How Jacket Shoulders Should Fit

Shoulders are one of the most integral piece of a suit that determines whether it fits you right.

You can spot the shoulders from a mile off, and if they don’t fit right, you could be wearing a $2000 fabric and it’ll still look like crap.

I’m going to detail how we fit shoulders and the five different ways you can customize your shoulders.

How Shoulders Should Fit

The easiest way to determine how your shoulder should fit is if you stand next to a wall with your jacket on and gently lean so your shoulder touches the wall. Your shoulder muscle should be the first thing that touches the wall – not the fabric of your shoulder. If the shoulder fabric touches the wall before your shoulder, then the shoulder does not fit you right.

Here are some examples of shoulders that fit right:

Bad Fit:


As you can see from the image above, the shoulder that is too big creates a divot right  underneath the shoulder pad.

Perfect Fit:


The perfect fitting shoulder creates no divot, and has an effortless flow of fabric from edge of the shoulder to the shoulder muscle in the sleeve.

How to Fit Shoulders

To get this perfect fit, we rely heavily on the bones in the shoulder blades.


To be specific, we’re looking for the acromion bone. You can feel your acromion when you touch your shoulder – the acromion is the the last bone before the drop-off to your shoulder muscle.

Measuring the shoulders is as simple as measuring from one acromion to the next.

Some people like a bit bigger shoulders, and we certainly accommodate for our clients’ own style, so depending on that, we’ll add a half of a centimeter to a centimeter to each shoulder if our client prefers a  more traditional shoulder.

Types of Shoulders

We offer five different types of shoulders:


  • Soft

  • Roped

  • Traditional

  • Unpadded

  • Unpadded with spalla camicia


Soft shoulders are characterized by little to no roll from the shoulder pad to the fabric of the sleeve. In the image below you can see that the shoulder continues uninterrupted into the sleeve. This shoulder has padding but is about half as much as the padding in a traiditonal shoulder.



The soft shoulder is considered to be more of an American style, and is popular among suit connoisseurs.


Roped shoulders literally looks like a rope is in between the shoulder pad and the sleeve. In the image below, you will see a hump between the shoulder and the sleeve, where the shoulder is roped. Note: A properly fit roped shoulder will not create a shoulder divot.



The roped shoulder is considered to be an Italian-style shoulder. You’ll generally see roped shoulders & traditional shoulders on older gentlemen that have been wearing suits for decades. When fit right, roped & traditional emphasizes the size of the shoulders and accentuates a masculine silhouette.


Our traditional shoulders are a mix between roped & soft. As you can see from the image below, the traditional has a far less of a hump, but still maintains the roped look. This type of shoulder is considered to be a British-style and is a look that can’t go wrong.



Unpadded & Unpadded with Spalla Camicia

Unpadded shoulders are all in the title; no pads in these shoulders whatsoever. That means the jacket comfortably sits on your shoulders almost like a shirt would.

The difference between unpadded & unpadded with spall camicia are little imperfections in the shoulders.



With spalla camicia, the end of the sleeve - where it connects to the shoulder – flares out similar to the bell of a trumpet. When the sleeve is connected, the extra fabric bunches up in the shoulders, creating tiny imperfections in the shoulder. These imperfections are considered to be a sign of a well-constructed suit.


All of our shoulders will have a little bit of spalla camicia added to them, but our unpadded spalla camicia shoulders emphasize these imperfections.