A few years ago I had posted about the dreaded “divots” but apparently that post has long since disappeared and people have been asking for it.

A fit defect dubbed “divots” by Styleforum can be seen in the top part of the sleeve and most people make the mistaken assumption (or assertion) that the jacket shoulder is too wide for the person. It is not.

Here is an example of a divot.

And here are examples of coats whose shoulders are much wider than the person’s shoulder but which are mysteriously free of the divots.

The extended shoulder was a style feature which had become exaggerated from the late thirties through the fifties, and a more discrete amount of extension is often found in Neapolitan tailoring. So if the width of the shoulder is not to blame, what is?

In ready-to-wear it can sometimes be the result of poor pattern making or poor workmanship, but in most cases it is simply a coat that is actually too NARROW through the shoulders, especially across the upper part of the back. The tension across the back pulls the armhole out of shape and creates the divot. The easiest solution would be to try on the next size up. If you have already acquired the garment, the back can usually be let out at the center back seam, though this may result in mismatched stripes or plaids which, while ugly, are not nearly as bad as the divots. In some extreme cases the sleeve may have to be removed and the sleeve cap shortened. Neither of these alterations are simple; widening the back can be handled by your average alterations tailor but altering the sleeve cap takes someone with a greater level of skill and has a high risk of failure.

The jacket pictured above has been adjusted to widen the back and this is the result.



6 Replies to “Divots

  1. Very nice. I hate seeing divots – I didn’t know they had a name – on men who I’m certain paid a bundle for their suits. Doesn’t Ralph look the handsomest?

    1. On your coat The sleeve is too small across the top sleeve. Perhaps the coat itself is too small.
      The divots on the extended shoulder happen because of the Exaggerated angle from where the bottom of the armhole is against the body- out to where the extended shoulder is. It cannot but distort the sleeve.

  2. Thanks about the article. One of my tailors did this once and when i mentioned about it to the fitter, the fitter thought that the shoulder was too wide.

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