The principal criterion governing a jacket’s length is that it be long enough to cover the curvature of the buttocks while giving the leg as long a line as possible. Where as the ideal measurement of a man’s jacket can vary by up to half inch without compromising its longevity, any more variation can play havoc with the hip pockets by moving them out of proper balance with the whole. It is quite normal for a jacket to be slightly longer in front than in order to hang properly.
Due to the longer swathing of the 1980’s, the so called Armani era, the majority of men wear their jackets sleeves far too long, foreshortening both their legs and arms. This is especially evident in the Far East, where the average person’s torso is longer in relation to his legs, in comparison to the average person’s build in the west. Such a man needs to pay particular attention to his jacket’s length to help him re-proportion his longer torso with his shorter leg line.
Two methods for determining the correct jacket length originated with America’s development of ready made men’s clothing, which needed a general guide lines upon which to establish its standards of fit. The first employs the arm as a guide; hen your hand is dropped at your side, the bottom of the jacket is supposed to line up with the out stretched thumb (above left). Though generally reliable, this formula has one draw back: arm length varies from person o person.
The second approach is to measure the distance from the jacket’s back collar (at the point where it joins the coat’s body) to the floor, which is then divided in half. This is the procedure taught in most tailoring schools. Either of these two approaches can be influenced by dimensions unique to the wearer; a top tailor will use neither, trusting his practiced eye to take in the whole picture before deciding on the jacket’s ideal length.