Guide to Types of Suits And How To Tell Them Apart

Guide to Types of Suits And How To Tell Them Apart

Guide to Types of Suits And How To Tell Them Apart

A man must have one decent suit in his closet. You don’t need to spend a lot, but since life involves different occasions, you must have a suit that is tailored to fit you and looks passable. For this purpose, it is suggested to going with a nice gray, since it works for any circumstance yet is not as ordinary as boring black or the navy blue that every drone dons just to blend in. Whatever color fits your fancy, and since there’s a whole range of variance that makes the simple suit a dangerously complex beast! you also need to know what types of suits you’re getting, and when in doubt you could always go to somewhere like Tailors Keep to find out more about the suit you want.

Suit Differences

Types of Suits - Suit Differences

Since a pair of pants are generally nothing more than a pair of pants! Most suits differ by how the jacket is made. To most of the men, if it has lapels, isn’t missing any buttons, and can go around the body, it’s good enough to pass the sniff test, and qualifies as a “good” suit. This is absolutely not correct, which is the first thing you have to learn as a man. Just because it looks like a suit and acts like a suit doesn’t make it quality, it just makes it barely clear the bar.

The differences between suits is actually night and day once you know that you’re looking at the number of buttons on the body and the sleeves, the style of vents, the cut of the shoulders, the lining, the pocket arrangement, the kind of lapels, and even the button-hole that may or may not reside on those lapels. It’s these items that going to be covered so that you know what each piece means for you.

Types of Suits Shoulders

The first thing you should notice about a suit jacket: The shoulders must fit you properly. All the alterations in the world done by the finest tailor in Italy won’t give you a proper look if the shoulders don’t work. You should have unrestricted movement of your arms and the line should follow your body without pads sticking out. There’s a multitude of shoulder styles, with three major lines of demarcation: sloped, straight, and roped


Types of Suits - Sloped Shoulders

The most American style, these roll off the edge of the body.


Types of Suits - Straight Shoulders

Very English, the straight shoulder creates a more angular shape to the shoulder, often using pads to pump it up and breaking sharply between shoulder and sleeve.


Types of Suits - Roped Shoulders

Popular in France and Italy, roped shoulders are generally the mark of a true hand-made suit, though many manufacturers replicate it. This shoulder type is marked by a little puff with pleats where the sleeve seam hits the shoulder.

Types of Suits Silhouettes

This refers to the shape of a suit and comes in three basic looks: fitted, structured, and sack.


Types of Suits - Fitted

Built to minimize the amount of fabric between you and the world, the fitted style has high armholes that help show off your physique. If you don’t have a physique to show off, skip it.


Types of Suits - Structured

Padded shoulders and a slim waist help create a more masculine appearance, even if your own body is not. Structured suits are more formal than others and almost always seen on double-breasted suits.


Types of Suits - Sack

The suit cut for blending in, this is meant to round the shoulders and then hang around the body to blur the lines and create a minimalistic appearance.


The lapels are the folded fabric that surrounds the neck and chest opening of a suit jacket. These come in three styles: peak, notched, and shawl.


Types of Suits - Peak

Heavily pointed toward the shoulders, peak lapels are more formal than notched or shawl, and always bear a boutonniere button-hole.


Types of Suits - Notched

Think of notched lapels as business class. These are found on most business suits as they are neither too formal nor too casual. You won’t typically find them on a tuxedo but on workaday wear.


Types of Suits - Shawl

The most casual, shawl lapels are relatively rare on suit jackets, being reserved more for casual blazers and smoking jackets. They almost never have a button-hole, since they’re intended for lounging, not dressing to impress.


The two most notable suit types are double and single-breasted. These are easily distinguished based on the buttons.


Types of Suits - Single

A mirror image jacket that is two halves sewn together and closed with one to four buttons in the exact center, these are the most common type of suit available. They often have notched lapels.


Types of Suits - Double

A bigger, bolder suit statement, the double-breasted suit has the more flashy peak lapels and six to eight buttons on the front. Instead of closing directly in the center, double-breasted suits button on one side, usually the wearer’s right. These have more fabric and cut a bigger, bolder frame. They’re more formal than single-breasted suits and worn to make a statement.


Believe it or not, there are a full 5 types of suit jacket pockets, with some designers trying to add more all the time. Your standard suit will likely be outfitted with a jetted, flap, angled, ticket, or patch pocket.


Types of Suits - Jetted

The heights of formality jetted pockets have no flap and are considered the most formal due to their sleek look. These are common on tuxedos.


