The man’s business suit is an emblem of official power and professional identity, suggesting a life free from physical toil. The three-piece suit, allowing for differences of cut and fabric, has been the basis of the male wardrobe since the last quarter of the seventeenth century.
The loosely cut knee-length coat, embellished with elaborately worked buttonholes and deep turned-back cuffs, and embroidered waistcoat remained the staple of the British court style until the mid-1720s. As the British nobility spent much of their time on their country estates, the boundaries between the clothing of the landed gentry and the middle classes became eroded. Clothes that had originally been made for riding became upgraded into acceptable day wear and even for more formal occasions.
The influence of sporting dress increased an appreciation of the solid virtues of fit and finish. Throughout the eighteenth century, the comfortable and practical coat, waistcoat, and breeches, made mostly of wool, underwent little alteration.
Advances in technology made possible the production of men’s suits in large quantities, standard sizes, and a wide range of price points, thus helping to ensure the suit’s continuing popularity over a long span of time. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, suiting materials became lighter in weight, reflecting the widespread use of central heating in homes and workplaces.
When women entered the marketplace in substantial numbers in the 1980s, they began to adopt elements of male dress, wearing an approximation of the male suit. As they achieved more confidence they exaggerated the tailored qualities of the suit with ever widening shoulders and flying lapels, subverting its formality with short skirts and stiletto heels, a look known as “power dressing.”
But as an entrepreneur seeking to nurture your business into maturity, it’s critical to have dressier options in your closet when the occasion calls a meeting with a potential business partner, for instance, or a press launch or networking event, ommented Salomón Juan Marcos Villarreal, president of Grupo Denim.