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Definitive guide to suit fits/cuts

mikealvaa

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Hey all,

I have been digging through the internet and I can't seem to find a definitive guide to the different styles of suit cuts/fits. I recently watched Spike Lee's Malcolm X and I was in awe of the style of suiting that dominated during the 1960s. It might be my favorite decade of tailoring. So it got me thinking...

Why doesn't a guide/history lesson of this sort of thing exist? We all know that the British, Americans and Italians all have their own cut and styles, but why is it so hard to find the right vocabulary which describes these things? All I seem to find are slim, modern and classic which I'm sure cannot be the correct way to describe fit for suiting. I have found articles which focus on how tailoring had evolved throughout the decades, but nothing that really looks at it from a micro perspective.

I apologize in advance if something like this does exist and I missed it.
 

Phileas Fogg

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The style that dominated the US in the 1960’s was the sack suit.

As for a definitive guide, it’s like trying to herd cats. There’s a ton of information out there. You just have to cobble it together.

You can start with this:


Certainly not unique but a jumping off point. Each Savile Row house, too, will have its own unique style so there’s no consensus “English suit” though there are commonalities.

Similarly, a Roman Suit and a Neapolitan suit are two different animals so there also no consensus Italian cut.
 

mikealvaa

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ahhh the sack suit. yeah I've read that article before and "herding cats" is the perfect analogy. I'm sure the information is overwhelming. Maybe the community can fill this thread up with more resources? :stirpot:
 

Phileas Fogg

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By the way, I couldn’t help notice the pic you’re using in your profile is that of Farnsworth house. Quite the peculiar home with an equally peculiar history.
 

mikealvaa

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By the way, I couldn’t help notice the pic you’re using in your profile is that of Farnsworth house. Quite the peculiar home with an equally peculiar history.
yes I love the design in this house. I hope to one day build a home similar in style.
 

Encathol Epistemia

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I've wanted to understand differences in cut since I began indulging my curiosity about suits in earnest. The American-British-Italian typology is pretty ubiquitous, but I never feel like I get much of an understanding from most explanations of it and it seems like it's probably such a simplification that it isn't apt to be very enlightening. There's also seldom satisfactory treatment of how the cut of suits has changed over history.

I think that what I really want is a fairly detailed and thorough explanation of the structural and practical elements of what constitutes a cut as well as a comprehensive survey of how different permutations of features are distributed among tailoring houses or regions... and a pony.

As usual, I have a great deal more notional curiosity than I have ability or patience.
 

mikealvaa

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I've wanted to understand differences in cut since I began indulging my curiosity about suits in earnest. The American-British-Italian typology is pretty ubiquitous, but I never feel like I get much of an understanding from most explanations of it and it seems like it's probably such a simplification that it isn't apt to be very enlightening. There's also seldom satisfactory treatment of how the cut of suits has changed over history.

I think that what I really want is a fairly detailed and thorough explanation of the structural and practical elements of what constitutes a cut as well as a comprehensive survey of how different permutations of features are distributed among tailoring houses or regions... and a pony.

As usual, I have a great deal more notional curiosity than I have ability or patience.
agreed.
 

classicalthunde

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I've wanted to understand differences in cut since I began indulging my curiosity about suits in earnest. The American-British-Italian typology is pretty ubiquitous, but I never feel like I get much of an understanding from most explanations of it and it seems like it's probably such a simplification that it isn't apt to be very enlightening. There's also seldom satisfactory treatment of how the cut of suits has changed over history.

I think that what I really want is a fairly detailed and thorough explanation of the structural and practical elements of what constitutes a cut as well as a comprehensive survey of how different permutations of features are distributed among tailoring houses or regions... and a pony.

As usual, I have a great deal more notional curiosity than I have ability or patience.
I think the issue is that there isn't really a monolithic American or English or Italian style. Northern Italy is vastly different from Southern; the English have their structured and drape cuts, and "American" is essentially a mid century Ivy-style sack suit but that has not be the de rigeur style for quiet some time.

I think at its basics it helps to look at a couple of key factors (shoulder expression, structure, buttons, pockets, vents, and lapels) while realizing there are no hard and fast items that lock something into a specific American/English/Italian style but rather "a line of best fit" approach. My own layman's take (with sweeping generalizations) is:

Shoulders: English is typically padded and structured with slight rope; Italian is typically soft (although Milanese is an exception that leans towards English) "shirt shoulder" with no roping, and American being somewhere in the middle with a natural shoulder with slight padding

Structure: Generally English (particularly the military and sporting heritage houses like Huntsman and Dege) is more structured than Italian and American (with the notable exception of the A&S drape cut). Italian is known for its soft canvas and American for its sack cut

Buttons: Typically I've noticed English as 1 or 2, Italian as 3r2, and American as 2 or 3 or 3r2...although i think this ebes and flows considerably with the time

Pockets: English - flapped (either hacking or straight) or besom and possible ticket pockets, Italian - besom or patch, American - flapped or patch or patch with flap

Vents: English and Italian - side vents; American - side or center vent

Lapels: Italian - wide, English - moderate, American - moderate or skinny
 

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