The Updated American SilhouetteThe updated American silhouette is a combination of the best elements of the sack and the European-cut suit. The jacket has some of the same softness and fullness through the chest and shoulder areas of the sack, to which it adds some of the European notion of shape. Long the staple of fine dressers, from Clark Gable to Fred Astaire to Cary Grant, this soft, shaped suit was essentially a spin-off from the sack. The three-button sack coat was modified to a two-button version with some suppression at the waist by Paul Stuart. As mentioned earlier, this style was then modified further by Ralph Lauren, beginning in the mid-1960s. Both his espousal of it and the subsequent support of a score of young American designers gained, for this updated American style, the national recognition and the widespread acceptance it has today.
Like the European model, the new American-style jacket is tapered at the waist, giving the wearer something of a V-shaped appearance. The jacket, with its two-button design, has a longer lapel roll. In further contrast to the sack, this style also has a somewhat higher armhole and the chest is a bit smaller. All these details work to give it more definition than its dour predecessor.
These modifications give the updated American suit a freedom that allows the materials to adapt themselves to the wearer´s physique. This is as it should be. Angular clothing tends to impose itself on the body. It has its own shape, and the wearer must fit into it rather than the other way around. The adaptation of clothing to the wearer´s physique, on the other hand, is the ideal expression of oneself. Like a good haircut, the cut of a suit should never call attention to itself. Elegance or style can be achieved only through softness of line. This is why the updated American-style suit jacket has a modified natural shoulder and is cut with a slight taper at the waist, while the trousers take their line from the shape of a man´s leg.
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