A suit is quintessential formal wear for the modern man. Quite often, it is the most expensive garment in a man’s wardrobe, and also the one acquired with most thought. It is the go to wear for the big occasions in life, be it weddings or important professional meetings. It is the garment a man is most likely to choose when he wants to look his best. It is also a garment that has a great and fascinating history of its own
In fact, the modern suit evolved from the extravagant, often embroidered and bejeweled attires of western noblemen around the Industrial Revolution when more practical and comfortable wear became the order of the day. So here are some trivia facts that we at Prestige Store are quite sure you will enjoy, read on!
What’s in a name
According to Wikipedia, the word suit comes from the French word ‘suite’which means “following”. This word in turn finds its source in the Latin verb ’sequor’, which stands for “I follow”. The reason for this is mostly because various garments follow each other to form the suite – the trousers, waistcoat, jacket.
Story of the shirt cuff
These days the extended shirt cuff is such a usual detail, one wouldn’t even care to wonder why it is so. And although it definitely adds a lot of panache to the suit, it came about more due to dire necessity in the 1900s. Back then,a suit was (even more than now) a very expensive garment to procure. Most men could not replace a tattered one easily. So they would let their shirt cuffs be a little longer than the coat sleeve to prevent its cuffs from fraying. After all, a new shirt was much more affordable than a new suit jacket!
War time influence on design
One of the most distinguishing features of a high quality suit jacket is the buttons at the edge of the sleeve, called ‘working cuffs’. These buttons are also known as ‘Surgeon’s Cuffs’ as they were incorporated into suit jackets for wartime surgeons who would need to roll up their sleeves and get to work on the battlefield.
Louis XIV and the unbuttoned jacket
An old legend suggests that the tradition of never fastening the last button on a suit jacket dates back to Louis XIV of France. This happened when the king found that he had grown too big a belly to fit into his favourite jacket. So he entered the ball in regal style but with the last button of the coat unfastened. Naturally, all the other men at the court felt compelled to do the same. And that is how a trend that continues to this day began!
Changing times and innovations
Initially, suits were always custom made. It was in the year 1849 that America’s oldest men’s clothier introduced the concept of ‘Ready to wear’ suits. Needless to say this revolutionized the accessibility of this garment for men from all walks of life. Another brand often credited in this regard is Haggar, which in 1933 upgraded its manufacturing methods to mirror Ford’s Straight Line Production model of automobile industry. Operators began production of pants on a single unit rather than bundles making the suit much more affordable.