Types of Suits for Men

types of suits for men

Written by Sonia Su

I've always found the world of suits fascinating, each style telling its own story. After all, a suit is a timeless symbol of sophistication, professionalism, and style. As I've noticed at various events, whether it's for business or pleasure, there's a suit out there to suit every occasion and personality.

Whether you're dressing for a business meeting, a formal event, or a night out, the type of suit you choose can significantly influence your appearance and the impression you make.

Understanding the various types of suits and their unique characteristics is essential for curating a wardrobe that meets your style and fit preferences.

In this article, we will explore these 3 primary types of suits, diving into their distinct features, how they differ from one another, and how these types of suits can enhance your overall look.

 

Slim Fit Suits

This type of suit has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its contemporary and stylish appearance. Designed to accentuate the body's natural shape, these suits offer a modern, sleek look that appeals to fashion-forward individuals. Here’s a closer look at what defines this suit style and its key features:

 

What is a Slim Fit Suit?

A slim fit suit is tailored to closely follow the contours of the body. They are designed to create a narrow silhouette, emphasizing the wearer's physique without being excessively tight. The goal is to achieve a clean, streamlined appearance that is sharp and sophisticated. Here is a more in-depth guide on slim fit.

Key Features of Slim Fit Suits

1) Narrow Cut

These suits are cut closer to the body compared to classic and modern fit suits. The jacket has a more fitted waist, narrower shoulders, and slimmer sleeves, while the trousers are tapered with a narrower leg opening.

2) Minimal Excess Fabric

One of the defining characteristics of a slim fit suit is the minimal use of excess fabric. This results in a clean and crisp look, avoiding any bagginess or bulkiness.

3) Shorter Jacket Length

The jacket of a slim fit suit is often slightly shorter than that of a classic fit suit. This helps in enhancing the modern aesthetic and providing a more proportional look, especially for shorter individuals. Here's a full guide on how a suit jacket should fit.

how a suit jacket should fit

4) Higher Armholes

The armholes in these suits are cut higher, allowing for a closer fit around the arms and shoulders. This enhances the overall sleek appearance and provides better mobility. Nimble Made has great slim fit collared shirts that pair well with a slim fit suit.

5) Tapered Trousers

The trousers in this type of suit are tailored with a taper from the thigh down to the ankle. This creates a fitted look that complements the narrow cut of the jacket. Read our full guide on slacks.

6) Modern Fabrics

These suits often utilize modern fabrics with a bit of stretch, such as wool blends or fabrics with elastane. This ensures comfort and flexibility while maintaining the suit's shape and fit.

7) Lapels and Details

These suits typically feature narrower lapels, adding to the streamlined look. Other details, such as pockets and vents, are also designed to complement the slim silhouette.

 

When to Wear Slim Fit Suits

Such men's suits are versatile and can be worn in various settings, including:

  • Professional Environments: Ideal for modern workplaces that appreciate a sharp, stylish appearance.
  • Formal Events: Perfect for weddings, galas, and other formal occasions where a sleek, contemporary look is desired.
  • Casual and Semi-Formal Settings: Suitable for nights out, social gatherings, and events that call for smart casual attire.
smart casual attire

 

Who Should Wear Slim Fit Suits

Thes suits are best suited for individuals with a lean or athletic build, as they emphasize the body's natural shape. However, with the right tailoring, they can also be flattering for other body types. It's essential to ensure the suit is not too tight and allows for comfortable movement. We reviewed the best dress shirts for athletic builds here.

 

Classic Fit Suits

Classic fit suits represent the epitome of traditional menswear, offering a blend of comfort, versatility, and timeless style. They are designed to provide a more relaxed fit compared to their slim and modern counterparts, making them a staple in many men's wardrobes. Here's a closer look at the key features that define classic fit suits and why they continue to be a popular choice.

 

Key Features of Classic Fit Suits

1) Relaxed Silhouette

  • Roomier Fit: Classic fit suits are characterized by their generous cut, providing ample space through the chest, waist, and legs. This relaxed silhouette ensures maximum comfort and ease of movement, making them suitable for extended wear.
  • Straight Lines: The design typically features straight lines and a less-tapered shape, which contributes to a clean and professional look without being too constrictive.

