Throughout your lifetime, there will inevitably be an occasion that requires you to don a suit. For a wedding, job interview, gala, or funeral, a suit is one of the most commonly requested apparel. But what exactly are the distinct types of suits available? There are three fundamental types of suits: the two-piece suit, the three-piece suit, and the tuxedo.
These types of suits are just the beginning of the variations and combinations of fabrics, lapels, colours and closures that can make up a suit. This guide to different types of men’s suits will delve deeper into each type before exploring these other subtle nuances.
Types of men’s suits
A two-piece suit comprises two matching pieces of clothing, a blazer, and matching trousers. In comparison to the other styles, the two-piece suit is generally regarded as a more casual option. This versatile outfit can be dressed up or down by changing the top. It is ideal for occasions where a formal dress code is not required. The blazer and trousers can be worn separately, providing flexibility to your wardrobe.
A three-piece suit is a type of formal attire that includes a waistcoat, matching jacket, and suit trousers. This type of suit is considered the most fitting for important occasions such as weddings and formal business events. The waistcoat is a distinguishing feature of this type of suit and can be switched out for an opposing colour or print for a nod to stylish form.
The tuxedo, a dinner suit, is a formal attire typically worn by men on special occasions such as weddings, proms, and black-tie events. It is made up of three pieces, including a blazer, a waistcoat, and trousers. The colour of a tuxedo is usually black, and it features satin-covered lapels and buttons. A tuxedo is considered the most formal of all men's suits. It is a perfect choice when you want to feel dapper and debonair.
Wool is a fabric that is commonly used in the production of men's suits. It is important to note that wool used in suits is not light and fluffy but is known as worsted wool. This type of wool has straight and tight fibres that provide a smooth finish.
Designers can utilise this versatile fabric to create suits of varying thicknesses. Additionally, worsted wool can be paired with other fabrics to produce a variety of finishes. It should be noted that a technique actually makes worsted wool of combing wool fibres to give them a smooth texture, which makes it an ideal fabric for suits.
Linen has long been a popular choice for destination weddings due to its lightweight nature and elegant appearance. However, many may not realise that linen is a vegan fabric made from the flax plant. It can even be considered a vegetable in its own right.
Despite its ancient origins and continued popularity in continental Europe, some may shy away from linen due to its perceived high cost and tendency to crease easily. Nonetheless, its natural and luxurious qualities make linen a go-to choice for those seeking an elevated yet ethical textile.
Cotton suits provide a more cost-effective alternative to luxury wool and linen. The often simplistic design of cotton suits makes them an ideal choice for casual and formal occasions.
The sharp crease of cotton pants is an iconic feature unique to this fabric instead of wool or linen, ensuring that your outfit remains tidy throughout the day. Opting for a cotton suit saves you money and provides you with versatility and comfort that will make you stand out from the crowd.
In days gone by, a luxurious suit crafted entirely from silk is a clear marker of financial prosperity. Today, suits are often fashioned from wool and silk. While silk has found its way into the linings of some suits, it has become more frequently utilised in accessories such as pocket squares, cravats, and ties.
Nonetheless, the splendour of silk remains as captivating as ever for those who appreciate high-end fashion.
Tailors have long lauded the benefits of natural fibres in suits, extolling the virtues of their quality and breathability. However, the rise of synthetic fabrics in recent decades has given rise to an affordable alternative for those looking to achieve a formal look without breaking the bank.
Materials like polyester and viscose may not have the same prestige as their natural counterparts, but when blended with other fabrics like wool or cotton, they can provide a cost-effective solution that still delivers quality and style.
As you embark on the journey to find the perfect suit for that special occasion, it's important to familiarise yourself with the different types of suit jacket closures available. The two main options are single-breasted and double-breasted. The terms refer to the overall structure of a jacket and the closure.
A single-breasted jacket offers a clean, streamlined look with a single row of buttons and no overlap, while a double-breasted jacket boasts a unique overlapping style and features an additional row of buttons.
SB jackets also feature narrower lapels, most frequently notch lapels. DB jacket lapels vary but often are larger than their SB counterparts.
From two-button to six-button closures, the right choice ultimately comes down to personal style and preference, ensuring your sartorial journey ends with a perfectly tailored fit.
