Boys Suit Style Guide


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The styles of Boys' suits have changed  a bit through the years, although some suit styles may seem vaguely familiar to those with long memories. This discussion will begin with a description of the many styles used in suits for boys over the last 30 years and continue up to current style suits used for young boys. Our description of styles refers to better quality boys suits, in Italy these are referred to as Men's suits in boys sizes.

The boys suit style most prevalent throughout the late 60's early 70's was single breasted with either two buttons or three buttons, with the custom of only buttoning the middle button. Most suits were 100% synthetic, usually textured polyester with some blends and some 100% wool suits were pioneered by Boys Suit specialists such as Natan Borlam's in New York. Many of the suits in those days were three piece, including  vest.  The style evolved to double breasted in the late 70's with the button style being four or six button with only one button closed. The fabrics used at this stage began to include a greater emphasis on wool, although by today's standards these were not sophisticated quality, they were rather course. Many boys suffered through hard days under orders of their parents. The  boys suit styles remained fairly stable with the slight switch to six button, so called two to button during the late 80's. In the 90's styles moved back to single breasted three button styles taking the lead although the predominant boys suit style was now to button all but the bottom button.

About mid way through the 90's there was a major shift in the boy's suit industry as the finest suits  mostly began to be produced in Italy and the traditional American Boy's suits manufacturers lost their lead of the market (and practically lost the market). The changes became more rapid with three button, and four button continuing to this day, with variation such as covered button placket (really ultra short duration), flaps appearing on pockets, some weird double breasted styles with too many buttons to look right, five  button suits,  and vests losing their points and becoming more rounded. Fabrics of better suits evolved to almost always being Italian superfine 100 or better. During the last 14 years there have been major changes and consolidation in the ownership of some boys suit manufacturers (with major disruption of managements concentration, we might assume) as well as their production plants which may have led to their being eclipsed by major Italian manufacturers. In what might be construed as recognition of the superior quality of some  Italian suits, most North American manufacturers of boy's suits now have some of their premium production contracted in Italy, albeit under a different label and selling at much higher prices than typical, while some have decided to produce at a lower cost by producing in India, while maintaining the Italian words on their labels. It actually became very popular to have Italian words on any suit label, regardless of where the suit was actually made.

Today, the most common style is the three button style, but with 2 buttons closed, similar to but closing higher than 35 years ago.  Four button suits are less common today. Vests are still in (especially with rounded points) except where the cost consideration takes over. Double breasted suits are not as common but when used are usually the style with six buttons, two buttons closed, often referred to as two to close. There is a trend in Men's suits to have the closure lower; that is to show more shirt. We are trying to implement this for boys suits. There is the challenge that boys are by definition shorter than men, the buttons would end up too close to the bottom or bunched together. This has led to our introduction of two button suits for boys. The idea is to only button the top button. These suits show more shirt and tie. The recent trend still has us selling more three button suits than two button boys suits.