Nothing dresses a man like a perfectly fitting suit. But there are lots of fashionable traps to tap into. Are you unsure which suit size fits you best? Then use these suit size charts and measuring guidelines to find the perfect fit for you.
At a Glance
- The suit usually consists of pants and a jacket. However, for more elegant occasions, a vest is often worn over the shirt. The suit’s material is typically a mix of cotton, polyester, and elestane.
- To correctly determining your suit size, you need to measure your (1) height, (2) chest circumference, (3) hip circumference, and (4) waistband. You also need to know your (5) step length (along the leg, from crotch to the ground) and (6) your side length (from the waist over the hip to the sole).
- For “large and slim” individuals, the ideal suit comes with a jacket with a narrow lapel and at least three buttons. Trousers shouldn’t have a serve so the legs look less long.
For “large and strong” men, two-button jackets are best to make the wearer look slimmer. Avoid wearing wide trouser legs. It is better to wear trousers with wrinkles on the waist.
- For “small and slim” individuals, the ideal suits comes with short jackets and are figure-hugging. Three-button jackets is ideal as well pants legs should be cut long enough that they show a medium to full break.
For “small and strong” men, choose a well-fitting two-button jacket to make the body look longer and slimmer. Wear trousers with a pleat on the shoe to make the legs look longer.
The practical thing about the suit is: you are always dressed immediately. A noble shirt underneath (never with a pocket!), matching belt, good shoes, maybe a tie, more casual without – done. But being dressed doesn’t automatically mean you’re well dressed. In fact, in everyday life, countless men wear badly-fitting suits that simply don’t match their figure. Of course, men also have their problem areas. That’s why it doesn’t have to be a made-to-measure suit – the right cut is sometimes enough.
The following dimensions are important for determining the size of your new suit:
- chest circumference
- hip circumference
Suit Size Chart
|Internat. Suit Size||US Suit Size||Euro Suit Size||Chest (Inch)||Waist (Inch)||Arm (Inch)|
How do I measure my perfect suit size?
- Body height: Stand against a door frame without shoes
and measure from head to toe.
- Bust measurement: Measure over the strongest part of the chest
around the body horizontally.
- Waist measurement: Measure horizontally around the waist.
Do not cut the tape measure.
- Step length: Along the leg from the crotch to the ground.
- Side length: Measured from the waist over the hip to the sole.
- Hip circumference: Measure horizontally at the strongest part of the buttocks, close to the body.
To find out the correct size of the suit jacket, measuring the chest circumference is the most important thing. Place the tape measure around the widest area of the chest. We measure the waist, approximately 3 fingers wide, under the navel. Here you can learn more about the specificity of suit jackets, blazers and sports coats.
For your suit pants to determine the length of the leg, it is important to measure (or have measured) the inside of the leg. The highest point of the inside of the leg is measured up to the point where the heel touches the ground. Make sure that you are not wearing shoes while you are measuring, and that their legs are slightly spread out. More detailed sizing charts and instructions for pants are here.
In some cases, you can not just pick your suit “off the shelf” because your upper body might taller than the average or you have particularly long legs. In such cases, you need to pick the suit jacket and the suit pants in different sizes. Some brands offer such flexibility, others not. You are of course always 100% safe in case you purchase a tailor-made suit.
(If you need help finding the right-fitting dress shirt, this article is for you.)
Standard Size Chart
|Internat. Sizes||US Sizes||UK Sizes||French Sizes||Italian Sizes||German Sizes|
Suit Selection Guidelines
Large and slim
From 6’2” upwards, man belongs to the tall ones. But not everyone brings with them broad shoulders and a muscular upper body. That’s why one doesn’t have to look the same as a beanpole. It could happen with the wrong suit. Hence…
- Choose a suit jacket with a narrow lapel and at least three buttons. The neckline is smaller and the upper body looks more voluminous than a two-button jacket.
- Pinstripes are taboo – they stretch the upper body even more. At best, this type of figure can afford to have large checks.
- If you wear a tie, it should be a bit wider. This is also visually impressive.
