Weddings, interviews, business meetings—no matter what the occasion, you need a suit that makes you look and feel like a million bucks. Like most wardrobe staples, finding the perfect-fitting suit can be a challenge.

If the suit looks perfect on the mannequin but it doesn’t work for you, try paying attention to the suit cut the next time you go shopping.

There are three main types of cuts that every man should know: American, English, and Italian. In this post, we’re going to dive into each suit style and help you decide which one will complement your body type.

American Cut

It’s no secret that Americans tend to be bigger than those in many other countries. To accommodate our larger frames, the “Sack” suit took off early in the 20th century during the height of the “Roaring Twenties,” defined by its unfitted, loose structure.

Today, the American cut suit isn’t quite as baggy, yet it still has characteristics that make it less formal than its European counterparts. This suit cut has little padding, low armholes, and a single vent in the back of the jacket.

Who Should Wear it?

Its relaxed fit makes it ideal for a wide variety of body shapes, particularly those with wider frames. Leaner frames can also benefit from the generous shape of the American cut.

How to Wear

If you’re big and tall, avoid double-breasted jackets, which will only make you appear bigger, and limit your buttons to one or two. If your best feature is your chest, accent it with a stylish lapel pin or colorful pocket square.

business man checking cell phone

English Cut

Also called the British cut, English cut suits have their roots in the famous Savile Row and have been around for centuries. Though this cut has undergone changes since its creation in the 1800s, the modern English cut suit is still characterized by its sharp sophistication and military details.

An English suit is narrower than American styles, and it has a defined, padded shoulders with a higher armhole and shorter sleeves. The waist is tapered and thin, with a slight flair at the bottom of the jacket. This cut closely follows the lines of the body, placing a flattering emphasis on the chest.

Who Should Wear it?

Average and athletic body types look best in an English cut suit, but any suit that has been well-tailored should flatter any man.

How to Wear

If your body type is on the leaner side, try a double-breasted suit jacket to make your chest look wider. Eddie Redmayne is a prime example of how to make a thin frame look flattering in the right suit.

Remember, the stiff canvas of the suit makes it best for formal occasions. Consider wearing an English cut suit to your important business meetings as well as formal parties.

man in business blazer

Italian Cut

Italian suits are viewed as more contemporary and trendy compared to other styles. This is likely because this suit cut is more modern, having been developed in the 1950s.

The Italians didn’t enjoy the rigid structure of the English cut suit, nor were they interested in the baggy shape of the American style. This led to the creation of the Italian suit, which is generally made of lighter fabric and prized for its slim and streamlined design.

The front of an Italian suit jacket has a pronounced V-shape, with high gorge lines and a single-breasted style. This sleek look extends to the trousers, which feature a fitted waist and a single or no-break style.

Who Should Wear it?

If you’re a bit on the short side, the Italian suit is a good choice. The tapered waist and flattering pants can add a few inches to your legs. Men who are stockier or have a muscular build will have a harder time wearing an Italian cut suit, although designers such as Giorgio Armani have made Italian suits for bigger builds in recent years.

How to Wear

With a well-tailored Italian cut suit in classic navy, there is no way that you won’t get at least a few compliments each time you step out the door. Keep things simple with a straight-fold pocket square that perfectly complements your tie.

Conclusion

Everybody comes in different shapes and sizes, so it’s unreasonable to expect that all suits will result in a flattering fit. Understanding the three main suit cuts will help you make better style choices the next time you’re out shopping for this commanding wardrobe staple.

To elevate your look, always be sure to add a classic menswear accessory to really distinguish you from your peers. That way, you can attend your next important event looking like the sharp and stylish man you are.