Men’s Suits and Dressing Common Terms

For Men’s wear, particularly in Men’s suit there are various words used by tailor or shoppers. These common terms are necessary to know for Men’s wear. Knowing terms for Men’s wear give perfect guidelines in selecting or tailoring Men’s dress.

Men’s Suit: Jackets :
•    Full dress: Tails or Tailcoat   
•    Cutaway:  Morning coat. They are short in the front and long in the back. Tapers from the front to a wide back tail. Usually reserved for "Morning or Daytime" weddings.
•    Mandarin: standup style coat with no lapels.
•    Tuxedo:  "regular" coat
•    Stroller: semi-formal suit jacket
•    Single-breasted: Single-breasted coats button down the center. In regards to jacket; symmetrical front; buttons at the center; option of leaving coat buttoned or unbuttoned
•    Double-breasted: Double-breasted coats cross-over the center to button. In regards to jacket; one side of coat overlaps the center and buttons across to the other side; usually gives a fuller look in the chest area; suggested that these coats be buttoned at all times while standing.

Men’s Suit: Lapels:
There are different types of Lapel (commonly known as collar) for Men Suit’s Coat as follows:
•    Notch Lapel: Triangular Indentation in lapel (It is considered as most common and popular lapel style for man’s suit)
•    Peak Lapel: V-shaped Lapel that points upward
•    Shawl Collar: Rounded lapels

Men’s Suit: Coat and Trouser Material:
For Men’s suit, terms used for various types of fabric such as super wool of 100, 110, 120 count
•    Worsted Wool: 100% Wool fabric (standard); thread count is generally 60 to 75 threads per inch in worsted wool.
•    Super 100s: Finer and softer wool that Super 100s for Men’s suit. In super 100’s material thread count is 100 threads per inch.
•    Super 110s: even softer than the Super 100s; thread count is 110 threads per inch.
•    Super 120s: Men’s suit with Wool Super 120’s is considered as the soft material. In super 120’s the softer thread count is 120 threads per inch.

Men’s Suit: Shirts:
•    Wingtip: Standup collar with downward points. Most popular and most formal choice.
•    Mandarin: Standup collar without the points.
•    Down collar: Similar to your standard dress shirt
•    Cross wick: Crosses in front and is fastened with a button cover
•    Material options: 100% cotton, poly/cotton blend, micro fiber
•    French cuffs: Folded over and closed with cufflinks
•    Convertible cuffs: not folded over; closed with cufflinks

Men's Suits and Accessories

For a man wearing a suit the right jewelry can upgrade your look from smart to brilliant. At the same time, ostentatious 'bling-bling' is distracting and unattractive; men's jewelry should always be delicate. The watch passes the test by good quality of its functionality; cufflinks and tie clips earn provisional legitimacy on the similar grounds.

The wedding band is respected for what it represents, and other rings may be subtle enough to work to a man's advantage in the right setting. Piercings have featured prominently in so many counter-culture movements, from pirates to camp to punk rock, that they immediately arouse negative reactions from many. If you are going to wear an eyebrow stud with a suit, the suit had better fit you like your own skin if you don't want to be remembered as 'the guy with the eyebrow ring.'

A general rule of dressing says to match metal to metal. That means that if your belt buckle is silver, for instance, so should be your cuff links, tie clip, and anything else shiny you wear. As with all things, this is a general instruction, not a hard and fast rule: a man with a gold wedding ring can wear silver cuff links if he likes, and one who wears an heirloom silver watch is free to wear brass buckles.

Another rule says not to wear gold after dark (nor button-down collars, nor brown shoes, for that matter). This is good to keep in mind when dressing for the night-life, and again, it is a good suggestion rather than a cardinal law.

The Men's Trousers

Trousers are a difficult beast in fashion -- often misunderstood, plagued by an overabundance of terms and names, and surprisingly difficult to find in a comfortable fit. But (much like the bassist in a good band) they bring everything together even when they aren't the star of the show. Understanding the role of your trousers and the options you have in choosing them are the keys to comfortable, sharp-looking clothes for your lower half.

Trouser Fabrics in Menswear :

Most formal men's dress pants are made of woven wool or woolen blends. Gray flannel trousers are a long-standing classic, and with good reason -- the color goes well with almost the whole thing and the fabric is comfortable and durable, cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Navy blue is nearly as common as gray, and just as formal, while brown and khaki are staples of casual office wear. Black trousers are less common outside of matched suits, as they tend to draw the eye away from whatever color is worn above. Heavier fabrics will create a smoother drape and help the trousers hang neatly, but are also less comfortable in the summer.

Introduction to the Tan Suit

The English language has an abundance of words that all imply a light brownish-gray color. Different designers commonly use different words for the same color, or the same word for very different colors.  For purposes of stylistic discussion they all perform about the same -- you won't find any set of circumstances where a "tan" suit would be appropriate but “khaki" wouldn't be. In their most common usage the different styles of light coat break down as follows:

  • Tan refers to light, predominantly brown shades.
  • Dun refers to a darker brown than tan, sometimes with a greenish tint.
  • Khaki is the most dominantly yellow shade of the related colors, with little brown or gray.
  • Taupe is a darker color with gray tones as well as brown.
These are, however, only general guidelines, and every store or designer will have a slightly different take on each color.  It's not impossible to see other terms as well -- just remember that, from a stylistic standpoint, they all follow the same rules. Which one to purchase will be a matter of taste, complexion, and budget?
Formality of the Tan Suit

Light colors similar to tan are not as formal as their darker counterparts.  Brown suits in general have been a historically informal choice, and have only recently been embraced as business-wear by men looking to break-up the monotony of dark color in their wardrobe.  The lighter versions are still considered purely social wear or seasonal wear by those who adhere to strict dress rules. 

Lighter color suits are also associated with spring and summer, their lighter shades signifying the lightness of the season.  Trying to wear a light colored suit in New York City during December not only invites odd looks but opens a man up to the impracticality of keeping it clean from muddy slush.  Light colored suits are best for dry & warm weather. 

As a result, tan suits are usually considered business-casual wear.  They may well be appropriate attire for daily work at more relaxed offices, but will not serve at formal meetings or serious occasions.  These lighter suits shine best when worn for social and relaxed occasions -- as poisonous as the term "leisure suit" has become, with its brightly-colored polyester associations, that's exactly what most light brown/yellow/gray suits are made for.

They're a relaxed choice for men who prefer to appear well-dressed even during their personal time.  Patterning may be used to make the suit still more casual.  Both stripes and checks are common in light brown suits, including subdued plaids of varying earth-tones.