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The Suit Series, Pt. III: Vents

After deciding whether to go single-breasted or double-breasted and figuring out which lapels will work best for you, the time comes to select your vents. The following is part three of the Henry A. Davidsen suit series, and we’ll explore some of the options we offer when you’re having a suit made.

What Are Suit Jacket Vents?

Custom suit jacket vents

Vents are the openings in the back of the jacket. They serve the utilitarian purpose of allowing the wearer greater range of motion without stressing the garment. The three most common types of jackets have either side vents, a center vent, or no vent at all.

Side Vents

Side vents (sometimes called “double vents”) comprise the majority of the custom suits we make and are a house favorite. The two openings are found on either side of the back of the jacket, which allows you to put your hands in your pants pockets without exposing your rear end. They’re also highly functional in that they allow the wearer to sit down while simultaneously letting the jacket drape naturally and minimizes wrinkling.

Center Vent

The center vent is derived from the British equestrian tradition; a high center vent allows the jacket to rest naturally while the wearer is on horseback. Though sportier in nature, it has been adopted by traditional American suit makers as their standard (the traditional Brooks Brothers sack suit and many J.Press suits have center vents) and is a close second in popularity in terms of the jackets we make.


The rarest of the big three, ventless jackets are Continental (i.e. Italian and French) in origin. They’re said to be more slimming and thus more photogenic, but some functionality is lost with the back of openings in the back. While uncommon with traditional suits, they can be seen more often on tuxedo jackets.

Tune in next time for a primer on custom linings!


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