Types of lapels
Before we dive straight into the different types of lapels, it might be handy first to explain what a lapel is. A lapel is the collar of a coat or jacket. There are three main types of lapels, including a notch lapel (most common for suits), a peak lapel (used in both suits and tuxedos) and a shawl lapel used almost exclusively for tuxedos).
In the world of fashion, the notch lapel holds pride of place as the most common style you'll find. But don't be fooled into thinking that common means boring - far from it. This style simply works. What sets it apart is the angle at which the bottom of the collar and the top of the lapel connect: between 75 and 90 degrees. It sounds technical, but take a closer look, and you'll see a simple v-shaped notch. Trust us, this classic look is a wardrobe staple that will always make you look sharp.
A peak lapel style is perfect for those who want to add a touch of uniqueness to their wardrobe. It features upward-pointed edges that mimic the contours of a mountain peak, making it easy to remember and recognise. Not only is it eye-catching, but it also adds a bold and adventurous vibe to your attire.
The shawl lapel is a unique and elegant design that sets it apart from traditional jacket styles. Unlike other lapels with notches or edges, the shawl lapel goes smoothly around the neck, resembling a scarf or shawl. This detail offers a sleek and minimalistic appearance that exudes sophistication and charm.
Although typically associated with tuxedos, the shawl lapel can be incorporated into casual outfits. With its timeless aesthetic, it's no wonder why this lapel style remains a popular choice among fashion-forward individuals seeking to elevate their wardrobe.
Men’s suit colours
Black suits are regarded as the epitome of formality and are an essential addition to any gentleman's wardrobe. Typically linked with occasions like funerals and formal events such as black-tie galas, it's no wonder that this elegant and sophisticated apparel is a staple among the fashion-conscious. Acting as the flag-bearer for all suits, this versatile garment radiates a timeless aura that ensures it will never go out of style. Rest assured that your black suit will stand the test of time, while also providing you with a sense of poise that few other garments can match.
Navy blue is arguably the most versatile suit colour that every modern gentleman should have in their wardrobe. Its timeless appeal and unmatched versatility make it the perfect choice for when you need a suit that can do it all. Whether you're heading to the office or attending a special occasion, a navy suit will make you look sharp and sophisticated. It's a rich hue and classic styling make it easy to pair with a variety of colours and patterns, making it suitable for almost any setting. So, if you're searching for a multi-purpose suit that never goes out of style, look no further than navy blue.
For those in pursuit of a contemporary wardrobe, a blue suit is an impeccable choice. With an endless range of blue shades – ranging from the ethereal sky blues, to the majestic royal blues and more subdued grey blues – the outfit proves versatile, ensuring you'll find the perfect shade that complements your style. Opting for the blue suit is a fool-proof way for the fashion-conscious to remain chic, classic and altogether timeless. In a world where trends perpetually come and go, blue suits will remain a reliable and stylish choice.
In recent years, the burgundy suit has emerged as a unique and stylish option for those who seek an alternative to traditional suit choices. With its distinctive colour and sharp tailoring, the burgundy suit exudes a sense of sophistication and confidence. Perfect for any occasion, this versatile suit can be dressed up for formal events or dressed down for casual affairs. If you already own a collection of tailored suits and want to add a touch of flair to your wardrobe, a burgundy suit is an excellent choice to make a lasting impression.
The resurgence of period dramas has captivated audiences with their captivating storylines and stunning visuals and brought back the timeless appeal of the tan suit. Often crafted from tweed fabric, which owes its popularity to hit shows like Peaky Blinders, the tan suit is a versatile choice that complements vintage-themed weddings and countryside getaways alike. Indeed, the tan suit has cemented its place as a classic wardrobe staple, embodying the perfect blend of sophistication and rugged charm that is sure to never go out of style.
Beige or stone suits have long been the favoured choice for weddings, particularly summer ones, and for a good reason. This classic colour brings a touch of elegance to any occasion, making it a stylish and sophisticated choice for any groom. But many don't realise just how versatile this colour can be.
Whilst it's often purchased for a one-time affair, the individual pieces can easily be incorporated into your everyday wardrobe. Pair the jacket with chinos or style the trousers with a different blazer, and you've got yourself a classic and stylish look that's perfect for the office or a night out.
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