Men that want to look stylish for both their work and personal lives are going to be wearing suits on a regular basis. It’s easy to not put much thought into a suit if you’re going to be wearing one every day, but there’s more to custom suits, and specifically custom suit jackets, than meets the eye.

That’s because custom suit jackets are the basis of any good suit. The way they are structured and how they look set the tone for your whole wardrobe. If you’re like most men, you probably don’t know much about the four different shoulder styles you can pick from when ordering custom suit jackets and how they’ll impact your look.

Use this guide to help you pick the right shoulder style the next time you’re ordering custom suit jackets for your wardrobe.

Minimally Padded Shoulders

Perhaps the most common shoulder type when it comes to purchasing custom suit jackets, minimally padded shoulders give a little bit of extra heft to a suit while providing a decent amount of structure. This style is typical for the average business suit and if you were to buy off the rack, finding this style wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Though this style pretty much flatters every guy out there, it’s ideal for men with smaller shoulders or a square body type since it can make the silhouette seem a little fuller and longer. In general, because of the versatility, this is the best style for men that aren’t quite sure what they want in custom suit jackets.

custom suit jackets

Broad Shoulder Pads

When men started wearing suits of the cocktail variety in the 1920s and 30s, broad shoulder pads were common and almost every man sported them. They were considered a source of strength and gave the wearer a hint of that big, broad look without having to do much else.

Today, broad shoulder pads aren’t that popular, but they do seem to be making a comeback among a certain group of men and in high-fashion circles. If you’re going to try the broad shoulder pad look on custom suit jackets, you’re probably going to want to choose a jacket that comes down a bit longer than your typical suit jacket. You’ll also want the fit to be a little bit fuller in the body than is normally seen in styles today.

While it might feel a little bit retro at this point, broad shoulder pads shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing, especially for smaller men. They tend to look exceptional in bold check and stripe patterns.

Regardless if you prefer the broad shouldered look, however, this style is best skipped when you’re going to work. It lends itself to a more retro aesthetic, which is more suited for going out to dinner with friends or dressing up for social events.

Roped Shoulders

The roped shoulders style may not be immediately obvious by name to you, but you’ve certainly seen roped shoulders in the last few years. Designed to have a clear distinction between the shoulder and the arm, you’ll find a fair amount of padding on roped shoulders.

Roped shoulders started out as part of the Neapolitan style, but they’ve become somewhat popular among businessmen for their more formal look. They can make men look a bit broader in the chest, which can be good or bad depending on your body type.

If you do go for the roped shoulders look, you should probably pick solid color custom suit jackets instead of one in a bold pattern. Big patterns can look a little too wild for this style.

Roped shoulders can easily be worn to work, especially if you can get away with custom suit jackets and a pair of fine slacks in the office.

custom suit jackets

Unstructured Shoulders

Unstructured shoulders are probably the second most common type of shoulder pads that you’re going to find on fashionable men. Like minimally padded shoulders, unstructured suit jackets aren’t too fussy and they tend to show of the wearers natural physique.

You can wear this style with a full suit, a pair of slacks or even with a pair of jeans. That’s what makes the unstructured shoulder so versatile, likely why it is so popular among younger men and guys that don’t like the “stuffy” look.

The only time you might want to avoid unstructured shoulder pads in custom suit jackets is when you’re going to a formal occasion. The lack of structure doesn’t fit well in a formal setting.


Ralph Lauretta

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.

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