How to Invest in Jackets That Fit
Do you have the right jacket to wear on a rainy day or out to dinner on a cool evening? I have found many of us don’t and find ourselves trying to make that denim jacket work with everything—and it just doesn’t! Now that it’s getting cooler outside, it’s time to ensure you have the perfect jacket(s) that flatter and fit your specific needs, budget, and body.
Because jackets can be a pricy piece of clothing, it’s smart to make informed choices that work best for you. It can be complicated understanding how a blazer should fit properly or which jackets are best for your body type, and do you really know the advantages or disadvantages of buying leather versus faux leather?
These tips will help you spend your dollars wisely to prepare for the fall and winters months ahead!
MEN: How can I choose a blazer that fits properly?
- Collar: No significant gap between your shirt and the jacket; your collar should lie against the back of the jacket.
- Shoulders: The seam should hit where your shoulder ends. You should not see a divot at the shoulder; this occurs if the fit is too tight. If the blazer is too narrow, it will make your head look big. If it is too wide, it will make your head look small!
- Arm Holes: Current styles are cut higher, which looks polished. But the cut should not be so high that it digs into your arm pit. Older (dated) styles are cut lower and make you look broad—these are not flattering.
- Sleeve Width: You do not want the sleeve width too narrow or wide. The sleeves should not hug your muscles, but should also not be sloppy, losing the shape of your arm.
- Sleeve Length: Bend your hand up at the wrist. Your hem should be 1/4 inch above the bend, allowing your shirt sleeve to fall 1/4 inch below.
- Body: The jacket should lightly hug your midsection. If the fit creates an X (pulling under the button and not lying straight), then it is too tight. If too loose, this is an easy alteration.
- Back: This is a big giveaway of a poorly fitting blazer. You should see the natural curve of your back.
- Shoulder Blades: The back of the jacket should lie as smoothly as possible with no horizontal lines, which indicate that the blazer is too tight. If extra material is billowing, this indicates the blazer is too big.
- Button Stance: Your top button should hit just a little above your belly button (about 1 1/2 inches). If it is higher or lower, it will throw off your body proportion. *Extra Credit: Never button the bottom button on a two-button jacket!
- Length: The length dictates how balanced your upper body is to your lower body. If you are 5’9” and under, your blazer should hit mid crotch. If you are taller, your blazer should hit at your mid to lower crotch. You cannot lengthen a blazer.
WOMEN: How can I choose coats and jackets that flatter my body proportion?
The key question to ask yourself is, “What do I want to accentuate?”
- To accentuate the top part of your body: If you are fuller on the bottom and like to draw attention to the top of your body, a biker-style jacket is great, as it draws the eye to focus on the (typically padded) shoulder and also draws the eye horizontally, which balances the hip area. These jackets are typically shorter in length and should hit higher than the wider part of your hips. Hooded jackets, trimmed in faux fur or other eye-catching trims, are another great option.
- To accentuate your waistline: Women who have a straight up and down, rectangular shape often want to create a waist. A belted style will do just that! Another option is to wear your jacket longer, straight, and tailored to create an elegant look.
- To draw attention away from the middle: A “swing” coat is ideal. This jacket style is fitted at the bust, straight until it hits the waist, and then flairs out like a swirl dress. Knee length is best. If you are petite in height, choose a slightly shorter version.
- To balance a tiny waistline: For you hourglass-figured ladies, when your waist is proportionally smaller compared to your bust and hips, tailored classic coats are ideal. If you want to look sexier, select a belted or “wrap” style. If you do not opt for a belt, wear your coat below the knee or longer to elongate your silhouette.
- To minimize bust: Avoid large lapels or fur around the collar.
- To accentuate height: Petite women should choose knee-length or shorter styles. Any woman can accentuate her height by keeping design details or a furry collar at the neckline, or keeping design detail or a contrasting color down the middle. Rule of thumb: The longer your legs, the longer your jacket should be.
Bonus: REAL vs. FAUX Leather?
|Texture and pores that add richness||Harms animals|
|Durable and puncture resistant||Costs more|
|Stretches and moves with your body|
Faux Leather (Leather-Like Plastic)
|Does not harm animals||Ends up in landfill*|
|Cost effective||Does not develop a luster over time|
|Not puncture resistant|
|Does not stretch|
|Does not breathe|
|Wrinkles more than leather|
*New types of animal-free leather are on the horizon, one notably made from mushrooms, called Mushroom Leather. Keep a watch out for this fabric! It is biodegradable and does not harm animals.
Although there seem to be a lot of cons for faux leather, they really are a wonderful option. Since faux leather jackets are less expensive, when they wear out faster, you can have fun replacing and selecting an updated style!