Suits are a time-honored convention of menswear, the ultimate expression of masculinity that simply have the ability to make every man look dapper and suave. Here are 10 facts about your suit history that you probably didn’t know about.
1 – Who Invented It?
The suits that we know and love today were invented by Beau Brummell, a graduate of the elitist English college Eton. He loathed the decorative court dresses and frocks that men wore and gave them a more sophisticated line of wear.
2 – Be Spoken For
Your suit is worth a thousand words. If you’re into menswear at all, you’d know that Savile Row is the Mecca for men’s suiting. Known as ‘the golden mile of tailoring’, shops in Savile Row opened in 1846 and have tailored for a client list which includes Prince Charles, Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali, Laurence Olivier and Napoleon the 3rd. It was during this time that the term ‘bespoke’ came about when tailors boasted that suits would make their clients ‘be spoken for’.
3 – Casual Fridays in Japan
Can’t wait for casual Friday in the office? It might be time to ditch your work clothes and go Zentai. The Japanese are responsible for the one-piece suit because Zentai is a tradition where professionals and office workers rebelled against the pressures of modern life by wearing sartorial full body suits made of Lycra.
4 – Pocket Squares Used to Be Useful
Handkerchiefs were first used in the 14th century to blow noses, dry hands and to surrender to the enemy if a white flag wasn’t handy. These white squares were carried in breast pockets up until the invention of the modern tissue. Since then, ‘pocket squares’ have used finer fabrics and have become an accessory for the dapper man rather than a necessity.
5 – Men have to leave the last button of the suit jacket unbuttoned because Louis XIV got fat
There is a story that never fastening the last button on a suit jacket dates back to Louis XIV. In preparation for a grand ball, the king found himself a little too hefty to close all of the buttons on his favorite formal jacket. The other men at court did the same and started this “fashion”.
6 – The working cuffs were originally created for surgeons
The buttons on the sleeve of a suit were developed so that wartime surgeons could roll up their sleeves and get to work on the battlefield. Now the working cuffs are a sign of a high quality made-to-measure or bespoke suit.
7 – Custom Fit Suits Became Popular in the 1970s
It wasn’t until the 1970s when the demand for custom-made suits began to rise. This trend was due largely in part to Haggar, who introduced the concept of suit separates, allowing men to purchase their jacket and pants separately.
8 – Showing a little shirt cuff had a purpose
In the beginning of the 1900s the suit wasn’t a garment that everyone could buy and replace easily. That’s why men left their shirt cuffs a little longer to prevent the suit cuffs from fraying. It was much more easy to change a shirt than a suit jacket.
9 – Where Vents Came From
Think that side vents are simply an aesthetic feature of suits? While the Victorian men we mentioned earlier were feeling pretty good about themselves in their new clothes, they realized they had a problem when they got on their horses; the jackets would just hang over the poor animals’ tails. Thus, the side vent was invented and each side of the jacket would drape comfortably on either side of a horse.
10 -Follow Suite
The word ‘suit’ derives from the French word suite which means ‘following’ in English. What’s this got to do with suits as we know and love them? They were called this because wearing a suit in the early 19th century was essentially ‘following’ the popular trend at the time.
On another note, did you also know 64% of the men in the world don’t own a single suit? So, if you are one of them, it’s time to head out to your nearest Made-to-Measure specialist (we obviously mean Tailorman) to craft out your very first impeccably tailored suit.
Get in touch with our team on 1800 3000 1575 or firstname.lastname@example.org