- The trousers shouldn’t have a serve, though. Then the legs look less long.
Large and strong
The main problem zone for men is the stomach. Too much food, too much beer, too little exercise and the six-pack quickly turns into a family-pack. Quite a few men tend to hide the small ball under far too wide suits. Mistake! Firstly, because it makes it look even thicker; secondly, because it doesn’t look casual but slutty. Therefore…
- Wear two-button jackets. They stretch the upper body again thanks to their deep neckline and make the wearer look slimmer. A three-button jacket can also be worn even if the lapel is not too short.
- Upholstered shoulder areas must be avoided at all costs, as they apply even more.
- You should omit samples of all kinds: Neither pinstripes on the jacket, nor stripes on the shirt. The latter makes the man even stronger. Better: use dark suits and plain shirts.
- The same applies to the tie: no stripes, not too narrow – that also gives the upper body a more massive look.
- Avoid wide trouser legs – they make you thicker. It is better to wear trousers with wrinkles on the waist.
Small and slim
Small men often have the advantage that the proportions look more harmonious overall. But if they are small and rather thin, the whole thing quickly looks boyish or youthful. The suit – it looks like it could have been worn for confirmation. You don’t have to. Therefore…
- Choose suits with short jackets and figure-hugging, these visually extend the legs and give you more contour. Wide suits in soft fabrics tend to make them disappear.
- Three-button jackets and pinstripe also stretch the upper body – they look bigger. The same applies to narrow lapel.
- Patterned shirts also give your upper body more volume. But beware: Only plain shirts are worn under patterned suits!
- The pants legs should be cut in such a way that they lie on the shoe with a crease. This also makes the carrier appear larger.
Small and strong
This variant is probably the most difficult figure. On the one hand, the strongly grown hip area has to be concealed, while at the same time there are no counterbalancing guards. Whoever picks the wrong suit here seems to be bulletproof. But there are alternatives. This….
- Choose a well-fitting two-button jacket that, thanks to its deep neckline, makes the upper body look longer and slimmer.
- Do without any patterned fabrics. Cross strips and checks only add additional volume.
Instead, wear a handkerchief in a jacket instead – this directs attention from the stomach to the upper body.
- Trouser legs with an impact also belong back on the shelf. Thickener! It is better to wear trousers with a pleat on the shoe. They stretch their legs.
How do you recognize a high-quality suit?
- At the so-called tailoring edge. This is an additional, hand stitched, well visible seam on the outer edges of the lapel. The handwork can be recognized by the minimal irregular distances between the seams.
- The buttons should be made of natural materials such as buffalo horn and the buttonholes should be hemmed by hand and neatly worked. The so-called handle of the button (this is the bridge between fabric and button made of a thread) must not be too short and should be wrapped in a durable way.
- If the buttons on the sleeve slits are not dummies but can be opened and closed normally, this is also an indication of good quality. (” functioning” buttons are normally a sure indication for custom-made work.
- One of the most difficult parts of making a jacket is the shoulder: at the transition between the sleeves and the shoulder, there should be no waves in the fabric when wearing a good suit.
- The pattern of a suit should run cleanly over the seams without breaking. Pay particular attention to this on the shoulder area of the jacket and around the breast pocket.
- A high-quality jacket has an inner lining which protects the inside and at the same time allows the jacket to glide better over the shirt.
How do I clean a suit?
The suit as the most representative men’s outfit should always be perfectly maintained. A wrinkled, warped suit quickly seems ridiculous at a business meeting and does not support the professional appearance in any way. Find out how you can ensure that your business outfit is always perfectly maintained.
If you are unsure of how to clean a suit properly, it is advisable to go for a professional dry cleaning. However, if you wear a suit every day for professional reasons, it can be quite cost-intensive, so you should take care of your suit at home.
Clean the suit (both jacket and trousers) daily after wearing it with a natural hairbrush and let it air out overnight in the room before you hang it back into the wardrobe. A steam bath is recommended from time to time to freshen up natural wool fabrics in a jacket. To do this, simply use the hot shower with the window closed to produce steam in the bathroom and leave the jacket hanging in it. Stains can be gently dabbed off with a cloth.
