Choosing a Suit Jacket, Pt. 3: The Details


The devil’s in the details.

The details can be just as instrumental in making a suit or jacket look great as the cut and fit; with unflattering details, it becomes harder to match the jacket with accessories and shoes. We have covered lapel and fronting, as well as the jacket construction. Now that you have the biggest parts in check, it is time to discuss the details! In this section of the guide we will cover rear vents, pockets, armholes and sleeve buttons.


Rear Vents

Legend has it that the idea of a rear vent in a tailored jacket was started by tailors who wanted to make a jacket suited to wealthy men who enjoyed riding horses. Adding a rear vent meant that the rider could wear his jacket buttoned up and still have a flattering appearance created by the jacket.

Choosing the right rear vent style for you is of high importance. The right choice will help accentuate (or tone down) your butt, and help to create a flattering effect on your physique. Choosing a vent style that is ill fitted to you may well result in a detrimental effect.


Single Vent

The single rear vent comprises of one break, running from the very centre of the jacket. It is common in American off-the-rack jackets, but can be found in other styles as well.

Sam Says:

The single vent is least likely to cause you any image issues, but is also least likely to truly flatter your body. If you are wanting to hide a large posterior, this vent will be the choice for you. If you want to accentuate your butt and are insistent on wearing a single vent, your best bet is to have it cut slightly tighter to create a ‘duck tail’ effect. However the dual vent is most likely going to be a safer bet.

Dual Vent

To have two rear vents is a signature of English tailors, but the widespread appeal of a dual vent jacket due to its flattering of many body types has meant that most off-the-rack brands in Australia are doing dual vent jackets. If you take a look at various brands, you will be hard pressed to find a single vent jacket nowadays as they are almost exclusively being cut as dual vent.

Sam Says:

A dual vent jacket with correct length will make your butt look good. It will accentuate it in a way that makes it look more muscled, which is a plus in the eyes of the ladies. It is important to ensure the jacket is the right length though, as a short-tailed jacket (which is trending at the moment) can make your butt look comically big instead of flattering it.

No Vent

Some jackets are constructed with no rear vent at all. These are usually found in continental styles (i.e. Italian), and are a rather bold stylistic choice. They are not often seen in Australia.

Sam Says:

A ventless jacket can compliment a narrow or athletic build, whether you are stick thin or broad-set like myself. It is a bolder stylistic choice and I find it well suited to continental styles of jacket such as the 6×1 double breasted. A ventless jacket will also require more maintenance, as the lack of venting means the jacket will crinkle and crease when you sit down.


Exterior Pockets

There are several pockets that may be found on the exterior of the jacket, with the usual being a breast pocket and hip pockets. There is also the option of a ticket pocket. These pockets can be arranged in a number of configurations, and different houses may have different styles of pocket which may be more or less angled.


Pocket Styles

The three main styles of jacket pocket – in order from least to most formal – are patch pockets, flap pockets and jetted pockets. Flap pockets can have the flaps tucked in to become a jetted pocket. You may also come across a patch pocket with a flap. The below images showcase a patch pocket, flap pocket and jetted pocket respectively:

Breast Pockets

The breast pocket is a standard on jackets, and is where you can display a pocket square. How these are styled depends on the design of the jacket; these are usually a jetted pocket with some slant, though a jacket with patch pockets may elect to have a patch breast pocket too.

Ticket Pocket

An option on some jackets is a ticket pocket. This feature spawned from a functional need; when train travel was the normal mode of transport for many men, the ticket pocket was used to hold the large train tickets of the period. These days, the ticket pocket is largely an aesthetic choice.


If you would like a more in-depth breakdown on pockets, Gentleman’s Gazette has an excellent article on the subject.


Armholes

It is important to take notice of the height of your armholes (also known by the traditional term of armscye). The lower the armhole, the less range of movement you will have. A low armhole means you will not be able to raise your arms very much at all before your jacket shoulders start riding up.

It is best practise to go for a higher armhole. This will allow you a closer and more visually appealing fit, and will allow you a much better range of movement without your jacket puffing up comically. Best of both worlds!

Note that cheaper off-the-rack jackets will likely have lower armholes, as the bigger the armhole the more potential men the design will fit. This may be alterable by your tailor, but this is not always the case. Any good quality made to measure or bespoke jacket should have nice high armholes, and some high end off-the-rack jackets will too.


Sleeve Buttons

Most tailored jackets will have buttons on the sleeves. While they are usually non-functional off the rack, bespoke jackets will often have functioning sleeve buttons. Note that some off the rack brands have started to re-introduce functional sleeve buttons so this is not a definite sign of a bespoke jacket.

There are three styles in which sleeve buttons can be sewn on; separated, kissing or stacked.


Separated

A separated button sleeve means that the buttons sit in a visibly separated fashion. There will be some gap between each button.

Kissing

This refers to buttons that are sewn so close together that they are essentially ‘kissing’. The edge of each button should be perfectly aligned with the next button so that they slightly touch.

Stacked

This style has the buttons sewn in a fashion that they overlap each other, causing them to be ‘stacked’.

What’s the deal with different numbers of buttons?

The number of buttons can denote the formality of the jacket. There will normally be 1-4 buttons, with 4 being the most formal style and 1 being the most casual. These days, it is a detail dictated largely by personal choice; however suits will tend to have 4 as the standard.


That’s all!

This concludes the guide to choosing a jacket. Now you can be confident in deciding exactly what you want! When it comes to deciding on what fabric you want, make sure to check out the guide to understanding Super Numbers.

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