What is Suit Shoulder Divot and How to Fix It?

by jacky chou
Updated on

Truth be told, suit manufacturers do not make suits to accommodate every body shape. You’re lucky if you are one of the fortunate few who can try on a suit from a department store rack and have it fit flawlessly. If you’re among most people who aren’t as fortunate, a common fit issue would be a suit-shoulder divot.

Shoulders are the most individualistic and difficult to style correctly without the help of a professional fashion designer. It can be challenging to premake a suit that will fit even the majority of people without significant alterations because everyone’s shoulders are different.

Is it possible to fix shoulder divots? We occasionally get this question, so we thought we’d address it here. Now, curious people can access a comprehensive explanation of shoulder divots and the possible solution.

What is Suit Shoulder Divot?

A visible shoulder divot is one of the most common concerns with suits. The shoulders of a suit should fit well before you buy it because this is one of the most expensive areas to modify.

Suit Shoulder Divot

Image Source: made-suits.com

It’s possible that those with larger biceps are more likely to encounter this issue, as most suits are not tailored with athletes in mind. If you’re looking for the ideal fit, you might need to get a tailored jacket, wear a suit size, and have the waist tapered.

Are Shoulder Divots Bad?

Shoulder sag and shoulder bite are two clear indicators that the suit you’re wearing isn’t the appropriate size. While both are awful, sag is the worse of the two. A bite mark, also known as a divot on the arm toward the back of the sleeve head, appears when the shoulders/armholes of a suit or sports jacket are overly tight.

Causes of Shoulder Divots

Fixing shoulder divots or dimples is one sleeve-related modification that could be difficult and expensive.

person standing near the stairs

These are especially possible on heavier textiles like flannels if:

  1. The sleeve is attached to the jacket’s armhole in a manner that is inconsistent with how you hold your arms while resting.
  2. The armhole is much smaller than the opening where the sleeve joins to it.
  3. Posture is a major factor in this. Men with bent postures must alter their suits to accommodate their dropped shoulders. There is a considerable amount of truth in the saying that the shoulder measurement is the foundation of a tailored suit. A bad shoulder will immediately notice every time you move your arm.

Can Shoulder Divots Be Fixed?

Depending on the shape of the client’s shoulders or arms, there are different approaches to correcting this issue, all of which entail extending the arm area of the suit to match the shoulder seam.

Fix 1: Taking it to a Good Tailor

A tailor can try to correct these problems by either removing the sleeve and rotating it to match your posture or reducing the sleeve size.

This change is possible, but there is a considerable expense involved and no assurance that the outcomes will be perfect.

Fix 2: Others

If your suit jacket’s shoulder is too small, your bicep will press too hard against the sleeve fabric, creating a divot where the shoulder seam meets the sleeve. Going up a size in the jacket will typically fix this problem by giving you extra length in the shoulders and upper arms.

Understanding the Different Types of Shoulders for Suits

1. Structured


Typically, a suit will have a structured shoulder, which is the most common shoulder construction. Most often than not, they’ll have some sort of cushioning already installed. While padding has always been used, its prevalence has changed over time.

Looking at an older suit, you could see the padding and structure in the shoulder area, giving the suit a more boxy design. The shoulder line is now structured by a very narrow fit, which is a hallmark of the current design.

2. Unstructured


Due to its lack of artificial padding, the unstructured shoulder is also known as the natural shoulder. Suits with this shoulder design are more common in the casual fashion sector. It is also typical in summer suit jackets made of lighter fabrics like linen or cotton.

One major drawback of natural or unstructured shoulders is that they adhere to your shoulder pattern. You won’t want it to draw attention to your unattractive shoulders if you don’t like your natural shoulders.

3. Spalla Camicia


The Spalla Camicia style features pleats on the shoulders. It is typically associated with custom Italian suits and is rarely seen in ready-to-wear collections.

With this cut, you’ll have more mobility in the shoulder area, which is why this design is so practical. For that reason, you might want to give this a shot if you’re a big guy.

