If you are here, then you either own a jacket (or several), or you are looking to purchase one. Whether it is a sports jacket, a winter jacket or even a suit jacket, one of the most important things when it comes to buying one, is the size.
A jacket that fits too tight, or is too big will not only defeat the purpose of wearing it, it will also affect the whole look of your outfit. We have all been there, so that is why a guide like this is necessary.
There are several reasons as to why it is so important to wear the appropriate size when it comes to jackets. First of all, if it’s a winter jacket that is too large, not only will it not keep you warm, it will also affect insulation, and will even allow for rain or snow to get inside, which apart from being a nuisance, it can also put you at risk for low body temperature.
If it’s too tight, you either will not be able to wear it at all, or it will not allow for the proper clothes to be worn underneath, because it will not fit.
When it comes to suit jackets, you will either look like you’ve been stuffed inside a tight jacket, or you will look like a child wearing an adult’s jacket.
There are several things to keep in mind when looking for the right size, and it all begins with knowing your body’s measurements. Especially if you are going to make an online purchase, where you can’t physically try the jacket and see if it fits well.
Let’s get right into it. First of all, you will need some equipment. These include:
- a tailor’s tape measure;
- a jacket that fits properly;
- and, of course, pen and paper.
Someone to help would be the best option, especially to correctly measure the body.
We will divide it into paragraphs, each describing a specific measurement, for both the jacket and the body. We’ll also add some videos to illustrate it better. This guide can be used by both men and women since the measuring technique, especially on the body, is similar.
Body: On the body, place the measuring tape so it goes from one shoulder to the other, at the widest point, which is right at the edge, where the arm begins.
Jacket: Lay the jacket with the back facing upwards, and flatten it out. Measure on top of the shoulder seams, at the widest points.
Keep in mind that shoulder size varies from brand to brand and different styles. A larger shoulder size on a jacket, than your actual shoulder size, does not mean that the jacket won’t fit properly. For that, you need to check the chest size and look at the cut of the jacket.
Body: Raise your arms to the side and then place the measuring tape underneath the armpits, since that’s the widest part of the chest, and measure around.
Jacket: Lay the jacket so the front faces upwards and button or zip it up. In case it comes with only two or three buttons, such as in some suit jackets, then button just the second one. Then, place the sleeves above head and measure at the lowest point of the armpit seam.
Keep in mind that your actual chest size measurement is double the jacket’s chest size. Chest size barely varies from different brands and cuts, so this is the one measurement that you need to rely on, when judging whether the jacket will fit correctly. Even if all other measurements fit, but the chest one is too small or too big, move on to another jacket.
Another thing to keep in mind is that designers will cut the jacket’s chest 3-5 inches bigger than the actual chest, but typically it is 4 inches. That means that if you see a size 40 jacket, it means that it measures 44-45″. This goes for most jackets, especially suit jackets and softshells.
For heavier jackets, see that the measurements will allow for you to wear about 0.5 – 1″ layering clothes, and that you’ll still have some room for movement.
Body: With the arms to the side, measure at the natural waistline, which is the narrow part, underneath the chest. Measure around and remember that this is also, double the size of the measurement on the jacket.
Jacket: With the jacket in the same position as the chest measurements, look for the narrowest part, there should be a slight curve, below the chest.
When it comes to the waist, you need to consider the cut and your own measurements. If the chest will fit properly, then the waist will either be a slim fit or it will fit loosely, depending on the cut and design.
Body: Arms to the side, measure at the widest point of the hips, at the hip bone. Measure around.
Jacket: With the jacket flat, facing to the front, measure it at the widest part, underneath the waist.
If it’s a short jacket, or a hip-length jacket, there usually is no need for measurement, especially if it buttons up. If it’s a long jacket or one that zips up, then take measurements into consideration.
This is more of an issue when it comes to women’s jackets, so make sure that it will fit, when fully buttoned or zipped.
5) Arms and Sleeves
Body: With the arm raised slightly to the side, measure from the top of shoulder, where the arm begins, to the middle of the wrist, where you would usually prefer the sleeve cuff to end. Measure around as well, at the widest part of the upper arm.
Jacket: Lay the arms to the side of the jacket and measure from the shoulder seam, to the center of the cuff, right where it ends.
This will give an approximate measurement, but look for the specifics of the jacket you are looking to purchase, whether it has extra fabric or, if online, whether the seller specifies for the option of length adjustment on the sleeve.
6) Length of jacket
Body: There is no need to measure in this case.
Jacket: With the jacket laying flat, measure from the base of the collar, to the hem of the jacket. Do this with the jacket’s back facing upwards.
The length is a personal choice, just be aware that it covers your back entirely, otherwise it is too short.
You have the tips and the tricks on how to measure a jacket that fits your own body and how to interpret measurements given by sellers on specific jackets. Go ahead and purchase a quality jacket, that will fit you properly, to make sure that you stay warm and stylish during the cold seasons.