Can you please provide us your thoughts on how long (lengthwise) one's suit jacket/blazer should be? I am personally a fan of the short (ok very short) blazer (e.g. Black Fleece, Maison Kitsune). The obvious problem is those brands are ridiculously expensive. I do not understand why we aren't seeing shorter suit jackets. For example, have you ever noticed how long the jackets at J. Crew are? It looks unrefined in my opinion (no offense to any J. Crew suit owners, I have one myself). Thanks
Since I haven’t posted anything in a while I’ll provide a few different answers so that I can fulfill my blogging word quota for the month.
The classic take on suit jacket length is that the back of the jacket must cover your rear end. Older generations grew up with this basic principal. Men who do not care about dressing well will generally abide by this rule as well (probably unknowingly). The difference between those wear it well and those that don’t usually comes down to having proper fit and proportion for the individual’s body. If you have short arms or torso buy a S (short) rather than a R (regular). Not doing so is a common mistake for many men. Is your J. Crew suit a S or R?
The PC answer is that it’s a matter of your personal preference. In fashion there are always trends that stray far from the classic or the norm. Designers are supposed to be trendsetters and put forth their unique spin on clothing. The short suit is one interpretation of the suit and there is obviously a market for it. Thom Browne is most synonymous with the short suit and has capitalized on it. With the recent endorsement by the first lady during the inauguration this past week, I’m sure we’ll see more of Thom Browne’s fashion influence in the near future. Likewise, there have been periods when suits have been overly large and baggy which seemed to have resonated with athletes (See Jay Culter below).
Since there are a million other blogs and forums that have endless discussions of the “proper fit/style” of anything this will just be my take on the matter and you can use it as you see fit.
It’s important to take notice of trends and to be able to incorporate it with your personal preferences. As a slim, shorter man, it is extremely difficult for me to find suits off the rack that fit well. Most stores will have a very limited selection of 36S suits or not carry them at all. So when I first came across the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece line I was very excited because the shorter length design was something that was so hard for me to find and I thought this was my answer. I tried on a BB0 size and the sleeves were more or less the perfect length for me. But as I looked longer and longer in the mirror something seemed slightly off. Then it hit me, the extreme short cut of the jacket made the proportions of the suit unappealing to me.
While I lean towards a more classic fit, I do agree with you David, that the cleaner look (at least according to the current consensus by those who are “authorities” on the matter) is to have a slightly shorter jacket. I still make sure that my bottom is covered but just barely. My suit jackets/blazers never pass the middle knuckle of my fingers. I measure this by standing straight with my arms relaxed on my sides and cuffing the bottom of the jacket as if I was holding a book in each hand. Ideally there should be no extra fabric in your hands while doing this. It’s on the shorter end of the classic jacket length spectrum but proportionally I think this works well for me because it doesn’t cut off my legs which adds to the appearance vertically.
This would be my ideal length for a jacket as worn by Alan from the Armoury.
Most men have jackets that are past their entire hands with makes them seem shorter than they are because most of their legs are covered by the jacket.
Jay Cutler is a prime example of how most men dress. The jacket length is too long, shoulders too big and pants too baggy. Such a shame, with all his resources…
…Cutler should take a cue from Jack Donaghy. (OMG is Culter his son?!) Something to strive for as you get older Jay!
On the flip side, having a super short jacket makes your body seem smaller and if you go “full Tropic Thunder” with the get up and wear high water pants too you might end up looking like a little person.
The jacket length in this picture is actually quite OK by me but Mr. Browne who is not tall to begin with makes himself even look shorter with the hiked up pants. But that’s his steez (as the young and cooler bloggers would say) and I can respect that.
The jacket and sleeve length worn by Tom Brady here is almost comical. My goodness, those are big hands! (Yes, I know it’s not really Tom Brady).
A blazer/suit jacket should never be shorter than the sleeves!
Lastly, regarding the affordability of the short suit designs that David seeks. If it’s really just the look you care about I would say go custom for a fraction of the price. Perhaps you may find a store that sells teenage boy’s suits, those suits might have proportions that are similar to the short look when worn by an adult after it’s been tailored but I would not seriously consider this route. If it’s about the name on the label, well you have to pay for that unfortunately.