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Complete Men’s Fitting Guide for an Impeccable Tailored Look

In men’s fashion, the difference between looking polished and appearing unkempt often boils down to one crucial factor: fit.

A well-fitted garment can elevate the simplest ensemble, while ill-fitting clothes undermine the most expensive wardrobe.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to achieve an impeccably tailored look, regardless of your body type or budget.

Understanding Fit – The Foundation of Style

Before showing you how to choose, fit, and style your clothes for a perfectly tailored silhouette, we must explain the differences between fitting, tailoring, and alterations.

Term Definition Cost Timeframe
Fitting The process of selecting garments that match and complement your body shape Free (when shopping) On-site
Tailoring Custom-made garments to fit your specific body measurements £500 – £5000+ 4-8 weeks
Alterations Altering, adjusting, and modifying existing garments for a better fit £15 – £100+ 1-7 days

Why Proper Fit is Critical

Achieving the right fit is paramount for several reasons:

Enhanced Appearance: Well-fitted clothes accentuate your best features and minimise perceived flaws, creating a more flattering silhouette.

Increased Comfort: Properly fitted garments move with your body, not against it, ensuring comfort throughout the day.

Project Confidence: When your clothes fit well, you exude an air of self-assurance and attention to detail.

Stylistic Versatility: A well-fitted wardrobe allows easier mixing and matching, expanding your outfit options.

Proper Fit Foundation

Understanding how different garments should fit is crucial for achieving an impeccably tailored look.

Garment Key Fit Areas Ideal Fit
Suit Jacket Shoulders, Chest, Waist, Length, Sleeves Snug but not tight, no pulling or sagging
Trousers Waist, Seat, Thighs, Length Sits at natural waist, slight break at the shoe
Dress Shirt Collar, Shoulders, Chest, Sleeves The collar must allow two fingers; cuffs must hit the wristbone
Overcoat Shoulders, Chest, Length Roomy enough for layering, ends above the knee

Suit Jacket Fit

The suit jacket is the cornerstone of a tailored look. Here’s how to ensure a perfect fit:

Shoulders: The seam should sit precisely at the edge of your shoulder. No overhang or pulling.

Chest: When buttoned, there should be no pulling or gaping. You should be able to slip a flat hand inside comfortably.

Waist: The jacket should taper slightly at your natural waist, creating a subtle ‘V’ shape.

Length: The jacket should cover your seat and end around the middle of your hand when your arms are at your sides.

Sleeves: Should end at the wrist bone, allowing 1-2 cm of shirt cuff to show.

Trouser Fit

Well-fitted trousers complete the silhouette of a tailored suit:

Waist: Should sit comfortably at your natural waist without needing a belt to hold them up.

Seat: Smooth drape over the seat without pulling or sagging.

Thighs: Comfortable standing and sitting without pulling across the front.

Length: Should have a slight break, just touching the top of your shoes.

Dress Shirt Fit

A well-fitted shirt provides comfort and a polished appearance:

Collar: Should allow two fingers to fit comfortably between your neck and the collar when buttoned.

Shoulders: Seams should align with the edge of your shoulders.

Chest: Close-fitting but not tight, with no gaping between buttons.

Sleeves: Should end at the wrist bone when cuffs are unbuttoned.

Overcoat Fit

An overcoat should provide warmth without sacrificing style:

Shoulders: Seams should extend slightly beyond your natural shoulders to accommodate suits underneath.

Chest: Roomy enough to layer over a suit jacket without feeling restrictive.

Length: Typically ends just above the knee, though styles can vary.

While personal preferences and current fashion trends may influence these fitting guidelines, achieving a balanced, proportionate look that flatters your body type is key.

The Correct Fit by Body Type

However, achieving an impeccable fit isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavour, as different body types require specific considerations.

Body Type Characteristics Correct Fit
Triangle (Pear-shaped) Narrower shoulders, wider hips and thighs Balance proportions by adding structure to the upper body.
Inverted Triangle Broad shoulders, narrower waist and hips Highlight broad shoulders to create balance with the lower body. Avoid tight fits that restrict movement.
Rectangle Straight up and down, similar measurements for shoulders, waist, and hips Create the illusion of contours through strategic fit choices and layering.
Oval Rounded midsection with slimmer legs and arms Wear structured garments that create clean lines and a defined silhouette. Focus on vertical elements to elongate the body.

Triangle (Pear-shaped):
Balance proportions by adding structure to the upper body while ensuring a comfortable fit in the lower body.

