Buying a new jacket can seem quite complicated, especially if this is your first time doing it. What does a size 42R actually mean? How do I know how long my sleeves need to be? Where do I measure my back length? We get that if you've never done it before these questions could be off putting, so we've tried to answer some of these questions for you below!
When it comes to suits the measurements are usually recorded in inches as is the tradition - so bear this in mind when measuring up! Jackets are 'sized' according to the chest measurement and can come in either Regular, Short or Long fits which refers to the overall length of the jacket and sleeve. As such, a 42R Jacket would have a 42 inch chest measurement and a Regular length body and sleeve.
The body of the Jacket should sit comfortably on the torso without being too tight and the hem should roughly reach the same line as your knuckles. The perfect fitting sleeves will sit at a comfortable height on the wrist, and should allow for about a 1/4 inch of shirt sleeve to be showing underneath.
To help you measure up for a new jacket, we've put together a handy guide to give you some hints and tips on the best way to choose your new jacket:
Best: Measure yourself!
Without a doubt, the best way to check what size jacket you need is to measure yourself! This will give you the most accurate measurements for the size and fit of jacket you need and reduces any chance of confusion over fabric stretching or different styles of jacket. Make sure to do this with a well-fitting shirt or t-shirt on so that the measurements are as accurate as possible. While it is entirely possible to measure yourself it can be easier if you have a willing someone to help!
Firstly, take the tape measure around the widest part of your chest, right underneath the arms as shown above. Make sure the tape measure isn't too tight otherwise the jacket will also feel tight. Take the measurement in inches and this is your Chest Size.
If the measurement comes up in between sizes (eg. a 41" measurement) then the best idea is to go up a size as a smaller size could be a bit of a squeeze!
Next take the tape measurement around your waist at the height of your belly button. This is your waist size for a jacket (which is not always the same as your trouser waist measurement!). This measurement will let you know what sort of style you might need as a slim-fit, skinny or regular will all have different chest to waist ratios.
If your waist size is smaller than your chest size, then a slim or skinny fit will fit you well. If your waist size is the same as or larger than your chest size a regular fit would be better for you.
Next up is the sleeve length: take your measuring tape and place the end of it at the top of your shoulder - this should be where the seam of your t-shirt or shirt is. Stand comfortably with your arms by your side and measure down to the wrist, this is where your sleeve should end.
This is your sleeve length and will tell you if you need a Short, Regular, or Long jacket. Remember that this should allow for a flash of shirt sleeve to be visible below the sleeve.
Lastly, to find your back length place the end of the tape measure at the back of your neck - this should be the top of your t-shirt or where the back of your shirt meets the collar. Measure down the centre of the back to to find your back length.
A well fitting jacket should come down over the bottom and be level with the knuckle when relaxed. Some styles of jackets (especially a more modern cut) will finish a little bit shorter so this should help you choose your style of jacket.
Good: Measure up your existing Jacket
If you're finding it hard to measure yourself, or there's a particular style or feature you want to be matching an old jacket can be measured to find your current size. Areas like the chest waist and underarm are particularly prone to stretching with a lot of wear so can affect the size of jacket you might need.
Firstly, button up your jacket and place it on a flat surface. Take your tape measure and measure in inches across the front of the jacket from armpit to armpit. This measurement is your Chest Size, but remember that this is half of the measurement, so times it by 2 to get your chest measurement.
Next, measure in inches from the top of the sleeve where it meets the shoulder, down to the hem of the sleeve. This is your sleeve length.
Lastly, turn the jacket over and measure inches from the back of the neckline (where the back of the jacket meets the collar) to the base of the jacket. This is your back length.
OK: Check your existing Jacket
If you're unable to use the above methods, or just can't find your tape measure then you can find your size by checking the label in a previous jacket. These are usually found in the inside pocket but be sure to reference the 'UK' size as the EU sizing works slightly differently!
There are a few things to bear in mind with this method before you buy your jacket. Firstly older jackets tend to stretch and relax to fit your body, so a new jacket might feel tighter in places such as the chest or underarm. Secondly, different styles of jacket will have different fits and feels, particularly if they are made out of different fabrics. Lastly, this measurement won't give you all the details of the back length, sleeve length or fit but will give you a good indication of the size to go for.
Hopefully now you've got an idea of the size of jacket you might need and the style of jacket you're looking for. Once you know the rules you can always decide what works for you and find your perfect jacket! Why not start your search with some of our premium jackets>