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Help with Armholes!!!

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    Help with Armholes!!!

    After trying out Made to Measure with a lot of success and endless hours of research, I finally decided to try full on custom when I came across a good deal on Gilt City a few months ago. I purchased a deal for that included 1 jacket, 1 pants, 1 suit (or another set of jacket and pants), and 4 dress shirts from Balani Custom Clothiers in Chicago. The overall experience was great and Cordt, the guy helping me was super friendly. We spent an hour and a half with me talking about what I was looking for and we even took a good look at a well-fitting suit of my own so I could show him what I did and didn't like about it. After that, we picked fabrics, and then I was measured. They took about 40 measurements, some twice since size can fluctuate slightly even during measurements.

    Surprisingly, almost everything fit perfectly at the first fitting, minus slimming down the suit vest and shortening one of the jacket's sleeves slightly. After they made the alterations, they gave me a few weeks to try out the clothes and said they'd follow up to make sure no other alterations were needed. I was super stoked and when I wore the suit to work the next day I noticed a major problem that I hadn't during the fittings: the armholes were way too low. And by low, I mean really low, the seam where the sleeve meets the jacket is about 2.5 to 3 inches below my actual armpit. I immediately called up Balani to set up another fitting to address the issue.

    When I went it, Cordt had me try on the jacket and show him the problem, agreed the armholes were too low, and then had a tailor come in to pin up the jacket. I was a little dubious because I had always figured armholes can't really be raised and would actually require a remake, but since I'm new to this I decided to go with it and see how it turned out. I went back yesterday for another fitting and brought the jacket I had worn my first time for comparison. Unfortunately, the holes are still way too low (still at least 1.5 inch where they should be, I'd post a picture but the jacket is still with them for more alterations). He said he would have the tailor try to raise them more, but at this point he began to express concern that I wanted to armholes too high, and that taking armholes this high might cause friction under my arm and that the fabric would pucker at the seam. I was a little surprised by this, because all of my other jackets, even off the rack, have significantly higher armholes and there is no friction or puckering.

    Since this is my first experience and I am far from an expert on fit, I wanted to ask all of you what your thoughts on this are. From the research I've done, I'm under the impression that a well-fitting jacket should have high armholes that allow a good range of motion. The rule of thumb that seems to make the most sense is when placing two fingers side by side in your armpit while wearing a jacket, the side of one finger will touch your armpit while the other side of the other finger touches the armpit seam of the jacket.

    Am I asking for the armholes to be too high? I feel like a 1.5 inch drop from my armpit to the jackets armpit is just too much, because I can't really lift my arms higher than chest level while wearing the jacket. I feel like if the jacket still when I go in for the next fitting, I should request a remake, especially given that this is a custom shop, the whole point of which is to find superior fit. Am I in the wrong here? I feel like this guy is trying to play me for a fool about armhole height.

    Nick, I don't know the exact measurements for an ideal fit, but trust your instincts. Sounds like it's way too low and on a truly bespoke suit, that's unacceptable. Use the jacket that fits well as a guide. The tailor can raise them to an extend but too much and it'll need to be remade. Good luck!
    Dress for style, live for results.


      I have the same question. Most jackets I try on, even MTM, seem to have armholes that are way too big. This makes it incredibly strange to wear a jacket with an overcoat, as the second layer actually bunches up the low hanging fabric and causes the whole jacket to sit strangely beneath the topcoat. I asked my tailor about it and she said no, low armholes are normal. Perhaps it's easier to get a better drape with lower armholes? But I would much prefer to have them higher and increase my range of motion. I think it looks better too.


        Low arm-holes exist to fit a variety of body types. Imagine the variety of men that measure at a 42" chest. The wider the arm-hole opening, the easier it is to accommodate different shoulders, different arms, etc. As soon as you move, though, it obviously looks shoddy.

        It's not just the size of the arm hole, though, it's also the construction of the sleeve itself. I have a jacket from H&M that has high arm-holes but still doesn't allow for a great range of motion. Watch 'Dancing with the stars' or any ballroom dancing for that matter and you'll see guys wearing tailsuits that are cut specifically to be in dance positions.

        I don't know enough to offer any advice to the OP besides to be adamant about what you want to do in your suit. They may be working off patterns that just don't jive with what you're looking for. Sorry to hear your troubles!


          Definitely dont settle! They may try to talk you into thinking its okay because it will cost them if they have to remake it. If you are not happy with it, make sure you stay confident in your decision and express your concerns to them.

          Trust your gut!


            To echo the above and restate a common point in the men's style community, you've gotta wear what you feel confident wearing. If you don't like the way it looks in fittings, you're not going to like the way it looks when you're out and about; and if you don't like the way the suit makes you look, what's the point in owning it?


              Thank you, everyone for the great feedback. Like you said, I'll stick to my convictions on this one. After all, it is full custom (or supposed to be), and that's what I paid for. It should be constructed to fit me specifically, not some other body type or pattern.

              Thanks again, I'll let you all know how it turns out.