How we measure
How We Measure
In order to take measurements accurately, button the garment and place it on a flat surface. The area to be measured needs to be entirely flattened, with the fabric fully extended but not overstretched.
Jacket, shoulder: Measure the shoulder width at the widest point between the shoulder seams. Again make sure to fully extend the fabric.
Jacket, chest: Measure from armpit to armpit. Make sure to also fully extend the fabric that tends to bunch up under the armpit when one places the jacket on a flat surface.
Jacket, back: Measure from the neck seam in a straight line down the centre of the back to the back hem. Do not include the fabric of the front part of the jacket (which extends beyond the back hem).
Trousers, waist: Measure with the waist buttoned and fully extended. On vintage garments, the standard sizing requires that the actual garment measurement of the waist exceeds the tagged size by one inch. Example: tagged size 30, actual garment 31" (= 15.5" for the half measurement). The trousers will then hang properly with braces; if worn with a belt they're cinched by that one inch. Most men wearing vintage style trousers prefer the sizing this way, but some prefer a snug fit thus requiring them to size down where possible. So know your own waist size as well as your preferences of fit.
The waist of your body is measured at the natural waist since this is the spot where vintage high-waisted trousers are worn. In the absence of a tummy, this is the narrowest section of the upper body. That's halfway between the lower end of your ribcage and the upper end of your hipbone as you can palpate it at the side of your torso. On most body shapes, this equals a point just above the navel although there is some variation here.
Trousers, back rise: The front and back rise are not measurements used by tailors, yet it makes sense to use them as a point of reference in retail. Measure the back rise from the crotch seam to the top of the trouser waistband. The crotch seam will usually be more towards the front side of the crotch, so in order to get a straight measurement of the back rise you'll need to extend and hold the seam as you measure.
Trousers, front rise: Measure from the crotch seam to the top of the trouser waistband.
Trousers, thigh: Measure right below the crotch seam across the leg width.
Trousers, hem: Measure across the hem. If you have a preset preference for a specific hem width (and overall leg width), keep in mind that different vintage periods go with different widths. Have an open mind about this and try it, you might enjoy the variety! Waistcoat, chest: Measure from armpit to armpit. Again, watch out for the fabric under the armpit - it needs to lay flat.
Waistcoat, back: Measure the back length from the top to the hem of the back. Do not include the front (which drops below the back hem).
When comparing our measurements tables to the measurements of similar garments that you own, note that some measurements may differ and yet the fit of your usual size may still be the correct one. If you're unsure of what size to buy, feel free to contact us.
There are two ways in which measurements may differ between garments that basically fit the same person: One, garments may stem from different vintage periods or different tailoring schools, each one with its own tendency for shoulder width, excess in the chest, waist suppression etc. Two, some measurements such as the rise are somewhat variable even within a given style (such as 30s-50s style regular high rise); it's worth bearing in mind here that most of all, it's the pattern of a garment as a whole that has to make sense.
Aside from the actual garment measurements, it is most effective to also know your actual body measurements of chest width and waist as well as to understand the allowance required for different cuts. As for the latter, we urge you to ask us - there is no such thing as a stupid question regarding cuts and sizing.
The body chest width is measured by holding a tape measure under your armpits, over a shirt. No chest inflation contest, just natural medium breathing position. The tape should be snug enough so that it doesn't slip down when you hold it by one hand only.
The body waist is measured, as far as classic/ vintage style trousers are concerned, on the natural waist. See under "Trousers, waist" (above).