These days you can’t just pick a brand you like for business and formal wear. You also need to decide what cut of shirts, pants, and suits looks best on you! For example, when you consider tailored fit vs slim fit, what’s the difference?
The main difference between a tailored fit and a slim fit is that a tailored fit does not conform to the shape of the body quite as tightly as a slim fit. Slim-fit suits, pants, and shirts usually offer the most closely fitting cut in any given brand. Tailored fit often lies between a classic fit’s looser cut and a slim fit’s tight style.
In this article, you will find out what a slim fit and a tailored fit look like in shirts, pants, and suits. You will find a comparison of these styles to help you select the perfect look for you. Finally, you will get to consider slim fit and tailored fit vs other styles like classic fit.
Tailored Fit vs Slim Fit: Key Points
Take a look at this chart to get a quick overview of the main differences between tailored fit and slim fit clothing.
|Tailored Fit||Slim Fit|
|Shoulders||Fitted shoulders.||Fitted shoulders, pulled tight by small armholes in sleeves.|
|Armholes||Not too small.||Usually set small and high, pulling the chest and shoulders tight.|
|Chest||More fitted than a classic cut, but looser than slim-fit.||Usually quite fitted, even tight.|
|Sleeves||Fuller at the top, but tapered at the wrist.||Fitted and tapered at the wrist.|
|Waist||Tapered side seams create a nipped-in waist.||Tapered side seams create a nipped-in waist.|
|Seat||Usually comfortable, but not loose.||Fitted or even tight.|
|Rise||Depends on brand.||Depends on brand.|
|Leg Opening||Varies from size to size, but is usually almost as roomy as a classic fit.||Smaller than tailored fit, leading to tapered ankle.|
|Body Shape||Medium or slender build, though those with a more muscular frame may find this style comfortable as well.||Small or medium build, or tall and thin. Suggested for those who want to highlight a slender silhouette.|
|Comfort||Quite comfortable while maintaining a modern silhouette.||Not super comfortable, and may even feel constricting.|
What is Tailored Fit?Tailored fit clothing offers an option that is less tight than a slim-fit cut but more fitted than a traditional or classic cut. Tailored styles hint at the shape of your body without clinging to every inch of your skin. This style also has a good reputation for providing more range of movement than a slim-fit cut.
Many major brands, including Jos. A. Bank, offer a tailored fit option in their major clothing lines. That said, you will see this style less often than slim-fit. Almost all brands offer a slim-fit style.
Though the term “tailored” may bring to mind a professional hunched over a sewing machine turning out clothing designed just for you, “tailored fit” is a generic style mass-produced by popular brands around the world. Like any one-shape-fits-all style, it will suit some bodies better than others.
So, what characterizes a tailored fit cut? You sometimes see this style referred to as a “trim fit” or a “trimmer look” than the more boxy regular style.
Tailored-fit shirts or jackets will include less fabric, making them narrower around the waist than a classic cut. T-shirts and button-down shirts often have a tapered waist but not a skin-tight taper. Sometimes armholes may rest higher than in a traditional cut as well.
Tailored-fit pants will have narrow but not tightly fitted legs. They often break higher at the ankle than a classic cut.
What is Slim Fit?Slim-fit cut is usually the most closely fitting style offered by a clothing brand. You can find everything from slim-fit jeans to slim-fit t-shirts sold by pretty much every popular brand on the market! Slim-fit has a reputation as a trendy, stylish look that always closely hugs the body.
The main idea with a slim-fit garment is that it takes away any excess fabric, leaving only enough material to wrap close around your skin. For example, a slim-fit dress shirt tapers in sharply to give the appearance of a V shape at the waist. This style of shirt has tight, high armholes and often includes tapered, narrow sleeves as well.
Slim-fit suit jackets usually have skinny, sharp lapels to accentuate the sharp angles and tapered side seams of the jacket. Quite often, a slim-fit jacket ends closer to the waist than the hips, which also adds to its abbreviated appearance.
Slim-fit pants have narrow legs. They will break pretty high and often have a nice, sharp crease to make them look even tighter!
So, who can wear slim-fit clothing? This depends on who you ask. Some fashion experts suggest that slim-fit styles look best on people who have a straight, narrow frame.
Plenty of consumers seem to find slim-fit appealing no matter what their body type, though! As with all styles, ultimately, you get to decide what looks good on you!
Slim-fit clothes look super trendy, but they do tend to limit movement quite a bit. The tight fit of a slim-fit buttondown looks stylish, especially when paired with a blazer, but you may find it hard to raise your arms due to the high armholes! Plus, many button-downs use non-stretchy fabric, which means you could feel as if your chest is constricted, as well.
Of course, the benefit to this style is that you quite literally look sharp when wearing a slim-fit shirt or pair of pants. This cut turns your body into one straight line!
What Is the Difference Between Tailored Fit and Slim Fit?
