How to Measure for a Custom Suit


The world of men’s fashion is filled with an array of choices, but few garments are as timeless and versatile as a well-fitted suit. Whether you’re dressing for a special occasion, a business meeting, or simply want to exude confidence and style, a suit can be your best friend. However, the key to unlocking the full potential of a suit lies in the fit, and there’s no better way to achieve a perfect fit than with a custom-made suit. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps and considerations for measuring yourself to order a custom suit that will not only fit like a glove but also make a statement.

Understanding the Custom Suit Experience

The allure of a custom suit goes beyond the satisfaction of owning a unique piece of clothing. It’s about the experience of tailoring a suit to your exact specifications and preferences. Unlike off-the-rack suits, where you must settle for the closest size and style available, a custom suit allows you to be in control. From selecting the fabric and color to deciding on lapel width and button styles, every detail is personalized. This level of customization ensures that you not only look your best but also feel comfortable and confident.

The main difference between a custom suit and a ready-made suit lies in the fit. Custom suits are designed to match your unique body shape, posture, and personal style. This means no more compromises in terms of fit. Instead, you get a suit that complements your physique, enhances your best features, and reflects your fashion sensibilities. Whether you’re tall or short, have broad shoulders or a slimmer frame, a custom suit will make you feel like a million dollars.

Preparation: What You Need

Before you embark on the journey of measuring for a custom suit, it’s essential to gather the necessary tools and materials. Accurate measurements are the foundation of a well-fitted suit, and having the right equipment ensures precision. You’ll need a few basic items such as a tailor’s tape measure, a notepad, and a pen. While many people prefer to measure themselves, having a helping hand, a friend or family member, can be valuable, particularly for certain measurements like those of the shoulders.

Additionally, creating a checklist of the measurements you need to take can be useful. This way, you won’t forget any crucial aspects, and you’ll be well-prepared for the process. The more thorough and precise your measurements, the better your custom suit will fit, so take your time and ensure you have everything you need before you start.

Taking Accurate Body Measurements

Accurate body measurements are the cornerstone of a well-fitted custom suit. Knowing your exact measurements allows the tailor to create a suit that drapes perfectly on your body. The key measurements typically include chest, waist, hips, shoulders, and more. For example, to measure your chest, wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest, ensuring it’s parallel to the ground but not too tight. For the waist, measure at your natural waistline, which is usually the narrowest part of your torso. Accurate measurements mean the difference between a suit that feels like a second skin and one that’s uncomfortable and ill-fitting.

When measuring, it’s essential to maintain a natural posture. Stand up straight with your feet together and your arms relaxed at your sides. Avoid holding your breath or sucking in your stomach, as this can result in incorrect measurements. It’s also advisable to wear lightweight clothing or just your undergarments to ensure measurements are taken as close to your body as possible.

Sleeve and Cuff Measurements

The sleeves and cuffs of your suit are crucial elements that not only affect the fit but also the overall style. Measuring for the perfect sleeve length is essential. A well-fitted suit jacket should have sleeves that allow about a quarter to half an inch of your shirt cuff to show. This adds a touch of elegance to your appearance. To measure the sleeve length, start from the tip of your shoulder bone and extend the tape measure down to your wrist bone.

Additionally, consider the cuff style for your shirt. The cuff can have one or more buttons or be French cuffs that require cufflinks. The choice is a matter of personal style, but it’s something to decide on before ordering your custom suit.

Jacket Length and Lapel Width

The length of your suit jacket is a defining factor in your overall appearance. Determining the ideal jacket length is essential, as it can greatly influence how your suit balances with your body shape. Generally, a suit jacket should cover your seat and rest just below your hip bone. However, the exact length can vary depending on personal preferences and body proportions.

The lapel width is another aspect to consider. Lapels come in different styles, including notch, peak, and shawl lapels. The width of the lapel can impact the suit’s overall style. Wider lapels are considered more traditional and can make your chest appear broader, while narrow lapels can create a more modern and slimming effect. The choice of lapel width should align with your personal style and the suit’s overall look.

Trouser Measurements

Measuring for the trousers of your custom suit is equally important for achieving a comfortable and stylish fit. Key measurements include your waist, hips, and inseam. To measure the waist, wrap the tape measure around your waist where you want the trousers to sit. The hip measurement should be taken around the fullest part of your hips. When measuring the inseam, it’s best to do so from the crotch seam to the desired length of the trousers. This is typically the point where the trousers will break over your shoes.

Additionally, consider other trouser details such as pleats and cuffs. Pleats provide extra room and comfort in the waist and hip area, and the number and direction of pleats can be chosen based on your preference. Cuffs at the bottom of the trousers can add a touch of style and weight to the fabric, creating a clean line and allowing the trousers to drape more elegantly.

Vest or Waistcoat Measurements

For a three-piece suit, which includes a vest or waistcoat, measuring it correctly is essential. The vest should fit snugly but not restrict your movement. It should overlap with the trousers slightly to create a sleek and integrated appearance. When measuring for the vest, consider the circumference of your chest and waist. The length of the vest can vary, but it typically extends to just below the belt line. Choose a length that complements the overall style of the suit.

