ABC of the Men's Suit - complete guide to men's tailored clothing

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Men's suit - a set of matching outer garments, especially one consisting of a coat with trousers. There are many different types of men's suits, which are common for a wide range of occasions - Frock coat, Morning coat, Lounge suit, Dress coat, Black tie, Morning dress.

Learn more:
- What are the different types of men's suits?
- When to wear a suit - 16 suggestions
- Slim Fit Men's suit

ABC of the Men's Suit - complete guide to men's tailored clothing
Past and present - originally (19th century), a tailor made the suit from the client's selected cloth and it was custom made to the measurements, taste, and style of the man. Since the Industrial Revolution, most suits are mass-produced and sold as ready-to-wear garments.

Learn more:
- Men's fashion tailoring - history and future

Nowadays suits are sold in roughly four ways:
- bespoke;
- made-to-measure;
- ready-to-wear;
- suit separates.

Learn more:
- Made to measure - individual approach in making man suit according to the size and client's preferences
- Made-to-Measure, Made-to-order and Bespoke suit - what is the difference?

The cut
Shaping the silhouette is the essential part of tailoring and it often takes hand work at least at the beginning. A well-fitting coat is shaped from the neck to the chest and shoulders to drape without wrinkles from tension. There are two main cuts:
- double-breasted suits;
- single-breasted suits.

Learn more:
- Glossary of men's coat: Neapolitan Shoulder explained


Most commonly, suits are made of wool. Wool fabrics all have different weights and feel and some of them have an S (or Super S) number describing the fineness of the fibres measured by average fibre diameter. As fabrics have become lighter and more supple, wool suits are acceptable for both cooler and warmer weather. Other materials are also used sometimes - either alone or blended with wool - for example cashmere and silk.

Learn more:
- The benefits of the wool fabrics for men's suits
- All season men's suit
- How to take care of wool suits?
- What is Fiber Fineness?
- Which are the most common men's suit patterns?

Front buttons

Most single-breasted suits have two or three buttons. One or four buttons are unusual and it is rare to find a suit with more than four buttons. For the double-breasted jackets six buttons are typical.

Learn more:
- Men's suit jackets: Buttoning rules

The jacket's lapels can be notched, peaked, shawl, or "trick". Each lapel style carries different connotations, and is worn with different cuts of suit. The width of the lapel has changed over the years and it is a varying part of the men's suit.

Learn more:
- Men's jacket lapel types

Most man's coats have a variety of inner pockets and two main outer pockets, which are either patch pockets, flap pockets or jetted pockets. In addition to them, some suits have a ticket pocket - usually located just above the right pocket and roughly half as wide.

Learn more:
- Types of men's suit coat pockets
- Why men's suit jacket pockets are sewn shut?

During the years, the number of buttons (1 to 5) on the sleeve's cuff depended on the formality of the men's suit. Nowadays four buttons are common on most business suits and even casual suits.

Vent - a vertical slit at the back or both sides of a jacket. Originally, vents were a sporting option, designed to make riding easier. Today, suits are in one of these three styles:
- the single-vented style (with one vent at the center);
- the double-vented style (with one vent on each side);
- the ventless style.

Until 1940s vests were almost always worn with suits and since then, they go in and out of fashion during the years.

Suit trousers are always made of the same fabric as the jacket. Their width has varied considerably throughout the decades. Other difference in suit trousers could be the use or not of pleats.

Learn more:
- Anatomy of the men's trousers

Knee-length trousers, often with buckles or decoration at the bottoms, worn by men in the 17th to early 19th centuries. While once common, nowadays they are typically worn only when engaged in traditional outdoor sports like shooting and golf for example.

Accessories for suits may include neckties, shoes, wrist- and pocket watches, pocket squares, cuff links, tie tacks, tie bars, bow ties and hats.

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Tags:men's suit, menswear, clothing, clothes, cut, silhouette, fabric, wool, buttons, lapels, sleeves, pockets, vents, vest, waistcoat, trousers, breeches, accessories, menswear business

About the Author

Veselka Petrova

Veselka writes for the menswear section of Be Global Fashion Network. She has a passion for classic men`s elegance and she is keen on giving advices to men in order to look and feel better. She also has interest in the men`s fashion industry and sustainable fashion.

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