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Shoulder Width Question

Discussion in 'Suits' started by MondoFW, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    587
    Hello,

    This may seem like a silly question, but i have been eyeing a late 40's suit that has a shoulder width of 18". This coat is 17.5":

    Screenshot_20180617-225538.jpg
    Would that extra 0.5" make me look ridiculous? Just to preface: the suit I am watching is much less roomy in the chest and waist than this sack I'm wearing! I would greatly appreciate input.
     
  2. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    You are basically talking about an extra quarter inch each shoulder - the difference is pretty minimal, though I find a quarter inch is a big enough variance to be noticeable to the eye. The shoulders of the coat you are eyeing will just feel more extended, especially relative to a closer chest and nipped waist.
     
    MondoFW likes this.
  3. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    297
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    From the picture it is not easy to see, but I would say that these shoulders already look rather extended (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm much relying on the slight curve in your right shoulder). Going further might cause the dreaded "drooping effect" on both sides, which is something I'd stand clear of.

    In my experience the big problem comes from the front shoulder. It should never extend too far past your actual shoulder, unlike the back which can be wider. If in this jacket you already feel the coat's sleeve starting past your shoulder bone (and a generic feeling of "slipping away from your upper torso"), then the envisaged jacket will feel big in the shoulder area. I'm not saying it will necessarily look ridiculous, maybe it was cut to be oversized.

    By the way, if chest has correct width, back is generous and sleeves are long enough, you can consider having the shoulders chopped off 0.5 inches each side if they really don't suit you.

    Just out of curiosity, what is your actual shoulder width?
     
  4. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    587
    My natural width is about 16. How close should a coat be to natural width?
     
  5. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    This is a difficult question to answer unequivocally, because shoulder width is so much a matter of style. If you have a coat with an unpadded, completely natural shoulder, an extra two inches would definitely cause the unsightly droopage that Mathematicus mentioned. But if there is enough wading in the sleevehead, 18 inches of extension is probably about the maximum your build could sustain. Personally, I'd stick with 17-17.5 inches, and if I bought a coat with broader shoulders than that, I'd expect to have them taken in.
     
    PeterB, Mathematicus and MondoFW like this.
  6. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    587
    Altering shoulders seems like a very costly operation. Not worth it, imo. I'll just have to hunt for coats in that range you mentioned (for padded suits, which is all you'll find these days anyway).
     
  7. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    297
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    While I agree that shoulder alterations are costly, they may be worth the price in some circumstances. It is important to make sure that the tailor you are giving the job to has familiarity with making coats, definitely not a job for the dry-cleaner's alterationst.

    I agree with Patrick in saying that, with a 16 inch natural shoulder, the safest option would be to avoid jackets with shoulders wider than 17-17.5 unless you are either willing to live with a lot of padding or expect to alter them.
     
    MondoFW and Patrick Hall like this.
  8. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Messages:
    360
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    That jacket (bad picture though) seems to fit you very well, and if it's a .5 inch total, that will nto make a huge difference IMO. If there is sufficient padding then the slop will not show much aa it doesn't pertrude too much over your shoulder (.25" past this one in the picture).
     
    PeterB and MondoFW like this.

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