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What is a Sharkskin Suit?

sharkskin suit

For those not fully acclimated with the suiting world, the term sharkskin suit might seem like one of the stranger ones in the fashion world – but, as with many things in fashion, it’s not quite so complicated as it appears!

man wearing sharkskin suit

What is a sharkskin suit made of?

Rest assured, it’s not made from great whites or hammerheads – a sharkskin suit is one with an eyecatching, metallic tone, built between two different coloured basketweaves, typically one in white, and one in grey or navy. Often woven with a rayon or acetate, this silky, pearlescent suit captures the slick, smooth feel of a shark’s skin without the need for fishing.


Typically, you have two different kinds of sharkskin suit. A natural sharkskin suit fabric usually consists of a natural fabric like silk or alpaca, while the more common modern, or artificial sharkskin, is far cheaper and uses synthetic fibre.

sharkskin suit and watch

The unique suit sees origins in the 1950s, where it became synonymous with the business world. Harry S. Truman, US President, was an earlier pioneer – and, within time, the Sharkskin suit had spread out across Hollywood and the United States – before crossing the Atlantic.

fashionable sharkskin suits

Fashionably, this style a habit of going in and out – it found a huge resurgence in the 1970s for disco and partygoers, followed by a brief Hollywood reprieve in the 80s and 90s.

Since then, the fabric has undergone a lot of technical improvements, and has now become particularly desirable; the Sharkskin is a sleek, sharp winner for any wardrobe – now popularised by the likes of Mad Men, there’s never been a better time for this unique suit to make a comeback.

Whether it’s a wedding, party, or a head turning addition to your office wardrobe, a sharkskin suit is a great addition to your suit closet, and a perfect way to spruce up your look for any occasion!


As one of the largest men's suit retailers in the UK, Suit Direct can help you find the perfect suit or tuxedo, waistcoat and suit trouser match for you at the very best price.

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