2) Timeless Style

  • Traditional Appeal: Classic fit suits have a traditional and enduring style that transcends fashion trends. They are ideal for formal and business settings, offering a polished and professional appearance.
  • Versatility: These suits are versatile and can be worn on various occasions, from office meetings to formal events. Their timeless nature means they remain stylish regardless of changing fashion trends.

3) Comfort and Practicality

  • Breathability: The relaxed fit allows for better airflow, making classic fit suits comfortable to wear for long periods, especially in warmer weather.
  • Ease of Movement: The additional room provides greater freedom of movement, which is particularly beneficial during activities that require more physical engagement, such as presentations or social events.

4) Broad Appeal

  • Inclusive Sizing: Classic fit suits are designed to accommodate a wide range of body types, making them an accessible option for many men. They provide a flattering look without emphasizing any specific body shape.
  • Adaptable: Whether paired with traditional accessories like a tie and pocket square or dressed down with more casual elements, classic fit suits can adapt to various styles and preferences.

5) Construction and Fabric

  • Quality Materials: Classic fit suits are often crafted from high-quality fabrics such as wool, cotton, or blends that ensure durability and a polished finish.
  • Attention to Detail: The construction typically includes detailed tailoring, such as full linings, padded shoulders, and structured lapels, contributing to the suit's refined look.

 

Why Choose a Classic Fit Suit?

Choosing a classic fit suit means opting for a reliable, comfortable, and stylish garment that suits a multitude of occasions. Its relaxed yet refined design makes it a practical choice for those who value both aesthetics and comfort. Whether you're attending a business meeting, a wedding, or any formal gathering, a classic fit suit ensures you look sophisticated and well-dressed without compromising on ease of wear. Here's how to wear a suit without a tie.

 

Modern Fit Suits

Modern fit suits have become a popular choice in men's fashion, offering a harmonious blend of contemporary style and traditional comfort. Positioned between the slim fit and classic fit suits, modern fit suits cater to individuals who desire a fashionable look without compromising on ease and versatility. Here is a separate guide on modern fit vs slim fit.

 

What Are Modern Fit Suits?

Modern fit suits are designed to provide a tailored appearance that is more fitted than classic suits but less restrictive than slim fit. They offer a sleek silhouette that flatters a variety of body types, making them a versatile choice for many occasions, from business meetings to social events.

 

Key Features of Modern Fit Suits

1) Tapered Waist

Modern fit suits feature a slightly tapered waist, providing a subtle, structured look that accentuates the natural shape of the body without being too tight.

2) Moderate Cut

The cut of a modern fit suit is less narrow than a slim fit but more fitted than a classic fit. This creates a balanced silhouette that is neither too loose nor too tight, offering both style and comfort.

3) Versatile Styling

These suits are designed to be versatile, suitable for both formal and semi-formal occasions. They can be dressed up with a tie and dress shoes or dressed down with a more casual shirt and loafers.

4) Comfortable Fit

Modern fit suits provide ample room for movement in the shoulders and chest while maintaining a polished look. This ensures that the wearer can move comfortably without feeling constrained.

5) Updated Design Elements

Modern fit suits often incorporate contemporary design elements such as slimmer lapels, a lower rise on the trousers, and slightly shorter jacket lengths. These details add to the overall modern aesthetic.

6) Fabric and Construction

Quality fabric and construction are key to the appeal of modern fit suits. High-quality materials such as wool blends, cotton, and performance fabrics are commonly used to enhance both the look and durability of the suit.

 

Why Choose a Modern Fit Suit?

  • Balanced Style: Ideal for those who want a stylish yet comfortable suit that is appropriate for various occasions.
  • Flattering Silhouette: Offers a tailored look that flatters most body types without being too restrictive.
  • Contemporary Appeal: Incorporates modern design elements that keep your wardrobe up-to-date with current fashion trends.
  • Comfort: Designed with the wearer’s comfort in mind, allowing for ease of movement while maintaining a sharp appearance.

