The Suit

For over a century the suit has dominated wardrobes, its simple form making it the go-to attire for boardrooms, churches or cocktail bars – anywhere one wants to make an impression. But this ubiquity has allowed us to take the suit’s history for granted, and its complex construction, symbolic power and many shifting meanings have been lost to all but the most devout sartorialists. Here, Christopher Breward unstitches the story of our most familiar garment. He shows how its emergence at the end of the 17th century reflects important political rivalries and the rise of modern democratic society, and follows the development of technologies in the textile industry to show how they converged on the suit as an ideal template of modern fashion.


SKU: 9781789144963 Category: Tag:

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A beautifully tailored history of this fashion staple-at once a garment of tradition, power, and subversion.
The Suit unpicks the story of this most familiar garment, from its emergence in western Europe at the end of the seventeenth century to today. Suit-wearing figures such as the Savile Row gentleman and the Wall Street businessman have long embodied ideas of tradition, masculinity, power, and respectability, but the suit has also been used to disrupt concepts of gender and conformity. Adopted and subverted by women, artists, musicians, and social revolutionaries through the decades-from dandies and Sapeurs to the Zoot Suit and Le Smoking-the suit is also a device for challenging the status quo. For all those interested in the history of menswear, this beautifully illustrated book offers new perspectives on this most mundane, and poetic, product of modern culture.

Additional information

Weight 608 g
Dimensions 241 × 159 × 18 mm


Reaktion Books


Reaktion Books








391.473 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K