How to fit a blazer – a comprehensive guide on how to select the right blazer for you!

by Sylvia

How to fit a blazer - a comprehensive guide on how to select the right blazer for you! | 40plusstyle.com

Blazers are the quintessential closet staple. Often an effortless finish to a look, the diverse variety of styles, cuts, and colors can be a bit confounding. Often, a blazer purchased right off the rack will not provide the best fit or flatter you as well as it could.

Tailoring, one of the best wardrobe investments you could make, is key to creating a custom fitting look.

In this article we go over different blazer styles and provide quick tips for getting the best fit.

First watch this video by 40+Style stylist Ruth Essex

Open front, belted, single breasted, and double breasted styles

There are multiple styles of blazers you will encounter. Open front blazers do not have any buttons enclosing the blazer. They tend to have a draped looked and are very flattering for women with larger bust sizes.

Open front and draped blazer choices for women | 40plusstyle.com

Mural open front shawl collar blazer – Amour Vert collarless grey blazer – Theory wool suit jacket

Belted blazers tend to have no buttons and are reflective of a more structured open front blazer. The difference is, as the name implies, that they can be belted. Belted blazers can create either a straight or peplum style silhouette, which can both be very helpful in creating an illusion of a more defined waist.

Stylish belted blazers | 40plusstyle.com

AFRM floral belt wrap jacketFree People flared sleeve blazerTART belted stripe blaze

Single breasted blazers have a single row of buttons to close the blazer. Single breasted blazers tend to be universally flattering, as long as the fit is well-tailored.
Ideas and tips on how to style single breasted blazers | 40plusstyle.com

ELIZA J ruched sleeve blazerCaslon knit blazerT TAHARI

Double breasted blazers have two rows of buttons that allow the material of one side of the blazer to cross over the other side. Double breasted blazers tend to be a bit dressier.

 blazers and the best style tips on how to wear them | 40plusstyle.com
MURAL oversized burgundy blazer – Bardot black blazer – ASTR double breasted plaid blazer

There are 6 key areas you should take into account when finding the best fitting blazer:

  1. Bust
  2. Buttons
  3. Lapels
  4. Length
  5. Shoulder
  6. SleeveHow to fit a blazer | 40plusstyle.com

Bust

The bust area is often one of the most challenging areas of a blazer to fit. Depending on both the size of your blazer and your bust size, you can wind up with a blazer that is either quite tight or loose across the bust area. The industry standard is that each side of you blazer must be able to go across half of a breast. Buttoning should not cause your blazer to appear (or feel) tight and create a too tight look.

On the other side of the spectrum, your blazer should not be so loose in this area that buttons create an overly draped look or a significant amount of bunching.

Buttons

A word you will occasionally hear in reference to buttons on a blazer is “stance”. The highest point where the buttons on your blazer are, is considered to be the stance. For a blazer that best fits your body type, you should definitely pay attention to this. Typically, the higher the stance the more buttons you will find on a blazer.

As an example, you might find three buttons on a blazer that has a high stance while a blazer with a low stance has one button. Some key things to keep in mind is that if you have a larger bust, you might find a better fit with a two or three-button blazer.

Lapels

While it might not be an initial thought, the style and fit of the lapel is essential to the overall look of your blazer. The bigger the lapel the more bulk it will create on top, and the less lengthening your look will be. Usually, the less petite you are, the more you can get away with wearing larger lapel sides.

Length

There is a myriad of lengths blazers are made in. The length of a traditional blazer is around your hipbone. They tend to be flattering for most body shapes.

Longer and shorter blazer lengths can also be stylish options and depend on your preferences, where you’re wearing the look, current trends and your body shape.

Whichever length you choose, be sure to keep the proportions of your overall look in mind to create the best silhouette for you. This is a topic that we discuss at length in our style course where we give you easy tips and examples to achieve a golden ratio with your overall outfit for your specific body type.

Traditional length blazers, as mentioned above, fall along the hipbone and are flattering for most shapes.

Classic blazers and how to find the perfect one for you | 40plusstyle.com
Treasure and Bond white crepe blazerCity Chic captain jacket Foxcroft dot print blazer – Vince Camuto zip pocket blazer

Cropped length look best when paired with pants or skirts that have a higher waist. Alternatively, wearing them with longer tops also creates an elongating look. They also are the perfect partner to a well fitting dress.
Cropped length blazers | 40plusstyle.com
Boss crop blazer – Ming Wang jacquard knit blazer – Joie bell sleeve jacket – City Chic smart blazer

Extra long are often the boyfriend style blazers that are another effortless layering piece. When wearing a boyfriend style blazer, the key here (for most body shape types) is to balance the oversized look with a more fitted bottom. As an example, wear an oversized blazer with slim fit jeans for a more balanced silhouette.