Types of Suits - Flap

Business attire, the flap pocket is little more than a jetted pocket with a flap over it to keep out the weather.


Types of Suits - Angled

Angled pockets are flap pockets that are cut at a sloping angle for faster access and are usually reserved for sport coats.


Types of Suits - Ticket

When you see additional pockets beside the standard ones for your two hands, those are ticket pockets and were built for holding tickets to trains or sporting events.


Types of Suits - Patch

The most casual, patch pockets look like they were sewn on as an afterthought and are easily the most casual of the suit pockets.


Suit vents come in the double and single vented, as well as ventless.

Double Vents

Types of Suits - Double Vents

The most attractive option as it keeps the lines of the suit in place during movement or putting hands in pockets, it also doesn’t expose your rump.

Single Vent

Types of Suits - Single Vent

Cheap and common, single vents prevent fabric bunching, but also put your bum on display when you put your hands in your pockets.

No Vent

Types of Suits - No Vent

A smooth look that’s very formal, it’s good for walking around as a ventless jacket cuts a sleek figure, but rumples the second you sit. If wearing this, consider removing your jacket and hanging it when taking a seat.

Suits Buttons

Here we’re referring to the closure buttons that hold the suit in place. When wearing a suit with more than one button, you should always leave the very bottom button open.

Single Button

Types of Suits - Single Button

Very formal and meant mostly for tuxedos, the only time you should have this button undone is when sitting down.

Two Buttons

Types of Suits - Two Buttons

The most common type of button arrangement because it looks best on the most body types, your top button should always be fastened unless seated, and the bottom should never be.

Three or Four

Types of Suits - Three or Four

Usually, you’ll want to have every button but the very bottom closed whenever standing up, though it’s become common to use only the middle one. Even when seated, the middle button should remain closed.

Six or More

Types of Suits - Six or More

Now you’re into double-breasted territory where you should be fastening the topmost exterior button and the interior one that holds the spare jacket fabric in place.

Sleeve Buttons

There are few rules governing the buttons on a sleeve, but the vague notion is that more equals more formality. They will be arranged in three ways: spaced, kissing, stacked.



Spaced buttons defined by having fabric visible between the buttons. It is considered the least formal, though rarely noticed.



Once the mark of quality craftsmanship, back when suits were sewn by hand; the buttons should be touching right at the edges. This is the most formal arrangement.



When the buttons stitched on like a deck of cards lain atop one another; they considered “stacked.” In truth, this style almost never happens and isn’t thought to be formal or informal, just unusual.

The Lining

Noticeable linings on suit jackets were once only widely available on the more expensive suits but now, it has proved very popular, they are available on suits at all price points. The lining of a suit is not merely for cosmetic reasons but can add structure and weight to your suit. A fully lined suit jacket is heavier, warmer and has a thicker look to it. As a result, the suit jacket lays nicely over the contours of the body and will not crinkle or catch on your shirt as easy.

 The higher-end suit linings will mostly comprise of silk which is very comfortable but obviously more expensive. The cheaper options usually consist of synthetic materials such as; Bamberg silk, rayon, polyester, and acetate and, these can often lack durability or do not breathe well. Shop bought suits will usually have the lining already sewn in which doesn’t provide too much personalization when it comes to color and pattern choices.

Options for personalized suit linings include, but not limited to, the following:

  • A bold contrast – a dark grey suit with a purple lining, a light grey suit with blue lining, a red suit with a deep red lining, or a navy suit with a rusty orange lining are all great options.
  • Subtle contrast – a slightly darker or lighter shade of the color of the suit; it can be a classy and understated touch.
  • Contrasting patterns – if wearing a patterned suit e.g. striped, then a block colored lining will look great. If wearing a block suit then a pattered lining will add a vibrant flair – a common favorite is the paisley pattern.

Types of Suit For Men

Suits can be divided by where the inspiration of the suit came from England, Italy or America.

Italian styles typically had padded shoulders, no vents; were full-chested and had a V-shaped jacket and “slash” – or flapless –pockets, and an ideal choice for slimmer builds.

In comparison, a British suit has padded shoulders, two vents, a pinched waist, flap pockets and came in striped or plaid patterns. This style considered perfect for more athletic builds.

The American variety has natural shoulders, a single vent in the back; straight-hanging lines and flap pockets is the style recommended for men with larger frames.

Read The Types of Suit You Should Buy and Own