A Gentleman’s Glossary to Buying a Suit

Glossary of Terms When Buying a Suit

When you’re stood in the tailor's shop and asked a range of questions it can be frustrating when you don’t understand the jargon used. I mean, what exactly is a vent and do I really need one? Fret no more, we’ve got the guide you’ve been looking for with all the industry jargon you’ll need for when you buy a bespoke tailored suit.

Chest Darts – these are folds in the suit fabric sewn into the jacket to control its shape and flatter your frame. It helps to give the jacket more body across the chest and ensure that it fits well.

Flap pocket – a pocket with a flap covering its entrance. The flap can vary in size and style.

Hindarm seam – this seam runs down the back of the sleeve where it meets its counterpart, the forearm seam. These seams are used to adjust the fit and style of the sleeves.

Notch lapel – a ‘v’ shaped lapel with an indentation at the point where the collar and lapel meet. Commonly found on single-breasted suits.

Patch pocket – a patch of suit fabric is used to make the pocket which is sewn onto the jacket, typically found in tweed and country style suits.

Pleats – small folds in the fabric at the top of the trousers just below the waistband. These give you a more roomy and comfortable feel when sitting down.

Scye – this is the hole in the jacket for your arm to go through to enter the sleeve.

Shawl lapel – a minimalist look typically found on a tuxedo, where the lapel follows a smooth line wrapping around the collar into the lapel.

The peaked lapel – a peak is formed with this lapel where the jacket’s lapel points upwards towards the shoulders where it meets the collar.

The silhouette – this term refers to the overall look of the suit, particularly the shape and fit of the jacket. You’re aiming for a sleek silhouette without bulges or breaks.

The skirt – this makes up the bottom edge of your jacket that overlaps with your suit trousers. The length of the skirt can vary according to style and fit. Generally if you’re on the short side, you want a shorter jacket skirt to ensure the right balance.

Vents – the vent is the slit in the material at the back of the suit jacket. There’s a centre vent which you tend to find on a three button jacket, and a side vent more commonly used on a two button jacket.

If you’re unsure about vents, always ask your tailor, as how you stand and use your pockets can affect the tension of the fabric and where the vent needs to be.

There you have it, our super simple suit jargon glossary. The next time you’re buying a bespoke or hand-tailored suit, and you’re not sure what a term means, give it a read to refresh your memory and go into that tailors looking like a seasoned suit-buying professional.

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

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