‘Stand tall’, ‘shoulders back’, ‘balance a book on your head’; from an early age, we’ve heard that good posture is important. In suits, posture matters, too. But you don’t have to change anything about yourself to get it right; in fact, if you do, you will frustrate your tailor.
When adjusting for posture, we look primarily at two things: your head’s position relative to the collar of the coat and your torso relative to the ground. Terms you may have heard are head forward, stooped (pronounced stoop-ed by the traditionalists), and erect.
First, for a man that has relatively normal posture but a head that leans slightly forward, extending the collar length and reducing the collar of the jacket will make an enormous amount of difference. Likewise, if someone stands very tall, even tilting backwards a bit, lowering the collar will fix a roll underneath the neck. Lowering a collar can be done after the jacket is made, but extending is likely a non-starter. The Italians have a saying that the collar of a jacket should fit like an old friend with his arm around your neck: snug but never uncomfortable.
For men with very dramatic postures, we will also correct the bottom of the coat so it is parallel to the ground. Men with stooped postures will tilt the front of the coat down, and men that stand very erect (think: military men standing at attention) will tilt the front of the coat up. Both are undesirable but can be adjusted for when making a coat.
But, once you’ve decided to have a coat made, stand as you normally would. That means relax, breath, and forget every nagging word your mother may have said to you. If you stand tall when you are fit but slouch when you wear your coat, it will not fit very well. As tailors, we do not judge; we are simply here to help.