Which one SUITS You?

Some people often don't know the difference between a suit and a jacket. How can you tell which one’s which? Well, it's a lot simpler than you might think. Let’s talk about the differences, similarities, and styling tips for these two.

Let's start with what makes a suit, a suit. Suit jackets are also always accompanied by a matching pair of trousers. That's what makes it a "suit". The suit jacket and trousers are made of the same fabric and are intended to be worn together. You can occasionally break apart a suit and wear the jacket or pant separately but do so with caution. One, if you wear the pant or jacket a lot more than the other, the could wear differently especially if you over dry clean one or the other. Secondly, not all suit fabrics should be worn separately. Now, these rules are changing somewhat as you see a flannel chalk stripe fabric which would traditionally be made in a suit, now be made solely in a jacket. Eleventy and Brunello Cucinelli do this often. Or a navy wool or cotton solid suit could easily be worn separately. What doesn't work is a grey nailshead or olive solid suit jacket being worn as a only a jacket. The very sophisticated and stylish can pull off wearing a suit jacket separately but you have to know what you're doing. Most often a guy will wear his suit jacket as a blazer not knowing the difference and that's what it looks like. So if you're unsure, then keep the suit jacket and pant together and don't mix and match. 

One of our favorite and best selling suits is from Caruso - available in navy and grey. This suit is made from the finest wool blend fabric to ensure comfort and fit. Caruso, from the Parma region of Italy, is one of our best kept secrets. Stitch for stitch and dollar for dollar, it is hands down one of the best makes in the market. The own their own factory and manufacture for many well known designer labels (Christian Dior, Lanvin, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, and so on) yet their own brand is a bargain and phenomenal value relatively speaking. Caruso is a fully canvassed suit - meaning the canvas lining in the chest/shoulder area is not glued to the fabric otherwise known as "fused". The fusing makes production much faster and therefore cheaper but doesn't fit or wear nearly as well as a full canvassed garment. Giorgio Armani and Suit Supply are fused garments. As is most everything on the market. Full canvas is how suits used to be made and how the good ones still are.

Raffaele Caruso, the founder, was a Neapolitan tailor who moved north to Parma in the 1950s. I don't know exactly how he started his factory, but today it is a multimillion euro company and a blend between old world Neapolitan tailoring common in southern Italy and the industrial capabilities of northern Italy. He took the best of both worlds. The most important parts of a making a jacket is that it's fully canvassed, and that the collar and sleeves are set and stitched by hand. These parts make the jacket fit more comfortably and look better than a entirely machine made garment (meaning no hand sewing). You'd be surprised how many expensive suits are entirely machine made (Zegna, Canali, Armani, etc.).

And compared to a mostly handmade garment like Kiton or Cesare Attolini, Caruso has a handmade feel and fit to it, but costs much less than a fully handmade suit and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. With their made-to-measure program, Caruso can make the suit entirely by hand if you like, but I find fully handmade to have diminishing returns. We carried Kiton for 20+ years and Oxxford for 7+ years, and while both are fantastic, they weren't 4x the make of Caruso, but they were in price. Nothing wrong with that of course, but my point is that Caruso is a really special brand.  

Stitching the long back seam on a jacket by hand doesn't add anything of value to the make or fit, but it does add time, and therefore cost. Same with handmade buttonholes on the jacket. Kiton or Attolini will have handmade buttonholes because they are mostly handmade jackets, but a buttonhole machine can make the buttonhole in a fraction of the time and a machine-made or handmade buttonhole doesn't affect the fit whatsoever. A handmade buttonhole is slightly softer given the thread and the looser stitch, but again barely noticeable. It comes down to what you desire and value. For us, Caruso offers the best of both worlds. It's a luxury brand at a more attainable price relative to its peers in the market. We've carried them for over 20 years. You probably haven't heard of them, but they'll soon be your favorite suit brand. 


Caruso Norma Two Piece Suit$1,895


Caruso Norma Two Piece Suit $2,495


Let’s talk jackets or blazers. A jacket can be any style or fabric but a blazer means a navy solid jacket. A beige and brown plaid linen fabric can be a jacket but it can't be a blazer. The original version of the blazer was a double-breasted navy blazer with 6 buttons worn by the British military, but nowadays there are many options. It's always smart to have a solid blue blazer in your closet and that is why we recommend the Luciano Barbera Navy Hopsack Jacket. This classic navy blue blazer will be your new go to piece for any business trip, semi-formal event, or dinner! It's fully canvased but has a lighter canvas padding making it very soft feeling. It can be dressy or casual. Wear with a grey wool pant and shirt and tie or with denim and sport shirt.

 Luciano Barbera Navy Hopsack Jacket $2,095


A blazer is your go-to choice when you want to elevate your style without going all the way to a full suit. Blazers have incredible versatility. A blazer can come in many different shades of navy blue (it sounds strange but it's true). I have over 10 "navy blazers". Some are in fall/winter weights (cashmere and wools), others are linen or cotton. Some are dressier, others more unconstructed and casual. Now if you don't want a solid navy fabric, then there are even more choices for jackets a.k.a. sport coats. Our selection of Eleventy jackets are the perfect pieces to elevate your look. The Eleventy Light Blue Jacket is made from a linen blend that is mid weight and non-stretch. This jacket fits true to size. The Eleventy Navy Plaid Jacket is unstructured and also made from a linen blend. This jacket is your go to upgrade from a solid blue blazer.

Eleventy Light Blue Plaid Jacket $1,895


Eleventy Navy Plaid Jacket $1,595


A lighter option is the Luciano Barbera Blue Grey Check Jacket. This jacket is the perfect jacket to throw on and look put together with little to no thought. With its unique and subtle checkered pattern, it is made to be worn more than once.


Luciano Barbera Blue Grey Check Jacket$2,195


In many ways, suits and jackets are the building blocks of a man's wardrobe. Dress them up, dress them down, it doesn’t matter, they work nearly everywhere and can be worn to almost everything. Knowing the difference between these two will help you browse our collection to find the best one for you. Whether you are attending a wedding, business meeting, or going out to dinner, you can now dress to impress with confidence.