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Aug 15, 2019

How to Find a Suit or Sport Coat at DI

Ryan Brown

If you’re looking to freshen up for your next job interview or if you want to sport a new look at work or church, Deseret Industries can be a great place to find some professional clothes. But the suits and sport coats section of the clothing area can be a little more difficult to navigate, so here are some tips.

Look for Suit-Specific Sizing

Like other clothes, suits at DI are categorized into small, medium, large, extra-large, etc.—but keep in mind that suits are normally sized differently. 

Suit coats and sport coats are sized according to chest size and arm length. You can get a good idea of your chest size with a tape measure. Your arm length may be easier to find out just by trying some coats on. Here are some examples of suit sizes: 38R, 44S, 42L. The letters stand for Regular, Short, and Long.

Many of the suits at DI don’t have the classic sizing printed anywhere and are just categorized according to general size. You can look on the inner sides of the jacket for sizing—sometimes it is printed there. Otherwise, just try on the jacket and see if it works for you.

How to Know if a Suit Coat Doesn’t Fit

If you’re looking for a more modern look, you want to find a suit coat that fits in the shoulders, chest, and arms. The picture above shows some of the ways you can tell if a suit coat is too large. 

The left and center pictures show some of the ways to see if a coat is too large in the chest. A well-fitting coat won’t have more than a few fingers’ width extra fabric that you can pull away from your chest. 

The right picture shows a well-fitting coat. See how my finger points to the end of my shoulder while the shoulder of the coat continues down my arm? A well-fitting coat should have a shoulder seam that is just slightly past the bone of your shoulder. 

The shoulders are the most important part when buying a suit coat or sports coat. You can tailor or just put up with many other parts of a suit coat that may not fit just right, but you can’t fake it in the shoulders. If the shoulders are too small, you’ll end up feeling constricted. If they’re too big, it’ll look like you’re swimming in the coat.

Fashion experts recommend that you move your arms, pretend to take a drink from a bottle, and sit down in a chair to make sure that you have enough movement in the sleeves and armholes.

This photo shows some of the ways you can tell if a suit coat is too small. On the left, you can see some of the lapel bending out when the jacket is buttoned. A well-fitting jacket won’t have this bulge (except maybe when you raise your arms). 

On the right you can see the fabric of the arm rippling up around my arm when I raise it. This is an easy way to tell if the armholes of a suit are too tight. 

How a Suit Coat Should Fit in the Sleeves

This is up for debate. Most fashion experts agree that you should show a little bit of your dress shirt past the end of the sleeves—usually ¼-inch or less.

Two Buttons or Three Buttons

Two-button jackets have the benefit of making you appear slimmer thanks to the longer lines of the breast-opening. Three-button jackets are plentiful at DI, but that style went out several years ago.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t find something fun that you love and still wear it with style. I found this double-breasted jacket during a recent trip to DI and tried it on for fun. Surprisingly, the shoulders and arm length were a really good fit. You can find a lot of fun coats like this at DI.

Picking Good Suit Pants

When shopping for a suit anywhere and especially at DI, be sure to try on the suit pants. One tricky part of thrift-shopping for a suit is that you might find a suit coat that fits well but the pants don’t fit—or vice versa.

For example, I found a suit coat that fit well, but the pants were too short and had pleats. If you’re OK with an older style, pleats can work for you. The pants, however, were also several inches too short. On closer inspection, I found that the cuff on the pants had enough fabric that I could take out the hem and bring the length closer to what I was looking for. 

Here’s one last tip for pants: suit coats and sports coats are generally more expensive to buy new than pants are. If you have to pick one to get at DI, I’d recommend looking for a generic black, brown, or blue coat with limited patterning and then looking for pants that match at a different store.

Best of luck sprucing up your professional wardrobe, and happy shopping!

Ryan Brown grew up in the great state of Michigan and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He studied English literature at Brigham Young University and now works as a content strategist. He loves reading, basketball, and spending time with family.