Suit Jacket Style Guide For Men

All About Suit Jackets

A suit jacket is an essential in a man’s wardrobe. Worn for all manners of occasion, work, smart casual events, full formal, a suit jacket can be returned to over and over again. They are the most relied upon aspect of a 3-piece suit ensemble. To truly feel your finest in your men’s suit jacket, you need to know exactly what to do to get the most out of them. For an item you wear so much, why would you want anything less than the best?


Groom's suit worn by model with blue men's suit jacket and brown waistcoat.

Jamal's Wedding Attire



If you want to know more about men’s suit jackets, how to get the best fit in a men’s suit jacket, and want ideas for men’s outfits with suit jackets, read on…


What Is A Suit Jacket For?

A suit jacket is a key part of a 3-piece suit ensemble. Usually worn over a formal shirt and waistcoat, they are that last touch of formality that completes the look. They are the most formal jacket out there, and they elevate any outfit as a result. They are also built to flatter the wearer, creating a silhouette that accentuates the shoulders and brings in the waist, creating a quintessential V shape.



However, exactly what a suit jacket does is up to the wearer and the suit itself. Different types of suit jacket will end up in different results in a look and on a specific wearer. There are different ways to get the perfect suit jacket, read on to find advice and tips to find the right men’s suit jacket for you…


Navy blue men's suit jacket displayed on mannequin.

Caridi JacketTed WaistcoatSUAVE OWL Pink ShirtPaisley Tie & Pocket Square Set


How Should A Suit Jacket Fit?

Suit jacket fit is a key step in finding the best men’s suit jacket that cannot be ignored. A jacket that is too big will hang off your frame, making you look bulky. A jacket that is too small will pinch, be uncomfortable, and make you look bigger than you are. The perfect fit is somewhere between these two and will create a smooth silhouette, making for a lasting, formal impression.



Here are some aspects to look for in finding the right suit fit.



The shoulder should lie flat. The shoulder seam should hit on top of where your arm and shoulder connect. There should be no excess material, but it also shouldn’t ride up and have the arms start over your shoulder. This aspect is extra important as this is not an easy fix in tailoring, the suit jacket must fit here from the beginning to ensure the best overall fit.



The jacket needs to be able to close. When it is closed, the two sides should neatly meet without hanging off the body or the material pinching inward and flaring out at the bottom. There should be no strain in shutting the button and no wrinkling of the material. It should hug the body but not constrict. Ultimately, it should be comfortable.


Jenson blue men's suit worn by model, close up on chest.

Jenson 3-Piece Suit, SUAVE OWL White Shirt


The jacket sleeve should expose just a slither of the cuff of a formal shirt worn beneath it. The traditional guideline is ‘half an inch of linen’, meaning only half an inch of the shirt should show. The cuff of the shirt, and just above it, should never show entirely. The shirt should also never be completely hidden. For most men, the jacket should stop just before the large wrist bone. Sleeve jackets are one of the easier tailoring adjustments, but you should still aim to be in the ballpark – tailors can’t make miracles after all!



Your jacket collar should rest against the collar of your formal shirt, which should hug your neck also. There should be gaps between all of these, but not big ones. Often, a badly fitting collar is symptomatic of other aspects of bad fit in a jacket, particularly shoulder fit. If a collar is too tight or too loose, it may be worth trying on different sizes and styles all together.



Lastly, jacket length is important to getting the right overall look from a suit. It should fall past the waist and past the top of the trouser. It should drape over the top of the buttock but stop just about where the buttock begins to curve inward. It should ideally hit the middle of the hands, when they are relaxed to the side of your body. If the jacket stops before the buttock or goes past the hands entirely, the jacket length is not right.



A good starting point to getting the right fit and figuring out the right suit sizes for you is utilising a size guide. Take your measurements, apply them to the size guide associated with your desired suit, and then try that size and the size larger and smaller. With these steps, you should streamline finding the right size and be able to take the above information into finding the best men’s suit jacket size for you.


Co-founder Tony wearing the Caridi olive men's suit.

