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Style Advice Blog

How to Tell the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Suits

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main in expensive good-looking suit

You are what you look - well, at least to others. Like it or not, your appearance shapes how others see and think of you. A suit is an extension of yourself, and is a way to show your style and personality. A man dressed in a high-quality, well-tailored suit broadcasts to the world that he’s confident and powerful, and distinguishes him from the crowd. But if you don’t know the difference between a cheap and expensive suit, it’s easy to inadvertently look sloppy and second-rate. Here are a few things to look out for when buying a suit.

Proper Fitcustom-tailored suit fitting

It’s not enough to just buy the most expensive suit you can find - if it’s on a rack, then it could still end up looking tacky. Why? Because the secret behind an expensive-looking suit is the fit. A good fit hugs your body’s contours naturally, without being too tight or loose, and flatters your body shape. It hides the flaws and accentuates your best elements. All the suits at Joe Button are expertly fitted and made-to-measure, to ensure the ideal fit.

Clothes that don’t fit well make you uncomfortable, which restricts your ability to feel confident and stylish. Cheaper suits can often be boxy and shapeless, and won’t complement you unless you have an extraordinarily regular body shape. Some signs of an ill-fitting suit are shoulders that slack, armholes that are too deep, a chest that ‘buckles’ and a gap between the back of the shirt and jacket collar.

If you’re on a lower budget, a good option is to buy a less-expensive suit and then find a tailor to alter it for you.

Fabric Quality

Fabrics must balance style, comfort and durability. The most versatile suit material is 100% wool. It’s breathable, lasts for years if looked after properly, and is naturally wrinkle-resistant and anti-static (meaning less lint to worry about). Wool regulates your body temperature, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. Not all wool is made the same, with Super number and weight coming into play. However, 100% wool is key. Joe Button suits are crafted from the finest wool fabrics sourced from renowned Italian mills.

Suits made of synthetic materials such as polyester can lose their shape, and wrinkle and crease more. They also suffer from shininess, giving it that characteristic ‘cheap’ look. Unlike wool, synthetic fabrics don’t drape naturally. 

Cotton suits are also common, but whilst cotton is breathable and flexible, it creases easily and lessens your polished look.

Suit Construction

How a suit is constructed is critical to its overall look and feel. The highest quality and longest-lasting construction is full canvas, which is when a horsehair canvas is sewn underneath the front of the jacket fabric. A canvas gives the jacket body and stops it from sagging and deforming. Over time, the jacket conforms to your body, draping naturally as if it were part of you. As you can imagine, this is more labour-intensive and expensive. To appeal to the mass-market, fused suits were created. An interlining, not canvas, is glued to the jacket fabric in order to lower the manufacturing cost and time. Fused jackets however often look unnaturally stiff, and are less comfortable as they don’t stretch. They’re also not designed to last. The glue degrades over time and can suffer from irreversible “bubbling”.

Quality suit detailing

At Joe Button, all our suits are half-canvassed. A half-canvas suit has canvas sewn only through the chest and lapels. It provides all the beneficial foundation to the jacket, and on the plus side is also less heavy and less expensive. To find out more about suit construction, check out this article.

It’s All in the Details

To the trained eye, the quality of a suit’s detailing is an easy way to set suits (and their wearers) apart. Flimsy plastic buttons and button-holes or pockets that don’t work are common on lower-end suits. Cheaper suits often have polyester linings that don’t breathe and feel less comfortable against the skin. They also won’t have special cuts and hand-sewn pick-stitching. Quality is a hall-mark of Joe Button suits - we do not compromise on excellence.

Spending wisely means investing in a men’s made-to-measure suit constructed out of quality materials. A custom suit will feel good, fit better and most importantly, look good, even after years of wear. A good suit won’t only change how others view you, but also how you view yourself. When you know that you look good, you feel more in control, proud and confident. Why not book a fitting at our one of our showrooms to see for yourself?

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