How Clothes Should Fit

Last updated: January 11, 2020

Fit is often the difference between appearing awkward or looking sharp, sleek and confident.

A lot of times fit comes down to simply paying attention to the fitting room mirror. Knowing how to pick the right fit is not some inborn ability, it’s simply learned by paying attention to detail.

This should go without saying – clothes fit best on people that are in shape. If your goal is to look good, having nice style will take you only so far. Be sure you’re eating well and exercising. You don’t need to be super ripped or super jacked, just being in decent shape will make wearing clothes look that much better.

Knowing your measurements as accurately as possible is also extremely important. You need these numbers when you’re shopping online, or even when looking at clothes in-store to speed up the shopping process.

Let’s begin with how some common men’s clothing items should fit.

Dress Shirts


  • The collar should slightly touch your neck but not be tight enough to be constricting. You should be able to turn your head without the collar turning with you.
  • Your cuffs should follow the same rule as a properly fitting watch (just slightly looser). Your cuffs should also meet at the point your palms begin.
  • Sleeves shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t move your arms freely, but they shouldn’t be super loose either. When you bend your arm, the cuff shouldn’t move up more than an inch up your wrist.
  • Do the fold test. If you fold your arms behind your head, your shirt shouldn’t come out of your pants.
  • The length of your should let you bend and make other movements without it popping out of your pants

Coats

  • Be aware of what you will be wearing under your coat as this will help you adjust the fit
  • Your sleeves should be about an inch up your hand from your wrist, this ensures the sleeves of whatever you’re wearing under your coat doesn’t show
  • Coats shouldn’t be roomy, they should hug your body and accentuate your shape, they shouldn’t be tight and restricting either.
  • If you have an ill-fitting coat, you will often have the bottoms flare out. This is an easy tell.

Pants

  • The golden rule: you should never need a belt to hold your pants up

Chinos

  • The fit of chinos should not be super tight on the leg, but also shouldn’t be too roomy. A comfortably close to the leg fit is best for most guys.

Dress Pants

  • Dress pants are often very similar in fit to chinos, but they naturally drape more.

Jeans

  • Pick out jeans that fit your waist size and go for a slim or straight leg fit. Jeans tend to stretch out so it’s not always wrong to size down slightly.
  • Avoid bootcut jeans
  • Slim around the quads and slightly tapered from the knees down

Shoes

  • While wearing shoes, you should not be able to fit a whole finger behind your heel
  • Your toes should just slightly touch the front of your shoes
  • A slight hug and pressure on the sides of your feet, but nothing too much
  • Should need a break period, so if it’s slightly tight at first they should loosen up after a few days of wear