Quality Mens Suits

How do you know if your buying quality mens suits?

If you don't know much about mens suits then they all probably look the same to you. If you've ever spent a fair amount for a good suit you also might wonder, how do you know if your getting what your're paying for?

There are a few ways to know if your suit is quality. We'll discuss two cases where you might want to know what your looking for;

1. Ready to Wear

2. Bespoke or Custom

Since there are remarkable differences between custom suits and ready to wear suits, we'll talk about what you should be looking for in each case.

"Ready to Wear" Suit Quality

Ready to wear refers to suits that you will find in department stores or mens retail clothing stores. They are constructed using standard templates for the most popular sizes in the retail market. These suits may or may not require finishing of the trousers.

When shopping for such suits your looking for a couple key factors which can help you ensure your getting better quality mens suits.

  1. Fabric:

    Suits are made of many different fabrics (wool, polyester, linen, microfiber etc.) The best fabric for quality mens suits is without a doubt wool. So the first thing your looking for in a quality suit is wool. Not blended wool (ie. wool/polyester blend) but rather, 100% wool.

    With regard to wool, an important quality feature is it's "fineness". When shopping for a wool suit you'll likely encounter references to a numbering system with terms such as Super 100's, Super 150's etc. This refers the count or fineness of the wool used to make the suit. The finer the wool, the more fibers used per square inch of the cloth. The higer the count then suggests the more fibers per square inch and therefore the better "hand" or softness of the suit fabric.

    This classification system is used very often in categorizing suit quality but does have it's drawbacks. The primary problem being the lack of standards industry wide. One manufacturers Super 120's may be another's super 140's.

    Nonetheless, the important point is that wool suits are found in a wide range of "fineness". For a higher quality mens suits you're looking to go up the scale of "fineness". Regarding noticeability, once you get into the 120's and above it becomes increaseingly difficult see the difference. It is likely however that most men can see the difference between and 80's suit and a 120's suit and for certian can feel the difference.

  2. Lining

    This feature is an easy one to determine, just take a peak inside the trousers to determine if there is a lining to the knee. What you should find is a smooth silky lining on the front side of the slacks extending to about the knee or slightly lower.

    Cheaper suits will not incorporate lining in the trousers and it's most certianly a feature you want in you're pants.

    Another aspect of the lining is the presence of crotch lining as well. Some suits simply leave the stitched crotch unlined while better quaility suits have a "full" lining.

Bespoke Suit Quality

Bespoke alone is quality. However, for those of you who may not fully understand what your getting there are a few ways to know you've recieved a quality suit.

  1. The Canvas:

    Suit jackets have a canvas core that the wool fabric is ahered to. This canvas provides structure for the jacket. Some suits have canvases that are "fused" while others are hand-basted. So what's the difference?

    Fused is a nicer word for glued. Canvases that are glued to the outshell will not move as freely, drape as well and may overtime begin to bubble and pucker from heat generated through various dry cleanings.

    Hand-based refers to the canvas being loosely hand stitched to the wool shell which allows the canvas to flow & move with the shell.

    You can determine if the canvas is fused or basted by pinching apart the jacket near the button holes and lightly separating the inner & out shells. If you can feel a layer between (the canvas) then it's a canvas that's basted in. If you can't find the layer btween and the outer shell is firm then the canvas is fused.

  2. Pick-Stitching:
    quality mens suits - pick stitching

    Another exterior feature that might suggest a quality suit is the presence of "pick stitching" (also referred to by the Savile Row Bespoke Association as "prick-stitching"). This is a hand stitched feature (pictured left) and easily observed around the perimeter of the jacket's lapels.

    This feature is generally associated with hand stitching and although possible by maching, is typically not a feature achieved in high volume production.

  3. Vents:

    The vents are something that are connected to styling but it's also important to note that venting the Jacket is not a volume production technique. Therefore, double vents are an indication that the suit is worth a second glance in terms of quality. This does not dis-credit single or no vent suit quaulity but is does suggest that double vented suits are likely to be better quality mens suits.

  4. Button Holes
    quality mens suits - working button holes#1 Lastly, we have button holes.........yes, button holes. Higher quality mens suits and certianly those that are bespoke will have hand stitched button holes and more notably "working button holes" in the cuff of the jacket.

    Working button holes are a feature easily identified and often associated with custom made quality because the they clearly indicate that a tailor's hand was involved in the production. quality mens suits - working button holes#2

    Most men who have invested in bespoke suits understand this feature and leaving one or two buttons "un-done" on the jacket sleeve is an announcement that they are wearing a bespoke mens suit which can be a measure of pride and success.

There are many other features that can be discussed which are present in quality mens suits which are mostly related to hand stitching. We have only covered a few that are noteable in hopes of helping you identify a quality suit.

There is however one last item for discussion that comes with a bespoke suit which you will not get from any other means. It's the suit fit.

There is no substitute to a properly fitted suit. Bespoke wins in this category hands down. With custom suits, the patterns are hand cut to your exact measurements and the suit is made from this pattern. The pattern is retained for future orders making the process easy and more efficient in future orders.

Suit fit is the single most important aspect to a quality suit and simply having ready made suits altered does not even remotely compare the fit, comfort, feel and confidence created by a custom made suit.

When it comes to quality mens suits, fit is the easiest for others to identify, easiest for the wearer to notice, and without a doubt worth more than any of the other features discussed.

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