The main difference between a tailored fit and slim fit cuts is that a tailored fit includes a little more fabric and is not cut as narrowly as slim-fit styles. While tailored fit offers a tapered appearance much like slim-fit, it is not nearly as tight and is not the same thing as slim fit.
That said, you will find quite a lot of variation from one brand to another. A Calvin Klien slim-fit suit may well fit you differently than a Jos. A. Bank slim-fit suit! The terms give you a general idea of what shape the clothing will have, but you probably need to try on the garment to see how that specific brand fits you.
While every brand puts a unique spin on each style, you can expect general characteristics from tailored fit or slim fit shirts, t-shirts, suits, dress pants, and trousers.
ShirtsSlim fit and tailored button-down shirts look quite similar from a distance, but up close, you notice that the armholes look quite different in these distinct styles. In some brands, you may also find that slim-fit shirts have darts in the back to make the chest and waist area fit even more snuggly.
Both slim-fit and tailored shirts have tapered waists. This means that the shirt side seams cut in and the shirt gets smaller at the waist. That said, tailored shirts often include more fabric in the chest and waist area than a slim-fit shirt would.
The biggest difference between these two styles lies in the arms, though. Slim-fit shirts have famously high and small armholes. This creates an angled, sharp shoulder and encourages the fabric to lie smooth and tight across the chest. But some people find the tight armhole and sleeve uncomfortable and prefer the slightly lower, more open armhole of a tailored-fit shirt.
T-ShirtsMany brands sell slim-fit t-shirts these days, but tailored-fit t-shirts have not caught on yet. You can find companies that offer to tailor a t-shirt specifically to your dimensions, but so far, slim-fit remains the only ready-made style you can find to get that nicely tapered waist in a t-shirt.
So, what does a slim-fit t-shirt look like? Most importantly, it has concave side seams that nip in at the sides and waist like an inverted C. This looks very different from the rectangular, blocky shape of a regular-fit tee!
Secondly, many slim-fit t-shirts also have smaller armholes that make the sleeves hug your upper arms.
Finally, slim-fit tees sometimes come in a shorter length than regular-style t-shirts.
Some brands sell shirts that meet these characteristics but simply call them fitted t-shirts.
SuitsThe main difference between slim-fit and tailored-fit suits is that slim-fit suit jackets and pants will fit more tightly than tailored-fit suits. You may also notice key differences, such as skinnier lapels on slim-fit suits and higher armholes in the jacket.
Many popular brands offer both a slim-fit and a tailored-fit option in suits. That said, many brands promote their own unique styles instead, using terminology like “executive cut” or “skinny style.” You will want to read up on how a particular brand defines its suit styles before making a purchase!
It’s also true that suit trends come and go through the years. Right now, slim-fit suits remain quite trendy, but fashion changes quickly. Think of the baggy, boxy suits with shoulder pads in the 1980s–that was the hottest look at the time!
The fact is that suit cuts and styles come and go, meaning that you will want to keep an eye on current trends while also selecting the cut that flatters your body the most.
Dress PantsWhen it comes to slim-fit and tailored-fit dress pants, the only real difference you will note is that slim-fit pants may have slightly more narrow ankles and a bit of a tighter leg throughout. This varies from brand to brand, however.
Once again, most brands offer a slim-fit option. Some also provide tailored-fit, but not quite as many. Plus, some brands make things extra difficult by referring to a regular or classic style as a “tailored fit”!
If you want the tightest, snuggest dress pants on the market, you should look for a slim fit in your favorite brand.
If you want a little more mobility in the hip area and maybe some wiggle room in the trouser legs, you will want to consider a tailored fit. If the brand you like does not offer a tailored-fit cut, you could get a boxier classic fit and take it to a real tailor for alterations!
TrousersWhile it’s difficult to find ready-made tailored-fit trousers, you can find many types of slim-fit pants, including trendy skinny jeans and even some brands of khakis!
In any type of slim-fit trouser, you can expect to find legs that taper a bit toward the ankle. You will probably also find a snug waist and hip area and slender pant legs.
Sometimes you will find a differentiation between slim-fit and skinny-fit pants as well. In this case, slim fit usually does not taper to the ankle quite as much as the skinny fit and instead forms more of a straight line from the knee to the ankle.
Tailored Fit Jeans
Some brands offer a special style of jeans called tailored fit. Jos. A. Bank, for example, offers this in-between style for those who like a modern look with a more comfortable feel. Other brands refer to a similar type of jeans as a classic fit or even just as straight-legged jeans.
For Jos. A. Bank, the tailored jean offers a waist that rests just above the hips, a comfortable seat area, and legs that taper without getting too constricting. These jeans also include just a hint of spandex for more flexibility. The brand calls these jeans stylish but reminiscent of a vintage era.
Tailored Fit vs Traditional Fit
Generally speaking, traditional fit refers to the loosest, most expansive style of a garment, while tailored fit presents the same type of garment in a more tapered shape. Not every brand uses these particular terms, but most brands offer similar styles, even if they call them something else!
