The suit is still the most elegant of men’s wear, provided, of course, cut, color and fabric are correct Suits are selected to suit personal style, occasion, time of the day, and the season. A well-cut suit made of not so high-quality material should be preferred to a worse-cut suit made of a better material – although actually no compromises should be made in the suit.
The cut of a good suit should be “natural”, that is, it should bring out the figure of the suit wearer optimally and only intervene in correct problem figures. This particularly affects the shoulders of the suit. A rather slender gentleman also wears a slim suit with little or no shoulder padding, narrow lapels and a pair of pants cut close to the leg. A broad-shouldered, athletic gentleman also needs no shoulder pads. Here too the suit can be adapted to the natural body measurements. And with a corpulent figure, however, it is even more advisable to refrain from any enlargement and widening due to the cut of the suit.
As appropriate colors for the suit are traditionally dark blue, dark to very light gray and black, the suit should always be in one of these tones when worn in the course of doing business in finance, law, trade or politics. Only on weekends or on sporting occasions may a suit be brown or green.
Today, much lighter fabrics are often used. However, there are still big differences in the heaviness and thickness of the fabrics, and it should first be carefully considered where the suit is predominantly worn. In a stuffy office, which is reached without interruption of the heat chain from the chubby home with the heated car, or on a long commute, the commuter has to travel through draughty subway stations and cold streets. Either way, the best material for a suit is and remains pure virgin wool, and even in the summer, because no other natural material falls so elegantly – and is so insensitive to wrinkles. A perfectly cut suit should look a bit crumpled, it is still more elegant than a wrinkle-less but poorly or even moderately cut specimen.
The English Suit
In a traditional English suit, the shoulder is little or not padded. It is usually built rather falling. However, the different tailors in detail have different views on the ideal shape of the shoulder. Anyone who knows a little about clothing knows that the buttons of the sleeve can be unbuttoned if the suit is a good suit. In the Savile Row, the buttons of the sleeves are, of course, also made to unbutton. Although the sleeves can be folded up for washing hands, the tailor can still cut the sleeve in an emergency. Only on request are the buttonholes of all sleeve buttons cut open and hemmed.
On the underside of the left lapel, below the buttonhole, sits a horizontal loop into which the stem of a flower worn in the buttonhole can be inserted. This detail is typically associated with tailored suits, although it would not be a problem to apply such a loop to ready-to-wear suits. The waist is usually high, the skirt falls soft and long over the hips. This hourglass-shaped cut, which we also know from many uniform jackets, works best for slim men.
The classic English suit has two long side slits. They make it possible to put your hands comfortably in your pockets while standing, which in England, unlike in Germany, is not perceived as improper and derogatory expressions of will. Only a back slit, instead of two side slits, has traditionally been the three button jacket, often seen on tweed suits. Jackets without slits are very rare and therefore often stand out
The pants are high on the hips and cut relatively close to the leg. They have, in contrast to continental pants, less often an envelope on, even with the pants for the double-breasted is gladly omitted. Traditionally they hang on classic suspenders. Some tailors claim that it is impossible to hold pants correctly without suspenders in position. Others say braces are so often favored because they make it easier to adjust the trousers. Also increasingly popular is the adjustable by buckles or elastics waistband, which replaces the belt.
Any solution that makes the belt superfluous, is recommended for the not too big gentleman since the belt is the figure optically divided into two parts and thereby shortened unnecessarily. Suspenders, on the other hand, have a stretching effect and, in addition, have the advantage that the pants are right in every situation. Some even go so far as to claim that braces promote a more confident appearance. In fact, the still-validated posture method “belly in, chest out” is easier, if you can be sure that the pants still stay safely up.
The Tweed Suit
The real tweed suit is typically British in its attributes: heavy, rough and stiff, making it ideal for braving cold wind, rain, fog or even frost. Continental English-style tweed suits are softer and pliant, with rustic leather patches on elbows, leather buttons and sometimes even lined pants to protect the leg from unwanted contact with the scratching wool. Also, the cut has little to do with the original from the UK, because the real tweed suit has three buttons, a back slit, slanted pockets and tight-fitting, unlined trousers without pleats.
