Why Have Suits Changed So Little Over Time?

Over the years there is no doubt that the suit has evolved, suits from the 1940s for example have a clearly different look to those of today. However, the key elements which make up a suit have remained the same since their introduction, which begs the question, why have they changed so little? To help us understand, let's delve into the history with a brief yet significant timeline of the much-loved suit...


The suits we know today were pioneered by a gent called Beau Brummell, an iconic figure of the early 1800s. He laid the groundwork for the suit by shunning the fanciful fashions of the time for simplistic jacket and trouser combinations. He invented a style for men which was perfectly tailored and flattered the body. It all started with a well-fitting two-piece and developed from there. We have this dapper chap to thank for giving the humble suit a platform and opportunity to evolve. 


Brummell had done his work at championing this essential look, now it was time for the tweaks and adaptations for everyday life. The suits of the 1900s were dark and neutral colours in thick sturdy fabrics, built for practicality. Tweeds became prevalent and the overall fit became noticeably different to previous years. Narrow cut shoulders, high buttons and slim cut trousers were the key aspects, and the three-piece suit which we've grown to love became mainstream with a double-breasted waistcoat as the preferred choice. 


From this point, the only significant changes to suits were the fit and colour. The key elements such as a blazer, waistcoat and trousers cut from the same fabric remained the same but the silhouettes varied from decade to decade. Wide leg, baggy trousers became synonymous with the 50s and vivid colours were introduced in the 60s and 70s. By the time we reached the 20th century just about everything had been explored and trends started to go full circle. 


Arguably, suits were pushed to their limits. There's only so much that can evolve from a simple blazer, waistcoat a trouser look. They reached a satisfactory level quite early on and there were no significant changes after the first half of the 19th century. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and the suit had seemingly reached its potential. Nowadays we can explore all avenues as vintage dressing becomes more popular, however the traditional suit of the noughties tends to be a slim and structured silhouette.