How To: See the Quality in your Suit.

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Today we are going to talk about HOW you can see the quality of your suits!! 

Suits are a big investment, and with the right material and a little extra money, they can last as long as 20 years!!! 

As we tackle the different signs of a good quality suit, don’t forget the upkeep is just as important!

Click here to learn how to take care of your suit, and when to clean it.

The first sign to look for regardless of where you buy your suit from is the fabric quality is vital.  The only words you want to see are “100% Wool” or better.

Look at the lining- A fused lining that’s held together with glue is about as bad as going for a $99 polyester suit. The cheapest quality suits will have a fused lining. The highest quality suits will have a full canvas or at least a half canvas.

Check out the stitching- The ability for mass-manufacturers to replicate what used to be hallmarks of a custom suit has never been greater. With that said, you still want to examine the quality of the craftsmanship and look to see how the suit comes together.

You do not want a suit with jagged, loose, crooked stitching.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS. From the way the pockets come together, to the drape, the buttonholes, and the boutonniere loop. Each of these small details often have the biggest impact when it comes to how you look. Machine-sewn pockets aren’t as sturdy and will wear quickly when utilized. Stiff lapels without a slight roll are a hallmark of a cheap suit. Plastic buttons can break, and even horn buttons that use plastic anchors can fall off in the middle of your board meeting.

PAY ATTENTION TO HOW IT WAS COLORED. the last thing you want is to leave the store with a great navy suit and have it look four shades of blue by next summer. Look at the design. How is it dyed? Is it even and are the colors vivid? Will they fade? Is the pattern perfectly done across the suit, or do they misalign where the fabric was cut? Bottom line: look closely and pay attention.

THE FIT

It’s all about the perfectfit. The fit of your suit is arguably the most important aspect of a good quality men’s suit. It’s also the aspect with the most impact on how your suit looks and feels on you. Ask yourself, if the suit doesn’t fit you perfectly, why buy it?

After all, it’s not a cheap purchase. Off-the-rack suits use a “standard sizing,” which is a sort of one-size-fits-all approach to suiting that uses only chest size and jacket length to determine your “ideal” fit.

What about other factors like:

  • Sleeve length
  • Sleeve and trouser circumferences
  • Crotch length

In addition to the above, what about your posture, and the shape of your shoulders? The list goes on. Your body is a unique shape and size so even if you think off-the-rack sizing is ok for you, there will always be one area of fit that’s not quite right.

Getting the perfect suit fit is a game of inches… well 1/4 inches actually! A good quality men’s suit is one that’s made to your exact body measurements. Period.

Click here to read more about different fittings of suits.

The Construction of your suit should be “Half Canvassed” or “Fully Canvassed” and not “Fused.” One of the key differences between premium and low quality suit jackets is their construction. The chest of any jacket should be constructed of three (3) layers of material:

  • The fabric on the outside of the coat
  • The lining that makes up its inside
  • A layer of canvassing in between that gives the coat its shape

HOW TO TELL A CANVASSED VS. FUSED JACKET – THE “PINCH TEST”

It’s easy to check whether the suit jacket you’re looking at is fused or canvassed. Simply pinch the chest fabric and lining between the fingers of each hand and pull them apart slightly. If it’s canvassed, you should be able to feel three distinct layers: the outside fabric, the canvas, and the lining. If it’s fused, you’ll only feel two layers. To distinguish between Full and Half Canvassing, perform the same pinch test down by the buttons.

ALSO LOOK FOR

  • Proper handcraft stitching around the lapels (not machine stitching – you’ll know this by the accuracy of the stitches. If it’s too perfect, it’s machine stitched)
  • Working cuffs on the jacket sleeve – a sure sign of quality and a custom made suit
  • Reinforced jacket buttons, and buttons on “stems” for easy buttoning
  • Real woollen felt under the collar
  • Spare buttons (in all sizes)

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