How to measure yourself for a coat

a rack of colourful coats

Shopping for a new coat can be tricky. As well as ensuring you find a style that suits you, selecting one that fits correctly can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. While this may sound trivial, it’s important to remember that an ill-fitting coat will not only take away from the overall look you are trying to achieve, it will also likely be uncomfortable and ineffective when it comes to protecting you from outdoor elements. 

In the blog, we outline the best methods for measuring yourself up for a new coat, focusing specifically on how to measure sleeve length, chest size and overall length. 

How to measure a man for a coat

No matter whether you are measuring yourself for a heavy duty parka, a stylish Harrington jacket or a waterproof blouson, making sure you know what size you are in order to look and feel your best is essential. This means it's important to know how to measure yourself for a coat before you make your purchase. Although different styles of coat, as well as different brands, all feature slightly different fits, as a rule of thumb, you should always measure for a coat in the same way. Below we explain exactly how to do this.

1.       Remove any thick clothing

Items such as woollen jumpers, sweatshirts and hoodies should be removed before you start measuring. While you should keep on any clothing you would regularly wear under a coat - such as t-shirts and thin sweatshirts - any additional layers that may give you an inaccurate measurement should be taken off. 

2.      Measure your chest

For this stage you will likely need a friend to help you, as measuring your own chest size can be fiddly. You will need a tape measure, a pencil and a piece of paper or notebook to do this.

How to measure chest size on a coat 

To accurately measure your chest size before buying a coat, simply lift your arms up to the side at 90 degree angles. Next, ask your friend to wrap a measuring tape under your armpits, slowly lowering it until it is wrapped around the broadest part of your chest. Note this measurement down and then add an additional inch to this figure. This is a good rule of thumb which helps to ensure your coat is not too tight across the chest, providing a more casual look and a more comfortable fit. 

3.      Measure waist circumference 

Although not the first thing you think of when it comes to coats, measuring your waist is an essential part of sizing yourself up for a new coat. Whether a coat zips or buttons up, it should fasten neatly over your natural waist without feeling tight or showing signs of strain. 

Particularly important if you are unsure what size of long, knee length winter coat you need, to successfully measure your waist, you need to first identify where the natural crease of your waist sits when you bend to one side. This will typically be higher than where your trouser waistline sits, between your belly button and the bottom of your ribcage. From this point, use a tape measure to measure all away around your torso, keeping the tape parallel to the ground. 

4.      Measure shoulder width

Next it’s time to measure your shoulders. This is an important measurement as if you are too broad, or not broad enough, for a particular sized coat, the shoulder areas of the garment may bunch up or sag down over your upper arms. When this happens, winkles and/or lumps will also appear in the sleeves.   

 To take this measurement, stand at ease and ask a friend to stretch a measuring tape horizontally across the top of your back and shoulders. The measurement should be taken from the very end of one shoulder, where your arm naturally starts to slope down towards your elbow, to the other.  

5.      Measure for sleeve length

This stage is important as if the sleeves of a potential coat or jacket you are thinking about purchasing are too long or short, the entire garment - regardless of other measurements - will look wrong. If the sleeves are too long, this will also make the coat impractical to wear. 

How to measure sleeve length for winter coat

As with the other measurements, you will need a friend to help you take this measurement. Next, stand with your arms relaxed by your side, as naturally as possible - standing with your arms perfectly straight is a common mistake people make while doing this. If you are struggling to do this, bend your elbow slightly and allow yourself to place each thumb into the top of your trouser pockets. 

To start measuring, your friend should place one end of the measuring tape on your backbone, right at the base of your neck (the nape). One arm at a time, the tape should then run over the top of your shoulder (where the seam of a shirt would feature), down the arm, stopping just below the wrist bone. Make sure you note the measurement down upon completion. Although both arms should be the same length, there may be a small discrepancy. However, this will typically be so small it will not affect what sleeve length you will need to opt for.  

6.      Identify the perfect length coat

Unlike other stages discussed above, this measurement does not involve sizing up a specific part of your body but instead estimating what length of coat or jacket will best suit you based on your torso height. This measurement is important because the length of jackets and coats will vary depending on the style and brand you choose.

How to measure length of a coat

6.      Identify the perfect length coat

While most standard size coats should measure from the shoulder to the top of the thigh, other garments such as trench coats, reefa jackets and traditional overcoats are designed to hang lower. For this reason, to take this measurement, ask your friend to place the tape measure at the top of your shoulder and simply measure down the front of your chest to find your desired length. This may be the top of the thigh, your knee, or even your ankle.

7.     Check the sizing guide for the brand you’re buying from

The final stage of measuring yourself for a new coat involves taking all the measurements you have taken and checking them against the sizing guide used by the brand or shop you are considering purchasing from. Most companies, including Chums, make their sizing guides readily available. These simple charts will typically list the sleeve length, chest size, and overall height and width of their products, aligning each with a specific size recommendation (XL, S, M, L, XL, 2XL etc). This means you can decide which size coat you need or, if the sizes don’t quite work for you, look at other brands or shops for a coat that will fit you better.

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