A Brief History of the Suit

A Brief History of the Suit


Let’s turn the clock back to the origin of the suit. In the 17th century King Charles II took some influence from King Louis XIV of France. He rather liked the look and decided that his Court Men were to dress the same way. This included long petticoats, knee breeches, wigs and hats. These were bright, elaborate and quite dramatic suits. They represented their wealth, stature and position in society. The fact that they were a Court Man was important, it was who they were and what they did….served their King and Country.


Moving forward through time to the influence of a chap called Beau Brummell, this was a highly influential man who was actually mates with the future King Charles IV. Brummell decided more simple, elegant and bespoke tailored suits were the way to go. These included a shorter petticoat that hugged the figure, and full length trousers. This was arguable the birth of what was to become the modern lounge suit. At this point, men of business, men of the court and men of military were all having their suits tailored in Saville Row London. Why? Because again, the suit represented who they were. These were men pushing the boundaries of the time. The industrial revolution was driven by motivated men, determined to leave their mark on this planet. And that is what their suit said about them.


Again moving forward through time, as the suit became more modernised, factions took it and made it their own. The Mods, who gave it their own style and twist was their way of standing up to the establishment. Taking something that they saw representing the system, and changing it to represent themselves and their anti-establishment movement. The suit for these guys represented their freedom to act and react and stand against the machine. The Zoot Suits, young Latinos and African Americans wore their take on the suit and engaged in standing up for what they believed. Their suits represented their plight against oppression and it was how they stood together as one strong unit and fearlessly rejected what was given to them.


So what do all of these have in common? Power. The suit has represented a man’s way of demonstrating his power, his intent to leave a mark. Over time the suit has collectively bound people, whether it in a movement or belief. It has been a vessel through which they demonstrate their intent and community. That is what the suit means. It means that you are the one who wakes up to face the challenges ahead. To do good. To stand and be fearless when called upon. To offer your strength to this world and the people in it, to share your gifts and create something amazing to leave behind. To be a leader.