The Suit; a traditional piece of menswear that can turn any man into a businessman. The strengths of this piece of garment lies in its power to reshape the body and so hide silhouettes or enhance them. It is the suit that has to be worn to special occasions in colors such as blue or black and for business mainly in grey and blue. The modern man cannot go without owning a suit. Lets go back in time…
Jacket and trousers have no real birth or origin and are believed to go back as far as the stone age. At that time “jacket and trouser” were more layers of animal skin to keep warm from the cold. Progressing over time, as the human evolved so did the style and the way it changed the social position of an individual.
Throughout history, clothes have been a major interest to people and it changed frequently. Until 1666 the “suit” was merely a uniform warn by the british guard into battle. It was reinvented by King Charles of England were it was ordered that in court people must wear a jacket, knee breeches (shorter trousers and long socks), a wig and a cravatte (mostly made out of silk in beautiful colors). The suit was born and so did a new class of uniform to the victorian era.
This tradition stayed for nearly 200 hundred years with slight changes on the way. The changes were mostly made throughout the society. Clergymen wore robes to church whilst soldiers got a suit like uniform to go into battle which should show the organization of the English empire. Post-war in the 19th century during the regency era, a dandy by the name Beau Brummel (1778-1840) discovered the real comfort of wearing military clothing. He redefined and adapted his style making it popular amongst other english men. Beau Brummell therefore, was the curator of bespoke clothing. With his connections in the the palace he quickly established a new way of wearing the suit. He was well known and credited for introducing the already popular suit with a neck tie we know today.
During the Industrial revolution in England the fashion changed as well. The suit became work wear for the middle and upper class. Suits were worn literally everywhere and to every occasion. Pre World War I brought a steady decline of wearing frock coats. The over long suit jacket replaced the formal frock and trousers were worn ankle high with cuffs and double pleats to ensure for a comfortable fit. The morning coat (often worn to weddings today ) rose up to be worn on formal occasions until it was worn everywhere around the city. In North America, the lounge jacket saw a steady rise in popularity, with a part from the shoulders was a very loose fitted jacket.
During and after the war, men more and more left the morning coat in the closet and changed into three piece suits and lounge jackets which were more handy in the every day work environment. The trend now was to simplify and modernize were possible. An example for this would be that by the 1960s the lapels shrank to a very small size compared to the wide lapels worn before the war. This trend is still visible today although, with the Italian influence catching on, lapels have been increased again due to their re-modernisation and their statement of bespoke clothing showing off a certain type of luxury.
The suit as we know today has evolved very much through the ages, by the end it is only visible in the business world and not as much during everyday activities. The modern man has learned to tone down his clothing style to be more comfortable and less formal. Jacket and trousers are replaced with t-shirt and ripped jeans. However, the suit will always survive as brands are finding new ways to interpret it by making them in lighter fabrics and unconstructed allowing for a casual appearance or very fashionable with oversized trousers and shorter lengths. The limits to this piece are endless and will always be part of any collection.