Classic Fit Vs. Regular Fit for Men - What You Need to Know

By now, our fans know the Oliver Wicks motto quite well—the fit that suits you. If you’ve spent any time around off-the-rack men’s suit sizes, then you’ve probably noticed the sticky matter of another kind of fit—the one that references how a suit is cut to hang rather than how it sits on your specific body. 

Seeing regular fit vs. classic fit can be confusing indeed if you aren’t used to modern men’s suit styles, but luckily, you have our expert team to help! Today, we’re going to dive right into everything you need to know about regular vs. classic fit, when to choose which, and how to make the most of your body type to build a truly sartorial look.

What is Classic Fit?

Classic fit is the original cut of all suits. It is sometimes called ‘traditional fit’ or ‘natural fit’ for this reason. It’s a looser, more comfortable (but not baggy and gappy) suit style that gives you a little more fabric and room to maneuver. The side seams are cut straight, with a bit of extra space in the chest and shoulders to play with. 

Classically, there should be no taper at all in the waist, whether it’s a shirt or a suit jacket, but some modern manufacturers will add a very slight taper here for added stylishness, so it’s worth paying attention when you purchase.

In a classic fit suit or shirt, you will be evoking the ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ era of suit styling. While there’s extra fabric in this cut, this isn’t an excuse for a bad fit, and it should still be well-tailored to the body wearing it. It’s roomy, not dowdy!

Dark grey natural bi-stretch flannel suit by Oliver Wicks

What is Regular Fit?

So, if classic fit is the old regular fit, what does regular fit mean on a label? Regular fit is a slightly more tailored version of the classic cut, landing between classic fit and slim fit - At OW, we refer to it as our “Tailored Fit”, for this reason It tapers at the waist and (in pants) along the line of the leg, but it doesn’t cling to the lines of your body as slim fit would. This is typically only a lost inch or two of fabric but can make a lot of difference in the visual lines of the suit, creating a sleeker appearance that still allows for comfortable sitting and movement. 

Regular fit is called that because it’s become the go-to man’s suit fit, and it’s hard to go wrong with this versatile fit option. The sleeves of a regular fit shirt or suit jacket will have a slight taper while staying fuller and roomier than slim fit. The arm holes will be set slightly differently from classic fit, but they can be very visually similar.

A suit in Khakhi Linen by Oliver Wicks

Classic Fit Vs. Regular Fit

As you have doubtless already realized, there’s not a huge amount of difference in classic vs. regular fit for men. However, there certainly is a difference, so this is an issue that’s well worth giving careful thought to.

Regular fit was developed to modernize the full-fabric classic fit look of the iconic 50s–80s suits. It dropped the waistline slightly (in keeping with current trends) and took away just enough fabric to make sleeker lines without clinging to the body.

Most men will be very well served by opting for a regular fit (it’s in the name, after all). It’s a modernized and elegant take on the older classic look, and is somewhat the ‘gold standard’ of what many people now view as ‘the fit’ for the professional world. So, when in doubt, start here. It offers a more up-to-date vibe that’s clean and free of excessive fabric clutter without impeding your ability to move freely and enjoy life. 

The neater styling of regular fit lines helps to elongate the body, making you look taller and more powerful at the chest. You will have a fuller sleeve without the bulk of a true classic fit, and the line of the leg is tidier in a regular fit, with a nod to the shape underneath it. It leaves you with a powerful aura of confidence and poise without venturing into the “Is this too tight?” territory of slim fit. However, men with heavy muscle at the chest, thigh, or arms may find it too constricting for comfort.

Many older gents prefer classic fit as it’s the style that they will have grown up with. Worn well, classic fit can still come over elegantly, but with a little ‘expansion room.’ Many husky, stout, or paunchy men look to classic fit as a way to stay elegant without feeling constricted, and this can be a good option—but don’t feel that it has to be your option by default! 

