Wardrobe IQ

The Myth about Italian Fits & Sizing

One common misconception is that Italian fits are made only for “skinny guys.” This is totally false; there are big, fat and tall Italians…where do they shop? Go to Germany over the holidays? All kidding aside, in this section we’re going to dispell a few common myths and clear up why Italian fit suits will fit just about anyone better. The first area is the “drop size.” When we talk about the drop size in Italy, it’s the measurement of the armhole through the waist of the jacket. There are 6 drops in true Italian fits, which are: 0, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 with zero being least and eight being the most tapered. The same concept applies for the slacks, where a “drop zero” would have a lower crotch, larger thighs and more room in the seat.

In American sizing when we talk about a “Drop” it’s the difference between shoulder and waist of the pants. Most drops range from 5 to 8 inches. This is the why the salesperson grabs the back of the jacket and tells you look great once you are in front of the mirror. However, if you are buying a garment today, you should be buying a jacket with side vents and it is not an easy alteration to take in the sides on a side-vented jacket. You will need a good tailor, not a seamstress, which is what you find in most men’s clothing stores.

Now that you know the differences between the “drops,” let’s look at the sizing and how it all fits together. With a jacket, you simply add 10 to the American size to get the Italian size, e.g. a 40 = 50 and so on. For slacks, add 16 to the American size, e.g. a 34 = 50. If you are buying a true Italian fit off the rack, just the fact that there are two numbers used to determine the size, it will fit better. This is even truer for made-to-measure suits as all MTM suits are made from a try-on suit size and it will better fit your silhouette.