The story behind the American suit is the living proof of how society and the economic situation within a particular country shape fashion.

We’ll be looking back at New York City in the 1920s. The “roaring twenties”. A time of prosperity that had a massive influence on many aspects of our lives now. The first difference can be immediately spotted here: the target group.

We saw in the history of the British suit that the suit was something of a luxurious good meant for the military elite and high political class.

Bespoke tailoring was still the only accepted option since the demand was somewhat contained.

In the 1920s, the target group encompassed a wide target group made of the dominant and wealthy business class. Companies, like Brooks Brothers for example – who are considered among the pioneers of the American suit, had to start reinventing the suit in order to make it suitable for mass production. And we see these elements loud and clear just by having a quick attentive look at the American suit.

The American Suit: The Jacket

The American jacket also goes by the name of “the sack”. Now, common practice associates the name to the look of the jacket itself. Which may or may not be the case, depending on whether you had to jacket custom fitted or just picked it off the rack.

“The sack” actually comes from the French “sacque”, which is a particular construction technique for coats and jackets. The jacket, in fact, is made out of only two straight fabric panels. A technique that would be perfect for large scale production of clothes.

The jacket also comes with almost no padding and a straight silhouette. It is usually single breasted, with two or three buttons. The canvas features no darts, which – in case you’re not familiar – are folds in the canvas layer that give it a more voluminous look.

It also has a single vent in the back, low armholes and flap pockets. The sleeves wear with a loose fit and feature three buttons only.

The American Suit: The Pants

 

As for the jacket, the way pants look is also heavily influenced by the rapid industrial construction technique. The pants are a full cut, with no pleats which would save a significant amount of fabric.

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