Let’s break down the differences between a tailored fit and a traditional fit shirt to give you a good idea of what each style looks like.
A traditional fit shirt usually has straight seams, meaning that it looks rectangular and boxy when spread out flat on the floor. It also often includes a pleat at the upper back to provide more fabric in its expansive design. The sleeves may have gathers or small pleats at the armhole to make them loose and full.
In contrast, a tailored-fit shirt has inwardly curved side seams that indicate the shape of your waist. This type of shirt will also have tapered sleeves, though you should not find the armhole too constricting. When you tuck in this shirt, the waist should lie smooth and flat against your skin instead of puffing out above the waistband of your pants.
While tailored-fit shirts are ready-made, they are meant to look like bespoke clothes designed just for you!
Tailored Fit vs Regular FitTailored fit clothes contain much less fabric than a roomy regular fit style. Some brands use the term “regular fit” interchangeably with either traditional fit or classic fit. Other brands may make slight distinctions between these terms.
Most of the time, though, regular fit indicates a loose, roomy cut that offers lots of mobility. In today’s world, this cut does not scream high fashion! For that, you will want to look to the sharp lines of a slim fit cut or the tapered elegance of a tailored fit cut.
Take a quick look at this comparison of a regular fit and a tailored fit suit.
A regular fit suit will have more fabric in the arms, larger armholes, and a boxier chest and waist area. That said, because modern styles trend so heavily toward the fitted side seam, even a regular-cut suit may include a slightly curved seam at the waist! The pants will provide ample room in the seat area and a fuller leg and possibly a lower break at the trouser cuff.
For a more stylish appearance, a tailored fit suit will offer fitted shoulders and a jacket that nips in at the waist. It will have tapered sleeves, though not uncomfortably tight armholes. It will also include trousers with a fuller upper leg but a delicate tapering toward the ankle to create a sharp silhouette.
Slim Fit vs. Classic Fit
Slim fit and classic fit clothes look quite different because of the tapered, narrow shape of a slim fit style. Classic fit often gets descriptions such as relaxed, casual, or roomy. These all sound nice and cozy, but certainly not as trendy as descriptions like sharp, streamlined, and slender that apply to slim-fit clothes!
That said, you do have to sacrifice some comfort to buy into the close-fitting slim-fit style. Classic fit clothes hang more loosely and contain much more fabric, providing much more ease of movement than slim-fit clothing.
Consider the difference between a classic fit and a slim fit shirt, for example.
A classic fit shirt incorporates lots of extra material so that you will find loose fabric in the chest, waist, and arms. It usually has straight side seams, giving it a boxier silhouette. It will usually hang loosely from your body or puff out a bit when tucked in at your waist.
A slim-fit shirt in the same size and brand will have much less fabric. It will snugly fit across your shoulders and chest. It will have a tapered, narrow waist that gives you a V-shaped silhouette. Finally, it will have small armholes and tight sleeves that taper at the wrists.
How to Select Your Perfect Fit
Now that you know quite a bit about what tailored fit and slim fit clothes look like, you probably want to know how to choose the best fit for you!
Here’s a secret you may already know: the absolute best way to find your perfect fit is to pick a brand you like and then try on a classic fit, tailored fit, and slim fit of the same garment. This allows you to compare how each cut hangs on your body.
If you can’t do that–after all, who doesn’t use online shopping these days?–you can consider these helpful guidelines.
- First, consider where you want to wear the suit, shirt, or trousers. If you have a job interview, you may want to create a sharp impression with a slim-fit suit. If you plan to attend a wedding, you might want the more relaxed and comfortable shape of a classic fit.
- Ask yourself honestly how much you value appearance over comfort. Do you need to walk a long distance while wearing the trousers you want to buy? If so, you may want a tailored fit instead of a slim fit in your new pants.
- Likewise, consider your body shape. Do you want to highlight the shape of your waist with the tapered cut of a slim-fit shirt, t-shirt, or jacket? You may prefer the straight cut of a classic or regular fit instead.
- Always consider the shoulders of a suit jacket. You can alter many parts of a suit, but not the shoulders. Try to find shoulders that do not end before your shoulder or hang out over your shoulder.
- You never want a shirt or jacket to strain at the buttons. If this happens, you can keep the cut you want and just go up a size!
The main difference between slim-fit and tailored fit clothing styles is that slim fit is tighter and tailored fit offers a tapered but less tight style. Both cuts can look classy, though slim-fit tends to have a trendier appearance popular among young professionals. Major clothing brands typically offer both of these styles and a more traditional classic cut style for shirts, pants, and suits.
You may find slim-fit clothing too constricting, as it has a narrow fit and often includes high armholes. In this case, a tailored fit will allow you more range of movement while still providing a fitted appearance.
Have you ever compared slim-fit to tailored fit in your favorite brand? Which did you like better? Leave a comment below to let us know!