Men's Styling Tips

How To Measure A Suit Size (Body & Garment Measurements)

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Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Morah Rose

When shopping for a suit, it is important to know your size and how it should fit because this will play a great role in how it will look on you. 

That’s why in this article, we’re going to cover:

  • Important things to take note of when it comes to the size of the suit.
  • How to measure a suit size.
No matter how expensive the suit is, if you don’t have the right measurements or if it doesn’t fit you right then be assured that you will not look good or even stand out in it.

Related: How A Suit Should Fit (Why You Look Bad In A Suit).

Important things to note when it comes to the size of a suit

  1. Some brands will provide body measurements and others garment measurements.

This is usually the case when you are buying off-the-rack suits but for the made-to-measure/custom and bespoke you will need body measurements.

You need to Read This Before Buying A Cheap Suit (Buying A Suit On A Budget).

See also: Best Places To Find Cheap/Affordable Men’s Suits.

  1. The size of the suit will vary between brands

I highly recommend that you avoid relying on the size label on the suit when buying a suit.

This is because every brand has a different understanding of suit sizing. You also don’t want to end up regretting your purchase.

For instance, you may be size 32 in one brand but a different size in another brand. 

  1. Don’t expect a suit ordered online to fit you perfectly or the way you want.

To find the right size when purchasing online, sometimes you might need to order different sizes, try them on then return those that don’t fit properly.

Things to do before measuring your suit size

  1. I highly recommend getting a second person to help you take the measurements. Measuring yourself will typically not work.
  1. Don’t just use any measuring tape, particularly those provided by a brand. 

That’s because they may change over time and end up not giving you the right measurements.

I’d recommend you use singer extra-long vinyl tape measuring 96 inches. Get it on Amazon.

  1. When taking measurements for a suit, I recommend wearing a dress shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes.
  1. I also highly recommend that you relax and stand in your normal posture for the best measurements. This is important and ensures that the suit fits you right.

See also:

How To Look Expensive On A Budget (Men Styling Hacks).

How To Dress Like An Italian Man In Summer (How To Dress Sharp).

How to measure a suit size

The key to a well-fitting suit is getting proper measurements. Therefore, I’d highly recommend taking your time to get your real measurements.

How to measure suit jacket size

The most important measurements for a jacket are the shoulders, chest, length of the jacket, and sleeve length.

How to measure the chest size of the suit jacket

a). Body measurements for the chest size

To measure the chest you need to measure the fullest part of your chest. This is typically around your nipples.

This measurement should be taken when you are standing in a relaxed and normal state for the best measurements.

When it comes to the suit size, European and American suit sizing is different.

For example;
If you are of normal (regular) height and find that your chest measurement is 46 inches,
for the American sizing that will remain as it is (46R) but for the European system the 46 inches will be 56R.

That’s because you will need to take the measurement and add 10.
46 inches + 10 = 56 Regular

However, when it comes to short and tall men this is different from the European sizing system. 

See the chart below to find your sizing.
Jacket size chart for US and European sizing system
US Regular34R36R38R40R42R44R46R48R50R
EU Regular44R46R48R50R52R54R56R58R60R
US short34S36S38S40S42S44S46S48S50S
EU short222324252627282930
US long34L36L38L40L42L44L46L48L50L
EU long909498102106110114118122

b). Garment measurements for the chest size

When doing the garment measurements for the chest, I recommend buttoning the jacket and laying it down on a flat surface then slightly lifting up the sleeves, and measuring from pit to pit. 

How to measure your shoulders for the suit’s jacket size

It is important to take the right measurements and pay attention to your shoulders because this plays a great role in complimenting a man’s physique when wearing a suit.

a). Body measurements for the shoulder sizes

I’d recommend you measure your shoulder width from bone to bone. This means that you need to at least ensure that you feel the shoulder bone. 

Pay attention to your shoulder’s shape when taking your measurements. Why?

a). Men have different types of shoulders, as seen in the image below the table. 

I highly recommend paying attention to your shoulder’s shape when taking the measurements.

That’s because they play a great role in how the jacket looks and how comfortable it feels on you.

This is also important because, if let’s say you have a very round back, this would mean that if you don’t add about a centimeter or a half an inch to your shoulder measurement the jacket will feel too tight at the back.

b). Many men tend to have different shoulder slopes on each side.

