Suit Terminology – Fits & Drop Sizing

Suit Terminology Series Header Image For Pinterest

Have you ever walked into an Apple store and brought a computer from someone who didn’t know a thing about them? Or rode out of a dealership with a car that the sales associate knew nothing technical about?

If you don’t know what type of suit you’re buying, you could be buying a dud. So, this week I’m starting a new series called Suit Terminology, designed to cover the essential knowledge you need to pick up a suit that ticks the boxes in quality, fit and style.

The first things on our list in suit terminology is cut and drops, what types of suit fits are available and what a drop is when referring to a suit and how that affects you.

Examples of different suit cuts - Classic, modern and slim images


When you’re buying a suit, you have options of to what fit to buy. The description of these below fits are universally used and are considered basic suit terminology. If you go into a store and the sales assistant seems like they don’t know the difference between these fit options – leave that store.


The classic fit suit is straight on the body, but not baggy. It’s a comfortable fit with plenty of room to move around. This suit is deemed more conservative in style, this type of suit is very popular in American culture and with American suiting brands. Some brands may refer to the classic fit suit as an American fit.


The modern fit suit is the middle ground between the classic fit and the slim fit. The pants of this suit style are straight in cut while the jacket is comfortable but close to the body. The modern fit is conservative yet current and perfect for a professional environment. It fits the shape well and often defines the waist of the wearer. This type of fit is very popular with European suiting labels.

Slim Fit:

A slim fit suit is one that minimises excess fabric. It skims the figure and creates a leaner silhouette. The jacket and pants taper close to the body. It’s not skin tight and never should be worn so tight it pulls. The slim fit suit is considered more playful and is best kept out of conservative office environments. Italian suiting brands often offer a slim fit suit, as do many younger style suiting labels.

How to read a suit label infographic

Suit Terminology Continued


A drop is a sizing system that refers to the difference between your chest and waist measurements. These drops are used when brands sell suits as a set. Drops are also used to define what shape your suit jacket or blazer is. Generally, there’s three drops to choose from in quality suiting stores:

Drop 6:

This is a cut that is relatively straight in shape, it means that your chest and waist hold a more rectangular shape and there’s a six inch difference between these two areas. Some suiting stores will only sell one or two types of drop, the drop 6 and 7 are the most commonly sold. Drop 6 suits are often a modern cut.

Drop 7:

This cut has more of a difference between the chest width and the waist width, so while you’re not overly broad, you’re not a completely straight torsoed man. Drop 7 suits have a seven inch difference between the chest and the waist and when sold as a set, are often slim cut.

Drop 8:

Drop 8 is a broad fit in the chest and a narrower fit in the waist. This means there’s an eight inch difference between the chest and the waist. If you have broad shoulders and a smaller waist, this is the best fit for you.


It helps to know what drop you are, so that you can streamline your browsing process in stores. When you walk into a suiting store, the first thing you should be looking for is sizing options. A brand that offers suits in a size range of small, medium, large, extra large etc, aren’t going to fit as well without alterations and are most likely not going to be good quality. A brand that offers different cuts as well as a numerical sizing system and a drop sizing system, is a brand that cares about quality and how their suits effect you.

Knowing what drop fits your shape will cut down the time spent trying on suits that won’t fit you well. For example, if you know you’re a Drop 8 and a 40 in a jacket, all you need to do is ask the shop assistant to point you towards the Drop 8 suits so you can pick up your size and if they come in a set, you’ll likely have a matching pair of trousers that fit too.

Next up in suit terminology is fusing versus canvassed suiting and how the interior of your suit effects it’s quality and longevity in your wardrobe.


  1. Avatar for Aformations

    We each have our own definition of what looks good and fits correctly, so speak up so the pro’s can dial it in for you. Not sure how to describe your preference? Show them a photo of a celeb wearing a suit the way you like it.

    1. Avatar for Alarna Hope

      Absolutely, the way a suit fits should be about your sense of style. Celeb photos are always a helpful way to get your ideas across!

  2. Avatar for Gary

    I’m pretty robust so would a drop 4 look good

    1. Avatar for Alarna Hope

      Hello Gary, it depends where on your body you carry your weight. A drop 4 is a small difference between the waist and the chest, but also hard to find in stores. You may find it easier to purchase a drop 6 and have the waist taken out if that’s the area where you carry your weight. I hope that helps!

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