Suits are available in a number of configurations. Most common is the standard two-piece suit, which consists of pants and jacket. Add a waistcoat and, voilá, you have a three-piece suit, suitable for more formal occasions (together with a tie.) or activities in a less than adequately heated establishment (outdoors, perhaps?). In addition to the number of pieces, a suit may be either single-breasted or double-breasted, ie with either one or two rows of buttons on the jacket and waistcoat (but not the pants!).
The suit usually consists of three different materials:
  • The outer fabric - wool, in most cases. Sometimes, the wool is mixed with polyester or similar synthetic fibers. Less wool equals less water resistance and ventilation, but also results in a lower price and a suit less susceptible to stretching. Other materials are uncommon - cotton or linen in lighter summer suits, silk in Don Johnson's silvery suit in Miami Vice, and Teflon-covered synthetic fibers in my green, lapel-less suit jacket.
  • The lining - silk in very expensive suits, but more often some kind of synthetic fiber like acetate.
  • The stiffener - originally buckram or similar stiff linen or cotton fabric. This type of stiffener is still used in more exclusive suits, especially tailor-made ones. Usually, however, the buckram is replaced by a more convenient stiffener - a thin paper-like sheet of fibers with glue on one side, which is ironed onto the outer fabric.
In much the same way as wine, different regions produce different suits. Italian suits tend to have a more accentuated waist, wider shoulders and lapels and three buttons, whereas northern european suits are slimmer, longer and less strict regarding the number of buttons (Any number from two to five is common.)
Brioni (Made famous in some recent James Bond movies), Ermenegildo Zegna and Corneliani make very nice Italian suits.
Armani - originating from Italy, but not overly Italian in design - are back in style, in part due to Armani making all the suits (and there were a lot of them) in the movie Gattaca.
Nice European suits include Mexx and Tiger, both notable for their slanted shoulders and length - get one of these if you plan on working in a highly bureaucratic setting (think Brazil!) like a bank or the NSA.

If you decide to go into business for yourself, even if you "sell stuff," you will never have to wear a suit again, at least until that last time you're seen in public. You will never have to feel the suit jacket wrinkle behind your back each time you sit down, nor worry about getting your starched dress shirt wrinkled each time you buckle your seat belt.

Years ago, when I left the management end of a big outfit and decided to just work on my on, I still wore a suit for a while. Then, I decided to start keeping score. How would my business be if, for one year, I quit wearing a coat? It actually got better.

So, what if I don't wear a tie for a year? It got better still.

What if I don't wear dress shirts, but more casual (and comfortable) shirts? No change.

So, now I work in a pair of nice slacks with nice shoes (the shoes are what most folks who are conscious of "style" will first notice), but with a comfortable shirt ("golf shirts" are great), and I have found that folks will do business with me, even if THEY are wearing a suit.

Normal playing cards usually come in four flavours, or suits: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades. They have been in use since around 1470, when French card manufacturers redesigned the German system using leaves, acorns, hearts and bells.

In some games the order of the suits does matter, but the order differs from game to game. For example, in Preference the order is (ascending) spades, clubs, diamonds, hearts while in Contract Bridge it is clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades.

Most decks also contain two or three jokers. It's not entirely clear when jokers were introduced, but it seems to stem from when german immigrants introduced the game Euchre to America. Euchre used a special card which eventually became the joker.

sufficiently small = S = suitable win

suit n.

1. Ugly and uncomfortable `business clothing' often worn by non-hackers. Invariably worn with a `tie', a strangulation device that partially cuts off the blood supply to the brain. It is thought that this explains much about the behavior of suit-wearers. Compare droid. 2. A person who habitually wears suits, as distinct from a techie or hacker. See pointy-haired, burble, management, Stupids, SNAFU principle, PHB, and brain-damaged.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

American suits have one vent in the back of the jacket (and if you really want to get respect, call it a "coat"), no shaping, and natural shoulders. Three buttons are the best, and available from Brooks Brothers or J. Press, most other, lesser tailors get by with two. English suits have two vents in the back, and a little more shaping. Most top English tailors ply their trade in Savile Row, and have an extraordinarily complex method of measuring that takes into consideration how you sit, stand, walk, habitual motions...and of course, one's dressing side. Italian, or "Continental" suits are as above, with no vent in the back. Perhaps some other poster can explain German, and military tailoring; I have little to go by except that it fits close to the body.

Speaking as a clothing freak, there's nothing nicer than to undress a man wearing the full kit...

Suit up!

Every once in a while I can't help but engage in an indulgence of one sort or another. This time, I sought out for an extravagance(1) of a sartorial kind.

Running an advertisement in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a Mr. Daswani from Hong Kong offers tailor made suits in the best Saville Row tradition for an affordable price. Sure enough, a variety of major international newspapers (among them The Economist and the venerable New York Times) ran articles on the fine clothes by Raja Fashions, praising both quality and service. Having made quite good experiences with my tailor in Singapore, I made an appointment with Mr. Daswani's emissaries who are currently residing in Frankfurt.

Unlike my tailor in Singapore, Dayani's (100 Orchard Rd), it is not necessary to pay a visit to Hong Kong to come to enjoy Mr. Raja's craftsmanship, although this might be the perfect excuse for a trip to the former british crown colony. Raja Fashions tailors are routinely touring Europe and North America and will be in a city nearby every three months.

