The invention of the suit
The invention of the suit. A quite interesting story if you ask us! This article will focus on the quite interesting heritage of the suit.
Early life in Europe
What we now think of as a suit began life as the court dress of European monarchs. It was far more ostentatious, brightly colored and worn with breeches, a wig and, often, a hat. But the basic outline and silhouette were the same. Following revolutions and the fall of the French monarchy, in particular, the look fell out of fashion. But when King Charles II took the English throne in 1660 the look was back in.
The evolution of the modern suit
The jacket and pants combination was now a thing. Although at first glance it may not look too much like a modern suit, it came to define formal wear for centuries to come. Initially, the long-tailed jacket was the only option. This continued for many years until the modern lounge suit, with a shorter jacket, was made available in the late 19th century. After WWI the suit became standard daily wear for men. From then on there has been little change to the basic silhouette of the suit. Jackets and pants have become baggier or slimmer according to changing fashions. The waistcoat has at various times been in or out of style. Accessories such as ties, bowties, and pocket squares have come and gone too. Although, the tie has always been seen as necessary for formal wear, with the bow tie essential for black tie and white tie events.
The first women’s suits appeared in the 166os. They were riding habits consisting of a tailored coat or jacket with a matching skirt. Considered practical, these sturdy garments became increasingly popular not just for riding on horseback, but also for other daytime activities. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that women’s suits evolved and walking suits hit the scene. These consisted of skirts and sleeved tops as befitting the fashion of the day. Early in the 20th century, the skirted suit became standard wear for women in the workplace. Although the suits were staid and functional, arguably this was the birth of the women’s suit as we know it today.
To say that the suit was invented is to dismiss the evolution of fashion for both men and women which as led to the modern-day suit – and will continue to influence the design and style of the suit for years to come. But whatever changes and adaptation the future holds for the suit one thing which never had and never will change are that to get the fit right, a suit needs to be tailored and fitted to the individual. Can you imagine kings and courtiers that sported that original suit buying off-the-rack numbers? Of course not. The style was as important to them as it is to us today and then, as now, it is the details that make the suit perfect.
At Exclusive Tailor in Phuket, we have suits to suit every occasion and tailors waiting to make your suit fit you perfectly. For more details or to see our range of suits check out our style lookbook for gents.