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  • Sanjukta Nathan

Evolution of Suit Styles

Women’s fashion has been dominating the fashion industry for a long time. This may be due to the fact that initially the women were more into experimenting with clothes and the demand for women’s apparel was far more compared to men’s attire. However, men’s fashion has evolved through the ages and captivated the interest of fashion designers, fashioner bloggers, analysts, lifestyle journalists etc.

Among the different arena of men’s fashion, suits have always remained an area which has been scarcely experimented or explored. The history of formal suits go back to nearly 400 years. Since then there has been changes in style through the different eras.


The early stages of the history of suits showed a kind of rigidness in terms of style, pattern and colours. The pattern followed was either Victorian (black suit consisting of the frock coat), Edwardian (frock coats replaced with ill-fitting black long suits) or the War time (the long coats getting replaced by loose fitted short ones and restriction on use of suit materials like wool). The colour black seems to remain constant throughout. The idea of coloured suits remained a sort of taboo. In the American comedy film, For Richer or Poorer, the character of a Fashion designer played by actor Kirstie Alley is shown fighting against the orthodox rules of a certain European hamlet by introducing coloured suits and trousers.


For Richer or Poorer: The scene depicting the Fashion Show

Post-World War the evolution of the style of suits has been enormous. As consumer culture seeped into society, it brought a revolution in every aspect of trade including men’s fashion.

The different styles evolved can be traced through the journey of various films, artists, pop-icons, actors, politicians and bureaucrats across the globe.

The early 1950s and 1960s saw the rise of retro culture with famous musicians like Elvis Presley opting for the disco suits that depicted flamboyancy and emitted a colourful aura.


Elvis Presley: The Disco Suit

The Grey Flannel suit (suit made of a mixture of cotton, wool and sometimes synthetic became a fashion statement during the 50s era. The flannel suit is somewhat similar to the suits worn by men nowadays.

The 70s and 80s brought about a prominence in the style and pattern of suits. The suits became more bespoke and followed a three-piece pattern. A classic example would be Al-Pacino’s depiction of Michael Corleone in the Godfather Trilogy. His tailored suit was giving him the sinister aura that the character demanded.


Al-Pacino : The Godfather

Finally, with the advent of 21st century the suits got a huge makeover in terms of design and colour. The concept of colourful and bizarre patterns became predominant. We see a glimpse of the same in Hollywood films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Willie Wonka (played by Johnny Depp) celebrated the colourful and bizarre style of suits. Also, there is a now a clear distinction between the two styles of men’s suits. The bespoke suits as adorned by characters like James Bond and the casual Bohemian design of suits as seen to be worn by actors like Brad Pitt in the Ocean’s series.


Johnny Depp in Charlie and Chocolate Factory

Indeed, the men and their suits have come a long way in pursuit of perfection!

#MensFashion #Fashion #BespokeSuits #Suits #Tailoredoutfits #historyofsuits

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