When clients contact us online to order a suit––or make an appointment to meet with us about a suit here in our workshop in Denver, Colorado––one of the first questions we ask is, “Do you want a vest?”

Navy Pinstripe Vest

A Classic Business Look

Around 75% of our clients answer “Yes.”

Part of this is just the fact that most shops don’t carry 3pc suits.  Here in Denver, one can visit the retail stores of some of the hottest international designers an not find a single 3pc suit.

Dressing up With Peak Lapels

And this isn’t because vests aren’t trendy.  3pc suits have been a major trend for the past 6 years.

The reason that one can only find 2pc suits is that not all guys want a vest, and it is just too much of a risk to stock vests in every size if half of the guys won’t want them.

But, as all of our suits are completely custom, we don’t have that problem.  So many of our clients contact us specifically because they know they want a vest and haven’t been able to find a suit that they liked anywhere else.

A Workingman Look

But for the client that isn’t sure which way to go, what kinds of questions should he consider?

The clients who buy 3pc suits fall into 2 categories:

1. Men who love a really formal look (and a vest completes this).


2. Men who like a more relaxed “working man” look.

If these reasons for wanting to add a vest seem to contradict each other, this is simply because one can take one’s jacket off in modern social situations.

Even Tweed Sportswear Can Feel Formal in 3pcs

With a jacket and a vest, even the most sporty plaid or houndstooth fabrics take on a very formal look.  A 3pc suit feels more formal and put together on virtually every occasion.

This is particularly the case if one is attending a daytime wedding or an important business meeting.

Contrast Vest

On the other hand, if one takes the jacket off and wears simply the vest and pant, the look becomes altogether sporty and casual.  The look transforms from  ”wedding attire” to “party attire,” from “garden party” to “picnic.”

The result is that a vest is a great choice when one wants to really “dress up” and for when one wants to “dress down.”

Wedding Vest

An Outdoor Fall Wedding

Whether or not a vest is the right choice for your suit really depends on where you will wear the suit and how many occasions one has at either of the extremes.

We sell the fewest 3pc suits to men who wear the suits simply for everyday business.

That said, if one is going to take off one’s jacket at work during part of the day, wearing a vest can certainly be an improvement over simply dressing in shirt sleeves.

For guys who are on the fence, we can always design a vest to go with your jacket and you can decide whether or not you feel that it compliments the look.

The Basic Straight Leg Flat Front Pant

Choosing the right pant fit and leg shape is one of the most important parts of getting the right look in a suit.

Do you want to look more youthful, slim, and eager?

The Skinny Leg "Rocker" Fit

Or is your style more one that connotes power and solidity?

Is your style more traditional or is it more daring?

In terms of recent fashion there are two competing trends to look at.  The first is the “skinny jeans” trend that has been going on for the past 5-10 years.  To a younger guy, a pant just doesn’t fit unless it is tight.

Cary Grant in a Wide Leg Pant

“Old men” might want a pant that comes up closer to the navel, but lots of younger guys prefer a pant with an ultra low rise similar to women’s pants.

A pant from H&M aimed at young men.

The second (and contrary)  trend is a return to the classics of the early 20th century.  This means a return to a higher-waisted and often wider leg pant.

Men who are interested in this trend tend to reject the youthful “dressing down” looks of the 90s and 00s—instead of looking younger, one wants to look “like a grown-up” after the fashion of golden age and silent film stars.  In addition to 1930s-era suiting, many men who look toward this trend find inspiration in classic denim and workwear.

A Full Wide Leg Flat Front Pant

We can, of course, make pants in both styles—-or even a hybrid of the two styles.

A Slim Tapered Tuxedo Pant

Perhaps the main thing to understand about pants is that, like all human clothing, the idea is to stylize the figure and the question is what each style means.

For some men, for example, the skinny leg style just doesn’t work.  This is particularly the case with athletic men who ride a bicycle to work or do frequent squats.

The style ends up failing on men with muscular thighs because the ankles and calves end up looking too skinny (and even fragile!) in comparison to the thighs.  The initial impression is that the ankles might shatter under the weight.  Going with a wider leg inevitably seems like a better fit, while a skinny style just feels too tight and off balance.

A 1920s Style High Waistband

Similarly, on men with a larger belly, the slimmer leg can give a top-heavy “muffin top” look to the suit which is always unfortunate.

