When should you buy a brand-new suit? Perhaps you’ve been invited to a wedding, a christening or maybe you’re looking to sharpen up for the office. Either way, a suit should be viewed as a necessary investment. A cheap suit is almost guaranteed to need replacing in a couple of years, whereas well-designed tailoring can last you 20 years plus!
So, what should you look out for when buying an expensive suit? And, of equal importance, how can other people tell that you’re wearing the best. CT shirts, retailers of slim fit suits, have created this guide to make your purchase the right one.
How it’s been designed
Naturally, the design of a suit depends on who has made it. It’s an important consideration to make, as the design can determine how the garment moulds to your body.
In terms of the aesthetic design, some patterns are thought to be more upper-class than others. The patterns are created in the suit by interweaving different coloured threads in different ways. The ‘twill’ weave is considered to be stylish — this has a diagonal line of raised fabric and a silk-looking finish. The ‘herringbone’ also gives a smart look— this is an intricate V weave that creates a smooth feel.
Take a close look at the suit jacket and how it has been tailored. For example, a canvassed suit jacket has been created so that it has layers of material that sit between the outer suit fabric and the inner lining. This tailoring technique helps the suit maintain structure and shape. What you should look out for is a ‘floating canvas’ — this is where the middle layer has been stitched to the fabric loosely so that the suit is able to mould to your body shape and move when you move.
Before deciding on a suit, take the time to examine the lining of the suit. Despite popular belief that an unlined suit is cheaper than a fully lined one, it actually takes more effort to create an unlined suit as the stitching and cut of the material is exposed. However, lined sleeves improve your ability to slide the jacket on and off.
What it’s been made with
The durability and comfort of a suit often depends on the materials that have been used in the pre-sale process.
If possible, avoid suits that have been made with wool-blends or man-made materials. Instead, go for those that have been crafted with natural fibres. Polyester, for example, should be avoided. It retains a lot of heat, is less breathable and creases easily. A suit with 100% wool is something that you should look out for — these suits are versatile and ooze comfort. For a lustre look, often silk or mohair (a silk-like material made from the hair of the Angora goat) is added and this gives a luxurious shine to any suit. For extra movement and comfort, a high-quality suit is often made with a small amount of Lycra and this improves its elasticity.
Another way to check the quality of the materials is to look at the ‘Super’ number. This is a way of indicating that the wool is of high quality and the higher the number, the finer and lighter the cloth will be.
Although this may not seem important, choose a suit with good quality buttons. Plastic buttons are prone to breakage and chipping — imagine if you brush against a wall or table, it will be the buttons that take the impact. Another high-quality material that is often used for making durable and long-lasting suit buttons is corozo nuts.
The extra details
Even shop assistants or suit experts aren’t fully aware of all the tiny extras that make up an expensive suit. They can vary from garment to garment as it is the tailor’s own way of adding quality and putting their own stamp on their pieces.
Look at the lapels of a suit jacket. These are the folds that sit either side of the opening across the chest. One detail that can indicate the quality of a suit is the lapel roll — this is the fall and curl of the lapel from the collar to the first button. If the suit is one of many rolled off a production line, it is likely that the lapel will be completely flat against the jacket and the roll will be almost non-existent. In a high-quality suit however, the lapel roll will look like it has been carefully curved — giving the jacket more texture and a better appearance.
If you’re after extra flexibility and comfort, choose a suit jacket with twin vents on the back. This improves your range of movement and makes the garment more wearable.
One small feature that demonstrates quality is a stalk loop. These neatly keep your flower stalk tucked away. Although it may not be a necessary feature for everyone, it shows attention to detail that’s likely to be an indicator of a good suit. Take a close look at the buttonholes! Cheaper suits can often have frayed buttonholes as they haven’t been stitched with delicacy. Small details like this are big giveaways as to how your suit has been made.