The Modern Business Suit Takes Shape
The well-dressed man about town should wear clothes that are simple, functional and discreet, George Bryan "Beau" Brummell commanded in the early 19th century. By advocating well-cut, tailored clothes, Brummell essentially invented what has come to be known as the "British look."
Brummell rejected 18th century frills. His mandate, a dark blue coat, buff-colored pantaloons and waistcoat, black boots and a clean white neck cloth, survives today as the dark business suit and white shirt, and as crisp white sportswear.
Whiter than white cravats
He was particularly adamant about the whiteness of his cravats. As he made his daily rounds from the park, various gentleman's clubs and fashionable homes, Brummell would stop and change his cravat as often as three times a day. He preferred neck cloths that were lightly starched and carefully folded.
The simplicity of Brummell's uniform was adopted by everyone from many working men to his friend, the Prince Regent, later King George IV. For the first time, poorer men hoping to make their way in the world could easily imitate upper class fashion.