The difference between British, American and Italian suits

Every bespoke tailor has its own signature tailoring style, which has been developed by years and years of experience, knowledge, passion and artistic creativity. Over the years suit styles have also developed. Nowadays you see a lot of suits that mix the different features and styles. However, traditionally there are three suit styles. Those styles are British, American and Italian.

British suit style


The British suit style finds its origin at Savile Row. Savile Row’s place in the formal history of suiting was cemented in the mid-19th century, when the Prince of Wales ordered a tailless smoking jacket, a relatively informal jacket style, made out of the fabrics traditional for a tailcoat. the Prince’s new style, called a dinner jacket, began a trend that revolutionized British fashion, introducing casual styles into the strictly regulated canon of English dress wear. The vision of the Prince of Wales, together with the creative mind of a skilled tailor, sir Henry Poole, slowly changed what was considered formal wear amongst an extremely traditional high class. The dinner jacket, and, of course, the whole new suit style they created, had a set of unique characteristics that persisted through time, were passed from generation to generation arriving in our wardrobes under the label “British style”. This is one the greatest examples of timeless style.


The British suit is emphasized by structured shoulders, a stiff canvas and low gorge lines, giving the jacket a very sophisticated look. The fit is tailored to be close to the body, with close fitting sleeves ending with surgeon’s cuffs and a high armhole. The jacket can either be single-breasted or double breasted, with usually two vents and a ticket pocket. The pants have a high waist and up to 3 pleats (a fold created by doubling fabric on itself and securing it in place).

These type of suits are ideal for average built men.

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American suit style


The rise to popularity of these suits came in 1920’s by Ivy Leaguers. At the turn of the 20th century, a distinctly American suit style emerged among the world’s fashions: the sack suit. Modeled after a French coat popularized during the 1840s, the sack suit was loosely-fitted, giving its wearer a soft silhouette. Manufacturers, like Brooks Brothers, were looking for low-cost garments to produce in large quantities, garments that lent themselves to industrialized production. Because the sack style was meant to look baggy, it was already a one-size-fits-all product: less variation was less expensive.


In its original form this suit is the least stylish. Its distinguished characteristics are single vent in the back, higher armhole, straight lines, flap pockets and natural (almost no padded) shoulders giving you softer silhouette. Also these suits were very baggy. Looser cut in these suits is very rewarding if you have to spend countless hours in them. The coat was single breasted with two or three buttons. The sleeves wear with a loose fit and feature three buttons only. Characteristics of the pants are that they were not pleated and they are cut full. 

These type of suits are ideal for big/wilder built men.

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Italian suit style


Brioni is widely credited as the innovator of the “Italian” style. They introduced their style to the world in 1952, at the first fashion show to feature a male model as its focal point. Especially in America it got famous because of the 1953 movie ‘Roman Holiday’, in which Gregory Peck wore Brioni suits. The “new” Italian style quickly won popularity over the American suit and the British suit.


The Italian suit style is modern, trendy and cut very slim. Italians were not comfortable in the structured British suit. A suit that is too heavy to be worn comfortably in warmer weather. The Italian prefer to use lighter cloths. Also the feel of the suit is lighter.  The jacket is considerably less structured compared to the British one, and as a result of that, the cloth follows one’s natural curves. The jacket is a little bit shorter, shoulders are padded and the jacket has a V-shape. Pockets are flapless and the gorge lines are high. The jackets originally did not have any vents but today two vents are common in Italian suits. The pants have a tapered waist and tight hips.

These type of suits are ideal for slim/athletic built men.

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On average, Italian suits work best with a slim and athletic person. American suits are for a more tough built. British suits are still the most formal wear, and can be highly tailored to any body type. But if the traditional suit styles do not fit you, your idea of style and your personality, then combine them to create a unique suit. We would love to be of assistance.

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What are Unlined and Unstructured Jackets?

In short you could say that Unlined or Unstructured jackets are the most natural fitting and draping jackets.

Before we go into the benefits of an unstructured jacket, we need to do a short history lesson first. After WW2 the majority of men would wear a suit because they had to. Alongside that we have seen men who aspired to create their own success and businesses which led to different play fields with new dress codes and possibilities to express yourself with your personal style. Actually we could see them as the contemporary Dandy.   

However, before the cultural revolution of the 1960's men used to wear suits because they had to and because they liked to. Oddly enough, we're now coming full circle and man men (spearheaded by the millennial generation) are now wearing suits because we love the way they make us feel, look, and act. While our fathers may never understand this drive, our grandfathers certainly did, and wore their suits and sport coats for the same reason.


