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Nov, 29 2023

How to Measure for a Tuxedo: Your Complete Guide to Sizing and Rentals

A man in a midnight blue sitting on a stool

Whether you’re considering buying a tux or looking into tuxedo and suit rentals, you should be aware that going by your standard size might not be enough. If you’re shopping for formalwear, you want to ensure you look your absolute best. To that end, it would be best to get a precise measure for a tux or suit before moving forward with your purchase. This will matter, for instance, when debating between suit vs. tuxedo wedding attire.

But why do tuxedo measurements matter?

Simply put, your tuxedo size might not match your clothes size perfectly. The reason for this is that a tuxedo needs to fit seamlessly, from your chest and waist to sleeves and legs. Taking exact measurements for tuxedo and suit sizes will ensure just that and make your formalwear fit like a glove.

The most important thing here is to know how to take measurements. There are plenty of steps in the process, and getting them right will be crucial to ensure an ideal fit. That’s precisely why we put together this comprehensive guide to sizing your tuxedo. Let’s start with the basic tools you’ll need for the job.

Tools You’ll Need

Measuring for your tuxedo won’t require many tools. The main thing you’ll need will be some measuring tape. That being said, it’s worth mentioning which type of measuring tape you should get. And yes, there are many different kinds.

Firstly, you should strictly avoid taking measurements with any kind of metal tape measure. Since you’ll be working on your body parts, you’ll want a tailor’s tape, which is commonly made of soft materials that eliminate any possibilities of injury. Here’s why a tailor’s tape measure is the only fitting choice.

This measuring tape type is pliable and contorts to the body. In addition, the tailor’s tape measure is, as the name implies, designed for tailors. This means the tape is explicitly made to take body measurements without issues. Tailor’s tapes can be between 60 and 120 inches long, although the upper figure is relatively rare and likely unavailable for personal use. In either case, you’ll have more than enough tape to perform all of the measurements.

We should stress again that, if you don’t have a tailor’s tape, you should go and buy one instead of using standard measuring tapes. Metal tapes can have surprisingly sharp edges and lack the flexibility of tailor’s tapes. As a result, you could get inaccurate measurements and some unintended cuts.

The only other thing you’ll need to measure for a tuxedo will be something to write down the results. Once you’re ready, you can start by measuring your chest.

Measuring the Chest

Three men in black suits on a rocky beach

The tuxedo jacket is an essential piece of the outfit. Wearing a tuxedo jacket with a different pair of pants can count as being in tuxedo apparel. While you won’t be sporting only the jacket but the entire set, the point is that the jacket will make the main impression. To that end, you’ll need to get the measurements related to the tux jacket just right.

Taking your chest measurement will be crucial here. If the jacket is too tight or loose around your chest, the entire combination will fall apart. Also, manufacturers state tuxedo sizes according to chest size. Luckily, getting the precise dimensions won’t represent a challenge – all you’ll need to do is measure around your chest at the exact height. Note that you might need some assistance for this process.

Stand with your shoulders relaxed and arms down your sides. Make sure to be relaxed but, at the same time, don’t slouch and stay straight. Refrain from flexing any muscles and pay attention not to tense up. Take the tape measure and wrap it around the part of your chest at the height just below your armpits, i.e., around the fullest part.

Since you need to wrap the tape all the way around, someone’s assistance will be precious here. Once the tape makes the full circle, ensure it’s wrapped snugly rather than tight. If the final measurement isn’t exact, don’t worry – you can round it up, but do it to the first even number. A good service will then be able to use this measurement to determine not only the size but other details like lapel type.

If you’re wondering what is a lapel, it’s a folded piece of fabric on both sides of your tuxedo jacket. There are several lapel types you can use for wedding attire depending on the formality and jacket type, like notch lapel vs. peak lapel, and getting your chest size right may inform the best lapel type for you.

Check out our collection of Notch Lapel Suits, and Peak Lapel Suits.

Sleeve Measurements

A man in a midnight blue tuxedo in the sunlight

Sleeve length is another factor that can make the tux fit perfectly or ruin your look. Overly short sleeves will make the entire suit look tight, especially when you move your arms. On the other hand, too long sleeves can give the tux a sloppy, clumsy look, which is the last thing you want at a formal gathering.

The perfect sleeve length reaches just beyond the wrist bone. To get this precise measurement, it would be best to get someone to help you measure. Otherwise, you’ll be left with the challenging task of measuring your arm single-handedly.

For the best results, place your hand on the hip so that your elbow makes a 90-degree angle. Your assistant should then start measuring from the back of your neck, beginning from the height of your shoulders. From that point, the tape should run to your elbow, after which it should be fixed with a pin. Alternatively, you could write down this measure and continue from the point on your elbow where you left off.

From the elbow, run the tape to the wrist. If you’ve previously secured the tape at the elbow using a pin, you’ll get the complete measurement. If you’ve used the alternative method, then simply add the two measurements (neck to elbow and elbow to wrist). If you’ve done the whole process precisely, you’ll end up with an exact sleeve measurement.

Overarm Measurements

A man in a black tuxedo

The overarm measurement represents a part of the process that professional tailors will usually do but people taking the measurements themselves will disregard it. However, this measurement will be crucial in nailing the perfect fit for your tuxedo.

You can take the overarm measure in a similar way as your chest measurement. This is another way of measuring your chest, but this time it’s done with your shoulders included. To clarify further, the chest measurement described earlier is also called the underarm measurement.

Now that you understand what measuring the overarm means, let’s describe the method.

