A man in a suit is a must in any men’s essential wardrobe. You can be on the fringes of society, but wear a suit and look like a million bucks. And no matter how often you wear a suit, having some additional information never hurts. Here is your personal comprehensive guide on the anatomy of a men’s suit. Once you’re done with the guide take a look at our Men’s Suit Fit Guide to have you suit look its best.
Anatomy of Men’s Suit Jackets
The top collar of a man’s suit should never be too large. It should fit snuggly to the neck without visible gaps producing an unsightly appearance. Your undershirt should always show a little out from the collar.
A suit’s fit is easily established through the shoulders. Although the suit is not intended for activewear, the movement should be relatively easy. For the ideal fit, the shoulders need to be snug around the wearer without being too snug that the material bunches or makes movement difficult. Broad shouldered individuals can often look more confident in a suit, but this issue can also be managed by slim shouldered individuals simply by having a tailor put shoulder pads in place.
Lapels do matter and greatly determine the style of tie and knot used within. Skinny lapels tend to look best with skinny ties, but higher quality suits will often have a wider lapel than lower quality varieties. Another thing to consider is the type of lapel. There are basically two types, notch, and peak. A peak lapel offers a little more flare and resembles those from the 20s and 30s. A notch lapel is available on most tuxes and formal morning coats. Notch lapels are often available for double-breasted suits while peak lapels are mostly found on single-breasted suits.
Today the lapel hole is used for merely holding decorative objects such as a flower or other accessories, but at one time the lapel hole had a completely different use. It was once used as a means of keeping a hat secured during windy conditions. A simple cord was used to secure the hat to the suit to keep it from going too far from the owner.
Outer Breast Pocket
A traditional breast pocket is located above the left or right breast and is a small pocket used to hold a pocket square. Where some wearers no longer utilize this form of style the outer breast pocket is still in play, but should only be utilized for slim, non-bulky items as too much bulk will detract from the natural silhouette of the suit.
Buttons on a Suit Jacket
Buttons are a curious thing on a suit jacket. They can come in varieties of 1, 2, or 3. Fashion dictates etiquette for each number. For those sporting a single button jacket, the button should always be buttoned while standing and unfastened while sitting. The same thing is to be said of a two button jacket, but the bottom button is never to be fastened. With a three button jacket, the middle button acts in the same fashion as the previous jacket buttons discussed, the top is optionally buttoned, but again the bottom button should always remain unfastened.
For a suit, pockets come in three main varieties, jet, welt, and flap. Welt is the most common and traditional style of a breast pocket. It is a more conventional style of pocket than the other two. A jet pocket is featured on many of the high-end brands. It is more discreet and sewn into the jacket itself for ease of slipping items inside without an unsightly bulge. A flap style is virtually the same thing as a jet with the exception of a small flap covering the opening.
Cuffs of men’s suits are situated toward their individual taste. Waterfall buttons are more unusual than the standard back to back buttons. The buttons are farther apart in the back to back style and slightly overlap one another with a waterfall pattern.
At the cuff of a suit, you will find the sleeve vent. This portion will either be an actual vent where the buttons can be unfastened or sewn together to maintain a more buttoned-up appearance. Top quality suits will utilize a true sleeve vent in which the wearer may leave the bottom button undone to show off a working cuff as this is the way modern professionals wear it.
You may have a suit maintaining multiple back vents or you may not. Back vents determine the style of suit and origin of the type. Americans style maintains a single back vent while British suits house a double back vent that goes back to traditional equestrian style jackets that would not rumple and look unflattering while riding a horse. To have no back vent means the style is more freeform and Hollywood has deemed this style among the most photogenic. If you’re buying your first suit I suggest you go with a double vent. Double vents look best on the most body types and most suits you’ll see today will be double vents.
Anatomy of Men’s Suit Pants
Where there are low and high rise jeans, men’s suit pants do not follow the same pattern. A pair of pants should always have a waistband situated between the hips and belly button. This produces the most flattering appearance, so men, no hiking your pants up to your armpits as depicted by older individuals in many movies. Remember, a higher waistline gives an illusion of a longer leg, but this should never be taken to extremes.
Not all suit trousers come with available belt loops. Some utilize customizable waist buckles and braces This is fine depending on your personal style. For those that choose to wear a belt, this is ok too, but ensure that you purchase the proper size trousers. so no bunching of material threatens to give your suit an unattractive appearance.
Trouser Seat and Rise
Seat and rise are based upon tailoring terminology and likely will not be an issue unless you intend on getting the suit tailored for a better fit. Rise is essentially the length from the crotch to the waistband and the seat is all about length. This is, essentially, all about your individual comfort level.
Trousers are formal wear and the crease does make an impact on the final look. Always insist on a crease for a crisp look. The crease should be down the front of the leg, not on the side, so get it right.
Traditional hems for trousers are cuffed, but modern style can also bring about an uncuffed trouser hem for a bit more of a cleaner look. This is an area of some debate, but it actually merely comes down to your personal preference of style.
A suit does have many different parts to consider, but once you find the right style and one that fits comfortably, it will all come into place. Always take the time to examine the individual parts of your suit before purchase and have it tailored if necessary to fit you properly. A smart man deserves a smart, well-fitting suit.