 

Comparison of Slim Fit, Classic Fit, and Modern Fit Suits

In sum, here is a table comparing the type of suit fits:

Feature

Slim Fit Suit

Classic Fit Suit

Modern Fit Suit

Silhouette

Tight, closely follows body contours

Loose, more room in chest and waist

Tapered, balanced between slim and classic

Fit

Narrow cut, minimal excess fabric

Comfortable, relaxed fit

Slightly tapered, moderate cut

Comfort

Less room for movement, can feel restrictive

High comfort, ample room for movement

Comfortable, allows for ease of movement

Ideal Body Type

Best for lean or athletic builds

Suitable for all body types

Flattering for most body types

Lapels

Slim lapels

Standard-width lapels

Moderate-width lapels

Trousers

Narrow, tapered legs

Straight cut, more room in legs

Slightly tapered, balanced fit

Occasions

Best for modern, trendy looks

Ideal for traditional, formal occasions

Suitable for both formal and casual events

Appearance

Sharp, contemporary

Timeless, classic

Modern, stylish

Versatility

Less versatile, trend-focused

Highly versatile, classic choice

Very versatile, blends modern and classic

Design Elements

Minimalistic, streamlined

Traditional, sometimes with pleats

Combines contemporary and traditional elements

Popularity

Popular among younger individuals

Widely popular, timeless appeal

Growing popularity for balanced style

Suit Jacket Styles

When it comes to men's suits, the style of the suit jacket plays a crucial role in defining the overall look and feel of the ensemble. Understanding the different styles of suit jackets and their characteristics helps in making an informed choice that aligns with your style and the occasion. The two primary styles of suit jackets are single-breasted and double-breasted suits. Each style has its unique features and aesthetic appeal.

 

Single-Breasted Suit Jackets

Single-breasted jackets are the most common and versatile style of men's suits. The single-breasted suit is characterized by a single column of buttons and a narrow overlap of fabric.

Characteristics of Single-Breasted Suits:

1) Button Configuration: Typically features one, two, or three buttons. The two-button configuration is the most popular, offering a modern yet classic look.

2) Lapels: Generally have notch lapels, although peak lapels can also be found in single-breasted styles, especially in more formal or fashion-forward designs.

3) Versatility: Suitable for a wide range of occasions, from business meetings to casual events. The single-breasted suit is a wardrobe staple due to its adaptability.

4) Silhouette: Provides a clean, streamlined silhouette. It is less structured than a double-breasted suit, offering a more relaxed fit.

5) Ease of Wear: Easier to wear and style, making the single-breasted suit a popular choice for everyday business attire and semi-formal events.

 

Double-Breasted Suit Jackets

The double-breasted suit is characterized by two parallel columns of buttons and a wider overlap of fabric, creating a more formal and structured appearance as a "formal suit".

Characteristics of Double-Breasted Suits:

1) Button Configuration: Typically features six buttons, with two functional buttons that fasten. Other configurations include four or eight buttons, but the six-button style is the most common.

2) Lapels: Often feature peak lapels, which add to the jacket’s formal and commanding presence. Shawl lapels can also be found, particularly in evening wear.

3) Formality: More formal and authoritative compared to single-breasted suits. Ideal for formal events, business settings, and occasions where a strong, sophisticated impression is desired.

4) Silhouette: Creates a broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted silhouette. The additional fabric and structure provide a more dramatic and powerful look.

5) Styling: Best worn buttoned, even when seated, to maintain its shape and structure. Double-breasted suits are less common in casual settings but make a strong style statement.

 

Comparing Single-Breasted and Double-Breasted Suits

Feature

Single-Breasted Suit

Double-Breasted Suit

Button Configuration

1, 2, or 3 buttons

Typically 6 buttons, sometimes 4 or 8

Lapels

Notch or peak lapels

Peak or shawl lapels

Formality

Versatile, suitable for most occasions

More formal, best for business and formal events

Silhouette

Clean, streamlined, less structured

Broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted, more structured

Ease of Wear

Easy to style and wear, comfortable

More complex to wear, maintains structure when buttoned

 

Choosing the Right Suit Jacket Style

  • Occasion: Consider the formality of the event and whether it calls for casual suits or formal suits. Single-breasted suits are more versatile, while double-breasted suits are ideal for formal occasions.