Much like with the previous method of measuring your chest, you’ll need to stand straight but relaxed with your arms beside your body. The tape should wrap around you at the same height as with overarm measuring – just below your armpits. However, since the tape will go around your shoulders, too, you’ll need someone’s help this time.

The same rule applies for overarm measurement as for underarm when it comes to how tight the tape should be. Don’t make it too tight but rather ensure it wraps around you gently. Once you measure the overarm, you’ll wrap up the measurements for your tux jacket. To recapitulate, the dimensions you should have so far will be the sleeve length, underarm, and overarm.

You can then move on to pants measurements, which will start with the waist.

Waist Sizing

Men in tuxedos talking and laughing

The dimensions of your waist will be the critical piece of the puzzle. If you don’t get this measurement right, the entire outfit could fall apart. Make the pants too tight, and they’ll be impossible to wear comfortably. And if your pants are too loose, you’ll need to wear them with a tightened-up belt, which can all but ruin the line of your suit.

To get your waist size, you’ll need to – unsurprisingly – measure around your waist. You should be in your underwear and in front of a mirror to make the process as easy and accurate as possible. Also, make sure you’re standing with your entire feet touching the floor.

Locate the area above the hips, where any pair of pants that usually fits you well sits. Keep your stomach relaxed and exhale as you would when breathing normally. When you breathe out, maintain the position and wrap the tape around your waist. If you follow the method as described, you’ll get your exact waist measurement.

Assistance might come in handy during this step, but most people can measure their waist size on their own. As a final note, you’ll want to ensure the tape is firm, unlike how you used it when measuring your chest.

Pant Measurements

A bride and groom posing with her head on his shoulder

When we talk about pant measurements, we’re referring to your outseam and inseam measurements. If you’re wondering what those dimensions are, the answer is quite simple: You’ve measured the pant waist, and now you’ll be measuring the length of the pants. As to what outseam and inseam mean, that’s straightforward, too. Outseam is the length of your pant seam measured on the outside of your leg, while inseam is the seam on the inside.

You can measure pant size using two methods. First, you can simply measure a pair of pants that you already have and are comfortable in. Second, you could use the measuring tape on your legs. If you go with the first method, make sure to take dress pants rather than regular ones since you’ll get more precise measurements.

For the outseam, all you’ll need to do is measure the outer seam of your pants. Alternatively, measure from your waist to the floor and subtract two inches from the measurement. For inseam measurement, you can either measure the inner seam of your pants or the length from your crotch to the foot.

Hip Measurements

We started the pants-measuring process by measuring your waist, i.e., the area where your pants will sit. However, for perfect fitment, you should also measure your hip, which is the widest part of the pants area. Getting this dimension right will ensure your pants are comfortable whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving.

You can take your hip measurement similarly to how you measure your waist. To do so, you’ll again need to be in your underwear. Simply measure around the widest part of your lower body area and write the result down. In terms of tape tightness, do the same as with your waist, keeping the tape firm but not overly tight.

Measuring your hip size will conclude the process, and you’ll have all of the crucial dimensions you’ll need for a perfectly fitting tuxedo. However, this won’t conclude your tasks in this regard. You’ll also have to decide on what kind of fit you want.

The Importance of Fit

A man in a black suit

It may sound peculiar, but there’s more than one variant of a tuxedo fit. In particular, you can go for four fit types: classic, slim, skinny, and tailored.

The classic fit is what you likely imagine when you picture a man wearing a tuxedo. This fit will be cozy and hide the contours of your body. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll end up looking like you’ve time-traveled from the 90s. Modern classic fit tuxedos are only a bit more generous in terms of material and won’t create an impression of baggy clothes. This fit is also called “regular.”

Next, the slim fit is a tux style that allows more of your contour to show. You’ll have plenty of freedom of movement and the suit won’t feel tight in any area. However, you should note that slim-fit suits have tapered-down pant legs, which could prove uncomfortable if you have stronger calves.

The skinny fit is the only one we wouldn’t recommend to most people. This is an extreme fit that follows your body tightly and leaves almost no extra room. As a result, skinny fit is a poor choice for regular use but may come in handy for photo sessions or other occasions where you don’t need to move too much.

Finally, a tailored fit doesn’t necessarily fall into any of the described categories. Instead, it is precisely what it sounds like a fit made specifically according to your dimensions. Getting a tailored fit tuxedo will ensure the optimal comfort and look. On the downside, this will essentially mean you’re getting a bespoke tux, which will come at a significantly higher price.

Tuxedo and Rentals

Some people may consider buying a tuxedo an unnecessary expense. This may be true if you don’t plan on wearing the tux very often and only need it for a single occasion. In that case, looking into tuxedo rentals may be the best choice.

If you decide on tuxedo and suit rentals, make sure to choose a reliable service that delivers quality suits and tuxes. Also, get your measurements for the tuxedo and suit ready since you’ll need to give them to the rental service.

Tips and Tricks

A stack of dress shirts next to a suit on display

Whether you’re purchasing or renting your suit or tux, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got your options covered properly. Firstly, this means deciding whether you’re going to buy or rent the suit. As mentioned, this choice will come down to how often you’ll use the suit.

Another thing to consider here is whether you want to visit a tailor. If you can’t take the measurements yourself or don’t have a reliable measuring tool, you’ll probably want to leave the job to a professional. Measuring properly will ensure an ideal, snug fit, so you should approach the task seriously.

Get the Perfectly Fitted Tux

You should leave nothing to chance when choosing your formalwear. Whether it’s for a suit or tuxedo, you’ll want to take measurements and pick the proper fitment type before placing your order. Doing so will ensure you get the best size for your ultimate comfort. Follow our guide, and you’ll have no issues getting to your ideal tuxedo size.

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