A Guide to the Different Types of Men’s Jackets Shoulders (B)

At many times, one thing might look different from another, take the example of a dress jacket, but you can’t actually put your finger on what makes it different. It’s usually the cut, but “cut” is such a general term. In this article you will be able to read more about a specific part of the jacket. And more precisely, the shoulder.

Different Types Of Men's Jackets ShouldersIf you ever took the time to look at a jacket’s shoulder, you might have noticed a few things. Shoulders are the defining element of a jacket’s silhouette. Shoulders vary from natural to  soft, convex to concave, lightly padded, padded or built up or knocked-down. The way the shoulder looks is the way the shoulder area looks and gives the drape of the suit. Most important though, is the feel the shoulder leaves one with. This too can vary a lot, so this is why it’s important to know what type of shoulder you are wearing. You can look like a schoolboy, or you can look like sporty. There is no wrong answer, it’s about knowing how to convey they message you want.

OK, so, the build of the shoulder should be made in harmony and compliment the way the man’s natural shoulder is.  Sloping shoulders might need padding. A body with a V shape, may turn down strong shoulders in favor of more balance. Men with narrow shoulders  may want to slightly extend the horizontal shoulder zone. Of course, the middle way is said to be the way to go.

When we think of shoulders, we can’t not think of shoulder pads. Shoulder pads actually appeared in1877, in American football. But they became popular in fashion only in the 1930s, when they were used to worn by women. Later on, they became popular among men as well, and have seen a peak during the 1980s.


There are three types of shoulders: American, Italian and British. We are going to break them down and see what which one is all about.


1. American

American Shoulder

These kind of shoulders are very natural, they have minimal padding and follow the shape of the body. Because this type is so simple, it’s best for men with wide shoulders, who don’t want to emphasize them more or simply don’t want to draw people’s attention to their shoulders. This kind of shoulders go best with a sports look. This is probably the best way to go when you don’t know exactly what to choose or want to stay really simple.


2. Italian

Italian Shoulder

Italian shoulders actually come in different types. They either have a “roped” look or with shirring (pleats) that makes the shoulders appear broader, a natural shoulder and anything in between. Sometimes Italian cuts overlap with American and British cuts.

As you can see in the picture, Italian shoulders usually have higher armholes, that will give the impression of a bigger statue and broader shoulders, so they are perfect for guys who tend to have narrower shoulders. They are also best for moving around, although we don’t know exactly how much you need to move your arms around (maybe dancing) when you are in a suit. Some Italian tailors do a process called shirring, or pleat-like folds at the seam where the sleeve connects to the shoulder. This means that the upper sleeve is cut a lot larger than the armscye , and because there is more cloth on the outer cut than on the inner cut, the fabric gathers around the shoulder, when the sleeve is being sewn onto the coat.

Italian shoulders have a variation, called the “Roman shoulder”, which are unpleated and slightly padded, compared to the other Italian cuts and the American type. This construction gives you a more masculine feel, as it emphasizes the v-shape.


3. British

British Shoulder

British shoulders have a stiffer suiting and a lightly padded shoulder. The shoulders of such a suit should not be too narrow or to wide, but slightly hug the shoulder.British shoulders are ought to be padded to add structure, rather than bulk and there is supposed to be a sharp 90 degree angle between the shoulder and the sleeve of the suit.

This kind of suits are very precise and exact.


There is a lot more to say about shoulders, but this is what you need to know, unless you want to become a tailor. Now you can make sure that you will find a better suit and feel your best!


Fraquoh and Franchomme






P.S. What do think? Did you pay attention to the shoulders of a jacket? Which one is your favorite? Share your comments below!

12 thoughts on “A Guide to the Different Types of Men’s Jackets Shoulders (B)

    • haha i agree! but i liked this informative post..i am always trying to learn the subtle differences in men’s fashion.

    • Shoulder pads today are (or should be) way more subtle than those from the 80s. This way you can look more structured, but still natural.

      Of course, you don’t need to wear them and it’s great to see you know what you enjoy!

      American shoulders are great, we can agree!

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