You know how sometimes you get an off-the-rack (OTR) suit and even after several alterations it just won’t give you that perfect fit that you were looking for.
You take it to a tailor. He has shortened the sleeves correctly. He has shortened your jacket to its appropriate length. Hell, he has even taken in the chest and waist to ensure your jacket looks perfect.
And yet, you can see something’s not right, specially when moving around. Not only can you see it, you can feel it too, there is something wrong with how the jacket feels and the way wraps around your body.
“There must be something wrong with my body!” You tell yourself while you let out a sigh.
No, it’s not your body’s fault (ok, let’s say that’s highly improbable).
So who’s to blame?
Well, it seems that could very well be your jacket’s armholes. Let’s find out why…
First, What Are The Armholes Of A Suit Jacket?
The name is quite self-explanatory, I know. But still just to make sure I cover all the bases on this post, let’s define the jacket’s armholes:
The armholes are the holes to each side of the jacket’s body to where its sleeves are attached. Simple as that.
If you’re still confused, this image should help:
Alright, so now we know what the they are. But how could such an apparently insignificant detail almost ruin the fit of your jacket?
There Is Low Armholes And There Is High Armholes
You see, the fault lies in the fact that most off-the-rack suits and even some tailored suits will come with low armholes. What you should be looking for instead, is jackets with high armholes.
Low armholes? High armholes? What’s up with these names? I know…. And I couldn’t find an accurate explanation for this misnomer. You can however, think of them this way to better understand the differences between both variations:
Low armholes = big armholes / High armholes = small armholes
Much easier to understand now, right? So that’s a better way to think about it. low armholes have a big cirumference while the high variants have a smaller one.
But why exactly should you look for jackets with high armholes? Good question.
Why High Armholes Should Be The Norm (Or Why Low Armholes Should DIAF)
What’s the problem with low armholes?
Simple, they go further down the body of the jacket than high armholes, causing your jacket to lose its shape whenever you make any movements such as lifting your arms. Basically, the whole body of your jacket gets lifted up as you lift your arms. And frankly, it looks horrible.
This is of course, caused by the fact that your armholes are attached to a larger portion of the body of the jacket.
Sure, you might not notice this while standing with your arms relaxed to your sides, but you will certainly notice it if you make any movements.
So what’s the benefit of having low armholes? None!
Well, to be thorough, the idea is that low armholes make it easier to put on and take off your jacket. And that’s true, I won’t deny that small benefit, but it’s just not worth it when you find out how much you’ll sacrifice for this tiny convenience.
Ok, and what about the benefits of high armholes?
High armholes allow for more movement without ever compromising the look of your jacket, even when lifting your arms. Since the sleeves of your jacket follow very closely the shape of your own arm, you won’t be pulling fabric from your jacket’s body as you move around.
There is one downside, though. Just as low armholes can be considered easier to slip on when putting your jacket on (or taking it off), high armholes require a little more effort in this regard. But it’s really nothing significant and you shoudn’t even give it that much thought.
You’ll also find high armholes can feel a little tight on your armpit if you are not used to them. But you’ll get used to it – after all, that’s the right way your jacket should fit.
Alright, I’m fairly sure you’ve been convinced by now and there is no turning back!
It’s a real shame that most modern jackets come with low armholes by default and not much can be done to alter them. You’ll be lucky to find an off-the-rack suit with high armoles.
That’s just the way it is. The good news it you can definitely do something about it – awareness is just the first step.
So now make sure you put this newly acquired knowledge into your next suit purchase. Whether it’s an off-the-rack (you might get lucky) or a bespoke suit, be picky when it comes to your jacket’s armholes.
It’s worth it.