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How Different Countries Wear Their Suits

March 2019Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher

Illustration by Mr Paul Hempstead

For nearly a century, the lounge suit has been the international uniform for formally dressed men. From Tokyo to Tegucigalpa, Paris to Paraguay and London to Louisiana, men have worn matching jackets and trousers cut to a design that bears close resemblance to the suits first created on Mayfair’s Savile Row. However, despite the garment’s global relevance, there have long been intriguing geographical variations. Even though many tailoring brands now enjoy an international clientele, the best of them remain rooted in their local culture. Here we present a whistle-stop tour of the world’s tailoring hubs, and the characteristics that make them unique.

While the Japanese famously acknowledge the suit’s British origins through their use of the word sebiro (note the aural similarity to Savile Row), many of their tailored clothes are influenced by US styles. There is even a bespoke tailor in Tokyo that specialises in the style of dress from the American Mad Men era, a fashion epoch that had a profound influence on Japanese style. As such expect soft shoulders, little waist suppression, three buttons on jackets, plenty of grey fabric, and some seersucker. Combine the tailoring with a white shirt, a slim knit tie and conjure the mid-century vibe with Mr Miles Davis on the stereo.