4. Con Rollino

roped-shoulder- con-rollino

In this style, the natural shoulder line is lowered, and the suit’s sleeves are made a bit longer than usual. The Con Rollino suit style is typically reserved for custom Italian outfits and is rarely seen in ready-to-wear stores.

Thanks to the cut that falls above the shoulder blades, extra shoulder padding is provided. There is no accident here; this is done on purpose. It’s a daring appearance that’s not great for everyday wear, but a black suit works well in professional settings.

Tips to Consider to Avoid Suit Shoulder Divot

standing man holding his notched lapel suit jacket's button
  • Close your suit jacket all the way, but never the last button. Fasten only the top button of a two-button single-breasted suit. When you sit down, undo the button on your jacket.
  • Your suit jacket should be tailored to create an hourglass silhouette when buttoned without squeezing the body. The perfect-fitting suit must also include a belly button that snaps closed securely.
  • Check that the suit pants’ cloth across the seat lies flat. If the pants are drooping or tugging, you should eliminate them.
  • Ensure the vest you choose to wear with your suit covers your pants’ waistband. It should not be too tight, but it should never reveal too much skin.
  • Also, if you want to look your best, it’s important to choose a professional tailor. There is simply no escaping this.
  • Neither the washer nor the dryer should ever touch your suit jacket. It’s all about the cut and construction of the jacket when it comes to a suit. If you wash your suit jacket in a washing machine, it will mess up the suit’s structure, making it look not good on you.
  • If ready-made is more your style, the secret to finding a cheap-looking suit is to try on as many different jackets as you can handle from as many different manufacturers.

How A Man’s Suit Should Fit on the Shoulders

Don’t buy a jacket if the shoulders don’t look right because they’re one of the most difficult areas to alter. Post-purchase adjustments rarely work out the way you’d like.

suit shoulder

Image Source: realmenrealstyle.com

However, many men may buy a suit that is a size or two too big because they are concerned about the fit across the chest and shoulders. It’s preferable to do things correctly at the beginning rather than risk paying a hefty sum later.

How Many Sizes Larger or Smaller Can You Go?

When making adjustments to a suit, the first guideline is always to remove or reduce the amount of fabric, but you can never add much. The amount is based on the amount of fabric tucked away in seam or hem allowances.

man wearing gray notched lapel suit jacket standing

Expensive or well-made (particularly custom) tailored suits will typically include larger allowances to accommodate the wearer’s inevitable size fluctuations over time. Unfortunately, reduced manufacturing costs often result in ready-to-wear and budget clothing having very little spare fabric to be let out.

Given the complexity of a suit jacket’s construction, it would be impractical to shrink it down several sizes without compromising the fit or requiring extensive reconstruction of the jacket’s elaborate structure (lining, canvas, padding, pockets, etc.).

You can safely go down two sizes in a suit or blazer, but sticking to one size larger is preferable. The difficulty in making alterations is that oversized coats sometimes have the additional issue of being overly big on the shoulders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Shoulder Divots

1. Do women’s suits have shoulder pads?

For men, shoulder pads are frequently used in suits, jackets, and overcoats. They are typically connected between the lining and the outside fabric layer at the top of the shoulder. Their inclusion in women’s apparel depends on current fashion trends.

2. Should I remove shoulder pads from Blazer?

To avoid ripping a hole in your jacket, leaving most of the stitches where your shoulder pad is joined to the jacket lining is preferable.

3. How do I know if my suit fits my shoulders?

An excellent fit indicator is the jacket’s shoulder-to-sleeve seam. The general rule is to position the seam where your shoulder tapers into your arm. A suit should have clean, flat shoulders. You don’t want any creases or rumpled fabric.

4. Can suit shoulders be altered?

Naturally, being the very first factor we take into account, shoulders are an exception; changes that make shoulders larger or smaller are not encouraged. This is because jacket shoulders are so intricately constructed that they require extensive surgery to alter their shape.

Featured Image Source: gq.com

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jacky chou


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