Remember that excessive fabric in the wrong places can actually make you look heavier than you are, so it is a matter of personal taste and your body features. For example, shorter men will want to avoid classic fit, as it can quickly overwhelm the body and give you a gauche, childish look. Likewise, if you’re generally reasonably slender but lean to a paunch, the gathered material over the stomach/front panel of classic fit pants may be a detriment, not a blessing, by emphasizing your least-loved area.

The looseness of classic fit can quickly become sloppy if you aren’t meticulously styled, so it is best kept for custom or made-to-measure suits, or if you are very confident, you know your suit size well, and you can tailor any areas that don’t work well for you.

Does suit material affect how the stylistic fit looks to the eye? Yes, it can! The thicker the fabric, the more bulk it has by nature. So, while you may prefer classic fit vs. regular fit shirts, if you love your iconic wool suits, you may find too much fabric and bulk. However, a lighter suit, like fine linen, could look fantastic in classic fit.

The Mix and Match Question

Can you mix and match your choice of fit through your wardrobe and your outfit? The answer is yes, but with care. You should never have a suit that’s mismatched in fit through the jacket and pants. A suit is created as a holistic whole, and this kind of tailoring mismatch will quickly look odd to the eye, even with the subtle difference between classic vs. regular fit. And it can be tricky to fit a voluminous classic fit dress shirt under a neater regular-fit jacket without creasing.

As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to stick with one cut throughout your outfit. So, unless you’re very confident, it is better to err on the side of caution and stick with one fit only. Remember, the fit you choose can also impact how appropriate an outfit is for the occasion, so a bad mismatch can create an odd chimera effect that won’t do you justice. 

However, a confident man who knows fashion and his body well can tweak these two similar styles through his look successfully when creating casual separates. You can even use this subtle difference to emphasize features you like and disguise those you don’t. For example, you could use a classic fit shirt paired with regular fit pants to de-emphasize a heavy waist, draw attention to longer legs, and create some fullness in the upper torso. Conversely, you can create a casually elegant look with a neatly fitted regular shirt while leveraging the extra roominess of classic fit pants if you want to stay elegant through an active day out and about in town.

Regular Fit Shirts

So, how does a classic fit vs. regular fit dress shirt stack up? As with all things regular fit, a regular fit dress shirt will slim down some of the bulky excesses of classic fit without venturing into the ultra-tight slim fit territory. There’s rarely pleating at the yoke, and there should be a defined taper through the waist of the shirt that’s meant to hint at your natural body shape without clinging to it. The sleeves are less voluminous, and there will be less and less fabric as you travel down the line of the arm (although only a trained eye may spot that).

This makes a regular fit dress shirt the perfect companion underneath a blazer or jacket. There’s enough fullness to look good but not enough excess creasing at the drop of a hat. If you’re going without a jacket, regular fit is a great way to show off some body confidence without looking trendy or unprofessional. This style of dress shirt can go anywhere, any time, and look good doing it.

Classic Fit Shirts

So, what’s the difference between classic fit vs. regular fit dress shirts? In classic fit, the emphasis is on a loose, unconstrained chest and fuller sleeve with no taper. You may see subtle pleating in the yoke (the flat back part of the shirt) to add more fabric with less bulk. While the correct classic fit should have no tapering at the waist, some modern brands add a very light taper, which muddies the differences a bit.

These shirts are loose, comfortable, and full, and the extra fabric can create a dapper look if styled correctly. Those fuller sleeves are perfect to showcase elegant cufflinks on a French cuff, for example. Or, for instances when you may want to add casual elegance with an open neck or rolled sleeves. 

However, if you lean toward having a pigeon chest, are naturally short, slim, or lean through your whole body, have shorter arms or torso or narrow hips, or are on the young side, the breezy fabric layers may be a bit much for you. On the other hand, men with a heavy body type, broad shoulders, and chest, or bulky/muscular arms will love the extra space.

It’s also important to consider if you’re wearing a classic fit shirt under a blazer or suit jacket. If the suit is cut in a regular fit, you will have too much fabric for the jacket and end up with crinkly, creased sleeves—not a good look!

Regular Fit Pants

Now that we’ve covered shirts, let’s take a look at classic fit vs. regular fit pants. 

