The History of the Suit


Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes
and cutaway coat, perfect fits,
Puttin’ on the ritz.

Dressed up like a million dollar trouper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper (super duper)

-from Puttin’ on the Ritz by Irving Berlin

A suit can define a man. The cut, color, pattern and fit can make even a drab soul look dapper. A man can truly display his fashion sense with his selection of suits together with their accoutrements.

If you squint enought the history of the modern suit can be traced back to the time of Charles II, who in 1666 declared that the gentlemen of his court could wear a long coat, waistcoat, cravat, wig and breeches.

The fashion of the suit was taken further by professional British dandy Beau Brummel in the early 1800s. Brummel claimed to take hours to dress and was deemed the arbiter of taste in men’s fashion during the Regency Period (1811-1820) and beyond. Brummel introduced to fashionable society the┬ádark tailcoat, usually paired with pale trousers and waistcoat, a cravat, white shirt and tall boots.

During the following Victorian period (1837-1901) a notable shift occured towards a more conservative style. The sartorial hallmarks of the Victorian era are the frock coat and later the morning coat. Each became part of the daily wardrobe of the taste makers. The tailcoat was still reserved for evening wear.

Morning Coat

Frock Coat

The template for the modern suit developed further during the Edwardian era (1901-1910). Many men dispensed with frock coats as the shorter morning coat gained wider acceptance for more formal use.

After World War I it became acceptable to wear lounge suits for an ever greater variety of occasions. Fashions for men’s suits also changed more frequently. Many elements of men’s suits were experimented width, from the width of the trouser leg to the lapels of the jacket.

As the 20th century wore on colors, fabrics, trouser legs, jacket styles and the use of vests went in and out of style ever more rapidly, often within the same decade. Nevertheless, the undeniable style of a well-tailored men’s suit remains appreciated. Men’s suits continue to receive the attention of the most well known designers. The suit remains as fresh as ever.

At J&O we don’t carry suits but we do have wool suiting fabrics. Here are a few:

Camel 100% Wool Suiting

Black 100% Wool Suiting

Storm Gray Wool Blend Suiting

Vanilla Bean 100% Wool Suiting

In addition to 100% wool and wool blend dress fabrics for suiting, we also sell essential polyester lining fabrics for putting the finishing touch on your dress projects.

Charcoal Gray Poly Lining

Eggshell Poly Lining

Russet Poly Lining: 60" Wide

Black Poly Lining

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply