Mens’ suits – A guide to understanding the sizing system.

A suit can be purchased off the peg or made to measure. For off the peg suits there is a system of sizes in place to determine one’s size. The chest size in inches is the first and most important. The average size of a man’s chest would be between 40 and 42 inches.Smaller men would have a chest measuring 36 or 38 inches while bigger men go from 44 inches and upwards. If these sizes were to be converted to the small, medium and large scale you would have the following;

36 – small

38, 40 – medium

42, 44 – large

46 – extra large

48 – double extra large

Most suit manufacturers only offer a suit in even sizes. In other words one can not purchase a size 37 or 41 for instance. Sometimes if one is in between sizes it is better to go for a made to measure as this will allow an exact fit.

Unless a small suit is sold in mix and match format (most suits are not) the corresponding size of the trousers must be accepted. This is a table showing the corresponding trousers size for various jacket sizes.

36 jacket – 30 waist trousers

38 jacket – 32

40 jacket – 34

42 jacket – 36

44 jacket – 38

46 jacket – 40

48 jacket – 42

The next thing to watch out for is the three different coat lengths that a suit comes in. A short fit is usually for men of 5 feet 9 inches and under. Regular is usually for a man of average height, while a long is for the taller man. So for example, if a man is low in height and has a 42 chest, his size will be a 42s with a corresponding trousers size of 36s.