How do I hang a suit properly?
Invest in special wooden hangers for your suits: these consist of a regular coat hanger (for the jacket) and a thicker crossbar on which the pants are hung without causing an unsightly crease. An alternative to avoid wrinkles in the pants are pant hangers with clips. Hang worn suits on a hanger for ventilation immediately after taking them off. Even freshly ironed pants should be hung up immediately so that there are no other creases caused by lying down.
How do I pack my suit in the suitcase?
Silk paper is your best friend if you want to pack a suit in your suitcase. Make sure that the trouser legs are folded along the crease and lie exactly on top of each other. Place the trousers with the waistband in the case, but let the legs hang out sideways. Place tissue paper on top of the trousers and add another pair of suit trousers. Only when the suitcase is almost full do you knock over your trouser legs.
Stuff the sleeves of the jacket with tissue paper and put it on top of the other packed laundry with the backup. Tip: Next time you buy shirts, keep the cardboard collar of the collar. This can be used to stabilize the jacket collar in the case. If you often have to cut a good figure on business trips in expensive suits, you should invest in a special suit bag – so that the suit reaches its destination wrinkle-free.
What you should consider regarding the material of your suit
The suit usually consists of pants and a jacket. For particularly elegant occasions, a vest is often worn over the shirt. A mixture of cotton, polyester, and elastane is recommended for the material of your suit. An elastane content of about 2% ensures that the suit material stretches slightly and always fits snugly against the body.
The higher the proportion of natural cotton or wool in the suit material, the more expensive the suit is. Wool warms well during the cold winter months, but can also be felt scratchy. A blend of cotton, wool, and polyester is therefore ideal.
How many suits does a man need?
How many suits a man needs depends of course on different factors. Those who can go to work in jeans and T-shirts probably only need two suits for special occasions – a darker, heavier suit for the winter season and a lighter suit for the summer.
However, if you wear a suit every day for work, you need more than that: we recommend a basic set of three to four suits in dark grey and dark blue, which are combined with different shirts and ties. In addition, there is a bright suit especially for warm days and an elegant tuxedo for festive evening events.
How do I wear my suit?
A well-fitting suit looks great on a man. But there are lots of fashionable traps to tap into. The wrong shirt, an inappropriate tie, and the whole look is already ruined.
How many buttons of the jacket you should close depends on the number of buttons. As a rule of thumb, three buttons close the middle button and four buttons close the two middle buttons. Only if the jacket is very wide, all buttons should be closed. On the other hand, you should close as few buttons as possible when wearing a very tight jacket, otherwise it will be too tense.
How do I combine suit, shirt and tie?
How you combine suit and shirt is ultimately determined by your taste. A white shirt always works, of course. But also shirts in delicate shades such as light blue, light grey or pink are a great match for the dark suit.
The choice of the tie is a bit more difficult: it should match the shirt’s color and should not attract too much attention. For example, a tie with blue and noble silver stripes can be worn with the light blue shirt. Ties with slightly stronger patterns, such as Paisley, are good for the dark shirt.
By the way, you can also choose a patterned or chequered shirt and wear a single-colored tie. Under no circumstances should you wear a differently patterned tie with your shirt.
What am I wearing under the shirt?
The former classic fine rib underneath the suit shirt is now a thing of the past and is perceived as stuffy. It is better if the undershirt is not noticeable at all. Thin, skintight T-shirts or so-called invisible, skin-colored undershirts are recommended. On the other hand, not to wear an undershirt at all is considered a fashion faux pas.
Which shoes go best with the suit?
Classic shoes for the suit are the elegant black Oxford, the somewhat more casual Derby and the Brogue, which can be recognized by its typical lace pattern. All three are high-quality leather shoes that you should care for regularly. If the shoes are not worn, keep them in the cupboard with shoe tensioners in shape. Boat shoes and penny loafers are tempting in summer but should be left to our neighbors south of the Alps – at least in the area of business clothing.