Moreover, consider the style of the vest. Vests can have lapels or be designed with a V-neck or U-neck. The choice depends on your personal style and how you want the vest to complement the jacket and trousers. Additionally, decide on the number of buttons for the vest, as this can add a touch of personalization to your three-piece suit.

Shoulder and Back Adjustments

Understanding the significance of shoulder measurements is crucial for a well-fitted suit. Shoulders are a key area that affects both comfort and style. The shoulder measurement should be taken from one end of the shoulder bone to the other, ensuring that the tape measure is parallel to the ground. Properly fitted shoulders allow the jacket to hang gracefully, without any awkward pulling or sagging.

The back of the suit is another area that requires attention. A well-tailored back ensures that the suit sits smoothly against your body. It should neither feel too tight nor have excess fabric that bunches up. The tailor will consider the slope of your shoulders and any asymmetries in your posture to make necessary adjustments. A suit that fits well in the shoulders and back not only looks more flattering but also allows for ease of movement and comfort.

The Importance of Posture

Your posture plays a significant role in the fit of your custom suit. A relaxed, natural posture is essential when taking measurements, as it ensures that the suit is tailored to how you stand and move. When measuring or fitting the suit, remember to stand up straight with your feet together. Your arms should be relaxed at your sides.

It’s crucial not to hold your breath or suck in your stomach, as this can result in incorrect measurements. By maintaining a natural posture during measurements, you ensure that the custom suit accommodates your everyday stance and movement. Additionally, recognizing any posture-related concerns, such as rounded shoulders or a forward head position, can help the tailor make adjustments to create a more comfortable and flattering fit.

Additional Customization Options

Beyond the measurements, there are numerous customization options to consider when ordering a custom suit. These options allow you to personalize your suit to the smallest details. Choosing the fabric is a fundamental choice, as it affects the overall look and feel of the suit. Fabrics can range from wool and cotton to silk and linen, each with its unique properties and suitability for different seasons.

Selecting colors, patterns, and textures is another exciting aspect of customization. Whether you prefer classic navy or charcoal or want to make a statement with bold checks or pinstripes, the choice is yours. Linings, buttons, and pocket styles can further reflect your personal style. From vibrant linings to contrasting buttons, these details add character to your custom suit.

Professional Tailoring vs. Self-Measurements

While self-measurements are possible and can be accurate with careful attention to detail, professional tailoring services offer distinct advantages. Professional tailors have the expertise to ensure that your measurements are precise and that the suit is tailored to your unique body shape. They can also provide valuable advice on fabric choices, styles, and other customizations based on their experience.

Professional tailors have an eye for detail and can identify any nuances in your body shape, posture, or movement that might require adjustments. They can also guide you through the customization options, helping you create a suit that matches your personal style and preferences. Whether you choose professional tailoring or self-measurements, the goal is to create a custom suit that fits you perfectly and enhances your confidence and style.

The Fitting Process

The fitting process for a custom suit typically involves several stages to ensure that the final product meets your expectations. It begins with the initial measurements, where the tailor takes note of your unique body shape and posture. Based on these measurements, the tailor will craft a pattern that serves as the foundation for your suit. The pattern accounts for every aspect of the suit, from the jacket and trousers to the vest or waistcoat.

After the initial measurements and pattern creation, a sample suit, often referred to as a “basted fitting,” is crafted. This suit is a rough draft, allowing the tailor to make any necessary adjustments before working on the final garment. During the fitting sessions, you can assess the suit’s fit, feel, and style. The tailor will take note of any modifications required, such as taking in or letting out the fabric or altering the length of the jacket or trousers.

Once the necessary alterations are made, the final suit is constructed. This process can take several weeks or more, depending on the complexity of the suit and the tailor’s workload. The final fitting allows you to ensure that the suit fits to your satisfaction, feels comfortable, and aligns with your vision of style. The tailor will make any last-minute adjustments to ensure that the suit is a perfect match for your body.

Caring for Your Custom Suit

Your custom suit is an investment in style and confidence, and it’s essential to care for it properly to ensure its longevity and continued appeal. While custom suits are designed to be durable, they still require proper maintenance. Dry cleaning is an essential aspect of suit care, as it helps remove dirt, oil, and stains that may accumulate over time.

It’s advisable to follow the care instructions provided by your tailor, as different fabrics and linings may require specific handling. Storing your suit in a breathable garment bag and using padded hangers can help maintain its shape. Avoid overexposure to sunlight and excessive humidity, as these factors can affect the fabric and color.

By taking good care of your custom suit, you can enjoy its impeccable fit and style for years to come. Whether you wear it for special occasions, business meetings, or simply to exude confidence and sophistication, a well-maintained custom suit is a valuable addition to your wardrobe.


In conclusion, measuring for a custom suit is an essential step in acquiring a garment that not only fits perfectly but also makes a statement. The experience of wearing a custom suit is unparalleled, as it allows you to express your style and confidence with unmatched precision. Understanding the measurements, details, and customization options is key to creating a suit that complements your physique, posture, and personal preferences.

Whether you choose to measure yourself or seek professional tailoring services, the goal is the same: a well-fitted, comfortable, and stylish custom suit. The process of creating a custom suit is not just about the measurements; it’s about the journey of personalization and self-expression. As you embark on this journey, you’ll discover the transformative power of a suit that’s designed specifically for you, enhancing your confidence and style.