How to Recognize a Perfect Fit for Your Professional Clothing

5 Ways to Tell Your Clothes Fit Properly

By: Zach Trimble, Clothier
February 10, 2020

If you’re like most men, you believe your professional wardrobe fits well enough, but doesn’t impress others or enhance your image. You never receive compliments about your attire, reinforcing your apathy toward your wardrobe. In fact, you may even believe that you will never achieve a perfect fit and assume your jackets will always bunch or your shirt collars will always be too snug.

Then, the day arrives when your Tom James clothier delivers your first garment for a fitting. If you’re like most of our clients, you’ll stand in the mirror gazing and instantly recognize the impact that perfectly fitting clothing can have on your look, how others perceive you, and your confidence. Your clothing will look and feel great. Suddenly, you’ll walk taller and stand straighter. Your boost in confidence will project with radiance. When you wear Tom James clothing to the office, client meetings and events, others will compliment you on a well put together outfit because perfectly fitting attire is easy to recognize and admire.

Continue reading to discover the five simple ways you can determine if your clothing fits perfectly. 

5 Ways to Tell if Your Clothing Actually Fits

Off-the-rack garments are created for a standard body. If you have a ‘typical’ body type that allows you to buy off-the-rack clothing and achieve a good fit, consider yourself lucky. 

Many Tom James customers previously considered off-the-rack clothing a reasonable fit. If they could button their suit and it didn’t bunch too much, they believed the garments fit properly. Then, when they wear a custom suit designed specifically to their measurements, they experience the unparalleled benefit of a perfect fit for the first time.

When purchasing professional attire, the most essential areas to identify a perfect fit are the shoulders, midsection, sleeve length, collar, and trousers.

#1: Shoulders


For a perfect fit, the shoulders of a jacket should angle down according to your build and hug your shoulders beautifully to create flawless lines. In essence, the shoulders should be an extension of your skin, with no wrinkles or bunches.

The armhole also plays a key role in determining if your jacket is the right fit. A small armhole can restrict your arm’s movement, whereas one that is too large creates a baggy appearance. With custom clothing, the armhole is always the ideal size.


The perfect shoulder cut of a shirt enhances your natural body frame and offers a flattering silhouette. Usually, off-the-rack options are set to a standard body type based on the length of the shirt and the size of the collar. If you’re smaller or larger than the standard, the incorrect shoulder cut results in an improper fit.

#2: Midsection


The midsection should offer a relaxed fit that comfortably hugs your torso. Many men have experienced a jacket that puffs in the chest when buttoned. This indicates the jacket is too tight. By contrast, when the jacket is too big, it produces a box-shape appearance and provides no silhouette. 

Instead, when buttoned, a perfectly fitting jacket should allow you to insert two fingers in the midsection area and pull out the jacket about one inch.


If a man’s neck measurement is larger, by proportion, he may experience an unavoidable billowing around the midsection of his shirt. However, when designed to your specific measurements, a shirt provides a smooth and flattering silhouette. 

#3: Sleeve Length 


Too often, we see men wear jackets with sleeves that extend onto the hand. This length is too long and makes your jacket appear baggy. With your arms positioned straight down, the length of your jacket sleeves should end at the snuff box, the small crook where the wrist meets the arm. This length enables you to move your arms freely and comfortably.


Many men wear shirts with sleeves that are either too long or too short. Some sleeves extend beyond the wrist and provide too much fabric in the sleeve. Others are too short and expose your wrist bones. A perfectly fitting shirt has cuffs ending where the wrist meets the hand.

#4: Collar


A perfectly fitting jacket hugs your shirt collar to provide a clean, elegant finish. An improperly fitting jacket has creases or rolls under the back of the collar. These little dimples of fabric appear because the jacket is not perfectly measured to the slope of your shoulders and back. Tom James clothiers take 30 measurements, including the angle of these slopes, so that your collar falls perfectly without any rolls. 


The shirt collar should sit comfortably around your neck without being too constricting or hanging too loosely. Simply insert your finger into the gap between your collar and neck to determine if your collar is the right fit. If you are unable to fit your finger, or if there is too much room, the collar does not fit properly. Perfectly fitting, custom shirts have no excess fabric creating smooth lines and an unblemished profile.  

#5: Trousers

Trousers seem as though they should be easier to achieve the perfect fit because there are fewer elements to consider. However, there are some common mistakes to avoid. 

The ideal trouser length hits the top of the shoelace. Some of our clients are accustomed to wearing their trousers longer. However, when the length extends beyond the shoelaces, trousers appear baggy and the bottoms are more likely to become worn-out.

Another trouble area for many men is the appearance of bunching in the crotch area. This can be a result of the waistband resting too high. When your trousers fit well, these issues are mitigated, providing a seamless and trim silhouette. 

How Accessories Improve Your Look

A perfectly fitting outfit is the final step to enhancing your professional image. Adding the right accessories can provide the finishing touches to transform your wardrobe.

For example, choosing a tie with the right length and width for your body type is essential to achieve the look that fits you. When wearing a tie, it should touch your waistband. Also consider the width. While a thin tie works well on men who are fit, it may not be as flattering for larger men. 

Additionally, one frequently overlooked element is a pocket square. This classic accessory adds a layer of sophistication and completes an outfit, providing a well put together look that others will surely notice.

Find Perfectly Fitting Professional Attire

When you wear perfectly fitting outfits you look and feel better. You stand a little taller and walk a little straighter. Others notice the difference in your perfectly fitting attire. They start complimenting your clothing, which boosts your confidence. 

Finding a perfect fit is achievable when you understand the impact of all the key elements of an outfit, including the shoulders, midsection, sleeves, collar, and trousers. 

Is your wardrobe full of perfectly fitting, professional clothing that enhances your image? Learn how a Tom James clothier takes over 30 measurements to provide clothing specifically designed for you. Connect with a Tom James clothier to find clothing that perfectly fits.

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"I have had the pleasure of working with Dave for over seven years. Dave has consistently delivered superior recommendations on how to increase the effectiveness of my business clothing purchases, selection and matches to different environments. I have seen firsthand the positive results of his recommendations and received multiple complements on my clothing from Tom James Company."

Custom Clothier Dave Dobbins

Dave Dobbins

Tom James of Cincinnati

"Thank you again for the service you have given me over the years. I have had no regrets with any of my purchases and you always make sure I am 100% satisfied with my clothing. From shoes that last for years to the suits worthy of TV interviews, I have slowly realized that custom clothing is the only way to go. You've turned a skeptic into an advocate and I look forward to continue working with you and Tom James in the years ahead. ."

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Ben Lawler

Tom James of St Louis
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