How To: know a quality 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)

Above is a guide to spotting a quality suit but it also important to mention how to care for and maintain the quality of these suits. Only then can one suit last you as long as you need it to, and only then will a collection of well kept suits be one of your greatest assets in the workplace.

  • No matter the suit – off the rack or custom tailored – it will need to be taken to the dry cleaners at some point. It is how you properly care for and maintain your suit once it is dirty or should it get a nasty stain on it. Locate your local dry cleaner and understand how it works. The best way to tell if it is time to take your suit to the cleaners is if you are no longer able to remove dust, dirt, or any unnecessary grime yourself. Try to dry clean the suit as little as possible because over time prolonged exposure can wear out the fibers and they can become brittle. It is just as important to make sure you are not overly cleaning your suit. 
  • Do not wear one suit over and over. Rotate the suits you wear on a daily basis, this will allow you to get more use out of them and also cause you to spend less time going to the dry cleaners. 
  • Another way to avoid the dry cleaners is to invest in a small steamer for your clothes. One of these can rejuvenate your shirts in the morning as well as remove any dust clinging to the outside of the clothing. Setting the heat at the lowest setting will give your clothes that fresh pressed look without any of the cost.
  • If you really want to invest in the well being of your clothes then you should also consider buying a small clothes brush that could remove grime and larger clumps of dirt that might not be able to be removed by simply brushing it off by hand. 
  • After wearing your suit allow it to hang on the rack for a couple days before rotating it back into use. Giving the suit a period of rest on the hanger will allow the cloth and material to recover and drape out most wrinkles. All pockets should be empty to avoid any unnecessary creases or shapes in the suit. You should hang the suit with a cloth cover to avoid dirt and allow air to circulate and the suit to breath even when it is not being worn.
  • Speaking of breathing, make sure you are hanging the suit with care. Making sure it is placed on a thick, wooden hanger and placed far away enough from other garments so it has room to breath after being worn all day long.
  • Keep an eye on your trousers! Often the pants can be neglected when it comes to suit upkeep. You should have more than one pair of pants at the ready and an additional pair on hand and cleaned in case of emergencies. 
  • Don’t wear out the inside pockets. Avoid using the interior pockets for heavy items such as phones and wallets, stuffing these items in there over time can cause the pockets to wear down and the suit lining to split open. If you use them make sure it is only for items like cash and credit cards or a slim wallet so the suit doesn’t lose its shape.
  • You should also avoid opening the outside pockets and sticking larger items in there as this can interrupt the sharp silhouette of your suit – making it look worn out or baggy.
  1. The first step to suit care is ROTATING them!

If you wear the same suit every day, all day long it will never give the fibres time to relax or air out. Using round, wood hangers will give the suit enough space for air to flow through, getting the smells of your every day out. It also helps keep the suit fitting nice and tight.

Keep very little in your pockets.

Do not overfill any of your pockets, inside or outside of the suit. Only carry your essentials, cash, business cards, debit/credit cards. If you overload your pockets it will eventually change the shape of the suit.

3. Brush your suit with a clothing brush.

This will extend the natural fibres in the suit and allowing it to last longer. It keeps the fibres up allowing it to breathe more.

Steam your suit regularly.

Steaming your suit opens up the fibres, removes stains and marks as well as the smells. Dry ironing your suit will push the fibres down trapping all stains and stenches.

Avoid the dry cleaners

Dry cleaners shorten the lifespan of suits. They use strong chemicals to treat the suits so they are clean. It is only necessary to take your suit to the dry cleaners if you absolutely cannot get the stain or smell out of your suit.

How to Pack a Suit:

STEP 1
Lay suit facedown on a flat surface.

STEP 2
Fold left shoulder back.

STEP 3
Turn right shoulder inside out, then tuck left shoulder into the right.

STEP 4
Fold in half lengthwise and then fold horizontally.

STEP 5
Place folded jacket in the center of the outstretched trousers.

STEP 6
Fold trouser bottoms over jacket and repeat with top of trousers.

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