Long blazers and the best style tips on how to wear them | 40plusstyle.com
Mural long black necklace – Leith white blazer – Mural long navy blazer – Halogen knit boyfriend jacket

Shoulder

Under no circumstances should your blazer feel so tight around your shoulders that you can hardly raise your arms or move around comfortably. While the look and feel should be fitted, you do not want too loose of a fit around the shoulders (unless the style is intentionally cut that way, which is not universally flattering).

The goal is to have the seams of the shoulder be as close to the end of your shoulders as possible. If a jacket seam does not reach the end of your shoulder it may be too tight. If it goes over your shoulder you will will get the bunching effect on your upper arms which is very unflattering.

We would also recommend that you do not turn your nose up at the idea of shoulder pads. They serve a very functional purpose of maintaining the shoulder shape and fit.

Sleeve

The sleeves of your blazer are also important to take into account when purchasing or sizing a blazer. Ideally, the sleeves of your blazers should end at your wrist bone. However, there is always the case of different lengths (as discussed above), which could affect how and where your sleeve hits various points of your arm.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are going for a professional look, it is not beneficial to have sleeves that hit mid arm or do not quite reach your wrist bone. Other settings will allow almost any type of sleeve, as long as the look is flattering to your body shape. A ¾-length sleeve tends to work quite well with cropped blazers for example.

Shop some of our favorite blazers here below

Are blazers part of your style profile? What are some of your biggest challenges when it comes to getting the right fit?

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How to fit a blazer - a comprehensive guide on how to select the right blazer for you! | 40plusstyle.com

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Elbe

Fit is definitely a consideration. The length makes a big difference in what you can wear with it. Longer blazers don’t work well with fuller dresses or skirts but shorter jackets do. It is all in the proportions.

Reply

Silvia DiPierdomenico

What a great post! I just wrote about the importance of tailoring and what a difference the right size makes. Seeing the before and after photos of vintage blouses that my tailor has altered make the case for the extra expense of tailoring.
http://www.beastofstyle.com

Reply

Samantha

This is a really helpful post. I am still searching for that perfect blazer.
XXX
Samantha
http://www.fakefabulous.com

Reply

Greetje

Very good post. Really helpful. I have found out that for my figure I need longer blazers which cover my bum. That way I get the best proportions. But that is only with trousers. I cannot wear these same blazers on a skirt. For that they need to be much shorter.
And yes the (larger) bust is a challenge. I once read that you don’t need to close it if you want a tailored fitted look, therefore if everything fits but the bust, leave it open. I tried once and it worked.

Reply

Sherry Edwards

Yes, I have a whole collection of blazers. Different shapes, styles and colours for different looks and different seasons. I also need to match the blazer fabric to the weather. I need a blazer (mostly to wear in an very air-conditioned office). Also, I need a blazer for grocery shopping, to the mall, dining and going to the movies. Everywhere seems to be air conditioned. I feel that wearing a blazer is another layer and makes me feel dressed. My biggest challenge (when I over eat 🙁 is that I need to use the blazer (or vest or sweater) to find the belly and go around it.

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frustrated career woman

I was wondering if you could help me. Blazers never fit me right off the rack. If it fits right in the sleeves and from neck to shoulder, then I can’t raise my arms AT ALL without fear of ripping across my upper back. If I go for raising my arms, then it’s far past the end of my shoulder and past my wrists.

I’m okay with always having to alter my blazers, but am struggling because it’s taking darts to fit the bust and the shoulders can’t easily be shortened, so going big enough across my upper back is proving hard to take in the rest.

Can you tell me what the problem is? Maybe it would be best to just have a few custom made as opposed to buying and altering?

Thanks.

Reply

Sylvia

Brands create blazers according to standardised sizes. So if you don’t, like many women, fit those standards then fit may be an issue. Each brand will have their own fitting models so fit does differ between brands and sometimes it’s just a matter to find a brand that suits your body. If you can’t find any that fit you properly, then yes, custom made would be a great option.

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Greetje

Jackets are my kind of thing. They look good on me. Having quite a bust, spoils a lot of jackets for me. The latest error I made was to buy a double breasted jacket which fit my bust but needed tailoring all around as it was a size too big. All the tips in this post are very good, but finding that specific jacket which has all your requirements, isn’t easy. I forgot about the effect of lapels by the way. Good reminder.

Reply

Margie

Oh how I loved to wear my double-breasted wool gab blazers years ago but now the shoulders pads are so big….spent quite a bit of money on these; is there any hope?

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