  • Body Type: Single-breasted suits are generally flattering for all body types. Double-breasted suits enhance a V-shaped silhouette and are especially good for taller, leaner builds.

  • Personal Style: Choose a style that aligns with your aesthetic. Single-breasted suits offer a classic, timeless look, whereas double-breasted suits provide a bold, statement-making appearance.

By understanding the characteristics of single-breasted and double-breasted suits, you can select the perfect style that complements your body type, suits the occasion, and aligns with your taste.

Suit Fabrics

Selecting the right fabric for a suit is crucial as it affects not only the look but also the comfort and functionality of the garment. Here are the most common types of suit fabrics along with their characteristics:

Wool Suits

Wool is the most popular and versatile fabric for suits, known for its durability, comfort, and natural breathability.

Characteristics of Wool Suits:

  • Versatility: Suitable for all seasons due to its natural insulating properties. Different weaves and weights can make it appropriate for both summer and winter.
  • Comfort: Soft and comfortable to wear. Wool suits are breathable, helping to regulate body temperature.
  • Durability: Resistant to wrinkles, making it ideal for long wear and travel.
  • Types of Wool: Includes worsted wool (smooth and fine), flannel (soft and warm), tweed (thicker and rougher, ideal for colder weather), and merino wool (fine and soft).

Cotton Suits

Cotton suits offer a more casual and breathable option, ideal for warm weather and less formal occasions. Read our in-depth guide on cotton vs polyester fabric differences.

Characteristics of Cotton Suits:

  • Breathability: Excellent for summer due to its lightweight and breathable nature.
  • Comfort: Soft and comfortable but can be less flexible compared to wool.
  • Wrinkling: More prone to wrinkling and creasing, requiring more frequent pressing.
  • Appearance: Provides a clean, crisp look but with a more relaxed and casual vibe compared to wool.

Linen Suits

Linen suits are a staple for hot weather, known for their lightness and excellent breathability. Here is more on what is linen.

Characteristics of Linen Suits:

  • Breathability: Superior breathability, making it perfect for hot and humid climates.
  • Lightweight: Extremely lightweight, offering comfort in high temperatures.
  • Wrinkling: Highly prone to wrinkling, which is often considered part of its casual charm.
  • Texture: Has a distinct texture and often comes in lighter, natural colors.

 

Other Common Suit Fabrics

Silk Suits:

  • Characteristics: Luxurious and smooth with a natural sheen. Silk suits are breathable but less durable and more expensive.
  • Usage: Typically reserved for special occasions due to their delicate nature.

Polyester Suits:

  • Characteristics: Made from synthetic fibers, often blended with wool or cotton to reduce cost.
  • Durability: Durable and wrinkle-resistant but less breathable and can feel less comfortable than natural fabrics.
  • Cost: More affordable, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious buyers.

Blended Fabrics:

  • Characteristics: Common blends include wool-polyester, wool-silk, and wool-cashmere, combining the best properties of each fabric.
  • Advantages: Blends can offer improved durability, reduced cost, enhanced comfort, and unique textures.

 

Comparison Table of Suit Fabrics

Fabric

Versatility

Comfort

Durability

Wrinkling

Best For

Wool

All seasons

High

High

Low

Business, formal, versatile

Cotton

Warm weather

High

Moderate

High

Casual, summer, less formal

Linen

Hot weather

High

Moderate

Very high

Casual, summer, tropical

Silk

Special occasions

High

Low

Moderate

Luxury, formal events

Polyester

Year-round

Moderate

High

Low

Budget-friendly, everyday use

Blended

Varies

Varies

Varies

Varies

Depends on blend components

 

Choosing the Right Suit Fabric

  • Wool Suits: Best for versatility, durability, and a classic look suitable for various occasions. Here is more on what is wool.
  • Cotton Suits: Ideal for casual, summer wear, offering comfort and breathability.
  • Linen Suits: Perfect for hot climates and casual settings, providing maximum breathability and a relaxed look.
  • Silk Suits: Reserved for special occasions due to their luxurious appearance and delicate nature.
  • Polyester Suits: Good for budget-friendly options with durability and ease of maintenance.
  • Blended Fabrics: Offer a mix of qualities from different fabrics, providing tailored benefits depending on the blend.

