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Where Did Suits Originate?

Suits are standard business attire in many offices and other types of workplaces, such as retail showrooms and courts of law. They are worn by men and women alike and they are loved and hated in equal measure. Suits are symbols of formality, appropriateness and respect in a world which is increasingly informal.

The inspiration for today's suits began at Royal Court in Britain, in an era when sumptuary regulations forbade commoners from donning "the royal purple", wearing good furs and flaunting embellishments made from satin and velvet. These types of finery were meant only for courtiers. Some were reserved for the royals alone. These laws remained in place until the middle of the 17th century.

This ancient "dress code" was dismantled for good reason and it set the stage for a new dress code, which led to the creation of the modern suit.

Courtiers Began To Dress Differently

Once the Black Death broke out during 1665, the decadent clothing of courtiers put the monarchy at risk. It was no time for showing off wealth and health. For this reason, Charles II, the reigning king, told his courtiers to tone it down, at least for a time. At this point, courtiers began to dress in sober tunics and fitted breeches, in sombre tones which echo the tones of most modern business suits. Shades of tunics and breeches worn included grey, navy and taupe.

These primitive "suits" became more tailored over time. During the 18th century, the first morning suits were donned and these were very popular with the upper classes. Morning suits were more casual versions of tuxedos and were invented before tuxedos, which later became quite popular for evening get-togethers and events.

London's skilled Savile Row tailors were renowned for producing exquisite suits for the upper classes and they still do so today.

Comfort is Superior Today

The first suits were probably not as comfortable as today's versions. Man-made fibres are often used nowadays, or combined with natural fibres in some cases, in order to provide a bit of welcome stretch which makes it simpler to move around while a suit is being worn. As well, there are tons of fabrics available these days which make suits good choices for all seasons.

Suits began as symbols of social standing. Today, they serve much the same purpose. They give those who wear them a professional and elegant bearing. However, these days, anyone may wear a suit!

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