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).

and

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).

Black Pinstripe 3pc SuitEvery suit that we make is unique and made for an individual client.
We don’t have 5 or 10 or even 500 designs.  Prohibition Era Suit
For every suit that we make, we start with the client and his own sense of style.
We ask him where he will wear the piece.
How often he will wear it.  How much he wants to stand out or blend in.
We ask him what kinds of motions he will be making, whether he will be dancing or reaching across a desk or sitting on a barstool with his jacket buttoned.
Wedding Pinstripe SuitCrimson Paisley LiningAnd then we mine the rich history of menswear for details from the past that can be dragged into the present and recreated to fit within the thick context of his individual life.
We do not set out to create something new.
Action Back JacketBut the distinct individuality of each human person gives birth to newness.  1930s Style Pinstripe Suit
But this newness is never merely superficial or contrived.
It is instead filled with meaning; it carries its past within it; it is purposeful.
This post showcases some of our unique recent pieces.
Many of the pictures show a black pinstripe suit that we made recently. 
This suit combines details from many eras to create a suit that is perfect for business, pleasure,—and getting married in.
The fabric is a gorgeous wool twill with bright white stripes.
Mod Navy SuitMany of the details of the piece are borrowed from more sporty and casual suits of earlier eras.  Slim Lapels Suit
The pleats in the back above and below the back belt on the suit give the suit an “action back”.
This keeps the suit feeling slim while allowing for lots of extra movement in the back when driving, operating a mouse, or shuffling papers around on a desk.
The hip pockets are hacking flaps, which make for easy entry and comfortable slouching, but they are further accessorized with buttons which help to contain items of importance when the jacket is tossed upon a bed.
The shapes of the pocket flap and the cuffs are in one of the more interesting and distinct nineteen teens/early 20s styles and give the pieces a slight aura of dandyism despite the business-like orientation of the pieces.
The jacket and the vest are cut with peak lapels and are single breasted.  Like all of our “1909 Bespoke” suits, this jacket is finished with hand pick-stitching and distinctive vintage handwork tacks.
We also made the shirt, tie, and the tropical wool wedding gown shown, and always enjoy the chance to make as many pieces as possible for a special event or performance.
Daytime Formal Wear SuitThe next suit is almost completely different.  This piece, cut from a more finished black and navy basketweave tweed, is an utterly fitted “Mod” piece that has more of a 1960s look to it.Tan Herringbone Suit
This jacket is styled with a wide upper collar but narrow lapels.  It has traditional hacking flap pockets with a ticket pocket and is finished with crowsfoot tacks on the pocket flaps and a simple handworked buttonhole on the lapel in navy.
Double Breasted Herringbone Formal VestThe jacket has 2-button functional cuffs sewn with 30 ligne horn buttons for a more Mod look.
These buttons, like the buttons on the jacket, are a brown, rather than navy horn, all of which adds to the deliberate retro look of the piece.
The pants are slim “boot cut” low-rise pants with L-shaped jean pockets.  This detail gives the suit a sporty look and allows for a highly fitted seat.
L-shape pockets are also excellent for holding your keys versus standard slash pockets should you decide to take a rest on the grass.
The third suit (a tan herringbone flannel) is a unique take on daytime formalwear.  With this piece we wanted to do something that had the formality of a tuxedo but would work for daytime and outdoor events.
Grey Pin Stripe SuitWe wanted something that felt a lot more modern than a morning coat, but still felt pretty traditional. The design combines some Gatsbyesque 1920s details with a “space-age” 1960s look.
The lapels on the vest are made from a silk duppioni in cream, and the handworked boutonnière on the jacket is in a slightly contrasting tan.  The pockets have an angle-cut hacking flap.
The result is what we think of as “Garden Party” formal.
The next suit is in a classic silver pinstripe wool.  It is “tropical weight” with a dry hand.  All of this makes for a piece that is highly breathable.
The customer was looking for a suit for traveling, and a quite matte fabric like this has excellent wrinkle resistance.3pc Pinstripe Suit in Silver
The pants are based on a favorite pair of boot cut jeans that the client mailed to us.  This allowed us to get the ideal fit that he wanted and to make sure that the piece looked good with his cowboy boots.
Although some books on “dress etiquette” prescribe a vest that always covers the pant waistband, we went with a Western cut for this that would prominently display the client’s belt buckle in the notch of the vest hem.  The jacket also has cuffs, which are easily rolled up when feeling hot.
The final suit in this listing is cut from a gorgeous 2-ply wool pinstripe.
Navy Pinstripe 3pc SUitThe client wanted a suit that would work for business but also a suit that didn’t feel stuffy or basic and could be worn for special occasions.
The style that we ended up designing is a classic 2-button business suit, but with a Mod-style angled cutaway hem and pointed flap pockets.
This pocket style was found on many early 20th century sportswear jacket styles and on some Western and 1970s styles.
Incorporating a flap like this into a modern suit creates a piece that utterly resists the look of an “stuffy old man” business suit, while otherwise retaining the classic and traditional look.
If you are considering a suit, please drop me a line via email (aj@denverbespoke.com) and we can talk more.  
All of these suits are “muslin fit.”  Which means that we cut and sew cotton mock-ups of the suit and mail these to you to try on.  You send us your feedback and also digital pics; and we analyze the pictures to achieve a great fit that matches your personal send of style.  We make the majority of our suits for clients that are outside of Colorado and often outside of the US—But we love local clients as well.

The pictures of the wedding with the black pinstripe suit were taken by photographer Kevin Fung.  You can check out more of his amazing work here.