In clothing, a suit is a set of garments made from the same cloth, usually consisting of at least a jacket and trousers. Lounge suits (also known as business suits when sober in color and style), which originated in Britain as country wear, are the most common style of Western suit. Other types of suit still worn today are the dinner suit, part of black tie, which arose as a lounging alternative to coats in much the same way as the day lounge suit came to replace frock coats and morning coats; and, rarely worn today, the morning suit. This article discusses the lounge suit (including business suits), elements of informal dress code.
The variations in design, cut, and cloth, such as two- and three-piece, or single- and double-breasted, determine the social and work suitability of the garment. Often, suits are worn, as is traditional, with a collared shirt and necktie. Until around the 1960s, as with all men’s clothes, a hat would have been also worn when the wearer was outdoors. Suits also come with different numbers of pieces: a two-piece suit has a jacket and the trousers; a three-piece adds a waistcoat
Originally, as with most clothes, a tailor made the suit from his client’s selected cloth; these are now often known as bespoke suits. The suit was custom made to the measurements, taste, and style of the man. Since the Industrial Revolution, most suits are mass-produced, and, as such, are sold as ready-to-wear garments (though alteration by a tailor prior to wearing is common). Currently, suits are sold in roughly four ways:
- bespoke, in which the garment is custom-made by a tailor from a pattern created entirely from the customer’s measurements, giving the best fit and free choice of fabric;
- made to measure, in which a pre-made pattern is modified to fit the customer, and a limited selection of options and fabrics is available;
- ready-to-wearor off-the-peg (off-the-rack, in American English), which is sold ready to be tailored or finally as is;
- suit separateswhere jacket and trousers are sold separately, allowing a customer to choose the size that is best for him and limit the amount of alterations needed.