This question comes to us via the tumblr blog: Hey guys lovin the blazers! Where do you get them? In store? Online?
Finding the perfect fitting blazer can be a headache for any man, and usually involves three choices: having them custom tailored for you, finding a brand that cuts a suit exactly like you want, or buying jackets off the rack and having them altered. On top of those choices, you have to choose between one, two, or three buttons, and between side or back vents. I’ll explain the pros and cons of each choice below.
Obviously, a bespoke (custom tailored) blazer is the best option since it is handcrafted according to your exact preferences and dimensions. You simply cannot go wrong with this option. Most high-end labels offer this service, but it is usually quite expensive. Local tailors might offer this option as well, so it’s worth asking around. Another option that I highly recommend is to use a company like Indochino. Indochino walks you through every step of the measuring process and then uses those dimensions to craft a perfect fitting suit or blazer for you. They have a large selection of fabrics and cuts to choose from, and they store your measurements so you can order additional pieces with ease.
So if you don’t want to go bespoke, what should you do? Try finding a brand that fits you right without any necessary major (or in a perfect world, minor) alterations. The most important thing to consider when shopping for blazers is the fit of the shoulders. This cannot be altered later, so it has to fit right to begin with. You want the shoulders to fit snug – don’t let them hang over your shoulders, or you’ll look like a kid in an adult blazer. On the other hand, if the shoulders are too snug you’ll like an adult in a kids blazer.
The key to dressing for the large body type is to find clothing that fits right. Too small and you show off unwanted curves. Too large and you add the illusion of more visual weight. A perfectly tailored blazer can create any illusion you want. If you find a great fitting blazer that is a little too large, yet fits perfectly in the shoulders, you can simply take it to a tailor and tell them what you want. Since fashion seems to trend towards the slimmer built man, it can be difficult to find great fitting blazers in larger sizes. However, many local and online stores make great blazers in a variety of sizes, and you can normally find sizes that go into the 60’s.
Choose lightweight fabrics that don’t add additional bulk to your frame. A nice worsted wool will do the trick. Choose fabrics that breathe…no one wants to sweat underneath their blazer. Lightweight wools or linen / cotton combinations breathe great.
It’s true what they say: Dark colors are slimming. A dark blazer with dark pants (or jeans) will make you visually taller (and slightly slimmer). A light colored blazer with dark pants will visually cut you in half and draw attention to your mid-section.
Quite simply, it is usually best for the larger man to go with two or three buttons (but never more than three). Two buttons will elongate the torso, but will also show more off. Three buttons will cover more of the chest and can create a slimming effect. One button blazers aren’t recommended for larger body types because it will draw more attention to your frame.
On a separate note about buttons, try finding (or ask your tailor for) functional sleeve buttons. This is usually the sign of a well-crafted suit, and unbuttoning the outermost sleeve button can add a slight casual feel to your outfit while showing you care about the small details. Doing this can also draw attention to a great pair of cufflinks.
Vents are the slits on the back of a blazer. They usually come in either one back vent or two side vents. Since side vents can add visual bulk, it’s recommended to go with a single back vent.
Where to Shop:
As mentioned earlier, Indochino offers a number of blazers that can be made to your specifications at no extra charge. Paul Fredrick and J.Crew also offer sport coats in a variety of extended sizes and styles.
As always, these are simply recommendations… True style is created by those sometimes willing to break the rules. Feel free to submit photos of you in your favorite blazer and we might feature you on the site! Just be sure to tell us what brand the blazer is and where you purchased it.