Most men don’t wear a properly fitting suit and this has become a far too common issue. A man with a correctly tailored and styled suit compared to a man without is comparing apples to oranges. The prior gains more respect, admiration and looks confident. The latter can subtract from your image and professionalism. To avoid such, follow our mens suit guide.
Types of Men’s Suits
There are a few different kinds of men’s suits you’ll come across and it’s beneficial to understand the differences. They all boast their own unique characteristics and traits.
- English style: Features a higher waist with unpadded shoulders, a longer hourglass shape, single/double breast, side vents and 2/3 buttons.
- Italian style: These normally are lighter in construction with square and high shoulders, a close fitting single breast body, no vents and 2 buttons.
- American style: A straighter fitting suit with a back vent and 2/3 buttons.
Off the rack suits are built to a standard measurement that is supposed to fit the average gentlemen. Unfortunately these suits never really look as good as they could be with some slight adjustments. While the fabric and details of a suit are very important, fitting is the most critical aspect.
The cut of a suit is made from the proportions of the gentleman whom will be wearing it and the silhouette. A well tailored suit always brings out the strengths and hides weaknesses of the wearer. Bespoke suits will speak way before you do with how fantastic you’ll look in them.
Suits come in a variety of materials that all have their own personality and unique benefits. The most traditional of course is wool which are perfect for the fall and winter weather. During the warmer spring and summer months, silk, cotton, and linen suits are a lightweight alternative. If you’re from damper locations like England or Scotland then we’re sure you know of the famous tweed suit. This material was made to repel water and to be very durable in those kind of weather conditions.
Men Suit Details
Single & Double Breast
One of the first important details of a suit jacket is the breast which comes in single or double variations. Single breasted jackets have one row of buttons down the front that give just enough room to bring the two flaps together. These kind of suit jackets you can easily leave open for a more casual look.
A double breasted suit jacket on the other hand has two rows of buttons that allows for both flaps to attach to opposing buttons. These are much more formal in nature and should always be worn completely buttoned up.
Single breast is definitely the more popular option since it can be worn more casually and has a lighter demeanor. To increase its formality you can always throw on your favourite vest underneath and suddenly you’re much sharper. Taller men can benefit from double breasted jackets though so you should consider one if you’re tall. Larger gentlemen should be cautious of them though since it can bring unwanted attention to the midsection.
As we mentioned, your jacket will have either one or two rows of buttons. Single breasted jackets typically have anywhere from one to four while two or three are the most common. The three button jacket is derived from the English style and normally is only buttoned in the middle while standing. Two button jackets are typically buttoned just on top. This is a similar rule we see with vests in which the bottom button is left undone. It creates more space for us to move around comfortably as the main benefit. Double breasted jackets feature four to six buttons with some designs making it so only a certain amount can be buttoned and some for show.
Lapels are the folded piece of fabric along the collar and upper torso of a suit jacket. They have evolved over time and there are many different styles you’ll come across. The most timeless lapels are those that don’t take any attention away from the suit itself. They are subtle but add a nice dash of elegance.
Notched lapels have a V-shaped opening where the lapel and collar connect. Peaked lapels are equally as popular and have a sharper point that flares out.
Suit jackets don’t usually have pockets that stand out which creates a slimming effect. The most traditional ones are called jetted pockets as they are sewn right into the lining to create a very narrow entrance. A flap pocket is what you can see on the above pictures by Kent Wang. These are slightly less formal but still acceptable by most gentlemen. The breast pocket is made to put a handkerchief or pocket square in for extra style and function.
The slits or flaps on the back and side of jackets are called vents. They help improve movement and access to pockets if need-be. Ventless jackets as you could guess don’t have any vents at all. These are common with Italian suits which creates a more streamlined look. American suits tend to have a center vent in the back which is great for sitting since it expands.
The sleeve is a small detail that can drastically change the look of a suit. It should ideally end around the wrist to show some dress shirt underneath. The buttons on the sleeve will usually come in sets of three or four and have different spacing. Sleeve buttons that are close together are called kissing buttons and if they overlap they are called stacked buttons. When they are spaced out evenly they are simply called spaced buttons. How many you have and if you unbutton them if purely a matter of taste and depends on the occasion.
Enough about suit jackets, lets talk about suit trousers. The goal of your pants is to draw attention upwards and downwards. What we mean by this is that they shoulder flatter both your suit jacket and your shoes. You definitely don’t want them to be too tight or sitting at the office all day is going to be a real pain. At the same time you don’t want to look like a walking balloon if they are too baggy.
Flat front trousers tend to suit slim and shorter men the best while pleated trousers on larger and taller gentlemen are ideal. Everyone has different proportions and style though so always try both out and see what you enjoy the most.
Understanding all the little details about suits can be a handful. If you grasp these key areas of mens suits then you are on the right track. Consider getting your suits tailored to your body and the results will speak for itself. To learn more about suits and mens fashion, check out our new style course.