Expert advice: what to look for when buying an expensive suit

As we have such busy schedules, many occasions call for the purchase of a 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 plus!

So how can people tell that you’re wearing the best? More importantly, what should you look out for when buying an expensive suit? CT shirts, experts in suit design and mens shirts, have created this guide to make your purchase the right one.

The perfect material is key

The suit material determines as to whether your suit will last the test of time.

Suits that have been created with natural fibres is a good starting point. Avoid those with labels that say it has been created with a wool-blend or man-made materials. 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.

The number alongside the ‘Super’ is an indicator of the finery of the material. The Super 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.

It is also important to consider the material that your buttons are made from. 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 design makes the suit

The design of the suit is very important, be it for Custom Suits or readymade ones, as this determines how it fits your body and moulds to your shape over time, it is what makes the suit truly yours.

Usually, it is down to personal choice what weave you prefer; however, some are considered higher end 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.

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.

Another giveaway as to how well the suit has been made, is the lining. 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.

Important Details

Most of us might not be aware of the tiniest details that can improve the quality of a suit. It can be the tailor’s own way of integrating quality into their work.

Lapels are another important indicator to determine the quality of a suit, be it single breasted wedding suit or a tweed suit. The lapels on a suit are the folds that sit on either side of the opening across the chest. The lapel roll in particular is very important- 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.

You should also make sure the suit is comfortable and you can move around in it. The back vents on a suit can determine this. Choose suit jackets with twin back vents on the back of the jacket to improve its flexibility and range of movement.

Make sure you look out for stalk loops on jackets. This is a traditional tailoring feature which neatly keeps 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.

Finally, always examine 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.