This has a huge impact on how well a jacket fits. 

Other men have flat shoulders while others have normal shoulders.

That means that if you have sloping shoulders, you can take the right measurements for the shoulders. However, you will need to add some extra padding on one side of the shoulders if it is very noticeable.

I recommend finding more information on shoulder styles in order to find the right jacket for your body type. You can also go through our article on the best suit for your body type.

Related: How To Choose A Suit For Your Body Type (Men’s Suit Guide).

b). Garment measurements for the shoulder size

When measuring the shoulder length of the garment, place the jacket on a flat surface and measure from one sleeve head to the other. 

How to measure suit jacket length 

a). Body measurements for the jacket length.

There are 2 ways of measuring the jacket length:

  1. Measure from the top of your spine, where the jacket collar normally sits, going all the way down to the bottom hem of the pants

Then take the measurements and divide it by 2 to get the jacket length. 

This will give you a proper jacket length.

If you want a shorter jacket look, then you should subtract your final measurements (after dividing by 2) with about 1 or 2 inches (that’s about 2½ to 5cm).
  1. The 2nd measuring option is done from the top of your spine, down to where you have your knuckles clenched into a half fist as seen in the image below. 
This is not the most recommended measuring option because different men have different arm lengths.

Also, men of the same height may have a short torso and longer legs, or a longer torso and shorter legs. Therefore, affecting the jacket length when using this method to measure.

b). Garment measurements for the suit jacket length.

Lay the garment on a flat surface and take the measurements from just underneath the jacket collar to the base of the jacket. 

Repeat the measurement starting from the jacket collar to the base of the jacket.

This is recommended because different vendors will provide different back-length measurements using either of the two measurements mentioned above.

Most brands that sell off-the-rack suits and made-to-measure jackets tend to cut the jacket slightly longer in the front than the back.

How to measure the sleeve length

a). Body measurements for the sleeve length.

The best way to measure the sleeve length is by starting from your shoulder bone down to the knuckles base of your thumb. Do this on both hands because you might have slightly different arm lengths.

Additionally, if you are looking to show a bit of the shirt cuff, then I recommend taking your final measurements and subtracting it with an inch and a half, a quarter inch, or three-quarters of an inch (1 to 3cm), depending on how much you want to show.

The final garment sleeve length is not just defined by your arm length measurements. Sometimes, it may be influenced by your type of shoulders. 

This means that if you have sloppy shoulders, to get the best sleeve length (for each side of the jacket), you might need to get a good tailor to ensure you get a proper sleeve length size on each side of the jacket suit.

b). Garment measurements for the sleeve length.

You need to lay the jacket on a flat surface and start measuring from the middle of the sleeve head down to the bottom tip of the jacket. 

How to measure the waist of the jacket

a). Body measurements for the waist.

You will need to measure around your natural waistline or the slimmest part of your upper body. In most cases that’s around the belly button. 

b). Garment measurements for the sleeve length.

Lay the jacket on a flat surface and measure around the buttoning point or where the jacket is the slimmest. 

Additionally, if the jacket has a super low or super high buttoning point you will need to slightly adjust the measurements.

How to measure suit pants/trouser size

The most important measurements for the pants are the waist size, the rise of the pants, and the inseam.

  • How to measure hips and seat of the pants

You should measure around the widest part of your bum.

  • How to measure the inseam.

You will need to measure from your crotch area down to the inside of one pant leg down to the bottom hem of the pants. 

If you want to get super slim pants then you have to shorten your inseam by about half-inch to an inch or more (this is about 1 to 3 cm) but of course, depending on your preferences.

You may also like: Best Jeans/Denim For Your Body Type (Men’s Guide).

  • How to measure the rise of the pants.

Normally there are two ways to measure the rise of the pants:

a). Method 1 – Measure from the top waistline to the bottom hem. Then take your inseam measurements and subtract them.

Outseam – Inseam = Rise 

b). Method 2 – Measure from the waistband in the front through your crotch to the waistband at the back of the pants. 

However, the downside of this method is that you may not get the best measurements because you might end up getting pants that are too tight or constricting at the crotch area.

  • How to measure the thighs.

The thigh measurement is usually taken around the widest part of your thighs. 

Lastly, I’d highly recommend you always rely on your real measurements for the best fit, especially when buying suits online.