Your Suit Should Have High Arm Holes!
In the world of men’s fashion, something went terribly wrong during the 60’s. Of the multiple atrocities committed towards men’s fashion, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, long lasting disaster was the lazy implementation of lowering the armholes for men’s suits.
Since that day, most suits have been made with low armholes, meaning the armhole is larger and moves further down the body of the jacket. This then causes multiple issues with the appearance of the suit, ultimately making it look awful and cheap. Lower arm holes create a domino effect on the suit, ruining section after section. The lapels will bow out, the body will appear wider, the shoulders rise, the cuff moves down the arm and the excess fabric under the arms will appear like wings or create a pulling distortion at the shoulder.
With the design of lowering the armholes completely defiling the suit, one can’t help but ask, “Why on earth would people make and wear such a bad design?” There are a handful of answers, but two stand out as the most realistic and sensible.
1: Simply put, people are lazy and easily annoyed when it comes to the comfort of their clothing. High armholes make the jacket slightly more difficult to put on, and give the wearer a snug feeling under the arms and in the shoulder. So rather than looking stellar in a properly fitted jacket, many would rather compromise their appearance in exchange for the slightly easier task of putting on a jacket (because it is sooooo hard to do). Those who wear jackets with low armholes have become used to the excess space and bagginess that, honestly, ruins a good jacket. Thus, if they ever put on a jacket with high arm holes they are not use to the snug feeling that comes with a good, well-fitted suit and immediately think it is to small (it’s not).
2: Lower armholes “fit” everyone. For off-the-rack retailers, low armholes allow them to “fit” more individuals in the same jacket, which makes it perfect for mass marketing. Low armholes cause the sleeves to be wider, while the lower cut provides the ability to accommodate men of a variety of shapes and sizes. The excess fabric and bagginess, given by the low armholes, allows for a fit around everyone’s arms. This ability to “fit” everyone is the likely reason the low armhole has become the current industry standard.
If you take anything away from this short blog, it is that the high cut armhole is the superior design and should be used in the suit you wear. It counters the untidy profile associated with the big baggy sleeves and ill-fitting shoulders of a lower cut armhole, while also allowing for greater independent movement of the arms. High arm holes also provide the slimmer man the ability to show case his lean physique by making the jacket fit closer to the chest without bunching.
Thankfully, within the past ten or so years, we have seen a revival of the high armhole in suits and jackets. Although it is still rare, if not impossible, to find high armhole suits in your major retail stores, they are still accessible through some brands, such as Elevated Citizen. The other alternative is spending over a thousand dollars for a custom-made or bespoke suit. So, men, throw out those old low arm holed suits and get back to looking like the classier gentlemen from earlier times.