How to Measure for a Men's Coat

Written by jeremy cato
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There is a popular phrase that goes: "Clothes don't make the man." While it's true that you cannot tell everything about a person's character from clothing, it is also true that an improper fit in a garment can ruin a first impression. Avoid this embarrassment by getting proper measurements and having your coat tailor-made. Knowing your measurements can save you time and money. If done with an assistant, it is actually a very easy, five-step process.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cloth tape measure

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  1. 1

    Have the person that is to be measured stand erect with their hands at their sides.

  2. 2

    Have the person lift their arms and measure the person's chest at its widest part.

  3. 3

    Insert a finger in between the coat and the tape to give breathing room. The number that you get when measuring is the person's suit size. If the measurement is 44 inches, then the person needs a size 44.

  4. 4

    Place the tape measure around the person's neck, an inch up from where the neck and shoulders meet. Measure up to the nearest half inch. For instance, if you get a measure of 17-1/3 inches, the neck measurement should be 17-1/2 inches. If it's 17-2/3 inches, round it up to 18 inches.

  5. 5

    Measure the sleeves. Have the person bend an arm at a right angle. Start measuring between the shoulder blades and measure down to the elbow and then to the wrist. The measurement for most men will fall between 31 and 37 inches. Always measure up to the nearest half inch.

Tips and warnings

  • An alternative method for those with average or slim builds is to measure at the waist. Add 6 to the measurement and you have the suit size. If the waist is 32 inches, the coat size is 38.
  • Another method for men with large builds is to measure overarm. Have the person hold their arms straight at the sides and measure around the arms at the fullest part. Subtract 6 from the measurement and you have the suit size. If this measurement is 52 inches, the suit size is 46.
  • If you are simply purchasing a ready-made suit from a clothing store, you really only need the chest measurement; make your purchase according to that size. If you are actually having a suit coat custom made, then you will need all of measurement provided in these steps.
  • Do not pull tightly when measuring for the coat. The end result will be a jacket that is much too tight and uncomfortable to wear.

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