A suit may be the biggest investment in your wardrobe. You may wear one every day or only on special occasions, but either way, you want to look your best. You can find bargain suits at warehouses and discount stores, but you don’t want to look like you paid a bargain price. A close examination of a suit will show you the details that will help you tell a cheap suit from an expensive one.
Type of Fabric
Sub-standard fabric is the first and most obvious clue that you have a cheap suit. The best suit fabrics are made of fine wool from Italy. Suits made from polyester or wool blends won’t hold their shape or wear as well over time. If the suit is made of 100 percent Italian wool, check the weave.
Expensive suits are made with finely woven wool with a high thread count. Look at the lining next. Linings may be polyester, rayon or viscose. Bermberg rayon is favored by the makers of expensive suits because it wears well and has a soft feel or “hand.” If you see and feel shiny, slippery polyester lining, you have a cheap suit.
Expensive suits have extra lining material at the cuffs, inseam and waistband. They also have wide seams to accommodate additional tailoring. Cheap suits stint on these details. Non-working buttonholes on pockets and pants are another tip-off you’ve got a cheap suit. Sure, the buttonholes are mainly for show anyway, but tailors of expensive suits finish the buttonholes. Expensive suits pay close attention to details and make tailoring a suit for a perfect fit that much easier.
Expensive suits last longer because of the way they’re constructed and finished. Cheap suits lack this type of finishing. For example, expensive suits have extra stitching at the edges of pockets to prevent stretching and tearing. A cheap suit may show fraying at the seams or raw edges of fabric that aren’t finished. Machine stitching on cheaper suits may appear uneven; the most expensive suits are evenly hand-stitched. This loose stitching can lead to ripped seams that might not easily be repaired.
Even if you buy it off the rack, a high-quality model should simply fit your body better than a cheap, boxy suit. Cheap suits may gap at the neck or pull across the chest. Experts recommended looking for a suit that fits well in the shoulders, then get a tailor to fit it to your body for a custom-made look.
Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.