The suit is one of those classic outfits that can make a man look his absolute best. The only challenge is finding a quality suit that fits you well.
Now, that obviously isn’t much of a challenge if you have the money to spare. You could easily get a custom suit made to your measurements from excellent materials. It gets tougher when you’re trying to find a great suit on a budget.
It’s not easy to buy a great suit without spending much, but it can be done if you know what to look for in a suit and where to shop. Here are seven tips to help you out.
Know Your Fabrics
The fabric will tell you quite a bit about a suit’s quality, and all you need to do is check the tags, making this one of the easiest quality tests you can do. The best of the best in terms of suit fabrics is Italian wool, and most other wools will also make for a good suit. Watch out for wool blends, though, which aren’t of the same quality.
Linen, tweed and cotton seersucker are also acceptable, depending on your needs in a suit. For example, if you’re in a hot climate, you may prefer the breathability of linen instead of wool, which keeps you warmer. Avoid polyester and other synthetic fabrics like the plague.
Look at the Seams
Seams are an area that can reveal the craftsmanship of a suit. Higher quality suits will be made with wider seams in case they need to be tailored, while poor suits will not. You should also check to see if the seams have any fraying or if the maker left raw edges on them. Both are indicators of a cheaper suit.
Check the Buttons and Buttonholes
When it comes to suit buttons and buttonholes, you want to check two things. First, check if the buttonholes on the pants and the pockets of the suit actually work. Although you typically wouldn’t use these, they’ll still be functional on a well-made suit. You should also see what the buttons are made from. Better suits may have Corozzo buttons instead of plastic. This isn’t to say that plastic buttons are a sign of a bad suit, but better buttons indicate the suit is high quality.
Look at the Lining
Suit linings are usually made from rayon, polyester or viscose, and Bermberg rayon tends to be the premier lining. Polyester, once again, is the material that indicates a low-quality suit. You’ll know it’s polyester right away from how shiny it looks and how slick it feels in your fingertips.
Feel How It Fits
An off-the-rack suit will almost never fit you perfectly, but there’s still a difference in how a good suit and a bad suit fit. Low-quality suits tend to feel boxier and could feel off in the way they fit on your chest or neck.
Understand What Can Be Altered
When you’re buying a suit off the rack, it’s a good idea to get it tailored so that it fits you perfectly. However, a tailor can’t fix everything, and you should be aware of what they can and can’t alter for you.
Taking in the sleeves on a jacket or the waist on a jacket or a pair of pants are both no problem, and hemming pants is also simple enough. It’s tougher to fix a jacket that doesn’t fit well in your shoulders, and just about impossible to make a tight suit bigger.
Shop Sales and Thrift Stores
Once you know what to look for in a suit and what a tailor can fix, try browsing sales, clearance racks and thrift stores. This can be very hit or miss, but if you want a great deal, it will be your best bet. If you’re patient, you could eventually find an excellent suit for a few hundred dollars or less.
There’s nothing like a good suit that fits you well. Follow the tips above and you’ll be able to spot the biggest suit bargains no matter your budget.