A perfectly fitting, expertly crafted suit is incomparable to an ill-fitting one, even if the latter has a higher price tag. 

The best option is always a professionally measured bespoke suit purchased from a master tailor. If this isn’t an option, taking careful measurements of yourself can make all the difference when buying a suit off the high street. This will help you find the best-fitting suit, even if the fit will never be as perfect as a suit tailored just for you!

In this blog, the world-class tailors at Phillip Alexander will talk you through the tailor’s measurements that are crucial for ensuring a suit fits you correctly. 


What you’ll need

Before measuring, you’ll need to ensure you have the right equipment. You’ll need a cloth measuring tape and a pen to note your measurements. Having a friend with you is helpful as some measurements can be tricky to take by yourself. 

If you have a suit or dress shirt that fits you well, it’s a good idea to wear it while taking these measurements. This will help you judge certain measurements and get the best possible fit when you purchase your new suit. When measuring for your trousers, wear the shoes you plan on wearing with your new suit.


Measure thrice

When you start measuring yourself for your suit, it’s essential to be as accurate as possible. Perform each measurement three times for accuracy, and ensure you don’t pull the measuring tape too tight, as this can give you inaccurate results. 


How to measure for a suit jacket



Stand upright and raise your arms. Hold the measuring tape at approximately nipple level. Place the tape under your armpits and over your shoulder blades to measure the circumference of the widest part of your chest. Lower your arms to secure the tape measure and record the number. This measurement is essential for a flattering jacket cut. 


You’ll need to measure across the top of your back from the tip of one shoulder to the tip of another. The line should follow the natural curvature of your upper back, which can be tricky to get right. 

If you have a dress shirt that fits you well, you can simply measure between the shoulder seams.

Over arm

Stand upright with your arms by your side. It can be helpful to have a friend help you with this measurement. Ask them to measure at approximately nipple level (like with your chest measurement) and include both arms in the circumference. 


Measure around the base of your neck, just above your collarbone, at the approximate height where your collar would sit. If you’re wearing a shirt that fits you well, you can use this as a guide. 

Bicep and wrist 

You’ll need to measure the circumference of your biceps and wrists. For your bicep measurement, flex your arm to 90 degrees and measure the widest part of your arm. For your wrist, measure your wrist circumference at the point where your jacket sleeve would end. Make sure not to hold the tape measure too tightly. 


Measure the widest part of your stomach, which is usually around the level of your belly button. Don’t be tempted to suck your stomach in, as you’ll end up with a tight, ill-fitting suit. 

Sleeve length

To measure your suit arm length, relax your arms at your side and measure from your shoulder seam down to where you’d like the jacket to end. In most people, this is at the base of the thumb, where it meets your wrist.

Jacket length

To get your jacket length, measure from your neck (or where the shoulder seam meets the collar seam on an existing jacket) to your desired jacket length (around the base of your thumb). 


How to measure for suit trousers


Hips measurement 

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your hips, standing with your feet hip-width apart. Don’t measure too tightly.  

Waist measurement 

To get your waist size, measure around your waist at the height you typically wear your trousers. Position the tape measure where your belt would go and ensure you don’t measure too tightly. You can also measure around the waistband of an existing pair of well-fitting suit trousers. 

Thigh and knee measurements 

Measure the circumference of the widest part of your thigh. Repeat the measurement for your knee. 

Rise measurements

The rise will determine how high your trousers will come up. Position the tape measure at the top of your waist where the central button on an existing pair of trousers is. Making sure you don’t twist the tape measure, take the tape measure between your legs to the top of your waist at the back. Being accurate with your rise measurement will help your body look proportional in your new suit. 

In-seam and out-seam measurements

For your out-seam measurement, measure from the top of where you want your waistband to sit down to the desired trouser length. Typically, this is approximately 3 cm above the ground, but you can use a pair of existing trousers to find the correct length. 

Another similar measurement is the in-seam. You’ll need to measure from the bottom of your crotch to the desired trouser length. You can also measure the in-seam of a well-fitting pair of suit trousers to get a more accurate measurement. 


How Phillip Alexander can help

Although measuring yourself for a suit can be a great way to find a suit that fits well, it doesn’t compare to the accurate and comprehensive measurements taken by a master tailor. If you want a stunning suit that fits seamlessly, a bespoke or made-to-measure suit is the best choice. 

At Philip Alexander Bespoke Tailors, we are experts at dressing gentlemen. We have been creating beautifully tailored suits since 1876. Our exceptional tailors will take precise measurements to ensure the final garment fits you perfectly. 

With locations in Cheshire and Savile Row, we specialise in bespoke suits for all occasions, including one-of-a-kind, tailored wedding suits

Bespoke tailored suits 

If you want the very best that British tailoring has to offer, then a bespoke suit is the right choice. Having a bespoke suit tailored for you is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

At your first consultation, one of our expert tailors will take a series of measurements and take notes on your size and shape to ensure the very best fit. You can guarantee that your bespoke suit will look and feel like it was made just for you!

Made-to-measure tailored suits

We also offer made-to-measure suits made using a mixture of handcraft and machine work. This semi-bespoke option involves less fitting than a fully bespoke suit, but you’ll still receive a suit of exceptional quality that’s miles above an off-the-rack suit. 

If you’d like to learn more about our bespoke tailoring process, contact us today to request an appointment.