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Ever notice that you seldom see bodybuilders in suits? Aside from Arnold and a few of the more cultured stars, most bodybuilders pin
around in casual clothes or sweats. Could the problem be that they have difficulty fitting into a suit? Most of them have excellent
physiques, but their clothes usually aren't equally appealing. This is especially true for business and formal clothing. Bodybuilders
often look uncomfortably out of place in dress clothing, like a large sausage stuffed into a container that is too small. That is too
bad because a good business image is an integral component of a successful career. If you want to get ahead, dressing sharp is essential.
The biggest problem concerns the "drop zone." The drop is a term used by clothiers and tailors for the difference between jacket size and pant size. It is most commonly used in reference to suit sizes. The traditional suit drop is six inches - i.e. the jacket is six inches larger than the pant. If a suit has a size 40 jacket, it will have a size 34 (waist measurement) pant. European suits can have a smaller drop, normally about four or five inches. This means if you need a jacket size of 44 and a pant size of 32, you have no hope of fitting into a size 44 suit as a traditional size 44 suit will have 38- to 39-inch pants. A greater differential between chest and waist measurement will present an even bigger problem in getting dress wear to fit. The smaller you are, and the closer you are to "average," the better chance you have at getting into some type of business suit.
During the past few decades clothing manufacturers have taken into account the more athletic physique that many men are molding, and a few suits now come in an "athletic fit' The athletic-fit suit has a greater drop of eight to ten inches. You can go that route - if you can find an athletic-cut suit that appeals to you and you have a drop of only eight to ten inches. Even so, this type of suit is not as well stocked as the traditional suits.
Some suit manufacturers don't make any all. So you are probably forced to go back to the traditional suit, stuck with the question of where to shop if you don't fit the tight size limits. Clothing companies won't let you switch pants and jackets to fit your needs because that would cause chaos in their orderly alignment of stock. If you don't fit the noun you need another option or two to look "sweet on the street" in dress clothes.
Bodybuilders - at least most of them - have a drop far beyond the range of the average person. Consider Arnold, for instance. In his book Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder he is described as having a 57-inch chest and a 34-inch waist. That gives him an amazing drop of 23 inches? Sergio Oliva, with his small waist and huge chest, may have had an even bigger drop. Most bodybuilders don't come close to this large a drop, but many have a good 12- to 15-inch drop or more, which puts them way outside any possibility of wearing a normal suit. A bodybuilder is faced with a hassle in finding a decent suit to fit his exceptional physique, let alone getting the style and other issues right. Cutting a suit down to size is no answer either as one bodybuilder found out much to his dismay. His expensive suit pants were cut down to meet his waist size, and the end result was an ugly patchwork job that looked more like a quilt than pants. You can't afford to make mistakes like that on expensive suits?
So what's the solution? Must bodybuilders be relegated to the backwaters of fashion stuck with sweats or blazers and slacks? One approach is to go with a custom-made designer suit. However, unless you are as rich as Arnold, this option probably won't work for you as custom-made suits are not cheap. Fortunately there is a good answer to the problem that does not cost more than the cost of a regular off-the-rack suit - suit separates.