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British Suit

The American vs. The British Suit: A Tale of Two Ponds

The business suit is an iconic design of modern clothing and easily noticed. You would be hard pressed to find someone in the world who doesn’t know what it is. But like any popular design, it has variations based on country and culture. The broad personality traits of a country dictate the specific cut and fabric of the business suit.  Two of the more popular variations are the American and the British style.

The largest difference between the British and the American style revolve around the manufacturing. British suits by tradition tend to come out of Savile Row and as such are bespoke where the client meets with a tailor who then builds the suit around the contours of the body.  It is as custom as it gets and the client has input at every stage.

American Suit

American Suit

The American suit, or sack suit, is decidedly mass manufactured by the factory model.  America believes heavily in the template, and that this template can be modified to the dimensions of the client.  Americans do not typically purchase bespoke suits though they are more keen on having their premade suits tailored or altered.  This gives the American look uniformity across a greater geographical dimension than the British suit. And the British suit, by contrast, though more limited in its geography than the American version, has a far better individual presence for the wear. Typically the British suit fits better because it is specifically made to do so.

Stylistically, the American sack suit has a looser fit, a single vent, no shoulder padding, and lacking in darts or folds that help the dimensionality of the material. American suits are more monolithic and by some estimations, boring. The sack suit is more economical to produce and this is one of the key factors in its popularity. Recent trends have swung against the sack suit as it is, from an aesthetic view, very much ugly. The looseness of this suit combined with the accepted lack of sartorial education of the American consumer has created the parachute impression. Most men in America simply do not know enough about how their body can look in a suit and so they assume anything off the rack will do.  This ignorance is starting to weaken as more and more fashion blogs in New York and Los Angeles are growing providing new looks and expert advice on how to dress.

The British suit is properly tailored with higher armholes giving it a tighter, though not restricted, look. The British suit has a more tapered waist and lightly padded shoulders borrowed from military suit styles. In fact the British suit is descended from clothing of both the aristocratic and professional classes and so reflects more of this refined pedigree.

But luckily, you don’t have to break the bank or take an expensive trip to England to get a bespoke British suit. Here at GvS, you can get the ultra-fine fabric and the true beauty of bespoke tailoring at a very American price point. Feel free to browse our collection and get in touch with us today and we will get your very own custom suit.

Michael Snell

Loving father and husband