A business suit is a basic pair of clothing consisting of a jacket, shirt, or waistcoat, usually with a v-neck tie, dress shoes, and same-colored collars. It was once considered highly informal attire in Western fashion codes, when all-black outfits were seen as socially unacceptable. However, business suits have come a long way from that position, where they are the standard work uniform for many professions, particularly in corporate environments. But they also have their roots back in earlier times, where they were used for protection against harsh temperatures in mining and coal fields. Today they are worn by men and women alike for practical reasons more than fashion.
There are two main types of business suit in the United Kingdom: a three-piece suit, which consists of a jacket, top, trousers, and tie, and a tuxedo which consists of a jacket, coat, vest, bow tie, and shoes. These three different types of suits were actually first worn in England in the late seventeenth century, long before the introduction of the standard three-piece suit. During this time period, the British common man wore a three-piece suit, which consisted of a jacket, a waistcoat, a coat collar, and a white tie. Unlike the tailsman, who usually wore a jacket and a white tie, the common man never wore a jacket with his suit. But he commonly wore a waistcoat that was usually a flannel or cotton blend.
The first real changes in the design of the English business suit came about during the later nineteenth century. During the Industrial Revolution, the manufacturing of clothing began to revolutionize, with the dawn of new technologies such as the sewing machine. This invention allowed manufacturers to make heavier garments that could be worn in colder climates. The industrial revolution also allowed for the creation of two new materials that can be used to make a business suit: the jacket and the waistcoat.
In the late eighteen hundreds, the first business suit was created by Joseph Swan, a Scottish immigrant. He had joined the West Indies Company, and after working for the settlers in Maryland, was promoted to captain of his own company. Because of his position, he was able to purchase a new suit that was not part of the uniforms of the day, but still maintained a professional appearance. This new suit was an overcoat of satin that was white with red accents. It consisted of a jacket with buttons and a square neck. Although the suit had changed quite a bit from the design that Swan wore, it remained essentially the same.
A more evolved suit design can be seen in suits worn by elite Americans at the turn of the twentieth century. The nineteen twenties witnessed a new look in business suits, with less formal and more relaxed cuts. Business suits of this time period were made of lighter materials, such as wool, than the heavy fabrics that were common prior to the twentieth century. The cut also took on a less formal, less rigid look.
A modern variation on the business suit is the tailored suit, which is designed to fit closely to the body and to be somewhat shorter in length. Tailored suits are often worn as casual attire and are the most common suit design today. The tailored suit can be had in a variety of styles, from the thin, almost invisible, to the thick, brightly colored suits of the twentieth century. Men’s casual clothing such as ties and slacks are also available in various styles today. With all the different varieties of men’s clothing available today, you are sure to find at least one tailored suit that is ideal for your unique wardrobe!