What Is a 3-Piece Suit? Here's What You Should Know

What Is a 3-Piece Suit? Here's What You Should Know

A three-piece suit is an essential formal outfit that all men need to own. From weddings and graduations to business interviews and meetings, there are certain occasions that require a formal outfit. You can't just wear jeans and a t-shirt. For occasions such as these, you'll need to choose a formal outfit, such as a three-piece suit.

Three-piece suits are formal outfits, making them ideal for formal occasions. But they aren't the same as traditional two-piece suits. What is a three-piece suit exactly? For a better understanding of men's three-piece suits and how they differ from their two-piece counterparts, keep reading.

An Introduction to 3-Piece Suits

A three-piece suit is a type of men's suit that features three separate pieces: a suit jacket, matching trousers and a waistcoat.

You can find three-piece suits in different materials, colors and styles. Regardless, they all feature the three aforementioned pieces. By wearing a suit jacket, matching trousers and a waistcoat together in the same outfit, you can take advantage of a three-piece suit. Three-piece suits are simply men's suits that contain three separate items, all of which are worn together.

3-Piece vs 2-Piece Suits: What's the Difference

Suits are often classified according to how many pieces they contain. Three-piece suits contain three pieces, whereas two-piece suits only contain two pieces.

Two-piece suits contain a suit jacket and matching trousers. They don't contain a waistcoat. Rather, waistcoats are exclusive to three-piece suits. Two-piece suits only contain a suit jacket and matching trousers, whereas three-piece suits feature an added waistcoat as well.

Another difference between three-piece and two-piece suits is that the former creates a naturally slimming effect. Only three-piece suits feature a waistcoat. The waistcoat is a vest that, when worn, will contour to the shape of your body. This contouring fit will make you look slimmer.

Waistcoats Explained

The waistcoat in three-piece suits is a sleeveless vest. It's worn over the dress shirt and under the suit jacket. It typically features a form-fitting construction. The waistcoat will "hug" your upper body while creating a naturally slimming effect.

Common materials in which waistcoats are made include the following:

  • Cotton
  • Linen 
  • Tweed 
  • Wool
  • Corduroy
  • Velvet

Regardless of the material, waistcoats are always worn over the dress shirt and under the suit jacket. Therefore, they won't stand out. Waistcoats are somewhat subtle. Most of the attention will be placed on your suit jacket and trousers; the waistcoat will simply introduce complementary colors or patterns that enhance the rest of your suit.

How to Choose a 3-Piece Suit

If you're looking to buy a three-piece suit, there are several things you should consider. All three-piece suits feature three separate pieces -- a suit jacket, matching trousers and a waistcoat -- but they are available in different types.

Some three-piece suits come with a single-breasted jacket. Other three-piece suits come with a double-breasted jacket. Single-breasted jackets, of course, only have a single column of buttons. In comparison, double-breasted jackets have two side-by-side columns of buttons.

The material from which a three-piece suit is made will affect its warmth. During the spring and summer months, a lightweight material like cotton or linen is an excellent choice. But if you're planning to wear the three-piece suit during the cooler months of the year, you'll need to choose a thicker and heavier material. Popular materials for winter-weather three-piece suits include wool, tweed and corduroy.

The color of your three-piece suit matters. You shouldn't choose a three-piece suit in a single color. If the jacket, trousers and waistcoat all feature the same color, the suit will project a bland appearance. A better approach is to choose a three-piece suit in at least two colors.

The jacket and trousers can feature the same color, for instance, but the waistcoat should feature a different color. Alternatively, you can choose a waistcoat in the same color as the trousers, while opting for a jacket in a different color.

Make sure the three-piece suit fits correctly. The jacket should be the right length; the trousers should fit properly around the waist and hips; and the vest should fit snugly without being too tight.

You can avoid sizing problems by choosing a custom-sized three-piece suit. Custom sizing involves alterations based on your own measurements. You can order a custom-sized three-piece suit here at StudioSuits. When placing your order, you'll have the option to specify your body measurements. We'll use these measurements to alter the three-piece suit so that it fits your body perfectly. 

It's also important to consider your own personal style and choose a three-piece suit that reflects it. If you prefer a classic, timeless look, a traditional three-piece suit might be the best choice for you. If you prefer a more modern or trendy look, you might want to consider a suit with a slimmer fit or a more unique pattern. Regardless, the possibilities are nearly endless when shopping for a three-piece suit.

Reasons to Wear a 3-Piece Suit

Even if you already own a two-piece suit, you should consider investing in a three-piece suit. There's no substitution for the formality offered by a high-quality men's three-piece suit.

Two-piece suits are still classified as formal outfits, but they lack the formality of three-piece suits. Three-piece suits offer the utmost level of formality. They look cleaner and dressier, resulting in a superior level of formality. If you're looking for a new suit to wear to a black tie or similar formal event, you may want to choose a three-piece suit instead of a typical two-piece suit.

You can stand out from the crowd by sporting a three-piece suit. Regardless of the material or colors, three-piece suits offer a bolder appearance than two-piece suits. This alone is reason enough for many men to wear them.

In Conclusion

Men's suits are available in two-piece and three-piece styles. Two-piece styles only contain a jacket and matching trousers. Three-piece styles contain a jacket, matching trousers and an added waistcoat.