The History of the Business Suit
This entry was posted on September 21, 2016.
Today we're going to give a brief lesson on the history of the business suit. We've all wondered from time to time, why do we have to wear suits to work? Why can't every day be Casual Friday? Well, hopefully this history lesson will clear up some of your questions. Because the business suit has been around for a long, long time. In fact, the history of the business suit began in seventeenth century Britain...
Court dress was originally very elaborate, but after a particularly awful plague, Charles II decided to make his nobles dress in a more modest manner. Thus navy, gray, and neutral colors were introduced into court. Today, these colors are still the standard for business suits. By the late 18th century the morning suit was popular -- this suit is basically a very fancy tuxedo. And after that came the tuxedo we know today. Men wore tuxedos for all occasions until the early 1900's.
Birth of the Modern Suit
Near the turn of the 20th century, lounge suits started popping up. Nobody knows who invented them exactly, but they caught on like wildfire. They were casual dress for the rich and poor alike. Hollywood movies helped popularize the suit in America. Stars like Frank Sinatra displayed the versatility of the lounge suit on the silver screen. The Prime Minister of Italy famously wore a lounge suit to the treaty of Versailles, whereas his fellow heads of state wore stuffy tailcoats. He may have been under-dressed, but he was well ahead of his time.
The Suit we Know and Love Today
The modern business suit has evolved with each passing decade, along with the rest of fashion. In the '50s, double-breasted suits started falling out of favor to save cloth. In the '70s, snug-fitting suits were popular (along with disco culture). And by the 1980's and '90s, suits started loosening up. Waistcoats were banished, double-breasted styles came back, and pants and jackets started to be sold separately.
As casual wear has become more and more, well, casual, suits have become something of a pain to put on. We know you'd rather be in jeans and a t-shirt at work. But next time you don your business suit, you can think of yourself as a movie star, or a king, or both!