There are three main types of suits, or I should say cuts of suit, the American, European & British. To the uninitiated most suits look pretty much the same but the more you look and wear them you will notice the differences quite quickly.
Made popular in the 1920’s by Ivy Leaguers it was known as the “sack suit”. The American cut has natural shoulders, one vent in the back, strait hanging lines and flap pockets. Traditionally there are three buttons, but only the middle one is ever used, as the top one is actually part of the lapel. The look is one of comfort, looser fit and wider armholes.
The classic British suit has a militaristic feel with two buttons, two vents and a tapered waist. The armholes are higher than the American style; the fastened button is to the waist, making the jacket appear longer. The shoulders have more shape than the American cut. All these elements are designed to give a contoured and fitted look. The Double-Breasted suit is also a British cut of suit.
Also known as the Italian Cut, the European usually has padded shoulders. Typically there are no vents, but occasionally you will find the two vents like the British cut. The jacket has a pronounced V-shape design and flapless pockets.
The American and European cuts have become more similar to each other over time; probably because they are closer in style to each other than that of the British cut. The American cut is becoming more slimming while the European cut has a less pronounced V shaped jacket. Part of this merging of styles is also due to general style trends, which currently favors British type cuts, while in the 90’s the trend favored American styles.
To find out what your style is, try them on. Some men will prefer the more fitted feel of the British cut, while others will like the roominess of the American; ultimately the perfect suit will come down to your body type, comfort and personal preferences.