The Tailored Clothing Guide
A guide to the full range of men's tailored clothing, from sports jackets to tuxedos.
1. Blazer - The navy blazer has more to do with the navy than a mere shade of blue. The name dates back to 1837, when the captain of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Blazer ordered double-breasted, gilt-buttoned, navy blue jackets for his crew in honour of a visit by the future Queen Victoria. Today, blazers vary greatly in the formality of their cut and structure, and in the fabric used, but their usefulness remains as a classic garment of great versatility that can be dressed up with dress pants and dressed down with jeans.
2. Double-Breasted Jacket - Featuring two rows of buttons down the front, the double-breasted jacket is cut so that the left lapel overlaps the right. The inside button, called the jigger, secures the underside for a smooth appearance. A double-breasted jacket is usually considered more formal than a single-breasted, and it has resurged in popularity for business wear and event dressing.
3. Flap Pockets - A flap pocket of any construction features a piece of matching fabric sewn above the pocket opening. Offering moderate pocket protection, the flap streamlines the garment by hiding the pocket opening. This style of pocket is most commonly found on business suit jackets and sports jackets.
4. Kissing Buttons - The term kissing buttons describes the close arrangement of cuff buttons on the sleeve of a jacket. Kissing buttons are sewn closely together so that they are touching or just overlapping.
5. Notch Collar - In this style, the collar forms a V-shaped indentation, a notch with the lapels of a garment at the seam where collar and lapels join. Traditional and classic, the notch collar creates a versatile look suited to both casual and business wear.
6. Patch Pockets - What makes a patch pocket distinctive is that it is composed of a separate piece of cloth sewn onto the outside of a garment. In jacket design, the effect creates a slightly more casual look.
7. Peak Collar - The peak collar creates slightly more formal look to a lapel. In this style, the lower step of the collar surpasses the top, forming a peak.
8. Shawl Collar - Also known as a roll collar, the shawl collar is cut in one continuous curve. The style dates back to the 19th century Victorian era, and today it is most commonly found on tuxedos and dinner jackets because it is more formal than notch and peak collars.
9. Sports Jacket - The sports jacket is the garment of our times -- from the most exquisitely tailored design to something soft, unstructured and casual. We wear it to work with dress pants, dress shirt and tie, confident of its propriety. When the weekend comes, we put on the same jacket over a knit and a pair of jeans and feel simultaneously casual and well turned-out. The one thing we don’t do in a sports jacket is sports – unless we’re staying at an old-fashioned English country house and choose to go riding or join the shooting party – which of course, was its origin.
10. Suit - In its essentials, the suit has changed remarkably little since it was first developed in England at the end of the 19th century. The reason for such longevity is simple: a well-made suit looks good on a man. It flatters his shape, is comfortable to wear and lends him confidence and an air of authority. The suit's accompanying shirt, tie and pocket square offer a man limitless subtle opportunities for self-expression.
11. Surgeon’s Cuffs - A jacket has surgeon’s cuffs (also known as working cuffs) when the buttons and buttonholes at the cuffs actually work to secure the end of the sleeves. As the name suggests, surgeon’s cuffs originally allowed a doctor to roll up his sleeves and operate without removing his jacket. It should be noted that is customary to leave one or two of the buttons unbuttoned.
12. Three-Piece Suit - The three-piece suit is a single-breasted suit with a single-breasted vest (also known as a waistcoat) cut from the same cloth as the jacket and trousers. The great advantage of the three-piece suit is that it gives added opportunities for a man to vary his look, wearing the suit without its vest or putting on the vest but removing the jacket. Only the foolhardy would dare to break one rule: the bottom button of a waistcoat, like that of a jacket, must be left unbuttoned.
13. Ticket Pocket - For the uninitiated, the ticket pocket is the small flapped or jetted pocket (occasionally, it can be patch, straight or cut on a hacking angle), always placed just above the right main hip pocket on a men's jacket. It is normally roughly half as wide as the pocket below it.
14. Tuxedo - The tuxedo, or dinner jacket, is the most formal suit most men own. Easily spotted by the satin finishing on the lapels, buttons and piping down the trouser, a tuxedo usually has no belt loops and is worn with suspenders. The pant hem is never cuffed and the lapel can be shawl, notch or peak. The tuxedo was first worn in North America by Griswold Lorillard in 1886, at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, New York. He was asked to go home by the astonished members, but the revolution slowly caught on.