How Jacket Shoulder Width Should Fit

How It Should Fit: Slightly past your shoulder bones

The shoulders of a jacket should highlight your natural silhouette with smooth, uninterrupted lines and a clean drape throughout the upper chest, upper sleeves, sleeve head, and shoulders. Whether you prefer a modern slim fit or a traditional one, the shoulder seams of the jacket should end slightly past your shoulder bones without pushing past the top of the arm. 

Correct Jacket Shoulder Width

Perfect Shoulder Fit: Sharp, polished intersection of shoulders and sleeve head.

The jacket Shoulder Width should be slightly wider than your shoulder bones by approximately .5” (.25” on each side). The shoulder seams should meet the top of the sleeves without wrinkles, divots, tension, or pulling. The goal is to create a silhouette that tapers gradually from the upper body down to the midsection, all while ensuring the jacket drapes cleanly in the torso and sleeves.

Shoulder Width Too Narrow: Fabric pulled tight across upper arms

An obvious sign that the jacket Shoulder Width is too narrow is fabric pulled tight on the upper arms. The short length of the shoulders causes the sleeve heads to be pulled too close to the body which creates tension and distorts the shoulder fit. Even if the rest of the jacket fits well, this will likely be uncomfortable—it’s always worth paying attention to how the different areas of the jacket feel to get a sense of how they are fitting. Increasing the Shoulder Width will relax this tension and allow the sleeves to drape properly and comfortably.

Shoulder Width Too Wide: Dimpling at sleeve head

If the Shoulder Width is too wide, the shoulders will be exaggerated and sag noticeably. You’ll see wrinkles that run from under the jacket lapel to the shoulder edge and a bulge of excess fabric that creates a dimple at the top of the sleeves. Even if the rest of the jacket fits well, an oversized shoulder fit will make the jacket look sloppy, as if it’s a size too large. Decreasing the Shoulder Width will flatter you and clean up the drape of the sleeve.

Local Tailoring: Can a tailor adjust my jacket’s shoulders?

A tailor cannot easily alter the shoulders of a jacket as it often requires changes to numerous other parts of the garment. Adjustments to the jacket’s Chest Width, Sleeve Width, or center back seam can potentially correct some of the aforementioned issues, however, it’s best to consult us for recommendations. If your jacket is in noticeable need of Shoulder Width adjustments, we recommend submitting a Fit Advice Request to get custom size recommendations for a potential remake.