Choosing the Right Suit for Your Body Type

Selecting the right suit that complements your body type is essential for achieving a polished and flattering look. Understanding your male body type and how different suits can enhance your natural shape will help you make an informed decision.

male body type

Here’s a guide to choosing a suit for different body types, considering key terms like athletic build, slim build, larger build, and personal style. Be sure to also check out our guide on how a suit jacket should fit.

Athletic Build

Men with an athletic build typically have broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and a muscular frame. The goal is to choose a suit that accommodates your muscularity without looking too tight or bulky.

Tips for Athletic Build:

  • Jacket Fit: Look for suits with a slightly tapered waist to accentuate your V-shape. A slim fit or modern fit jacket works well, but avoid overly tight cuts that restrict movement.
  • Shoulder Fit: Ensure the shoulder seams align perfectly with your natural shoulder line. Avoid jackets with excessive padding.
    measuring shoulder width
  • Trouser Fit: Choose trousers that offer room in the thighs but taper slightly at the ankle. Flat-front trousers are ideal as they provide a clean look.
  • Fabric: Opt for fabrics with a bit of stretch for added comfort and flexibility.

Slim Build

Men with a slim build have a lean frame with narrower shoulders and a smaller waist. The goal is to create the illusion of broader shoulders and a fuller chest. Here is a list of other clothing recommendations for skinny guys.

Tips for Slim Build:

  • Jacket Fit: A slim fit suit is ideal as it provides a closer cut that doesn’t overwhelm your frame. Consider jackets with structured shoulders to add dimension.
  • Lapels: Choose medium to wide lapels to create a balanced proportion and add width to your shoulders.
  • Trouser Fit: Slim fit trousers that taper slightly towards the ankle will complement your frame. Avoid overly tight trousers that can look too skinny.
  • Patterns and Colors: Lighter colors and subtle patterns like checks or pinstripes can add visual weight to your frame.

Larger Build

Men with a larger build may have a broader waist, thicker torso, and fuller chest. The goal is to create a streamlined look that flatters the body without appearing too tight or too loose.

Tips for Larger Build:

  • Jacket Fit: Classic fit suits are often the best choice as they offer a comfortable and flattering fit. Look for jackets with a slight taper to define your waist without being too tight.
  • Lapels: Opt for slightly wider lapels to maintain balance with your body proportions.
  • Trouser Fit: Flat-front trousers with a straight cut provide a sleek look. Ensure there is enough room in the seat and thighs for comfort.
  • Fabric: Choose medium-weight fabrics that drape well and avoid adding bulk. Darker colors are typically more slimming.

Personal Style

While body type is important, your personal style should also guide your suit choice. Here are some additional tips to help you align your suit with your style preferences:

  • Classic Style: If you prefer a timeless look, go for classic fit suits in neutral colors like navy, grey, or black. Classic suits offer versatility and can be worn in various settings.
  • Modern Style: For a contemporary look, choose slim fit or modern fit suits with modern details like narrow lapels, shorter jacket lengths, and slim trousers. Experiment with bolder colors and patterns if you like to stand out. Here are Nimble Made's picks on the best suit colors.
  • Casual Style: If you lean towards a more relaxed style, consider cotton or linen suits. These fabrics offer a more laid-back look as casual suits and are perfect for less formal occasions.
  • Formal Style: For formal events, opt for suits made from luxurious fabrics like wool or silk blends. A double-breasted suit or a suit with peak lapels can add a touch of sophistication.

 

Suit Accessories and Alterations

A well-fitting suit is a cornerstone of a polished and professional appearance. However, achieving that perfect fit often requires the expertise of a tailor and the thoughtful addition of accessories. Here’s why tailoring and accessories are essential for all types of suits:

The Importance of Tailoring

1. Perfect Fit:

  • Customized Adjustments: Off-the-rack suits rarely fit perfectly (though if you do go that route, check out this guide to buying a suit). Tailoring allows for adjustments to the jacket’s shoulders, sleeve length, waist, and trouser length, ensuring the suit conforms to your body shape. Here is Nimble Made's suit size calculator and a guide on how long it takes to get a suit tailored.