The fabric is usually a greenish-brown coarse-grained tweed with over-check, which, to tell the truth, feels like a carpet tile, But it is just as robust and hardly lets in wind or moisture. Because these suits are mostly worn outdoors or in cold country homes, they are less suitable and too warm for heated spaces. However, there are also in England domesticated variants of the real tweed suit. They serve as a garment for the weekend in the city or for people who do not have to wear a blue pinstripe suit at work, whether they are scholars, work as so-called creative or pursue the liberal professions. But those who demand a tweed suit in England will usually get the crude original, which is at home on cold racecourses, drafty cow pastures, and hunting in the mountains.
The Italian Suit
One can imagine no greater opposition in terms of clothing than that between an Englishman and an Italian if the generalization is permitted here. Especially as regards the suit, irreconcilable opposites meet here. On the one hand British understatement to the self-denial and self-punishment in the form of the Tweed jackets, on the other hand, the desire for the eccentric self-expression, which can sometimes increase to pure vanity. Both are reflected in the fundamentally different dress cultures of these only genuinely style-forming nations in terms of tailor-made men’s clothing.
The Englishman wants to express with his suit that he is part of a certain social class. Since the Englishman understands himself as part of a whole, his suit must not have any individual character, but he must follow exactly the traditional rules so that he looks the same as the suit of the father and grandfather. And indeed, these suits are still applied by the sons, if they fit and are well looked after. If not, they will be made suitable.
The Italian man, on the other hand, wants to present himself, because he is convinced of his individuality and importance in society. This feeling has already given him his mother and his family on the way. His suit is intended to highlight his uniqueness, not by lavish extravagance, but by a certain elegance that the Englishman generally does not care about, since he simply wants to be properly and appropriately dressed.
Classic elegance corresponds to the ideals of the Italian Renaissance. Elegance strives for the Italian in his clothes and in his lifestyle, and so the Italian suit is above all else: elegant, so fine, chosen and exquisite. Its fineness is evident in the light, soft fabrics, its selectiveness in colors and patterns, its refinement on average and in first-class workmanship. The Italian suit is also a prop of the Italian tradition of passeggiata, that strolling and painting, in which the man presents his real or even predetermined wealth to competitors of his kind, naturally with the help of elegant clothing and accessories.
The Summer Suit
If you are trying on an extremely light, half-lined Italian summer suit for the first time, you are surprised that such a touch of fabric can even be used to make a suit. If then the suit also fits properly, then you realize with astonishment that this lightweight sits just as perfect as the suit for the fall. As you walk, you can feel the cooling wind blowing around your legs, the light literally falls through the jacket, and the sleeves are so thin that the double cuff of the shirt feels like a heavy, stiff, foreign body. When you look down on the pant legs, you can see the bottom shining right and left of your feet. Mind you, we’re talking about a suit made of wool, but so light wool that it looks almost like a shirt fabric.
Of course, there are also summer suits made of other materials, such as cashmere, silk, mohair, and cotton. But Tropical cloth made of pure cotton wool is the best material for a suit that you want to wear every other day in the summer. Also, hard-wearing is mohair, which is obtained from the hair of the Angora goat. The substance is known primarily from the tuxedo, but the granular, elastic material is also used for summer suits.
However, the characteristic sheen of the mohair does not suit everyone. Silk is also a typical summer material for light summer suits. It is thanks to the Italians that silk is again part of the men’s wardrobe, as well as cotton and linen. Both fabrics are comfortable to wear in the high heat, but these materials wrinkle very much, and the suit quickly loses its shape and stability. In addition, linen and cotton are not as elegant due to their lower weight and do not hang as well as new wool. Therefore, these fibers of vegetable origin are recommended only if the wrinkling does not disturb the wearer and the suit gets sufficient rest periods to make the wrinkles disappear and wrinkle.