Inverted Triangle: Highlight broad shoulders while creating balance with the lower body. Avoid overly tight fits that may restrict movement.

Rectangle: Create visual interest and the illusion of contours through strategic fit choices and layering.

Oval: Wear structured garments with clean lines for a more defined silhouette. Wear garments with vertical patterns and shapes that give the illusion of an elongated body.

Achieving a Tailored Look by Body Type

While custom tailoring is ideal, achieving a polished, tailored look with off-the-rack clothing is possible.

The key is understanding how to choose and combine garments that flatter your specific body type, and here’s how to create a tailored silhouette for your specific body shape:

Body Type Key Strategies Garment Choices
Triangle (Pear-shaped) Balance upper and lower body Structured jackets, straight-leg trousers
Inverted Triangle De-emphasise shoulders, add more volume to the lower body Tapered jackets, wide-leg trousers
Rectangle Create the illusion of a slim waist Fitted waistcoats, tapered jackets
Oval Elongate the body and define the waist Vertical stripes, single-breasted jackets

Correct Fit for Triangle (Pear-shaped) Body Type

For men with narrower shoulders and a wider lower body the correct fit can be achieved by following these simple styling rules.

Jackets: Choose structured shoulders to add volume to your upper body. Single-breasted styles with padded shoulders work well.

Trousers: Wear straight-leg or slightly tapered styles to balance your proportions. Avoid skinny fits that emphasise thigh width.

Shirts: Patterned or textured shirts draw attention upwards. Avoid tucking in shirts to create a smoother line.

Accessories: Wear pocket squares or bold ties to draw the eye up and create balance.

Correct Fit for Inverted Triangle Body Type

For men with broad shoulders and a narrower waist and hips:

Jackets: Choose soft-shouldered or unstructured jackets to de-emphasise shoulder width. Double-breasted styles can add volume to the midsection.

Trousers: Wear straight or wider-leg styles to balance your upper body. Pleated trousers can add volume to your lower half.

Shirts: Choose shirts with a moderate spread collar to balance broad shoulders. Avoid excessive tapering at the waist.

Accessories: Use belts to draw attention to your waist and create a more balanced silhouette.

Correct Fit for Rectangle Body Type

For men with similar measurements for shoulders, waist, and hips:

Jackets: Opt for slightly tapered jackets to create the illusion of a waist. Structured shoulders can add definition to your upper body.

Trousers: Choose slim or straight-leg styles to maintain a clean line. Avoid overly baggy or skinny fits.

Shirts: Fitted shirts with darts can create the appearance of a more defined waist.

Layering: Use waistcoats or cardigans to add visual interest and create the illusion of a waist.

Correct Fit for Oval Body Type

For men with a rounded midsection and slimmer limbs:

Jackets: Single-breasted styles with a slight taper can create a slimming effect. Avoid double-breasted jackets that add bulk.

Trousers: Choose straight-leg styles that skim the body without clinging. Avoid pleats and cuffs that can add visual weight.

Shirts: Opt for vertical stripes to create a lengthening effect. Untucked shirts can help smooth the midsection.

Accessories: Use vertical accessories like ties or scarves to create a lengthening effect.

Fabrics for a Perfect Drape

The choice of fabric plays a crucial role in achieving a tailored look.

Different fabrics drape and move differently, affecting how garments fit and look on your body.

Understanding fabric properties will help you make informed choices for a polished appearance.

Fabric Properties Best For Tip
Wool Natural drape, breathable, wrinkle-resistant Suits, trousers, overcoats Choose Super 100s-120s for everyday wear
Cotton Breathable, versatile, prone to wrinkles Shirts, casual trousers, summer suits Select higher thread counts for a luxurious feel
Linen Lightweight, breathable, wrinkles easily Summer suits, casual shirts Embrace the natural wrinkles for a relaxed look
Silk Smooth, lustrous, delicate Ties, pocket squares, formal shirts Requires careful maintenance


Wool is the gold standard for tailored garments due to its natural drape and versatility:

Super Numbers: Refers to the fineness of the wool. Super 100s-120s offer a good balance of durability and luxury for everyday wear.

Worsted Wool: Smooth finish, ideal for business suits.

Flannel: Soft, brushed finish, excellent for winter suits and trousers.

Tweed: Textured, durable fabric perfect for sports coats and country wear.


Cotton is a go-to fabric for shirts and casual wear:

Poplin: Crisp, lightweight fabric ideal for dress shirts.

Oxford: Slightly heavier, textured fabric great for casual button-downs.