  • Enhances Silhouette: A tailored suit accentuates your natural silhouette, whether you have an athletic, slim, or larger build. This creates a more flattering and confident look.

2. Comfort:

  • Personalized Fit: Tailoring ensures that your suit fits comfortably, allowing for ease of movement. This is crucial for all-day wear, especially in professional or formal settings.
  • Improved Posture: A well-fitted suit can improve your posture by providing better alignment and support.

3. Professional Appearance:

  • Attention to Detail: Tailoring eliminates issues like bunching fabric, too-long sleeves, or baggy trousers, resulting in a sleek and polished appearance.
  • First Impressions: A tailored suit communicates attention to detail and a commitment to quality, making a positive impression in both professional and social settings.

4. Longevity:

  • Durability: Proper tailoring ensures that the suit wears evenly and maintains its shape over time, extending its lifespan.
  • Investment: Given the cost of a good suit, tailoring is a worthwhile investment that maximizes the value and wearability of your suit.

Suit Accessories

1. Ties:

  • Statement Piece: A tie can add a pop of color or pattern, allowing you to express your personal style while complementing the suit. Here is a guide on tie clip placement.
  • Formality: The choice of tie can adjust the formality of your outfit. Silk ties are ideal for formal settings, while knit ties can add a casual, textured look. Browse Nimble Made's skinny ties.
skinny ties

2. Pocket Squares:

  • Elegance: A white pocket square adds a touch of elegance and sophistication. It can be a subtle complement to your tie or a bold statement piece.
    White pocket square

  • Versatility: Different folds and colors allow you to change the look of your suit without major alterations. Browse Nimble Made's pocket squares.

men's silk pocket squares

    3. Cufflinks:

    • Detailing: Cufflinks add a refined detail to your shirt cuffs, showcasing personal style and attention to detail.
    • Occasion-Specific: They are particularly suitable for formal events and can range from classic designs to personalized or themed options. Here is a guide on wearing cufflinks.

      4. Belts and Suspenders:

      • Function and Fashion: Belts and suspenders provide support for trousers while also adding a stylish element. Ensure the belt matches your shoes for a coordinated look.
      • Fit Adjustment: Suspenders can help achieve a better fit for trousers, especially if they tend to slip down.

      5. Watches:

      • Timeless Accessory: A watch is a functional and stylish accessory that can complement your suit. Choose a classic design for formal settings or a more modern style for a contemporary look. Have a smaller wrist? Check out our guide to the best 38mm watches for men.

      6. Shoes:

      • Foundation of the Outfit: The right pair of shoes completes your suit. Classic choices include Oxfords, brogues, and loafers, with the color coordinating with your belt and suit. Don't forget dress socks, such as these classic black dress socks.
      • Condition: Ensure your shoes are clean and well-polished to maintain a sharp overall appearance.

        7. Lapel Pins and Boutonnieres:

        • Personal Touch: Lapel pins and boutonnieres add a personal and sometimes sentimental touch. They are popular at weddings and formal events.

         

        Frequently Asked Questions on Types of Suits

        How many types of suits are there?

        There are three main types of suits: slim fit, classic fit, and modern fit. Each type offers distinct characteristics in terms of fit, silhouette, and style, catering to different body types and personal preferences.

        What are the 3 suits?

        The three main types of suits are slim fit, classic fit, and modern fit. Slim fit suits offer a close-fitting silhouette, classic fit suits provide a more relaxed and traditional look, while modern fit suits strike a balance between the two, offering a contemporary appearance with comfortable wear.

        What style of suits are in?

        Currently, slim fit, classic fit, and modern fit suits are the prevalent types of suits. Slim fit suits offer a sleek, tailored silhouette, classic fit suits provide a more traditional and roomy cut, while modern fit suits combine elements of both for a versatile and stylish option.

        What is a 7 piece suit?

        A 7-piece suit typically includes the traditional components of a standard suit—jacket, trousers, shirt, and tie—along with additional accessories such as a waistcoat, pocket square, and cufflinks. This ensemble offers a complete and coordinated look, allowing for greater customization and personalization in formal attire. Here is a guide on a waistcoat vs vest.

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