Garment Doctor: Collar Gap

February 25th, 2013

Continuing with our “Garment Doctor” series.

For comparison, the photo directly below shows how a properly-fitting tailored jacket should look in a standing, natural position (in my opinion). Notice the fabric is draping cleanly across the body, providing full three-dimensional coverage without any visible pulling, creasing or wrinkling.


Common issue: Jacket collar gap.

This particular fit issue is a personal pet peeve of mine. A collar sitting off the neck can make even the most beautiful suit look sloppy.


The Cause

A collar gap can be caused by a number of factors (hence the * on the image above). Most commonly, the jacket collar is too large for the circumference of the neck, although this can also be caused by square shoulders, head-forward posture, arms-back stance, a short neck, a large front chest, or any combination of these body characteristics.

As I mentioned before, everybody is unique and every body has it’s own set of variables. This is why becoming a master bespoke tailor is a lifelong pursuit – they’re engineers who use complex geometry to work two-dimensional fabric around the laws of physics, gravity, and the intricacies of the human body.

The Fix

A bespoke suit should be cut for your neck size, posture, stance, shoulder slope, etc. so you shouldn’t have this problem.

Off-the-rack, my advice is to avoid this issue at all costs. Don’t assume your tailor can fix it – this is a very difficult issue to fix on an already-made jacket. A tailor can remove and recut the collar, but this is major surgery and most of the time it’s not 100% effective.

My advice is to try-on as many brands as possible before purchasing an off-the-rack suit. For example, even though they can be similar in price, a suit from Brooks Brothers does not fit the same as a suit from JCrew, and neither fit the same as a suit from Suit Supply. Even within these brands, there are different “cuts” – find the one that is best suited for your individual body.

Most importantly, when shopping for an off-the-rack suit, ensure these key areas fit properly:

1. The collar and upper back sit properly on the neck.
2. The shoulders are fitted but not tight or restrictive.
3. The chest has full coverage and the lapels are laying flat.
4. The body length is correct, hitting just below the cup of the seat.
5. The sleeve length is close (especially if it has working buttonholes).

For the most part, the rest can be adjusted by a good tailor.

Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have any questions about our online custom menswear, feel free to contact us anytime. We look forward to serving as your personal tailor and stylist. 

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


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