Fit Bits: Jacket Shoulders

The shoulders define a jacket’s character more than any other element. Because of this, they’ve been especially susceptible to fashion trends over the years, shaping each decade’s dominant silhouette: narrow and natural in the 60s, roped and hard in the 70s, wide and overstuffed in the 80s. Today’s preference is for a softy tailored, natural shoulder that fortunately has been our house style for decades.

Clothiers use a term to describe the attitude of a jacket shoulder: expression. Essentially, what’s being expressed is the personality of the jacket. In contouring cloth, canvas, and silk thread into a three-dimensional expression, the shoulders become more than just seams where the sleeves are joined to the body, they become eye cues that can elevate a tailor’s handwork into an art form. For example, our hand-set sleeve heads rest atop the gathering of a full-cut bicep into a smaller armhole that promotes ease and comfort while it drapes the wearer to move in motion with his arm. 


Alan’s decade-old cashmere DB blazer, with a slightly extended natural shoulder.


Shoulders can express different personalities. When raised and heavily padded, their intent is to look powerful and even aggressive. On the other hand, natural shoulders don’t call attention to themselves or the wearer. Lightly padded and following the shoulder’s natural slope, they can soften square shoulders or shore up overly drooping ones. It’s an understated, easy elegance that conveys confidence and enjoyment in one’s own skin. As we equate personal style with effortlessness in dress, availing yourself of our softly tailored natural shoulders can deliver one of the biggest bangs for your custom (or made-to-measure) buck.