Jackets and Blazers: Fear Not the Fitted

Gender normative womenswear is designed to accentuate the curvy attributes of female bodied individuals, whereas gender normative menswear is designed to accentuate the angular attributes of male bodied individuals, and both are designed to fit the fashion world’s definition of ideal bodies. As such, “womenswear” jackets tend to be more fitted around the waist to create a more “hourglass” shape.

Thus, it is not surprising that some dapperQs avoid anything deemed “fitted” when trying to achieve a more masculine look. dapperQ readers often inquire about where to find suit jackets and blazers that are not fitted, especially around the waist. However, this flies directly in the face of what menswear fashion experts are recommending when it comes to purchasing menswear jackets and blazers.

Photo credit: Peggy Sirota via GQ.com

The Handbook of Style: A Man’s Guide to Looking Good, by Esquire Magazine, states that one of the key components to a perfect suit jacket is a fitted waist; “the jacket should have some fit to it in the waist area to give your body a more dynamic shape.” The experts at Mr. Porter recommend that your suit jacket and blazers have “enough shape to give you a waist, and it’ll be close – but not tight – around the stomach.”

via Street Etiquette

This is true regardless of your size. (Tips on minimizing bust, such as wearing suit jackets with multiple buttons, will come at a later date in our style manual.) In the article “Suit Your Shape: How to Dress for Your Body,” GQ advises large men to avoid wearing a roomy suit, stating “it doesn’t make you look slimmer—it makes you look sloppy.” If your fear of the fitted stems from the desire to conceal weight, consider the following recommendations in lieu of purchasing a “boxy” jacket with no shape:

  1. Lean towards solid, dark colors.
  2. If you want some pattern, try vertical lines. Vertical lines elongate. (Just be sure your pants have matching lines, or you run the risk of “splitting” your frame in two, which “shortens” you.)
  3. Avoid double breasted suits. Single breasted suits with one to two buttons and a deep-V lengthen the torso. Double breasted jackets add bulk.
  4. Stick with single vented jackets and avoid the double vent. Vents are the functional slits on the bottom back of a jacket that allow for movement. They tend to attract the eye. Therefore, a single slit down the center draws less attention than two slits along your sides.

While it is true that jackets and blazers found in “womenswear” departments are often more fitted than those found in “menswear” departments, a menswear jacket or blazer that is entirely too “boxy” will add bulk. Details Magazine writes, “When your jacket is buttoned, give it a tug away from your body; you should have about two inches of room. Anything over three inches and you’re in box territory. The desired effect is a defined waist.”

Photo credit: GQ Magazine






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1 Comment

  • As a relatively small person who shops only in the Men’s department, I have a couple of recent jacket/blazer victories to share with DapperQ.

    TopMan – their menswear runs to smaller sizes, down to size 34 jackets and vests, and they have many Skinny styles. Finally – jackets that actually fit me across the shoulders.

    Brooklyn Industries- also tend to run small, and they have jackets in XS sizes. Not as Skinny as TopMan.

    These options have transformed my wardrobe, emphasis on the ‘trans’.

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