Different Cuts and Styles in Custom Suiting
When you start to delve into the world of bespoke suits, it can sometimes feel like stepping into a rabbit hole. If you aren’t an expert, there can be an overwhelming amount of consideration involved. At Patrick & Co, we do our best to share the fountain of knowledge we have gained through decades of experience in creating luxurious tailored suits for countless clients. So, today, we thought we would clear up a few things about cuts and styles.
Regarding the cut of your bespoke suit, you are likely to encounter three primary styles—British, American, and Italian. Though there may occasionally be others, it is widely accepted that the majority of suits you will come across will be variations of these. To the untrained eye, the differences in these cuts might not seem like much, however, there is a lot the cut of a suit will say about the wearer. Each style comes with its own story and unique flair. So, depending on what you want your suit to say about you, you should consider the cut you will choose.
In the 1840s, the Americans created the Sack Suit, which was named after a French construction technique. Whereas suits in Europe at that time were individually tailored, the Sack suit was created to be more casual and bought off the rack. The design was devoid of darts, creating a baggier, roomier, and comfortable suit for any occasion. It also had less shoulder padding, creating a relaxed and boxy silhouette compared to other suit styles of that time.
In the mid-nineteen hundreds, the American style was also influenced by Ivy League fashion. This popular style consisted of natural shoulders with minimal padding, a single vent, and slim lapels. The trousers would often have a flat front, too. American suits have always followed a much more relaxed and casual style than their European counterparts, thus further enhancing its popularity.
Fit: A loose and less structured fit compared to other styles and designed for absolute comfort.
Jacket: American jackets have minimal shoulder padding and are typically single-breasted. They either have a single vent at the back or none at all. They are made to be loose-fitting with straight lines and a boxy silhouette. They usually come with low armholes, no darts, flap pockets, and three buttons on the sleeve cuff.
Trousers: The trousers are a straight-cut with a medium rise. They are usually flat at the front with no pleats or cuffs.
Material: These suits are traditionally made using soft, wrinkle-resistant materials. Most will also come in solid, bold colours, but patterns may be used for a more conservative suit.
Variations: There are two primary variations of American cut suits. Firstly, there is the Ivy League that became popular in the 60s. This is a little more tapered with a single vent and natural shoulders. The other is Preppy, which is a style initially associated with the American upper middle class. These incorporated patterns, vibrant colours, and various casual elements into the traditional suit.
What does it say about you?
When you wear an American cut suit, you are telling the world that you prioritise practicality and comfort. The loose fit suggests a pragmatic approach to dressing while still maintaining a fashionable standard. This relaxed suit is one of versatility and can be enjoyed by all walks of life.
The United Kingdom is renowned for its meticulous Mayfair tailors. Inspired by military cuts, these suits will make a man look muscular and lean. These suits also tend to be complementary to all body types. Bespoke tailoring blossomed in Savile Row, London, and due to the British Empire’s global presence, was spread far and wide. Britain’s rich history with suits dates back to the early 19th century and over the years, they have perfected the trade. The original design was influenced by the necessity for both practical and formal attire during the expansion of the empire.
A British-style cut is boxy and structured, with a longer jacket length, pronounced shoulders, and higher button positioning. The jackets are often double-breasted with traditional patterned fabrics and side vents for more comfort.
Fit: The British cut is more structured and tailored to a military-inspired silhouette that accentuates the chest and shoulders, creating a lean and muscular image.
Jacket: The jacket is typically double-breasted, though it is possible to find single-breasted too. The armholes are higher than other styles, and side vents are used to enhance ease of movement. There is also shoulder padding, but it isn’t usually overly pronounced. One of the critical features of this cut is also the tapered waist and button stance, which promotes a masculine figure.
Trousers: The trousers are often high-waisted and taper down with cuffs. It isn’t uncommon for them to have a centre-pleat, too.
Material: British cut suits are traditionally made with patterned materials such as pinstripes, herringbone, windowpane, check, tweed or flannel.
Variations: Similarly to American cut suits, there are two primary styles. The original and certainly more traditional is the Savile Row, named after the famous London Street for bespoke tailors. This will follow the standard features of the British cut. The other is a more flamboyant and ostentatious style known as Dandy, which is known for celebrating a person’s individuality and expressing oneself.
What does it say about you?
Wearing a meticulously crafted British cut style suit tells people you are formal, professional, and someone to be respected. Nothing says power and status like the chest and shoulders of a British suit. This suit is an extremely popular choice for business as well as formal settings.
In Italian culture, aesthetics is regarded as a top priority. Because of this, they set out to produce the cleanest suit cut on the market. The classic Italian style suit will sometimes be referred to as European, Continental, or Sprezzatura. Tailoring is a deep-rooted tradition in Italian culture, so it is no wonder why they are some of the best in the world.
Though Italy has been renowned for its incredibly talented tailors since the early 19th century, the style we all recognise today began to gain popularity after the Second World War. Boasting glamour, elegance, and sophistication, this suit style is often slim-fitting and hugs the body; it has minimal shoulder padding and shows off a natural, soft shoulder line. The jackets are usually shorter in length with higher pockets and wide lapels. Although the traditional Italian suits avoided vents as they disturbed the lining, you will now often find two vents at the back for ease of movement.
The two major cities when it comes to fine Italian tailoring are Naples and Milan, and both are proud of their own unique styles. Suits in Naples are more casual, lightweight, and give off a relaxed vibe, whereas Milanese suits are usually sleeker and more formal.
Fit: Italian suits are fitted and tailored to a more relaxed and natural silhouette than British suits, only emphasising parts of the body if needed and when requested.
Jacket: The jacket uses little to no padding, is soft-shouldered, and has a natural drop. Its button stance is high and often double-vented at the back or has no vent. Two prevalent features of this cut are wide lapels and slanted pockets; it is essential to note that Italian cut pockets don’t have flaps like other styles.
Trousers: Italian-cut trousers are certainly the slimmer of the bunch. They are more tapered without cuffs and can sometimes sit higher above the shoe with a shorter break.
Material: Italian suits are made with materials suited to the Mediterranean climate. This makes lightweight wool and cotton very popular choices. One of the best features of Italian suits is the bold patterns and bright colours that are often used, unlike more conservative traditional suits.
Variations: The two main Italian styles are Neapolitan and Roman. Neapolitan is lightweight with a relaxed fit, shorter jacket, wide lapels, and higher pockets, whereas Roman is more structured but with soft shoulders.
What does it say about you?
Italian suits are for the person who wants to express their flair and maintain a modern and elegant appearance. It is indeed a style that shows charisma and confidence, showcasing one’s physique and personal style. This is the cut for someone who wants to impress, stand out, and push boundaries.
Find out more
If you want to talk to someone who knows exactly what they are doing when it comes to bespoke suits, contact Patrick & Co today. Backed by a team of experts, we are one of the most experienced and professional bespoke tailors in Bangkok. We work closely with our clients to ensure every finite detail of their bespoke suit is every little bit as good as they dreamt. So, get in touch today and let’s talk about the next addition to your wardrobe.