More often than not this is seen on lighter, summer-weight fabrics. Part of that is because lighter weights of wool and materials like linen are more prone to wrinkle in the first place, and another reason is because removing the lining allows the jacket to wear much cooler. Natural fibers like linen, cotton, and wool can breathe but this breath ability is obstructed by the satin lining, making even light-weight jackets wear much warmer in the summer.

Thankfully though, casual jackets are appropriate throughout the year and many men are making unstructured jackets from heavier materials like tweed and winter-weight wools. These casual winter jackets wear just as comfortably as their summer counterparts but still retain a bit more heat and keep with the seasonal propriety of each fabric.

One of the only downsides to an unlined jacket is that they're near impossible to find. One of the benefits of a lining is that it can hide the ugly-but-effective stitches that go on inside a suit. An unstructured jacket can't do that same thing, so the makers are required to spend more time and effort with stitches that both do the job and look good at the same time. For most off-the-rack makers, the demand isn't worth the extra cost. This does not count for genuine tailors. This means you can come in for a visit and tell us - with any material you choose - whether or not you want to unstructured your jacket. There are no limitations and you have the complete freedom to build your sport coat or suit as casual or formal as you'd like.

An Unlined/Unstructured, Fused, Semi Canvas or Full Floating Canvas construction for you?

De Oost Bespoke Tailoring is a house of craft and passion so we can tailor using several ways of construction. This is a short explanation about the 4 common methods used by Bespoke Tailors.


Full Canvassed Jackets

Traditionally, men’s suits were constructed with a layer of horsehair canvas underneath the wool fabric shell. This canvas holds the shape of the suit and keeps it from sagging or deforming, much like the foundation of a house keeps it upright. The canvas is cut to the jacket’s shape, then the wool is stitched to the canvas. Over time, as you wear the jacket, the canvas conforms to your body’s shape, creating an excellent fit.

The canvas lining allows the suit fabric to drape naturally, allowing a clean, well put-together look. It takes years of training and additional hours of handwork for a tailor to be able to craft this the correct way.

Half Canvassed Jackets

Between the two extremes (fused and full canvas) lies a compromise – the half-canvassed jacket. Half-canvassed jackets have canvas material running only through the chest and lapels of the coat. Past that point, the jacket is fused.

Half-canvassed jackets have several benefits. First, they generally have a lower price than a similar fully canvassed jacket. Less handcraft means a lower overall cost to you. And because the top half of the jacket is not fused you’ll not run into any bubbling problems as you might in a fused jacket. This adds to the lifespan of the garment. Finally, the canvassing provides the proper base for the jacket to drape naturally across your chest, rather than appearing stiff and lifeless as many fused jackets do.

Unlined - Unstructured Jackets

When your suits aren't just for business and formal occasions then having them tailored Unlined or Unstructured is a good option. It gives the wearer the most natural look and freedom of personal expression.

By removing the interior lining, shoulder pads, and the canvassing, the jacket wears more like a shirt than a suit coat. This allows for more movement - comfort, a more casual appearance, and a more natural silhouette for the wearer - all of which help bringing the jacket down to the less formal level of the wardrobe. More often than not it is seen on lighter, summer-weight fabrics. Part of it because lighter weights of wool and materials like cotton and linen are more prone to wrinkle in the first place, another reason is that by removing the lining it allows the jacket to wear much cooler. Natural fibers breath but this is obstructed by the satin lining, even a light-weight jacket with a full-canvas construction wears much warmer in the summer.

Deconstructed - Fused Jackets

Many suit manufacturers no longer use a canvas interlining in their jackets. Rather, a fusible interlining is glued to the wool shell of the suit. And while this does an adequate job of keeping a jacket’s shape, it often creates an unnatural stiffness in the jacket, making a fused jacket appear lifeless compared to a similar canvassed coat.

What is sometimes problematic with fused jackets is the fact that the glue degrades over time, or may come unstuck during the dry-cleaning/pressing process. Where the wool detaches from the fused backing, the fabric ripples around the chest and lapels, a phenomenon known as “bubbling.”

Differences: In the full canvas Jacket, you can see how the jacket is composed entirely of cloth and horsehair canvas. The fabric is stitched directly to the canvas. In a half-canvassed garment, fusible extends the entire length of the coat. However, the garment is stitched to the canvas material, assisting in the proper shaping and providing life to the coat. In the fused jacket all the way to the right, the fusible interlining is glued the entire length of the coat.

If you want to know what the best construction would be for your garments and your personal style needs/ideas? Then feel free to contacts us for personal advice.