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After a suit, a blazer is the most formal item in a man’s wardrobe. Unlike a suit however, a blazer does not come with matching pants and is instead meant to be worn with dress pants, chinos, and even jeans. Clearly then, a blazer is an incredibly versatile wardrobe essential but getting the fit right is key in making sure you get the full versatility from this staple. So to help you out this is a men’s guide on how a blazer should fit.
How Do You Know if a Blazer Fits? Blazer Fit Guide: Checklist Below
Blazer Shoulder Fit
The shoulder fit of a blazer is arguably the most important aspect to get right since the shoulders can’t be tailored easily. In fact, even if a tailor is up for the challenge, it’s usually not worth it considering the hefty alteration fee.
So how should the shoulders fit on a blazer? The shoulder of the jacket should lay relatively flat across your shoulders with little to no bunching. A bit of bunching is okay if the blazer has no padding which is typically seen on casual blazers. But generally speaking, the shoulder line should be straight and clean.
The shoulder seam of the jacket should lie right at the point where your shoulder drops to your arm. If the seam lies before this point, the blazer is too tight in the shoulders and will be uncomfortable. If the seam lies after this point, the blazer is too loose and will look sloppy.
The key to getting the shoulder fit just right is to make sure you are wearing the proper clothes underneath when trying on the blazer. For example, I typically wear my blazers with a dress shirt and occasionally a lightweight sweater on top of the dress shirt so when I am trying on a new blazer, I check if it fits comfortably on top of a dress shirt and lightweight sweater. The shoulder of the jacket should feel comfortable and not tight and you should be able to move your arms up and down comfortably.
The importance of armhole fit is criminally ignored in most fit guides. If the armhole is too big and low, the jacket will never fit well because it will have a ballooning effect under your armpits. No amount of tailoring can resolve this issue so checking the size and fit of the armhole is critically important. You want the armhole to be as high and small as possible since that will give the jacket a fitted look and will also ensure you can move your arms comfortably.
A large and low armhole will make the jacket look boxy. Moreover, as soon as you raise your arms, the jacket will restrict your range of motion. You also don’t want the armhole to be too small or high since that can make the jacket feel uncomfortably tight under the armpit.
The armhole of the blazer I am wearing is relatively high so it maintains the slim silhouette of the blazer. It is also not too high to make the jacket uncomfortable.
Blazer Body Fit
The body of the blazer should be slim and enhance the shape of your body. You should have about 2 to 3 inches of space in the chest area and about 1.5-2 inches where you button the jacket around your waist. Anything less than this will make the jacket puff out in the chest area or create an unsightly x crease in the buttoning area. Anything more will make the jacket look loose and unflattering.
The jacket should accentuate your physique whereby the jacket slims down from your shoulders to your waist and then slightly flares around your hips and waist.
Blazer Button Rules
Most blazers have either 2 or 3 buttons. If you have a 2 button blazer, then the top button should be the only one fastened. If you have a 3 button blazer, then the middle button should typically be the only button fastened. The bottom button should never be fastened on either a 2 or 3 button blazer since it prevents the jacket from taking its desirable shape.
Blazer Button Placement
You might then be wondering where the button closure should lie? The top button (on a 2 button blazer) or the middle button (on a 3 button blazer) should lie at the point where your body is the slimmest. This is typically about 2 inches above your belly button. So why would you want the button that you fasten to lie at this point? It is because having the button closure at your slimmest point will enhance the blazer’s slimming effect.
How Long Should Blazer Sleeves Be?
The sleeves of the blazer should be slim and fall straight from your shoulders to your wrists without any significant wrinkles or bunching when you have your arms pointing straight down. You also don’t want the sleeves to have too much excess room since that will take away from the slim look of the blazer.
The sleeves should end about ½ an inch to an inch above your wrist bone. This will ensure that a bit of your dress shirt is visible which is a classic menswear detail. This small detail truly enhances your look and helps you stand out in a stylish way.
Note: If the sleeves are slightly too long or too short, a tailor can alter them. If the blazer has functioning button holes, then it becomes a bit tricky. But a competent tailor can still perform the alteration. However, its best to find a jacket with sleeves that fit as close to perfect from the start so the amount of tailoring needed is minimal.
How Long Should a Blazer Be?
Most blazers available from mall/fast fashion brands tend to be cut short such as those from H&M and Zara. I would avoid these blazers since they are trendy and will not stand the test of time. They also don’t look good and throw off the proportions of your body. So what is the perfect length of a blazer?
A well-fitting blazer should fall past your waist and end right where your hips meet your upper leg. In other words, it should cover your backside completely. If you are shorter than 5’8, then its fine if the blazer ends 1 inch above where your bottom ends but it shouldn’t be any shorter than this.
How it should be:
How it should not be:
When looking at the lapels you need to consider two factors; the type of lapel and its size. The lapels of a blazer determine its formality and timelessness. Generally speaking, peak lapels are more formal than notch lapels. Moreover, lapels of medium width are considered timeless, that is to say, they were in style back in the day and will remain in style in the foreseeable future.
Type of Lapel – Notch vs Peak Lapels
You might then be wondering what the difference is between peak and notch lapels. Put simply, peak lapels have an elevated sharp point whereas notch lapels do not. There is nothing wrong with peak lapels and many men exclusively wear them in both their suits and blazers/sport coats.
However, if you are looking for maximum versatility, then it is best to go with a notch lapel since it can more easily be dressed up and down. For example, I would personally choose a notch lapel blazer instead of a peak lapel blazer when wearing it with jeans because the formality of the peak lapel may be at odds with the casual nature of the jeans. And a notch lapel can just as easily be worn with dress pants and chinos.
Size (Width) of the Lapel
The width of a lapel is also an important factor to consider when purchasing a blazer. Skinny lapels are trendy and too casual so they should be avoided. It is best to go with a medium width lapel since it will offer the greatest versatility. You can spend hours reading through a dedicated menswear forum on the exact size of the lapel in inches or even cm’s. I don’t think that is necessary unless you are intending on becoming a men’s style expert.
Here is an easy and sure fire way of determining the correct lapel width for a blazer and the best part is you don’t need a measuring tape. Put the blazer on and look at how wide the lapel is on one side of the blazer. It should be approximately half the length of the shoulder. If it is slightly less or slightly more then its fine but it should be about half the length. A lapel of this width will ensure you have a blazer that is both modern and timeless as well as one that enhances your overall look.
How Many Vents Should a Blazer Have?
These are the flaps on the back of the blazer that covers your bottom. Typically, these will either be a single vent or a double vent. Both a single and double vent is fine and it really is personal preference. I have single and double vent blazers and I don’t prefer one type over the other.
Avoid a blazer with no vents since it will make the blazer uncomfortable to wear especially when sitting down.
So there you go, a comprehensive guide on how a blazer should fit. With this knowledge, you can be ensured that any blazer you purchase keeping in mind this guide, will fit you well.
A blazer is a great item to have for the fall/winter months especially if it is a heavier weight fabric. For style inspiration, check out ‘10 Amazing Fall Outfits for Men‘ where I styled a blazer among other outerwear pieces.