How Jacket Chest Width Should Fit

How It Should Fit: The jacket lapels should rest flat against your chest

When you button the top button of your jacket, the lapels should rest smoothly and unbent on your chest. There should be no folds of excess fabric, tension lines, or wrinkles in either the front or back of the jacket where the chest meets the armhole. 

The Proper Cloth rule of thumb holds that there should be enough room between your torso and the jacket to allow one hand to fit between them. The goal is to achieve a clean, polished appearance while having fair range of motion.

perfect jacket fit

Perfect Chest Width: Flat lapel, trim silhouette, no tension at the top button.

Chest Width Too Small: Broken or bent lapels

One sign that the jacket’s Chest Width may be too small is if the lapels bend out noticeably at the chest area. This bending is referred to as “breaking.” If the lapels hug the body too closely, the tension between the neck area and the buttoned top button of the jacket will cause the lapel to “break”. The fit will appear shrunken and uncomfortable.

jacket chest width too tight

Chest Width Too Small: Bending lapels and pulling at the top button.

Another sign is X-shaped tension lines from the buttoned top button out towards the sides of the torso. If you see these lines, you should also consider increasing the Midsection Width. Because the Chest and Midsection Widths are connected, they must often be considered simultaneously in order to correct the fit in the torso.

Chest Width Too Large: Excess fabric at the armpits

The Chest Width is too large if the jacket appears particularly full near the armpits. You’ll see excess fabric folding where the chest meets the armholes in both the front and back of the jacket. 

jacket chest width too large

Chest Width Too Large: Excess fabric at the sides of the chest.

Whether you prefer a slim or relaxed jacket fit, the jacket torso should highlight your silhouette in a ‘V’ shape: wider at the shoulders, gradually tapering down to the midsection. Your body should be complemented by the fit with clean lines around the edges of the garment and few wrinkles on the fabric.

Jacket vs. Shirt Chest Width Measurements: Why are they different?

You may notice that your jacket’s Chest Width measurement is smaller than that of your shirts. That’s because shirts are designed to offer range of motion when you’re going about your daily activities, while jackets are designed to offer a trim appearance when your arms are at rest. Your jacket is meant to fit closer to your body and not necessarily provide wide range of motion, whereas your shirt must leave more space around your body so you can move freely.

Your preference for either a slim or relaxed fit in shirts and jackets will determine just how much these measurements differ. Ultimately the two garments will fit and measure differently in the chest area because they’re designed for different purposes, but they will fit you the way their intended purpose requires.

Local Tailoring: Can a tailor adjust my jacket chest width?

Yes. A tailor can increase the jacket Chest Width by about 0.4” (0.8” in circumference), and reduce it up to 1” (2” in circumference) without affecting the jacket’s structure noticeably. For alterations requiring more dramatic changes to the fit, we recommend contacting our Customer Experience Team for assistance with a remake. More details on tailoring capabilities here.