In today’s global economy, the ability to speak the old English language of “suits” is imperative for any aspiring or established gentleman.
Consider our Suit Dictionary your comprehensive guide to everything applicable to suits.
Carry on gentlemen,
THE SUIT DICTIONARY
Bespoke is a common synonym for “tailor-made” or “customised” and basically describes men’s tailored clothing that is made to fit to their measurements. These must be contrasted with those ghastly ready-to-wear, or off-the-rack, suits.
The Breast of a suit may be either single, with the suit jacket having one column of buttons with a slight overlap in fabric, or double, with the front of the suit jacket overlapping and having two parallel columns of buttons.
Canvas refers to exactly that, a canvas fabric that is lightly sewn to the wool fabric shell.
Check refers to the horizontal and vertical patterned fabric.
Creases refers to vertical lines running down the middle of ones trousers leg. Creases gives trousers a smart appearance and improves the hanging of the trouser.
Cuff refers to the fold at the bottom of the sleeve that protects the shirt from fraying.
Cuff Buttons refers to the buttons found on ones cuff. They can be functional (surgical) which allows them to be fully unbuttoned. Buttons can also be kissing (stacked upon eachother) or simply flat (buttons lay flat next to one another not touching).
Cut Away Collar refers to a style of shirt collar. Often referred to as a windsor collar, this style collar spreads more towards the shoulders thus leaving a pronounced gap in the middle. Recommended collar for bold tie knots.
The Hem refers to the act of turning under and sewing the edge of a piece of clothing. Turning over and sewing the end of the hem of your suit pants (yes…the opposite) is what would give your pants a cuff (if you so desire).
Herringbone refers to a distinctive v-shaped weaving pattern that can often be found in twill fabrics for suiting. The pattern is also known as Broken Twill weave and gets its Herringbone namesake due to its similarity with the skeleton of a herring fish.
Houndstooth is a duotone textile pattern characterised by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, often in black and white, although other colours are used.
Kissing Buttons refers to buttons that touch and overlap (romantic).
The Lapel refers to the part of the suit jacket that is folded below the collar. There are broadly three types of lapels. We will give you some simple rules. Don the notch lapel if you are a conservative gent, the peak lapel if you are the boss, or the shawl lapel if you are wearing a tuxedo.
Lining refers to the layer of material covering the inside surface of the suit jacket and pants. Wear a bit of colour and express your individuality.
Placket refers to the double layers of fabric that hold the buttons and buttonholes of a shirt. Plackets can also be found at the neckline of a shirt, the cuff of a sleeve, or a pair of trousers.
A Pleat refers to a type of fold formed by doubling the fabric back upon itself and fixing it in place. Pleats may be characterised as forward, where they open toward the zipper, or reverse, where they open towards the pockets.
Super wool (‘S’) indicates the fineness of the wool fibre used in the making of the garment. The higher the count (Super 140s), the finer the wool fibre used.
Tweed is a woollen fabric that is made up many different coloured yarns.
Twill is a fabric that is woven so it has a ribbed surface of many diagonal parallel ridges.
Vents refer to the opening on the back of your suit jacket. Suits may have a central vent, side vents or even be vent-less. Unless you’re heavily involved with horseback riding, in which case side vents are a must, the choice comes down to individual preference.