A coat, a jacket, it’s important to make sure whichever type of outerwear you have on fits. Your clothes should be doing you a favor, not hurting your chances (at a job, with a girl etc).
Coats are the trickiest piece of clothing to fit correctly. Unlike a dress shirt or even a suit, alterations can be made to the parts of the garment that need adjusting (taking in a shirt, hemming a pant leg and so on). Alterations for a coat are not easy (or cheap). We’re dealing with a lot of material here, so most tailors don’t want to touch a coat that needs to be altered. After taking it apart and the lining, it’s hardly worth putting it back together—you are better off having a coat custom made.
Now obviously I’m a big fan of custom made apparel, but I’m also well aware that not everyone wants to go that route (maybe you’re intimidated, don’t want to spend the extra money…or can’t sit still for a 10 minute fitting?).
If this sounds like you, on your next trip to buy a coat, pay attention to these details to ensure you pick the one that makes you look your best.
See below. Here is an example of sloping shoulders. What that means is that typically most seams on a coat or shirt will fall past his natural shoulder. (Conversely, men with very broad shoulders usually experience off-the-rack shirts to have the seem in the middle of their shoulder—too short of where it should be.)
If you’re a guy with sloping shoulders, remember to look where the seam falls on the coat;—past your shoulder and it looks dopey, before your shoulder and you won’t be able to extend your arms!
Next, epaulets are your biggest asset! What originated from military uniforms can now be seen on casual shirts, coats and jackets. An epaulet is the strip of fabric on top of each shoulder, usually with a button. These serve no purpose other than to build up one’s shoulder and for design.
As you can see in the picture, the addition of epaulets, along with the stiffer material, makes this option so much better than the wool coat. And yes, the navy jacket does fit closer to the natural shoulder to begin with, so we aren’t comparing apples to apples here.
Another detail to look for is shoulder pads. I know that may sound terribly girly, but guys, you have padding in your suit jackets, so this isn’t anything new. If the grey wool coat had some type of reinforcement in the shoulder, it would have laid much better.
More examples of epaulet styles: