The History Of The Suit
Suits can be classified in a variety of ways, which include formal, semi formal, informal, lounge suits, smart casual, business casual, and active attire, but do you know where suits originally came from?
A man dressed in a three piece suit and bowler hat. The man’s suit of clothes is a set of garments, which are crafted from the same cloth. The word suit derives from the French suite, meaning following, because the trousers and waist coat follow the jacket’s cloth and color. There have been various styles of suit, the most common of which is the lounge suit, which originated in England for wearing in the country.
The other types of suit still worn today are firstly the dinner suit, part of black tie, which arose as a lounging alternative to dress coats in much the same way as the day lounge suit. Secondly, rarely worn today, is the morning suit. We will discuss the day time lounge suit, as opposed to specifically evening variations like black tie, which is part of the informal dress code. A business suit is a lounge suit suitable for wearing when conducting business.
The variations in design, cut, and cloth, such as two and three piece, or single and double breasted, determine the social and work suitability of the garment. Often times, the man’s suit is worn, as is traditional, with a collared shirt and necktie. Until around the 1960s, as with all men’s clothes, a hat would have been also worn when the wearer was outdoors. Suits also come with different numbers of pieces such as a two piece suit that has a jacket and the trousers, where a three piece adds a waist coat, then further pieces might include a matching flat cap.
Originally, as with most clothes, a tailor crafted the suit from his client’s selected cloth, a process known as bespoke. The suit was custom made to the measurements, taste, and style of the man. Since the Industrial Revolution, most suits are mass produced, and as such are sold as ready to wear garments, though alteration by a tailor prior to wearing is common.
Currently, suits are sold in roughly three ways, which include bespoke, made to measure, and finally ready to wear. Bespoke suit is a garment that has been custom made from scratch entirely for the customer, giving the best fit and free choice of fabric. Made to measure suit is pre-made pattern is modified to fit the customer, and a limited selection of options and fabrics is available. Finally, the ready to wear suit is the least expensive and hence most common.
The current styles were founded in the revolution during the early seventeenth century that sharply changed the elaborately embroidered and jeweled formal clothing into the simpler clothing of the Regency period, which gradually evolved to the stark formality of the Victorian era. It was in the search for more comfort that the loosening of rules gave rise in the late nineteenth century to the modern lounge suit.