauge the proper sleeve length. Yes, that includes that pesky collar button—if your shirt is the right size, a too-tight collar shouldn’t be an issue.
With a two-button jacket, you should only button the top one. With a three-button jacket, always button the top one and whether or not to button the middle button is up to you. Always leave the bottom button undone. The bottom button is also often left undone for vests as well. For a one-button jacket, always button it.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to take a seat, remember to unbutton your jacket. It’s more comfortable and it prevents your jacket from bunching around the chest.
Pro Tip: The shoulders of your suit or tuxedo jacket are the most difficult part to adjust. So if you’re buying or renting from a store, make sure your shoulders are correct before ordering or getting alterations.
Okay, so, yes, we made jackets sound way more important in the previous section, but don’t get us wrong. Pants are still important. They are pants, after all. If you want to look your tallest and leanest, make sure you have your pants fitted properly.
Make sure that your pants waist sits right at your natural waist, or right below your belly button. That way, your pants won’t be too long and your look won’t be sloppy.
Pro Tip: Use suspenders to maintain the appropriate tuxedo pant length, while adding classic flair to your look.
Your pants should have about a half inch break, landing at the back of the shoe. Try on your pants with the shoes you are wearing to the event. Should your pants bunch up slightly around your ankles, check to make sure your pant waist is where it should be – just below your bellybutton. This should allow for a more natural break in the pant. We repeat – do not leave the house with pants that are pooling at the ankles.
While the pant cut for a suit or tuxedo may not be as form-fitting as your everyday wear, you can choose a slim fit pant to replicate that more closely-fitted look if you prefer.
The seat of your pants should be a smooth drape over the shape of your butt. The fabric should lie loose against your underwear and not feel too tight when you sit down. To spot a bad fit, you’ll see horizontal wrinkles directly beneath the butt for a fit that is too tight and long, u-shaped folds down the back of the legs for a fit that is too loose.
Either suspenders or a belt can be worn with a suit, but only suspenders should be worn with a tuxedo. Tuxedo pants do not have belt loops, just in case you forget which one goes with a tux.
Repeat after me: I will not wear a belt with tuxedo pants. I will not wear a belt with tuxedo pants.
These rules are the staples for wearing a suit or tuxedo. This is one of the biggest days of your life and you deserve to look your absolute best—which means following all the rules, even if they’re a hassle. Yes, we know it’s a lot to keep up with, but trust us. Those wedding photos are forever and if your wearing an ill-fitting suit in them, your bride will be salty about it for years to come.
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