Today, I'm going to be talking about jacket proportions for the smaller men. This is the question that came in:
“Antonio, I had a question about blazers and sports coats. I'm a pretty small guy. I'm 5'7″, 140 lbs, and I don't have broad shoulders. I've noticed that jackets for the most part make my shoulders look really big, but not in a good way.
They look really squared and unnatural. I was wondering what I should do. Do you think I could have the shoulder pads removed or is there some way my tailor can make the jacket look nice? Let me know what you think and if you need more information, just let me know.”
I think I've got enough information just to be able to tell you that it sounds like the proportions on this jacket are wrong for you. As a smaller man, you need clothing that is made for your proportions, so it doesn't look like you're exceptionally short.
Also, it sounds like you're really thin. In that case, you must also have narrow shoulders. I don't know about the size of your head, but the first issue is going to be making sure that your shoulders are proportioned to your head.
So you are going to want shoulders that are built out just a bit, but not built up like a linebacker. And it sounds like maybe a lot of these jackets that you're getting are already overbuilt, so that's probably one of the first issues.
Let's assume that your head actually shoulders are pretty well-sized. Maybe you've got a little bit thinner of a face and that actually matches your body well. In this case, you're going to want to go for a more natural look on the shoulder which is a much softer shoulder built.
This is hard to find on many off-the-rack suits mostly because they're just usually throwing in a higher quality shoulder pad which consists of cotton padded together (hand-made) depending on the build and where it's made.
On mass manufactured ones though, they're going to use foam. The problem with foam is over time, it does actually lose its life and they make it to fit a hundred different body types and therefore it fits nobody well.
So with the foam ones, oftentimes they're going to make you look over sized and even if your tailor went in and he removed this, it's still going to have too much material there.
I would say take it to your tailor and see what he can do. But working on the shoulders of a jacket is kind of like heart surgery when it comes in a tailoring world, so it's something that I'd be very careful of and it might be a bit too expensive.
Look for an entirely different style of jacket. I would go for a style of a jacket that maybe is coming out of Italy or Japan where you've got a lot of men who have builds similar to yours.
They're thin. They're not exceptionally short, but they're really thin. And so, these jackets are going to be made proportionally right. Also, you probably are going to look better in a two-button or even a one button jacket because of your proportion and of your height.
In addition, how are the sleeves? Are the sleeves thinner or do you have a huge armhole there? And if that armhole is too big, then no matter what you do on the shoulders, it's going to look disproportional because you're going to have these big areas right there next to your arms.
Let's look at the length of the jacket and how it fits in the hips and in the torso. Could you actually bring this in? Go for a jacket that's built more for a delicate physique. As for the front flap pockets, they should be a bit smaller and shorter. All of this plays into your lapels. Make them those thinner as well.
I'm hitting on all this because I want to point out that your current jacket is probably not going to cut it. My advice, again, is to look for brands that are from Italy and Japan since those are the two countries that a lot of men wear suits. You may also check on eBay or have to actually go to a specialty store and get an understanding.
And just because you walk into the store and they sell $2000 Italian suits, doesn't mean you have to buy the suit. I know that may not be in your budget, but what this does is it gives you an idea of what's out there.
You can try it on and go “Wow! This is Zegna,” or “this other type of brand is perfect for me, but the price obviously isn't, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to look around for something that looks similar.” You know, in Italy, there's a lot of knock-off brands.
If you know how to shop on eBay, you can find these. You may have to go to the Italian version of eBay or just put it out there. Just remember it's all about proportion. It's about knowing that oftentimes, these bigger jackets are made to fit bigger, more square men.
You're probably not going to be able to adjust that jacket. I would look for an entirely different style and do a lot of thrifting. I talked about this in the other videos and I think you can get some help there.
I wish you the best of luck because I know it's a hard body to fit, which is why custom clothiers like myself actually have business, but I know not everyone's in the budget for it, so keep looking.
I'd love to hear from you guys down on the comments about what you think this gentleman should be able to do. I know here in the United States, it's a tough body to fit.
I wish you the best and I will see you guys in the next post!