The Basic Guide to Suit Style Origin: The British, the American, and the Italian

The Basic Guide to Suit Style Origin: The British, the American, and the Italian

Picking out a suit style is quite an adventure, as there is no one style to fit all people. Whether bespoke or off-the-rack, all suits tell a story, and what you wear tells quite a tale about yourself. Choosing a suit is not simply about wearing something that fits—the style itself must coincide with your body type.


Suits have history and each style has its own origin—be it British, American, or Italian. Each has its own merits, and knowing about them brings you closer to picking out a style best suited for you.


The British or English style


The concept of British suit tailoring was sired by the works of Henry Poole, one of the greatest bespoke tailors in the mid-19th century. In the latter half of the 1800s, Poole—under the commission of the then Prince of Wales, Edward VII—created the tailless smoking jacket made from the same fabric of a tailcoat. This dinner jacket became a pivotal change in fashion for the strictly traditional British Royalty. Today, this dinner jacket had become what is more commonly known as the “tuxedo.”


The British suit style is easily recognized by the structured shoulder, surgeon’s cuffs, and low gorge lines. The pants—made with a generous amount of fabric—are high-waisted and up to three pleats. This style is perfect for people with muscular or athletic body types.


The Italian style


The Italian suit style is much younger than it’s British predecessor, with its roots molded in the mid-1900s. Unlike the British suit style, the Italian style was a product of many designers—Ermenegildo Zegna, Nazareno Fonticoli (founder of Brioni), and Armani, to name some.


Unlike the English’s stiff and strict outline, the Italian suit is more comfortable, light, and easy to accommodate stylish trends. The basic differences in style of the Italian suit jacket lie in its light cloth, unstructured shoulders, high gorge lines, and high buttons. The pants are traditionally tapered at the waist and end with one break. This suit style prefers those with slimmer body types and most athletic structures.


The American style


The American’s suit style has its roots set in the 1920s and is the product of the world’s commercialistic mindset. In its early stages, suits were luxury goods for the upper class and were mainly handled by bespoke tailors. By the dawn of the ‘20s, however, companies started to reinvent the suit design for something more easily mass-produced.


The American suit jacket—more commonly known as “the sack”—looks to be built more for the comfortability of movement than anything else. It is made out of two straight fabric panels, and the sack’s production employs a technique that is perfect for large-scale production. The pants, on that same note, are full-cut without pleats—which saves a significant amount of fabric in production. Usually loosely fitted, the sack is best for those with stockier builds and can easily be altered to fit perfectly.


Final Words


Each suit style’s history tells a lot about why their structure ended up that way. Knowing your suit’s structure is one step to picking out the best style for your body. Ultimately, however, your fashion is entirely dependent on your own taste and comfort. At the very least, your suit’s history can be a great conversation piece at your next party.


If you’re looking for a bespoke tailor in Bangkok, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

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