Twill: Diagonal weave that drapes well, suitable for trousers and casual jackets.

Seersucker: Puckered texture that keeps you cool, perfect for summer suits.


Linen is prized for its coolness and casual elegance:

Pure Linen: Extremely breathable but wrinkles easily. Ideal for relaxed summer looks.

Linen Blends: Mixed with cotton or wool for easier care and less wrinkling.


While not typically used for entire garments, silk adds a touch of luxury to accessories:

Ties: Choose a heavier silk for a good knot and drape.

Pocket Squares: Lightweight silks create elegant puffs and peaks.

Evening Wear: Silk facings on lapels elevate formal attire.

Fabric Weights and Seasonality

Understanding fabric weights helps in choosing appropriate garments for different seasons:

Lightweight (7-9 oz): Ideal for summer suits and trousers.

Mid-weight (10-12 oz): Versatile for year-round wear.

Heavyweight (13 oz+): Best for winter suits and overcoats.

Experiment with different fabrics to find what works best for you, and don’t hesitate to mix different textures and weights for a rich, layered look.

Layering for a Refined Silhouette

Layering is crucial for achieving a polished, tailored look.

Proper layering adds visual interest to your outfit and allows you to adjust your look throughout the day and seasons and here’s how to layer like a sartorial expert.

Layer Purpose Key Garments Styling Tips
Base Layer Temperature regulation, comfort Undershirts, dress shirts Should fit close to the body without restricting movement
Mid Layer Insulation, style Waistcoats, jumpers, cardigans Snug enough to fit under a jacket, not too bulky
Outer Layer Weather protection, structure Suit jackets, blazers, overcoats Roomy enough to accommodate layers beneath
Accessories Style enhancement, personalisation Ties, pocket squares, scarves Should complement, not overwhelm, the overall silhouette

Base Layer

The base layer sets the stage for a refined silhouette:

Undershirts: Opt for close-fitting, seamless styles that won’t add bulk or show lines under dress shirts.

Dress Shirts: Choose shirts that fit well through the body and arms. Excess fabric can create unsightly bulges under additional layers.

Mid Layer

Mid layers offer opportunities to add texture and colour to your outfit:

Waistcoats (Vests): A well-fitted waistcoat can create a slimming effect and add a touch of elegance. Ensure it’s long enough to cover your waistband.

Jumpers: V-neck or crew neck jumpers in fine-gauge knits layer well under jackets. Avoid bulky knits that can distort your silhouette.

Cardigans: Button-up cardigans can replace a waistcoat. Choose slim-fitting styles for a sleek look.

Outer Layer

The outer layer is often where the ‘tailored’ aspect is most visible:

Suit Jackets: Should be roomy enough to button comfortably over your layers without pulling.

Blazers: A versatile option that can dress up more casual layers. Ensure the shoulders fit well, as this is difficult to alter.

Overcoats: Choose a style that’s proportional to your body. The coat should be long enough to cover your suit jacket but not so long that it overwhelms your frame.


Accessories are best to elevate your layered look:

Ties: The tip should just touch your waistband. Adjust the knot size to complement your collar style and face shape.

Pocket Squares: Add a pop of colour or pattern. The fold should look effortless, not overly structured.

Scarves: Choose lightweight fabrics that won’t add bulk around your neck. Experiment with different tying methods to complement your outfit.

Layering Tips for Different Body Types

Triangle: Use structured outer layers to balance your upper body. Mid-layers like waistcoats can help create a more V-shaped torso.

Inverted Triangle: Opt for lighter mid-layers to avoid adding bulk to your chest. Accessories like scarves add visual interest to your lower torso.

Rectangle: Use layers to create the illusion of a more defined waist. Waistcoats and belted cardigans can be particularly effective.

Oval: Choose streamlined layers that skim your body rather than cling. V-neck jumpers and long, open cardigans can create a lengthening effect.

Remember, the key to successful layering is balance, as each layer should work harmoniously with the others to create a cohesive look.

Fit Do’s and Don’ts by Body Type

Achieving the perfect fit is both an art and a science, and the do’s and don’ts of fitting for your specific body type are necessary for a man who seeks sartorial perfection.