Caridi Olive 3-Piece Suit, SUAVE OWL White Shirt, Plain Twill Tie & Pocket Square Set, SUAVE OWL Bath Dry Gin


Single-Breasted Suit Jackets vs Double-Breasted Suit Jackets

One major difference in some jackets is that some will be single-breasted, and others will be double-breasted; this is also applies to waistcoats. A single-breasted suit jacket will have one line of buttons down the centre of the suit. A double-breasted suit jacket will have two lines of buttons with a cross over of material. Both styles have their pros and will work better for certain styles and individuals.



Of the two, the double-breasted suit jacket is the older and more traditional style. The cross over of the fabric creates a more structed body to the suit jacket, making for a strong silhouette. However, to effectively work, it needs to be well-fitting. It also generally can be more flattering for medium or larger built men, as there is more for the suit to structure. It brings attention to the upper chest and attention to the intricate details of the lapels, a common feature of the double-breasted jacket.



A single-breasted jacket is a more contemporary style. The simplicity of the V neck lapel into a straight line of buttons down the torso brings attention to the upper chest and makes for an easily flattering suit look. Often slimming, the streamlined suit look makes for a suit that you can accessorise and style as you please.



Ultimately, whether you should wear a double-breasted or single-breasted jacket is really up to your preference. Try on styles in each and see what makes you feel your best.


Smart casual suit jacket men's outfit worn by model.

Sam's Semi-Formal Outfit


Suit Jacket Outfit Ideas

When you have the right suit jacket, you will want to find the right outfits to go with it! Whilst a suit is best known for its part in a 3-piece men’s suit ensemble, it can also be a standout item in men’s smart causal outfit too. Just remember to leave that bottom button undone! Read on for outfit ideas for men using men’s suit jackets…



Smart Casual Suit Jacket Outfits

To get the most out of your suit jacket, consider the ways in which you can wear it as a part of a smart casual outfit. Perfect for work, nights out, and all those events where you want to feel dressed to impress, your suit jacket can go a long way.



A simple smart casual men’s outfit with a suit jacket is the combination of a suit jacket, SUAVE OWL formal shirt, chinos, and either brogues or trainers. With this outfit, you can play with colour whilst giving a formal impression in perfect comfort.


Co-founder Tony wearing a smart casual men's outfit.

Eton Jacket, Eton Waistcoat, SUAVE OWL White Shirt, Jeans Rock Fit Black



For colder months, consider adding a jumper or knitwear to the above outfit. It gives a formal and smart impression whilst keeping you warm throughout the day!



Formal Suit Jacket Outfits

A suit jacket is most at home and most commonly seen as a part of a 2-piece or 3-piece men’s formal outfit.



For an effective men’s 2-piece suit, simply wear a suit jacket, matching suit trousers, a SUAVE OWL formal shirt, your favourite brogues and your favourite accessories. It’s a simple combination that works every time, perfect for a wide range of events such as formal workdays, first dates, interviews, and nights out!




A men’s 3-piece suit is a simple outfit. Wear a suit jacket, waistcoat, suit trousers, your favourite brogues, and your favourite accessories. There are so many ways you can make this outfit more personal to you; you can opt for either a double-breasted or single breasted look, incorporate a favourite colour, choose a bow tie or tie, pick between belt or braces. You can also mix and match suit pieces. At SUAVE OWL, our suits are sold in separate pieces. This has a wide range of benefits, including getting the perfect size for you in all three pieces. Another benefit is that you can mix and match suit pieces to personalise your look. You may opt for a pop of colour in the waistcoat or jacket with a suit piece from a different outfit for an outfit that feels right for you.


Men's suit in black worn by model on motorcycle.

Marco 3-Piece Suit, SUAVE OWL White ShirtPlain Twill Tie & Pocket Square Set



The Ultimate Guide To Men’s Suits is the best blog to start with for men’s suits. It explains suit fit, how to find the best suit fit for you, and men’s suiting essentials. For further reading, our formal menswear style guide Navigating Men's Formal Wear: A Comprehensive Style Guide and our smart casual menswear style guide Mastering The Art Of Semi Formal Attire For Men are excellent choices.



Follow our InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and TikTok for more outfit inspiration. Feel your best on race day and keep it simple yet significant with SUAVE OWL.

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