Thursday, August 1, 2013

Menswear 101: Types of Mens Suits

A man’s basic building block of his business wardrobe is the suit.  Just as men come in different shapes and sizes, suits do as well.  If you are just beginning to build your business wardrobe, or if you are looking to update, here are the different types of suits. 

 1.  The three piece suit.  A three piece suit consists of a pair of trousers, a suit coat and a matching vest.  It is a classic, timeless style of suit that is good if your office environment is formal.  A three piece suit also helps keep you warm during the winter or if you work in an office where the air conditioning runs around 50 in the summertime. 

 2.  The plaid suit.  For office wear, a plaid suit will generally bear a subtle tone on tone (such as charcoal gray on black) plaid in a wool fabric.  Because the suit has a pattern on it, you want to pair it with a solid color shirt and tie, if ties are required at your workplace.  The subtle plaid suit is generally seen in the more traditional cuts, so this also is a good choice for those who work in formal office environments. 

 3.  The Blue Suit.  A navy blue suit is always a good color choice.  While still possessing the look of a traditional suit, it gives you variation from basic black without ostentation.  

4.  The Double Breasted Suit.  A double breasted suit has a suit coat that buttons in an overlapping section.  A large piece of the suit’s front is buttoned underneath the other side of the suit.  Because of this extra layer, these suits are warmer than a single breasted suit, so you might want to consider using this type of suit more often in the winter.  Taller men look particularly good in a double breasted suit because the extra bulk provided by the double breast helps to make a more proportionate shape.  If a taller man adds to the double breasted look discrete mens padded underwear, which adds bulk to the bottom of the torso, the proportionate look most men prefer is easily attained.  (Go to Roundwear if you are interested.)  

 5.    The Casual Suit.  Technically speaking, the casual suit is not a suit at all, but a sports jacket combined with a pair of casual pants, such as khakis.  If you work at an office where Casual Friday has turned into an all-week affair, the casual suit is a comfortable way to blend in while still providing a no-nonsense business demeanor.  Just one sports jacket combined with three different colors of casual slacks gives you three different suit looks, so the casual suit is easier on the budget than most of the more formal suits are.  Another nice thing about the casual suit is that you can wear both buttoned shirts and knit shirts with it.  

 6.  The gray suit.  Another necessary color to add to your suit wardrobe when you can is the gray suit.  The gray values used in suits range from a very light gray to darkest charcoal gray.  This range in values allows gray suits to be work in all seasons – traditionally, the lighter grays are worn during spring and summer while the darker grays are worn in the fall and winter.  The gray suit also can be work with a variety of shirt colors.  

 7.  The pin-striped suit.  A pin-stripe is a thin, vertical line down the length of a suit, both on the jacket and on the pants.  Most traditional pin-stripe suits have thin pin-stripes, while more daring suits have wider pin-stripes.  Match the size of the pin-stripe to the atmosphere in your office.  Pin-stripes often make a man look taller than he is because the vertical line draws people’s eyes upward.  

 8.  The Single Breasted Suit.  In the single breasted suit, the coat is buttoned together at the edges of each side, with very little overlap.  The coat may have two or three buttons.  The single breasted suit can be worn any time of the year; the fact that it is less bulky than the double-breasted suit makes it a better choice in the summertime.  

 You will notice that one type of suit was not named in this list – the black suit.  While black suits are appropriate for office wear, they have a severe look.  Too, they often remind people of funerals.  A better choice for your workhorse suit would be one of the dark charcoal grays, which come as close as possible to black without actually reaching.  This shade softens the look of the suit just enough.

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