Ultimate suit guide
Understanding the various cuts and when to wear them is fundamental to maintaining a stylish wardrobe.
A suit is a wardrobe necessity. Even if you don’t plan on wearing one every day, you’ll certainly need at least one for job interviews, business meetings, weddings and other special occasions.
But making sense of the different cuts and styles can be tough which is where we come in.
Single vs Double Breasted
A single-breasted jacket has only one set of buttons and button holes, which do not overlap while double-breasted is the one which has two front overlapping across the body.
The single-breasted jacket can be two or three buttoned – the one button version is generally for dinner jackets – and may be worn with a waistcoat.
Double-breasted jackets are traditionally ventless with no flaps at the back and will generally have four or six button options. It’s considiered more conservative and while becoming more common in some offices, double-breasted jackets are, generally, perfect for events where a more dramatic look is required.
British, Italian or American?
Traditionally the details of a suit could be defined by knowing where it was made – England, Italy or America. While these standards are no longer the way we define suits, they can come in handy when choosing the right fit for your body type.
•A peaked lapel is defined by edges that point upward to the shoulder and traditionally the most formal of lapels working best with double-breasted suits.
• A British suit is suited gto athletic builds and typically indicated a single-breasted jacket. These suits could be described as having a more military aesthetic with padded shoulders, two vents, a pinched waist and flap pockets.
• American suits are recommended for larger frames and are sometimes known as “sack suits” thanks to their natural shoulders, a single vent in the back, straight-hanging lines and flap pockets.
The lapel is the fold of fabric across the chest that sits just above the waist. There are three primary lapels styles to choose from:
• A peaked lapel is defined by edges that point upward to the shoulder and traditionally the most formal of lapels working best with double-breasted suits.
• The most common lapel style, a notch lapel is where the bottom of the collar and the top of the lapel sit at 75-95 degree angles, creating a “notch” or cutaway effect. This style is most often seen on single-breasted suits.
• A shawl lapel is a continuous curve with no break, often made of satin. This lapel is the reserve of dinner jackets and tuxedos.
Other terms to know
• Lounge Suits: Generally a man’s formal suit for ordinary day wear. The fit is comfortable and the suit can be worn with or without a tie. Light to medium colors are preferred and jackets are typically single-breasted with two buttons.
• Dinner Suits: Your basic black tie suit, a dinner suit is generally a darker colour and has a traditional fit.
• Business Suits: More formal and conservative than a lounge suit, a business suit will looks most stylish in sober colors and sharp fits – the most common being the pinstripe suit in navy or black. Double and single breasted, both go well.
A tuxedo is ultra formal and the ultimate in the suit line. It can be stylized for the ceremonial wear and can be worn with a cummerbund. Most commonly seen on Hollywood’s leading.