Stefanos Milatos by Joey Leo
One day, I shall get hair like that.
"Does It Fit?" Checklist
A friend of mine recently had to get a new suit for a wedding (not his), and asked for my advice on how to tell if a suit jacket fits. I thought about sending him to the various guides Jesse and I have written on the topic, but realized they might be too much to read for someone who doesn’t have a particular interest in menswear. So I wrote out a very basic checklist – something simple, practical, and easy-to-use for how to evaluate if a suit jacket or sport coat fits, with links to longer articles in case anyone wants to read more.
The guiding principle for how a suit jacket should fit is pretty simple. There should be clean lines all around, with no puckering or pulling anywhere, and the jacket should flatter the body (this doesn’t mean it should be super tight). Looking at photos of our friends Voxsartoria and MostExerent can be instructive.
More specifically …
- Shoulders: The shoulder line should be clean, not lumpy, and the ends of your jacket’s shoulders should generally coincide with the ends of your natural shoulders.
- Chest: Most off-the-rack suits are designed so that the jacket’s chest should stay fairly close to your body, but if you see the lapels starting to buckle, that means your jacket is too tight.
- Length: If you want something classic, the hem of your jacket should hit roughly midway between your jacket’s collar and the floor.
- Collar: The collar should stay glued to your neck, even when you move your arms about (within reason).
- Sleeves: Make sure the sleeves fall cleanly. There shouldn’t be any divots or wrinkles when you hang your arms naturally by your side.
- Sleeve length: Few jackets will have a perfect sleeve length off-the-rack, so most will need to be altered. Just make sure that after alterations, you have about a half inch of shirt cuff peeking out. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be made difficult by what’s called “working buttonholes.”
- Waist: There’s some wiggle room here. You can have the waist nipped to give the jacket more shape, or let out if it feels too tight. In the end, just make sure the jacket isn’t pulling at the buttoning point.
After that, there are some other details you might want to pay attention to:
- Quarters: This is the colloquial name for the area of your jacket below the buttoning point. Think about whether you like this area closed or open. It can make a big difference in how your jacket looks.
- Buttoning point: On a three-button jacket, button the middle button, and on a two-button jacket, button the top. Notice where this point sits. Ideally, it should be at your natural waist, though fashion designers have been placing it higher and higher. Be aware that an overly high buttoning point can make you look heavier than you are.
- Lapels: Skinny lapels have been en vogue for a few years now (thanks to Mad Men), but are possibly on their way out. I presume the next fad will be wide lapels at some point. For something classic, stick to something that ends half way between your collar and shoulder point.
- Notch: Pay attention to where the notches are placed on your lapel. It’s been fashionable to have them very high up on the body, sometimes almost near the top of the shoulders, but like low notches in the 1980s, these will probably go out of fashion at some point. Be wary of extremes.
- Balance: When looking at the jacket from the side, the front and back hem should even with each other, or the front should be slightly longer than the back. When viewed from the front, the left and right sides should generally be even. This is called balance. Truthfully, unless you’re getting something bespoke (and even then, this doesn’t always work out), the second part is rare to achieve. If you have a very dropped shoulder, this can affect how the buttons and buttonholes align, which can then throw off how the jacket looks when buttoned.
The second section above is admittedly a bit nit-picky, but it points to some good things to pay attention to when evaluating how a jacket looks on you. Fortunately, there are some workarounds if you see something you don’t like. If the quarters are too closed, or if the buttoning point is too high, you can always just wear the jacket unbuttoned. And if the balance is a bit off, you can ask an alterations tailor to move the buttons up a bit so that they align with the buttonholes. Finding the perfect jacket can be difficult, so how much you care about getting the perfect fit will greatly depend on how much time and money you want to spend. But at least now you know what to look for.
Whoa, important information! I regularly buy clothes off the rack so I really should hold on to this the next time I get anything altered.
the moment i put this on, i had to pause because i just couldn’t control my emotions. suddenly everything felt better. not perfect, but better. like this was all real and i could finally feel it.
it was really tight though, so i suspect that i might have ordered one size too small. not sure if that is a common problem the first time you put a binder on.
THOUGH, hilarious story: for one moment, while i was trying to take it off, i was honest to goodness stuck.
i may not talk a lot about it but i do think it: i am terrified i will never transition. that i might die before anything real happens and i will be buried with my birth name and i will never get to realize myself. like a lot of people, i have associated “transitioning” with testosterone and appearing male, both physically and legally. i realize now that i was being very silly.
transitioning is different for every body and we transition at different times in our lives. i have begun mine but i didn’t even know it. i am literally moving in the direction that i want to go in, however slowly, however subtly.
buying a binder for my 25th birthday was the best decision ever. i feel more alive, more able to achieve what i need to do to get where i want to be, and more importantly, more real.
Andre Hamann by Rene Fragoso
so i measured myself for a binder. the moment pay comes in, i am ordering one off underworks.
jfc this is nervewracking.
it is, however, the perfect gift for me on my 25th birthday.
I want one. I would get one in a heartbeat if it didn’t break my bank.
I hate being idle for long periods of time. It makes me feel restless, useless, and caged, despite having the freedom to go wherever I want to in my car. My start date is coming up soon and while I am excited, I am also extremely dysphoric and apprehensive.
As always, this is me venting. I don’t need coddling.
I went shopping today during a sale! The result:
- 2 pairs of pants (ladies section to accommodate my hips)
- 3 mens shirts (2 short sleeved, 1 long)
- 1 pair of men’s leather shoes
My girlfriend was a great source of support the whole time I tried stuff on. I always scream a bit on the inside when I find clothes that fit me. This was a pretty good day.
i am seriously in need of a haircut
look at that terrible mop of hair
"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."
There are days I ask myself if everything about me is worth fighting for.
There are days where I am more questions than I am answers.
The resource has been written primarily to assist trans people who experience domestic abuse. There is information as well as links to UK resources.
To view the full booklet, click here.
I need a haircut really badly. January 2013 and February 2013. I look way more tired in the February pictures.
Wow, okay, I haven’t written here in a while.
Lots of things have happened since I last wrote here. I quit my last job, for starters, and I signed up for a gym membership. I don’t really pass but hey, I’m there for the equipment and that is seriously what I need. Haven’t been to the gym for two solid weeks though, because of being busy. I have, however, gotten employed! At a big company! Which has strict rules on how to dress!
The company is Extremely Corporate and I don’t mind, but I have to build my corporate wardrobe since I’ve got only two button downs that are worth wearing and one pair of relatively formal pants. Next week, I am going to hit the mall and buy as many gender neutral and/or masculine clothes as possible. Pretty excited for that, but also scared. Whenever I go shopping, I hate the way the sales ladies look at me. They seem to think I’m in the wrong clothing section.
That’s okay though. I’ll get through it. It certainly helps to have my girlfriend around. She keeps me from running away the moment crippling dysphoria kicks in.
Hoping that this time, THIS TIME, I finally get to buy a binder. I hear that the company is pretty LGBT friendly.