Suit Style Terminology

When buying a custom suit it can sometimes get a little confusing to keep up with the terminology used throughout the meeting. Or maybe when buying a suit you simply want to be able to keep a salesman honest and drop some terms to show them you are prepared and well-informed about the product. Perhaps you just want to know more about the suit you already bought. Either way below are popular terms used to describe the various aspects that make up a suit!

 Canvas

A cloth made from various materials such as cotton, flax, hemp, or jute. It is used to provide structure and strength inside the coat.

 Balance

As Richard Anderson put it “The ideal harmony among two or more sections of a garment and its wearer’s configuration.” In a more basic sense it is making sure the front and the back of the garment correctly proportioned and properly fitted to the wearer’s silhouette.

 Drape

The drape refers to how a cloth falls and wraps around the wearer’s figure. The smoothness of the drape can alter depending on the cloth, cut and canvassing beneath.

 Break

The break for the coat is the point above the top button where the lapel flows into the V-shape. The break for the trouser is the point where the hem touches the shoe and either bunches gently on the top of the shoe or sits evenly right on top/slightly above the shoe.

 Buttonhole

A pearl stitch buttonhole is located on the lapel above the breast pocket and is always hand-sewn. Normally used for a boutonnière, but in today’s day can be a simple aesthetic due to most flowers coming with pins.

 Jigger Button

The inside left button in a double-breasted jacket to secure the underneath flap in position.

 Shoulder Line

There are various types of shoulder lines you can use in a suit. The most traditional gentleman type is the roped shoulder, where the sleeve is attached higher that the armhole and the shoulder line at a soft incline to stand sharp and high. You can also keep the armhole and sleeve in line but provide a strong shoulder appearance with a padded or slightly padded shoulder and a soft incline for the shoulder line. Or you can go for a natural shoulder which includes no padding and rests on the natural shoulder line.

 Skirt

The slight flare in the suit just below the waist is called the skirt of the suit. The flare of the skirt can change based on choosing a no vent, single vent, or side vent cut. The vents are used to enhance movement and comfort in the suit.

 Trouser Curtain

The strip of cloth below the waistband of the trouser to keep the wait area from stretching and keeping the balance of the pleats.

 Undercollar

When you lift the collar of the suit jacket up, the undercollar is the soft fabric used underneath. Many tailors may use a brightly colored fabric underneath as a signature or allow individuals to stitch a date or quote underneath if desired.