Athletic and muscular men tend to have a terrible time finding suits that fit, very often they have to settle with big over sized clothes that make them look sloppy and/or pay a fortune in alterations and still have the end result be less than average.
The reason for this is that the Fashion industry has a pre determined proportion standard, in the case of suits they call it the “drop”. The “drop” is the ratio between the over the shoulder size to the chest and again to the waist. The current industry standard drop is 10″-4″ for example: a size 40 suit will have an over the shoulder measurement of 50″, a chest of 40″ and a waist of 36″.
While this may be with well with in the size range for most American men (give or take an inch or two) this is no where near workable for athletic and muscular men. It isn’t uncommon to find an athletic man with a 44″ chest a 58″ over arm and a 32″ waist.
To compensate department store sales people will often try to fit you in a suit that is a couple sizes bigger to accommodate the shoulders, but this results in pants and a jacket waist that now 5 or 6 sizes too big. They then recommend that you just “simply” have it altered. The finished product looks like a butchered suit that still doesn’t fit.
While it is tough to find there are options to getting the best fit:
- find a good tailor, one that specializes in suits. Talk to him ahead of your shopping trip and he cam help guide you to what type of alterations he can do and which he would recommend you avoid.
- Look for suit separates. Separates allows you to buy one size of jacket and another size of pants.Time was suit separates were only found in inferior brands, but today major designers like Hugo Boss, Canali and Armani now offer separates.
- Look for a slimmer cut designer. While this may seem counter intuitive, a slimmer cut designer uses a higher drop which gives you a better chance at less alterations. For example Prada suits feature a 10-7 drop. how does this help you? Lets go back to the example of the 58″ 44″ 32″ muscular man. This means that they can put him in a size 48″ suit and the jacket and pants waist will be 41″ compared to the industry standard where a size 48″ will have a corresponding waist of 44″.
- If all else fails custom suits are a great option. This will of course will always give the best fit but can be higher priced than an off the rack model. though its can be argued that its better to pay more for something that looks right than pay less for something that doesn’t fit.
Chris Vance is the senior trends and fashion spotter for Requisite clothing, a custom clothing design house specializing in custom suits, custom shirts, custom tuxedos and sports wear for both men and women.