Choosing a suit: lined, unlined or partially lined?

12 November 2015
Choosing a suit: lined, unlined or partially lined?

Unlike buying an off-the-rack suit from your favourite high street retailer, having a bespoke suit tailor made for you means that you’re spoilt for choice. Hemingway Tailors clients can choose the fabric their suit is made from, the colour, the cut and the style as well as any design cues and accoutrements they so desire. You can even choose the lining of your suit, selecting a lining material, colour and pattern that matches your chosen suit and acts as an extension of your personality. Not all suits are fully lined, however – you can also opt to buy an unlined suit or even a partially lined suit. So what’s the difference between these three options, and which is the most appropriate for your needs?

Lined

Lined suits are by far the most common variety – most off-the-rack suits you’ve worn, bought or rented in the past will have been fully lined. A number of different materials are used to line suits, including synthetic materials such as polyester and rayon as well as natural materials including cotton and silk. Lined suits generally hold their structure better than unlined suits, are more durable and significantly warmer.

Pros

  • Durability. Linings help suits to last longer and avoid wear and tear.
  • Structure. The lining of your suit will help the material to retain its structure for longer, ensuring that the suit remains looking good for the long-term.
  • Warmth. Lined suits are far warmer in colder weather than unlined suits, meaning that you can wear your blazer without a coat or jacket in mild weather.
  • Comfort. Lined suits feel better against the skin than unlined suits.
  • Hygiene. The lining of your suit helps to keep the suit material itself clean and hygienic, preventing sweat and body odour from entering the fibres of the suit.
  • Finish. The suit’s lining hides all of the stitches and threads used in the construction of the garment, giving the interior a more attractive finish.

Cons

  • Hot. Lined suits can be incredibly hot and uncomfortable in warm weather, causing the wearer to remove them if possible.
  • Heavy. All that extra material is comparatively heavy, making a lined suit a rather weighty garment.

Unlined

Unlined suits are more unusual than lined suits, but are particularly popular in hot countries or for use as summer garments. Unlined suits require very precise tailoring to ensure that the hems and seams look neat and tidy on the inside of the garment.

Pros

  • Cool. Unlined suits are much cooler than lined suits, making them ideal for summer wear and for use in hot countries.
  • Lightweight. Without the lining, your suit will be far lighter and less cumbersome.
  • Breathable. Building a suit without a lining makes it more breathable, allowing air to circulate on hot days.

Cons

  • Complexity. Unlined suits are harder to construct than lined suits, as tailors have to ensure that the inside of each seam and hem looks as neat and tidy as the outside.
  • Structure. Without the support of a lining, your suit will lose its shape and structure more quickly.

Partially lined

Partially lined suits are something of a halfway house between fully lined and unlined suits. Partially lined suits are usually lined in the arms and shoulders, and sometimes in the chest area, but the back is left unlined to improve breathability.

Pros

  • More durable than unlined suits. Lining in these key areas will help your partially lined suit to last for longer than an unlined suit.
  • Cooler than lined suits. Partially lined suits will prove far cooler and more breathable than unlined suits.
  • The best of both worlds. If you live in a hot country or want a summer suit that’s both cool and durable enough to be used as a formal garment, a partially lined suit is the option for you.

Cons

  • Less durable than lined suits. A partially lined suit won’t keep its shape and structure for as long as a fully lined suit.
  • Stuffier than unlined suits. If you want a cool, breathable suit, a partially lined suit will be warmer and stuffier than an unlined alternative.
  • Neither one thing nor the other. Partially lined suits don’t do any one thing spectacularly well – they’re something of a compromise.

These three suit options are each suitable for different circumstances – do you know which one you need yet? Contact Hemingway Tailors today to arrange a fitting appointment and we’ll get started on the construction of your bespoke or made-to-measure suit. 

Abbas Mahmood
Abbas Mahmood
As a lifelong purveyor of fashion, Abbas has been writing for Hemingway Tailors for 2 years, keeping readers up to date with style trends and delivering a regular insight into the world of tailoring.
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