If you go to have a suit made or measured to fit, you might end up coming away confused due to all the jargon used to describe all the different aspects of creating a suit.
That’s why we have created this guide to all the various features which go into making up the anatomy of a man’s suit – that way you will know exactly which piece they are talking about.
Anatomy of the jacket
When looking for the best men’s suits online one’s eye is easily caught by the quality of the jacket. How it’s structured can help highlight the person’s form and dictate how it will flatter the wearer. Which is why it’s important to pay attention to its part with meticulous care.
Top collar – this should not leave a gap at the neck and shouldn’t completely cover the shirt collar either – it’s about the way the jacket fits.
Back vents – there are options for no vent, a single vent or a double vent at the back of a suit jacket and which you go for depends on the jacket fit. If you want to be able to move around and have more flexibility then a double vent would work best but this can be more expensive for a tailor to create.
Suit cuffs – when it comes to the cuffs on your jacket suit the main thing to think about is where they end. You don’t want cuffs to be too long and covering your hands, but too short will look equally bad, so make sure they are the right length before committing.
The other thing to consider is whether the cuff is a working cuff – as in, you can actually undo the buttons – or if it’s just a display cuff only. It is considered a sign of suit quality if the buttons can be undone.
Jacket pockets – there are a number of styles of jacket pocket available including formal pockets which are effectively a small slit opening with the actual pocket within the jacket lining, to a conventional pocket to be used for a handkerchief. It’s important not to put anything heavy or bulky into the breast pocket of a suit jacket or you will spoil the overall silhouette.
Buttons – suit jackets tend to have one, two or three buttons, depending on the style and whether it is single-breasted or double-breasted. Go for whichever one feels most comfortable and if you don’t want to be doing up and undoing buttons all the time then opt for a one button choice.
Anatomy of the suit trousers
Trouser hem – the main issue here is whether you want the hem of your suit trousers to have a cuff or not. Generally you would only go for a cuff on the trousers of a very formal suit, rather than one for every day wear, although tuxedo suits tend not to have them. It’s really a matter of your own personal taste for this aspect of a suit.
Trouser fit – you need to consider how the trousers fit when you sit down and stand up which is sometimes known as seat and rise. It’s about where the trousers sit on your waist and the distance in the trouser from waistband down to crotch. You need to get this right for your suit trousers to be comfortable as you move around.
Waistband – this is not about the size of your waistband but where it sits to help give you the best proportions depending on your height and leg length. The right waistband positioning can help to make your legs look longer and make you appear taller overall so getting this right can make your suit choice more flattering.
A belt – some trousers come with belt loops whereas others prefer to avoid them for a smoother silhouette under a jacket – it’s really a personal choice and depends on how you feel about wearing belts all day.
The crease – this refers to the trouser crease which should be ironed in down the front of the legs of the suit to create a smart, crisp appearance – many people don’t bother with the crease, or opt for ironing-free fabric suits but for a formal occasion a crease is generally expected.
There are many aspects to consider when buying a tailored suit and you want it to fit you perfectly. When a tailor starts to measure you and talks about seat rise and fall, or lapels, it can sound confusing if you don’t understand the jargon.
However, with this quick guide to the anatomy of the suit, hopefully you will have more of an idea of which elements of the jacket, or the trousers they are referring to.
If you need alterations to be made then it can also help if you know the name of the area of the suit which needs adapting, and can explain it properly to the tailor yourself.
No matter which type of fit you prefer, or what the occasion is, a well-cut, fitted suit tailored to your measurements will always look better than one just bought from the rack in a supermarket.