British vs. Italian vs. American - Suit Fashions & Silhouettes

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Gentleman's Gazette
Published at : 06 Jan 2021
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00:00 Introduction

Between the British, Italian, and American suit styles, each has its own unique geographic characteristics; in particular, the Italian suit has regional variations with different qualities. Some suits also contain hybrid elements of multiple tailoring traditions.

01:05 The American Suit
01:41 The English Suit
08:32 The Italian Suit

So why did we choose these three? Well, we're in America and if you asked John Doe on the street where a proper suit should be made chances are they'll say Italy or England. So how do the Italian, the English, and the American school of tailoring compare? Well, there's certain broad strokes but a suit from the Milan is different from a suit from Rome and it is from let's say, Sicily or Naples. The same is true for English suits, maybe in a less extreme version. A suit from Savile Row is very distinctly British, a suit from Manchester or Dover is probably not as refined and just a little different in the way it looks. While the tailoring industry in the US is nowadays limited to a few centers where they're still made, you can still have the classic sack suit style as popularized by Brooks Brothers. Of course, suits often contain hybrid elements and different varieties but we'll try to shed some light on them so you can clearly see if a suit is Italian, English, or American. Of course, let's not forget that the suit by Giorgio Armani from the 80s or 90s looks very different from an Italian suit today.

So which suit style is best? Obviously, that is a very subjective question. Personally, I think there are interesting elements in all of them and I often like to mix them and not just use one of them. I like to have the typical British pinstripe suit that is businesslike but maybe have a slightly softer canvas because overall, I like softer canvas suits. Sometimes though, having a really heavy padded canvas that makes you look like a Cavalry officer is desirable too. I don't think you have to just pick one thing and just wear that but you can develop your own style.

At the end of the day, what a good suit will always do is take features that are asymmetrical in your body and balance them out so it looks overall harmonious. If you're interested in a more youthful casual look, definitely go with an Italian style. If you want something a little more seasoned and mature, go with a British style.
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