Section: Men's Style - Blog
We hear this question over and over again: " How much can I expect to pay for a good quality off-the-rack men's suit ?" Here's our expert response.
Let's jump into this discussion by analyzing everything you need to know to judge good value in off-the-rack men's suits. Here's a simple guide to gauging price vs. quality.
Firstly, you can buy off-the-rack suits from either a local retail store or online. As long as you know your standard size (e.g. 92 [R]egular) and your waist size, buying off-the-rack is okay by either method.
$200 to $500 range
Frankly, suits in this range are likely to be made from an inferior pure poly or poly-wool blend (see Part 4 to learn more about suit fabrics). The problem with these blends is depending on the percentage of non-natural fibres in the blend, the suit may not be breathable (so you'll feel hot and uncomfortable.) Additionally, it may be susceptible to damage during dry cleaning.
Additionally, the suit is likely to be made with a sub-standard fully “fused” construction as well as fully machine stitched (see Part 5 to learn more about suit construction). The result of a fused construction and machine stitching (as opposed to hand stitching) is the suit will not complement the shape of your body and probably not last through many dry cleanings.
Most suits in this range are considered “cheap suits” so don't expect them to look good, fit well or last you a long time, regardless of what the salesperson may tell you.
These suits are likely to be a better quality poly-wool blend or pure wool, which is both durable and breathable (much better than a poly-wool blend.) (see Part 4 to learn more about suit fabrics).
However, you're wise to check the suit construction to see it was fused. (Part 5 explains more about suit construction). If the suit is “half-canvassed” and made of pure wool in the range of Super 110s to Super 130s, it's a winner. Most suits in this price range are considered to be good quality. They should look and feel great and last a long time. This is the most common price range for business suits.
Once you graduate to this price point, you can expect the suits to be made of high quality, pure wool in the higher Super ranges. Cashmere is often added to the fabric to add softness (see Part 4 to learn more about suit fabrics).
Check the suit construction - it should be at least “half-canvassed”- and you should expect no less in this price range (see Part 5 to learn more about suit construction). If the suit is made of pure wool in the range of Super 120s to Super 150, you've got a winner.
When you buy a suit in this price range, accept only the finest quality - a suit that looks and feels great and gives years of serviceable wear. A suit in this price range may also display signs of high-quality finishing like luxurious linings, handcraft stitching, and working jacket sleeve buttons.
For special occasions, it's worth the extra spend to look your best. For example, the extra design features and quality you get in this price range mean the difference between an acceptable looking wedding suit, tuxedo or dinner jacket and an exceptionally stunning garment.
When you're shopping in this price range, unless the suit is made from pure Super 160s wool or above and is at least “half-canvassed, it's difficult to justify the price. Based on the current price of wool and off-shore labour, a good quality off-the-rack suit should cost you under $1,200.
Are you paying more than that? If so, you're probably paying for one thing: a brand name. If you are paying for a label name, be careful. Many big brand name suits use inferior construction methods so you could be forking over lots of money for something that's inferior and won't last you.
Just like other retail products, off-the-rack suits are purchased in bulk from manufacturing houses (usually in Asia). Because of this, there are often end of year and stocktake sales. If you look out for these sales, you may be able to find a bargain. Often however, only the larger or smaller sizes are offered at the discounted prices. However, if you get lucky, you could save yourself $100s.
Be advised: there could be hidden costs when you buy off-the-rack suits. It isn't uncommon to find you need to get many alterations done to get your suit fitting you just right. Even worse, you'll need to go through this process each and every time you buy a new suit.
When it's all said and done, there are two basic ways to make sure the suits you buy are top shelf quality. Firstly, you could invest lots of time and effort into researching all the fine details of suit construction, fabrics, styling options and so on - in fact, you could become quite the expert and impress your friends with your knowledge. That, my friend, is the hard way.
The better way? Trust an expert to help you make the right decisions about style, fit, fabrics and so on. When you buy your suits from the master tailors of Montagio, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing you will get a suit that fits like a glove - every time. Save yourself time and effort by booking your obligation free styling session today.
Note: Prices in this article are stated in $AUD at January 1 2012.
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