Sure enough, my soon-to-be new tailors reside in Frankfurts Hilton Hotel. Raja Fashion advertises a total of 20,000 different fabrics to choose from and yes, a good portion of the suite is covered with sample books. The look-out onto Frankfurts CBD is magnificent on this sunny autumn morning while the two gentlemen take my measures carefully and with a professional swiftness, noting every bodily imperfection that needs to be hidden by the suits.

Although the notion of tailor-made clothes might still convey a certain (financial) loftiness that is really not my native habitat, rest assured that in todays globalising world services like this become available to the proverbial everyman like myself for the price of what could be considered a nice, short vacation abroad. I especially commend Raja Fashions pricing system which could not be any easier. Included in the price for your suits are shipping costs as well as a lifelong guarantee for changes. You just call up Raja Fashion when they tour a city near you again if you wish to have changes made.

The ineptitude of my domestic bank in transferring the money within a reasonable amount of time stands in a sharp contrast to the swiftness with which the (one might think, equally complicated) process of manufacturing a highly customised suit in Hong Kong and ship it to the customer anywhere in the world is conducted. This has got to be Germany.

True story.


(1) Yes, the question whether or not things considered quite mundane for a Westerner (like owning and regularly driving a car) already constitutes an indulgence that strains our planetary resources when looked from a global perspective, remains to be addressed.

Suit (?), n. [OE. suite, F. suite, OF. suite, sieute, fr. suivre to follow, OF. sivre; perhaps influenced by L. secta. See Sue to follow, and cf. Sect, Suite.]


The act of following or pursuing, as game; pursuit.



The act of suing; the process by which one endeavors to gain an end or an object; an attempt to attain a certain result; pursuit; endeavor.

Thenceforth the suit of earthly conquest shone. Spenser.


The act of wooing in love; the solicitation of a woman in marriage; courtship.

Rebate your loves, each rival suit suspend, Till this funereal web my labors end. Pope.

4. Law

The attempt to gain an end by legal process; an action or process for the recovery of a right or claim; legal application to a court for justice; prosecution of right before any tribunal; as, a civil suit; a criminal suit; a suit in chancery.

I arrest thee at the suit of Count Orsino. Shak.

In England the several suits, or remedial instruments of justice, are distinguished into three kinds -- actions personal, real, and mixed. Blackstone.


That which follows as a retinue; a company of attendants or followers; the assembly of persons who attend upon a prince, magistrate, or other person of distinction; -- often written suite, and pronounced sw&emac;t.


Things that follow in a series or succession; the individual objects, collectively considered, which constitute a series, as of rooms, buildings, compositions, etc.; -- often written suite, and pronounced sw&emac;t.


A number of things used together, and generally necessary to be united in order to answer their purpose; a number of things ordinarily classed or used together; a set; as, a suit of curtains; a suit of armor; a suit of clothes.

"Two rogues in buckram suits."


8. Playing Cards

One of the four sets of cards which constitute a pack; -- each set consisting of thirteen cards bearing a particular emblem, as hearts, spades, cubs, or diamonds.

To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort Her mingled suits and sequences. Cowper.


Regular order; succession.


Every five and thirty years the same kind and suit of weather comes again. Bacon.

<-- 10. [From def. 7, someone who dresses in a business suit, as contrasted with more informal attire] A person, such as business executive, or government official, who is apt to view a situation formalistically, bureaucratically, or according to formal procedural ctriteria; -- used derogatively for one who is inflexible, esp. when a more humanistic or imaginative approach would be appropriate. -->

Out of suits, having no correspondence. [Obs.] Shak. -- Suit and service FeudalLaw, the duty of feudatories to attend the courts of their lords or superiors in time of peace, and in war to follow them and do military service; -- called also suit service. Blackstone. -- Suit broker, one who made a trade of obtaining the suits of petitioners at court. [Obs.] -- Suit court O. Eng.Law, the court in which tenants owe attendance to their lord. -- Suit covenant O. Eng.Law, a covenant to sue at a certain court. -- Suit custom Law, a service which is owed from time immemorial. -- Suit service. FeudalLaw See Suit and service, above. -- To bring suit. Law (a) To bring secta, followers or witnesses, to prove the plaintiff's demand. [Obs.] (b) In modern usage, to institute an action. -- To follow suit. Card Playing See under Follow, v. t.


© Webster 1913.

Suit, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Suited; p. pr. & vb. n. Suiting.]


To fit; to adapt; to make proper or suitable; as, to suit the action to the word.



To be fitted to; to accord with; to become; to befit.

Ill suits his cloth the praise of railing well. Dryden.

Raise her notes to that sublime degree Which suits song of piety and thee. Prior.


To dress; to clothe.


So went he suited to his watery tomb. Shak.


To please; to make content; as, he is well suited with his place; to suit one's taste.


© Webster 1913.

Suit, v. i.

To agree; to accord; to be fitted; to correspond; -- usually followed by with or to.

The place itself was suiting to his care. Dryden.

Give me not an office That suits with me so ill. Addison.

Syn. -- To agree; accord; comport; tally; correspond; match; answer.


© Webster 1913.

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