Editorial

Suit Jacket Length: Cover Your Ass

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I speak of the short jacket/blazer thing.

The sun rose on these short jackets in the early aughts when Thom Browne took his first communion suit out of the dryer and sent the original cast of Brownettes down the runway in his signature shrunken kit. Though I make a snarky joke about it, I believe Browne’s bold statement was a brilliant and necessary disruption of the over-padded, over-lapeled, over-buttoned, over-sized power suits of the 1990s. But the statement turned into a movement, giving millennials and their juniors the false impression that jackets of such abbreviated length are the norm, neglecting to notice that the view from the back makes one’s ass look bigger, bolder and broader than it ought to.

I’ll show a little leg here by admitting that I’m not necessarily an “ass man,” but when I see a guy in one of these jackets from behind, the first thing I notice is his ass or – more accurately – how noticeably pronounced it looks. I think to myself “Wow, there’s your ass, with a little jacket resting on top of it.” It’s not the most flattering look on the male shape. It’s actually a weird trend that makes guys look like they should be serving pre-flight mimosas on Hipster Air.

Adding to the shape-flattering note, a short jacket draws a line that cuts a male form more directly in half, creating an unnecessarily odd silhouette, especially if a man is even slightly roomy in the hips, thighs or butt. A jacket long enough to cover the crotch and the butt eliminates that problem. But this is not news. Seasoned master tailors who know the male form better than anyone without a Ph.D. in anatomy have known this for centuries. What we have now is a group of designers catering to an easily influenced market of fashion victims hungry for something not because it’s necessarily flattering but because it’s different, “fabulous,” current, whatever.

So how does one determine whether a jacket has the most flattering length? It’s easy. When your arms are relaxed at your sides, the jacket length should reach your thumb knuckle. No shorter, no longer. Said length will save you from reinventing your wardrobe every few years and have you and your ass flatteringly covered.

Featured images © Flag Clothing Ltd. T/A Richard James.

5 Comments

  1. “When your arms are relaxed at your sides, the jacket length should reach your thumb knuckle. No shorter, no longer. Said length will save you from reinventing your wardrobe every few years and have you and your ass flatteringly covered.”

    This rule, though simple, ignores the fact that people have different proportions. Those with longer torsos and/or shorter arms will end up with jackets that are too short, whereas those like me with short torsos and almost comically long arms (+4″ ape index) will end up with an oddly long jacket.

    • George Reply

      Of course people are different. The suggestion is a general one that takes care of most men. We are fortunate today to have well-made and affordable made-to-measure options for men who aren’t served well off the rack.

  2. “But this is not news. Seasoned master tailors who know the male form better than anyone without a Ph.D. in anatomy have known this for centuries.”

    Excellent … I’m sewing as a hobby, and for any intuition, always had a preference for traditional cuts, consecrated.

    The fashion industry needs to “innovate” and constantly worshiping the “new” to remain competitive. But in true worship chimeras are created and named estapafúrdios with names like “skinny”, “baby look”, all to give an air of novelty and make people swallow this nonsense.

    Finally, I would like to take a question about the length of the jacket / blazer / jacket …

    You mentioned that the “length should be at the height of the joint of the thumb”, right? Being that the thumb has two joints, which one would it be? The joint of the hand or the middle finger?

    Big hug!

  3. Leon Stafford II Reply

    As long as we’re talking nouveau, imagine the stunning appeal of spiked hair, a three day beard, gratuitous tats and the “new” PeeWee Herman tailored suit look.

    Gag me with a spoon.

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