With all these beautiful available details, you might feel inclined to one day settle for a splendid morning coat that has everything but the perfect fit.
However, fit should always be your number one priority; poor fit will quickly outweigh the virtues of even the most finely made garments.
Now, I have never encountered a garment made for another person that fits a different owner perfectly. Nevertheless, men often claim their garment “fits like a glove,” but I can assure you that they are not looking closely enough. A body coat is cut very closely to the body, and as such it requires particular attention to detail in order to achieve an ideal fit.
The Young Edward in A Properly Fitting, Not Too Long Morning Coat
Proper Fit of a Morning Coat
There are five key areas to focus on in terms of assuring that after a few alterations, you will have a beautifully fitting coat:
- the shoulder
- the waist
- the collar
- the sleeves
- the coat length
These areas are not meant to be altered on most coats, and the difficulty in altering a morning coat is compounded by its flared back seams and unusual horizontal waist seams.
Perfectly Fitting Morning Coat From the Back
Former German President Wulff in Poorly Fitting Morning Coat
Make sure the shoulders are neither too wide nor too slim. This means, the shoulder seam of the morning coat should be slightly wider than your natural shoulder and create a natural look like in the example picture of the young Edward. I often see RTW morning coats with wide, pointy shoulders that look just cheap, whereas a properly tailored shoulder makes the wearer look elegant.
Sloping shoulders can be corrected with shoulder padding, unless it makes the armholes so tight that they would need to be enlarged.
Gareth & Sean Wittstock Morning Poorly Fitting Morning Coats
A body coat should fit you narrowly around the chest, waist and bust without causing wrinkles. As you can imagine, hardly any morning coat off the rack will have the right measurements to fit your unique body. As a consequence you will see wrinkles all over if the measurements are off, just like in the picture of the Wittstock’s.
David Beckham in Morning Dress with Gapping Collar At Royal Wedding
Another critical area is the collar; make sure that it sits closely against your neck and does not stand away the the collar of Christian Wulff or David Beckham.
Giorgio Armani in Morning with Short Sleeves
Even on a bespoke garment, sleeves are intricate and usually require a fitting with a tailor to create a perfectly hanging sleeve. Just take a look at the sleeves in the photo and focus on the wrinkles – it simply makes you look poorly dressed. In regard to sleeve length Giorgio Armani clearly shows too much cuff but for an in depth discussion about the matter you should take a look at the What is The Correct Sleeve Length Guide.
Roberto Cavalli in Tight Morning Coat with Long Trousers
Finally, one of the most important fit issues in a morning coat is the length. Throughout the decades the fashions of how long a morning coat should be have changed. However, the morning coat was always cut a little shorter than the evening tailcoat. In my opinion, a morning coat looks best on me if it ends just above the knee, whereas my evening tailcoat should reach just to the center of my knees. Now, everybody has a different body with different legs and height. So the rule to determine the proper length by one’s knees is not really accurate. Overall, the proper morning coat length depends on your height. The proportions of the coat are extremely important in terms of appearing elegant. Anything longer makes the legs appear shorter, and anything shorter makes the wearer look like he outgrew his morning coat. A true clothing aficionado would never want to risk looking like he is wearing a rental.
Karl Lagerfeld with His Own, Rather Long Interpretation of Morning Dress
In my experience, it really helps to stand in front of a mirror when trying on a morning coat.Not only will you be able to determine whether the length is correct, but you also learn how different the skirts of the coat are cut. Some run away very sharply revealing more of the morning trousers, while others have a more closed cutaway front. Personally, I prefer the look of the open, sharply cutaway coats to the more closed ones but this is simply a matter of taste.
Fortunately, there is not one exact proper length and so half and inch won’t matter. However, if a coat is much shorter or longer, do not buy it because alterations also require to change the cutaway curve in the front and you will most likely end up with a morning coat that looks odd.
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