It is often assumed that women must put more thought into their formal wear than men, given the abundance of choices available to them. However, any man who takes his appearance seriously should carefully consider all aspects of his suit. There are many more factors at play than might meet the eye. Here is our guide to the Modern Man’s Suit.
Double or Single-Breasted Jacket?
The jacket is the focal point for any men’s suit, defining its character and feel. The trousers generally complement the suit with far fewer variables involved in its design. The most significant decision in determining the jacket’s character is whether it should be single or double-breasted. A good selection of both can be found at yd and elsewhere. A single-breasted suit includes a simple line of no more than four buttons down the front of the jacket. The double-breasted version includes two rows of buttons, one overlapping the other when fastened. The double-breasted jacket is sometimes considered more formal, is becoming increasingly popular and certainly helps give taller men a fuller appearance.
This is the part of the collar which extends downwards across the upper chest. However, the size of the lapel varies according to the fashion of the time, with particularly prominent and flamboyant lapels popular in the 1970s. However, a good guide is to choose lapels in proportion to the person wearing the suit, ensuring that they are moderate in size. In terms of style, some lapels are notched (wide opening where lapel and collar join), while others are peaked (narrow join and sharply pointed).
For the side pockets of the suit, the most formal style is jetted pockets, in which the openings are a mere slit, almost unnoticeable at a glance. However, flap pockets which are almost self-explanatory, are also considered a formal design. Most suits also include a breast pocket, situated in the chest area above the left side pocket. Nowadays, this pocket is usually left empty as anything bulky will likely interfere with the suit’s sleek feel although handkerchiefs can be in this pocket to add some flair to your look.
These are the vertical slits which may or may not appear at the back and bottom of a suit. They are designed to provide greater mobility and comfort, particularly when sitting down. However, Italian-style suits tend not to include vents at all. The American style typically includes one single slit in the middle of the jacket, while the English-style suit usually has two vents on either side of the jacket.
Moving onto the trousers, one of the variable features is the pleats. These are the creases which often appear at the front of the trousers and can be included with varying frequency. For slimmer men, the absence of pleats can be a good compliment to their build. Although pleats can provide a little more mobility, they can also draw attention to the midsection, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
This is the other major variable when it comes to trousers. Cuffs are the piece of material, folded upwards and sown to the bottom of the trouser leg. Cuffs can be advantageous for taller men, as it can reduce the appearance of lankiness. However, as a rule of thumb, pleated trousers usually have cuffs, while flat-fronted trousers usually do not.