With regular fit, you’re looking at these key characteristics:

  • Sit just below the natural waist.
  • The thigh and seat are roomy but not excessively so.
  • Slight taper to the leg, but they don’t cling and still have a noted opening at the ankle.
  • Typically fall straight, or with a very subtle taper, from the knee.
  • Project a dressy, elegant air.

Almost anyone can wear regular fit pants, and they have professionality built into them. They can even be slimming if you’re trying to mask a paunchy belly, as they don’t have the excessive fabric folds across the front panel of the pants, leaving you with a cleaner and neater line. 

The slightly more fitted nature of the cut can be a nice ‘cheat sheet’ way to bring added elegance to your wardrobe without fuss and bother, and if you’re opting for an off-the-rack suit and can’t get it tailored, regular fit is a great option. They’re appropriate to wear anywhere, from the boardroom to fine dining, and will always give you a stylish vibe. Regular fit also works well from your suit right through to your jeans.

However, athletic men and men with thick thighs or buns of steel may find the subtle fabric loss a little bit too much for their body type. Older men may find them too clinging—but don’t let that idea stop you from trying them first! Many a dapper silver fox sports regular fit for added elegance, so it’s worth careful consideration.

Classic Fit Pants

So, how do classic fit pants differ from regular fit?

The key characteristics of classic fit pants are:

  • Very roomy seat and thigh.
  • Little to no shaping of the leg—it’s a straight fall through the thigh and calf.
  • Roomy ankle openings.
  • Sit high at the natural waist.
  • Fit loosely (but not baggy, which is a body fit issue).
  • Give a slightly dated, rather casual ambiance unless styled right.

The extra room in the waist and seat can be a double-edged sword for men wearing classic fit pants. They can be very comfortable due to that extra space, which many an older gent will prefer, but the difference between meticulously fitted classic fit pants and baggy/sloppy pants is very small indeed. 

As we looked at above, the extra waist fabric may not be a blessing if this is an area of your body you don’t love, so it’s worth trying pants in both styles to see which looks visually best if this is a concern. Men who are large and blocky overall may like to consider classic fit slacks but a regular fit on the jacket to provide some slimming lines.

This means that classic fit intrinsically has a casual vibe. It’s classy casual—think, the President on vacation on the waterfront, rather than slouching down to the grocery store at 2 am—but it is still a little casual by nature. Most younger men, and men on the shorter side, will want to stay clear of classic fit because of that risk of sloppiness and the excess fabric. Tall men, or men who are bulky throughout the body, may enjoy the extra freedom and wear it to perfection.

A well-made, impeccably tailored fit can work in the office or on a dinner date, but it is tougher to achieve that fit straight out of the box, and you may want to reserve classic fit for more relaxed occasions where chinos or slacks and a smart suit separate fit right in.


To the untrained eye, the difference between classic and regular fit, especially a classic vs regular fit shirt, can be subtle indeed. With this handy guide to help, we hope that you’re now feeling a lot more confident about what makes each fit and how to choose the perfect match to your needs, the occasion, and your body. 

The Takeaway: Regular (or “Tailored”) fit is a modern midpoint between Slim and Classic. It is designed to show a charming physique, while retaining comfort. It is favored by many gentlemen as the ‘gold standard’ of a professional fit, but older, sometimes larger gentlemen may still prefer a fuller, Classic fit.

Lastly, it’s not ‘black and white’ when you’re choosing made-to-measure. OW can design your suit to match your preferances/body type, so don’t let a certain aspect of any cut put you off - We’ll adjust, and tailor your way.

Remember that the ‘fits’ we’re talking about here refer to how the fabric is cut and the garment constructed—not how it fits on your body. If you're not sure how to perfectly measure yourself for a suit or suit separate, never fear—the Oliver Wicks team has your back! We have a series of easy video tutorials that you can access that will have you measured like a pro in minutes. You can gain access to these and our other style tips by creating an account with us (no purchase necessary), so why not hop over to the website right now?

You’re also welcome to reach out to the team at at any time, so don’t hesitate to contact us for any style assistance you need!