Bespoke Business Suits Style Guide
A well cut, complimentary fitting business suit should be a feature in every modern professional man’s wardrobe. The way you look at work — the pride you take in your appearance — has the ability to showcase much more about you. Not just your taste, but also the respect you have for your career.
There are a few different factors you should consider when getting a bespoke tailored business suit. Though a good tailor will guide you through these elements with careful attention, it could be worth your while making yourself familiar with them:
Cut & Fit
In a nutshell, it’s skinny, slim, regular, and relaxed. Each has its own merits and your choice will largely depend on two things: Your own wishes for how you want to look, and your tailor’s keen eye for what will compliment your form. A good tailor won’t try to impose a rigid house style on you. Rather, it’s his duty to find the best cut and fit to suit you.
Relaxed fitting suits might seem a little old fashioned to some for example, but they’ve been making a comeback on the runways of late, and they still look fantastic on some people. Regular fit is the classic and, frankly, safe bet. But that’s no bad thing — you’ll never look out of place in a regular fit, and it won’t look out of date in ten or even twenty years.
Slim fit suits are for many, the most physically flattering style. They give the legs a longer look and make the waist seem more slender. They’re also comfortable and fairly timeless in their style.
Finally, let’s talk about skinny fit business suits. They’re something of a rarity, as the style is more befitting of the Mod and New Wave looks of the 1970s and 1980s, as well indie acts of the late 2000s. In truth, skinny fit suits can be unforgiving unless you have a slender body type, and it’s generally not appropriate for office wear. However, your tailor will be able to gauge and give you sound advice on whether you should choose the skinny fit or not.
Colour & Pattern
In days gone by, business suits were conservative by nature, and usually came in the normal muted blacks, greys, and navies. But the times they are a-changin’, and depending on your working environment, there’s now a lot more room for expression and creativity. Your tailor will be able to gauge, through the right questions, the kind of environment and industry you work in, and the kind of style that’s both appropriate and stand-out.
There’s still a lot to be said for a refined and understated black, grey or navy business suit however. The classics are the classics for a reason. But such formality doesn’t always need to be adhered to. If you’re in and out of the office a lot, meeting clients in cafes, or maybe working in a more creative field, it’s usually OK to relax the rules a little. If, on the other hand, you’re working in a field like Law or Finance, it’s more prudent to stick to the established code.
Again, this is something that will be established when you talk to your tailor — it’s his job to keep up with the latest trends after all.
At Marc Oliver Bespoke Tailoring, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cloth. We have an available selection of over five thousand of them. But don’t let that overwhelm you — we’ll quickly be able to whittle the selection down to just a few depending on your reason for purchase.
For business suits, it’s usually best to stick to 100% wool. Cotton, linen, cashmere and mohair are admirable choices for a suit, but for the business world it’s usually best to keep it somewhat muted — not too formal and not too casual. Once again though, if the environment allows it, there’s often some room for manoeuvre here.
Another few key terms worth knowing when considering your cloth are super count, weight and weave. The former refers to the feel of the cloth, gauged by how tightly the fibres are twisted before they’re woven. The super count ranges from 100 to 180; the lower end is more coarse in feel (and higher in durability), while the higher end is smoother to the touch but slightly less durable to daily wear and tear.
Weight simply refers to how light or heavy the cloth is. This of course influences comfort, warmth and durability. You’ll want a weight that’s neither too warm nor cold, feels good to wear, and holds its shape throughout the working week without “crumpling”.
Weave is simply the pattern in which the threads are woven, such as Plainweave or the more complex Twill weave. For a business suit, a more minimal weave is usually a better choice.
Double Breasted vs Single Breasted Business Suits
Generally speaking, Double Breasted Suits are a good deal more formal looking than Single Breasted Business Suits, but they can still be worn to the office. Indeed, a double breasted suit will help you stand out from the corporate crowd, particularly if you’re in a position of seniority within your company.
It’s worth knowing that double breasted suits draw the eye a little bit more, often making more of a statement. This is no bad thing, mind you, provided it’s worn in the right setting and working environment.
This is something your tailor will establish with you at your fitting — whether or not you should choose to opt for double or single breasted.
The Details: Lapels & Vents
These are the details which really set your business suit off. With lapels, business suits usually boast either notched lapels (also known as step lapels) or peak lapels. A notched lapel is sewn onto the collar at an angle, creating a triangle of space between the collar and lapel. This is the most popular lapel choice, particularly for business suits. The peak lapel attaches to the collar and points up, giving it a much prouder and more formal look. Indeed, peak lapels are more often seen on double breasted jackets and dinner jackets.
As for the vent selection, that’s the vertical slit (or slits) which runs upward from the hem of your business suit jacket. When having a suit tailored, the options are usually ventless, single vent or double vent. Ventless is most often used in tuxedos, so we’ll not deal much with it in this guide. Instead, you should consider either a single vent or double vent for your business suit. The British tailoring style is more widely known for the double vented option. Double vented suit jackets are seen as a touch more sophisticated and exclusive, and often as the best option when having a suit hand tailored.
The single vent still has its merits though, however its perceived as a little more all purpose and casual — more befitting of an off-the-rack suit jacket.
The Finishing Touches: Inner Lining, Monograms & Buttons
The inner lining of your business suit is an excellent means of individualising your clothing. Marc Oliver offers a choice of over 600 high quality linings in both patterns and plain colours. On top of that, we can also monogram your suits with dates and special messages. For business suits, clients most often select a plain lining for its more refined nature, but this is completely up to you. Your tailor will know for certain after a short time if you should consider a more colourful option.
The last detail we take care of with your business suit jacket is the choice of buttons. Our house collection includes real horn and mother of pearl buttons in a range of colours, while we can also source a more specific type of button if the client wishes.
Make an appointment with Marc Oliver Bespoke Tailors and arrange a fitting for the perfect business suit.