Body Type Do Don’t
Triangle (Pear-shaped) – Wear structured jackets with padded shoulders
– Choose straight-leg or slightly tapered trousers
– Opt for patterned or textured shirts
– Avoid skinny trousers or tight-fitting bottoms
– Steer clear of unstructured or slim-fit jackets
– Don’t wear overly tight shirts
Inverted Triangle – Opt for soft-shouldered or unstructured jackets
– Choose straight or wide-leg trousers
– Wear shirts with moderate spread collars
– Avoid excessive shoulder padding
– Don’t wear skinny trousers
– Steer clear of overly tapered shirts
Rectangle – Choose slightly tapered jackets
– Opt for fitted shirts with darts
– Use layering to create visual interest
– Avoid boxy, unfitted jackets
– Don’t wear overly baggy or skinny trousers
– Steer clear of shapeless shirts
Oval – Opt for single-breasted jackets with a slight taper
– Choose straight-leg trousers
– Wear vertical stripes to create a lengthening effect
– Avoid double-breasted jackets
– Don’t wear pleated or cuffed trousers
– Steer clear of tight-fitting shirts

Universal Fitting Do’s

Tailor key garments: Invest in alterations for suits, trousers, and dress shirts to achieve a custom fit.

Mind the shoulders: Ensure jacket shoulders align with your natural shoulder line.

Check the break: Trousers should have a slight break at the shoe, creating a clean line.

Allow for movement: You should be able to button jackets and move comfortably in all garments.

Consider proportions: Balance your upper and lower body for a harmonious silhouette.

Universal Fitting Don’ts

Avoid excess fabric: Baggy clothes can make you appear larger and less polished.

Beware of overly tight fits: Clothes that pull or strain look uncomfortable and unflattering.

Don’t ignore sleeve length: Jacket sleeves should show about 1-2 cm of shirt cuff.

Avoid neglecting trouser length: Trousers that pool at the ankles or show too much sock disrupt the line of your outfit.

Don’t mix fits: Maintain fit consistency across your outfit for a cohesive look.

Body-Specific Fitting Tips

Triangle (Pear-shaped)

Do: Focus on balancing your upper body with your lower body. Use structured jackets and patterned shirts to draw attention upward.

Don’t: Avoid clothing that emphasises your lower body, such as tight trousers or tucked-in shirts without a jacket.

Inverted Triangle

Do: Choose clothing that de-emphasises your broad shoulders and adds volume to your lower body.

Don’t: Avoid overly slim or tapered lower body garments that can make your upper body appear disproportionately large.


Do: Use tailoring and layering to create the illusion of a more defined waist and varied silhouette.

Don’t: Avoid shapeless, boxy garments that can make you appear flat and uninteresting.


Do: Opt for garments that create a lengthening effect and define your waist without clinging to the midsection.

Don’t: Avoid clothes that add bulk to your midsection or draw attention to your waist, such as belts or horizontal stripes.


Achieving an impeccably tailored look is a journey of self-discovery and style refinement.

Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the foundations of proper fit, the nuances of dressing for different body types, the importance of fabric selection, the art of layering, and essential do’s and don’ts.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Understanding your body type is the first step towards achieving a tailored look
  • Proper fit is crucial, regardless of the price or brand of your clothing
  • Fabric choice significantly impacts the drape and overall appearance of your garments
  • Layering can enhance your silhouette when done thoughtfully
  • Adhering to fitting do’s and don’ts for your body type can dramatically improve your appearance

Remember, true style is about more than following rules—it’s about understanding these principles and adapting them to express your unique personality.

The perfectly tailored look fits your body impeccably and your lifestyle, making you feel confident.

However, identifying your body type and understanding how to dress for it can be challenging, but we are here to help.

Take the Next Step Towards Your Tailored Look

At The VOU, we’re committed to helping you achieve your style goals.

We invite you to try our comprehensive body shape analysis tool to get a precise analysis of your body shape and personalised recommendations on how to dress for your unique physique.

Click here to start your Body Shape Analysis

This powerful tool will provide you with:

  • An accurate assessment of your body type
  • Customised fitting advice based on your measurements
  • Specific clothing recommendations to flatter your shape
  • Tips on how to create a versatile, well-fitted wardrobe

Don’t leave your style to chance.

Armed with the knowledge from this guide and a precise understanding of your body type, you’ll be well on your way to achieving that perfectly tailored look you’ve always wanted.

Start your journey to impeccable fitting today with The VOU’s Body Shape Analysis!

With over twenty years of front-row fashion and styling events, collabs with haute-couture houses, and a PhD in Luxury Fashion, Laurenti is an expert in crafting personalized looks that depict old-money sophistication.

With years of expertise in high-end fashion collabs and a PhD in Sustainable Fashion, Ru specializes in curating eco-luxe wardrobes for the modern gentleman seeking understated refinement.

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