Jackets and coats are not only fashion items. In cooler regions of the world, these are a necessary part of your wardrobe. And as such, function takes precedence over form. Therefore it's better to wear a coat or jacket that fits properly rather than just focus on the style or look. While the best fitting jackets-especially suit jackets-would be tailored ones, perhaps you are looking for an off-the rack jacket or coat that fits you well. Here are a few tips on how to check for fit.
- Shoulder width. The first thing you should look for when fitting a jacket is the shoulder width. This is usually indicative of whether a coat will fit you or not. Even while still browsing the racks, you can try setting the jacket on your chest, to see if the seams of the shoulders match with your shoulders.
- Chest size. Next important consideration would be chest size. Not all jackets are the same. Some might be tight fitting, while some may be loose. The fit would also depend on the style of the jacket. Double breasted jackets look better on taller and wider-built people, while single-breasted jackets are better if you're slim. If you're fitting a casual jacket, then zip up or button up the jacket to see if you can still move freely.
- Sleeve length. When fitting a jacket, the sleeves should not be too long. When wearing an overcoat, the cuffs of your shirt should extend about one inch outside the edge of the jacket sleeve. You should also consider the fit of the sleeve well. This should depend on the girth of your arms. Slimmer individuals would fit well with slim-fitting jackets, but if you have hefty arms, you would need a jacket with looser sleeves.
- Jacket length. This depends on the style of the jacket. For suit jackets, the length of the tail should extend to the area of your trousers inner seam. If you're fitting a casual jacket, then the bottom part should just go past your waistline.
- Coat length. As for overcoats, the same pointers should also apply, except that you should give an allowance, because overcoats are meant to be layered over a jacket. The length would depend on your preference, though. The general rule of thumb is that a coat should only reach to your knee level. Any longer than that and it might be difficult to move about.
One tip when shopping for jackets and coats off-the-rack: try to purchase from one label, brand or retailer as much as possible. This way, you are more likely to find a jacket with a fit you are used to.
Remember that when fitting a jacket and overcoat, the important thing is to be able to move about freely to do your usual activities, like driving, walking, eating and the like. Even more important is if you can freely move about even with layers of clothing. Your wardrobe should be as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing.