How to Measure for Jacket Size With a Tailor Tape

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Measuring for a jacket requires assistance to ensure the best fit.
Measuring for a jacket requires assistance to ensure the best fit. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Sports coats, blazers and suit jackets can pull your whole look together -- if they are the right size. Keeping up your dapper appearance requires that jackets fit your personal dimensions. Although using a professional tailor is the most common way to ascertain your dimensions, learning to take your own measurements will enable you to make informed purchases both online and in person with minimal assistance from a tailor.

Things You'll Need

  • Tailor’s measuring tape
  • Assistant
  • Pencil
  • Paper

Taking Measurements

Measure the length of your jacket by holding the end of your measuring tape at the front base of your neck and allowing it to roll down your chest. With your arms and shoulders relaxed, ask your assistant to read the measurement that is parallel to your knuckles at the base of your fingers. Make a note of the measurement with a pencil and paper.

Have your assistant measure your shoulder width. With one end of the tape pressed on the furthest point of your left shoulder, have your assistant extend the tape to the furthest point on your right shoulder and read the measurement aloud. Make a note of the measurement with a pencil and paper.

Determine the sleeve lengths by placing the end of your tape measure at the edge of your shoulder, where your arm and shoulder meet. Allow the tape to roll down along the length of your arm. The appropriate length for a tailored suit will be at your first thumb knuckle, where the joint meets the palm; the appropriate length for an off-the-rack suit will be parallel to your wrist. Write down both measurements and repeat the process on your other arm.

Place the end of the tape measure at your navel and run it all the way around your waist; mark the measurement. Place the end of the tape measure on the widest part of hip and run the tape around your entire hip; mark the measurement. Place the end of the tape at the center of your chest and run it under your arms, all the way around your body; mark the measurement.

Have your assistant measure the breadth of your chest (across the nipples) from the left armpit to the right armpit; mark the measurement. Have your assistant run the measuring tape all the way around your relaxed bicep; mark the measurement. Have your assistant measure the widest part of your back, over the shoulder blades; mark the measurement.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your back straight and shoulders back when taking all measurements.
  • Allow a finger's breadth between the tape and your body when taking measurements.
  • Do not flex your arms when taking measurements.
  • Do not pull the tape tightly across your body when taking measurements; doing so may produce skewed dimensions and lead you to purchase excessively tight jackets.

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