Our "Jean Fit" Dress Pant--Slim Fit but Bootcut for More Athletic Shapes

On the other hand, for men who are very slim and tall with narrower shoulders, one inevitably wants to make the pant legs thinner.  If the jacket has fairly narrow shoulders and a narrow waist (which is the case on men with a smaller chest size), a wider leg pant throws the look off balance.

Overall, one wants to pick a pant style that fits with one’s individuality.

If you want to convey solidity and authority and to look like Cary Grant, one should choose a wider leg pant.

To look young and eager, a slimmer leg is better.

But the pant is designed to stylize the body—-and choosing a look that flatters your individual body type is important as well.

We make all of our pants and bespoke suits one-at-a-time to fit each client’s body and style here in our studio in Denver, Colorado.  Find out about our muslin fitting and how we can fit clients around the world.

1920s Style Sports JacketFor daytime outdoor wear, plaid is supreme.
Whether you are at a wedding, the museum, or just headed out for brunch with your friends, a plaid sport coat or vest is ideal.
The look is much less uptight than an evening look in black, and much less of a purely “business” look than navy.
Because so many weddings today are in outdoor settings, plaid (along with seersucker and sporty tropical wools) has become one of our most popular looks for grooms.
In such a setting, a plaid is simply a more sophisticated option.red plaid jacket
A plaid also provides the opportunity to coordinate with the wedding colors and the setting.
Each piece that we make is completely custom made.
You choose the colors and the look and we work with you to design the perfect piece.
Our jackets include beautiful handwork details and hand prick-stitched lapels.Custom Plaid Jacket
They are cut to fit you precisely.
You send measurements (which are easy to take at home) and we cut and sew muslin mock-ups for you to try on.
You send us a few digital pics and your comments and then we revise the piece to fit you perfectly.
The pictures show some of our most recent plaid outfits.Brown Glen Plaid 3pc Suit
The first set of pictures shows a gorgeous 3pc plaid outfit where all of the pieces are coordinated to provide an amazing look.1920s style jacket cuffs
The jacket is cut from a brushed flannel fabric with red, brown and aqua as the primary colors in the plaid.
The vest is cut from a burgundy flannel with a vintage workingman’s style and the pants are cut from an iridescent wool with elements of brown, blue, and green.
The jacket has our signature sporty 1920s breast pocket, and sportsman’s cuffs.
The result is a jacket that draws upon some of the richest traditions in sportswear.
The pink and brown jacket (shown here are the autumn wedding that it was created for) is an example of how when the colors are well chosen even a very bold plaid blends in and compliments its surroundings.
vegan plaid suitIndeed plaid functioned as an early version of camouflage and is still the choice of many traditional sportsmen.

The medium greyish brown suit shows a much more subtle plaid.  This fabric is a lightly brushed very fine glen plaid wool with multiple tones of brown and ivory.

This suit was cut for a groom who also wanted to be able to wear the suit to many work related events in the legislative world.

Glen Plaid VestWe designed a suit with subtle western touches.  The jacket has early 20th century style cuffs (which we cut on the bias for maximum effect), a ticket pocket, and a decorative handwork buttonhole on the lapel.

The vest has a matching bias cut Western style yoke.  But overall the suit has a very modern cut and is youthful and trim.

The charcoal and maroon check suit pictured shows an exception to the thought that plaid fabrics are primarily for daytime wear.

A small check like this one, although still quite sporty, has a more indoor look and can be great for business or for evenings out.

This suit was made for a jazz musician to wear while playing in the evening and while conducting business by day.

Overall, the suit combines mod and Victorian details to create an impression that is unique and very contemporary.  This jacket also has sportsman’s cuffs which can be easily rolled up when playing an instrument.

While all of the other suits shown here are cut from wool, this suit was cut from a cotton blend as the customer is a vegan and prefers not to wear any animal products.  The inner canvas and buttons are also animal product free.

The final look is a vest and pant outfit that draws upon the sporting looks of the Edwardian era.

This outfit is made from a wool/silk blend with a rich and complex glen plaid.  The back of the vest is cut from tan linen that keeps you feeling dry in the summer heat.

The vest is cut with a wide pointed shawl collar that wraps around the back of the neck and the pants are cut with a wide 1920s style cuff.

This suit was made for summer and fall weekends, brunches and BBQs when something awesome and unique was needed, but when it seemed too hot and stuffy to wear a jacket.

All of our pieces are handmade one at a time here in our studio in Denver, Colorado.

So if you are thinking about a suit, jacket, or vest, please contact us so we can sketch some ideas for you and put together some swatches.

We make pieces for customers all over the world.

To contact us, send an email to AJ (aj@denverbespoke.com).