Part of the joy in being into clothes, in taking delight in the ways and means of fashion and style is in knowing more about methods and materials of construction. When we have enthusiasms, we tend to absorb ourselves more in the details and this absorption in turn aids us in our search for better quality. The majority of men will never be interested in the techniques of how a suit is constructed and this is acceptable. But this lack of interest can cause a limitation of choice. By knowing more about the engineering of a suit we are more likely to spot shoddy construction, more likely to understand why a piece that looks good on a hanger feels terrible when worn, and more likely to spot a bargain that others miss. It is the world of the aficionado, and it is in this path of knowledge where original style is found. We delve briefly then into the anatomy of the suit jacket, the blood and bones of it so to speak.
A suit jacket is composed either through a canvassed method or a fused method. Of the two the canvassed method is the better.
Canvassed Suit Jacket:
A canvassed suit jacket is made from layers of canvassing material most often made of wool placed between the outer fabric and the inner lining. This material is hidden from view but is in all respects the skeleton of the jacket that over time conforms to the specific dimensions of the wearer. It is the layers of canvas which personalize a suit to your body. This in turn aids the fit of the jacket and increases the work of the tailor. A properly constructed jacket should have the canvas material throughout the entire range of the front panels and inside lapels. Canvas layers are hand stitched in floating patterns to aid movement and drape, accenting the flow of your body and ridding the suit of the static box vibe. The major drawback to a canvassed suit is price and it is steep. Skill, labor and time drive up the price, but as always with things of worth, the longevity of the jacket recoups the cost.
Fused Suit Jacket:
A fused suit jacket is made of fusible material glued to the front panels and lapels. It is a static construction that does not allow for great range of movement, nor flows with the wearer. Fused jackets are made in bulk as it is cheaper for clothing manufactures to mass produced one size fits all varieties with greater speed than canvassed varieties. This is the suit construction you typically find off the rack. It rarely conforms to the wearer and diminishes it’s vigor with time. Fused jackets tend to bubble as sections of the glue come undone and air pockets enter the layers. The benefit of the fused jacket is the price and it is far more affordable. When a suit is needed quickly, but price is a factor, then no one can be faulted for choosing it. But of the two, it proves its inadequacies over time and we must go back to the store to buy another cheap variety. This is the real problem with cheap construction. Overtime it costs more.