To save time,here's the excerpt,from Flusser's "Clothes and the Man" (thanks Banksmiranda) : THE DISTINGUISHING QUALITIES OF A WELL - MADE SUIT Often what distinguishes a fine, well-made suit from all others is simply a matter of the details. In most cases, the presence or absence of these details is a good indicator of the quality or the level of style of the suit in question. Generally speaking, the more handwork that goes into a suit, the more expensive it will be. For instance, most of the less expensive suits today (those costing under $300) have canvas fused or glued to the front of the jacket in order to stabilize the shape and cloth. In the finer suits, however, the canvas is stitched by hand, so that the cloth tends to shape itself to the body. (The one exception to this is with cotton suits, for which, because they wrinkle, fused fronts may be preferable.) In most cases, the softer the feel of the suit, the better it is. One might try putting one's hand on the chest and squeezing the cloth. If it is soft to the touch, chances are it's not only a fine fabric but of quality manufacture. Perhaps the easiest way to experience the feeling of wearing a hand-made suit is to try on one manufactured by the Chicago clothing firm of Oxford. While the design is for the older man, it is the finest quality ready-made suit manufactured today. Handwork As stated above, the more pieces of a suit that are sewn together by hand, the better the quality and, naturally, the higher the price will be. Industrial technology today allows clothing companies to make a suit almost entirely by machine, but a fine-quality manufacturer will still insist on having some parts made by hand. Two areas are particularly significant, and one should check them before choosing a suit. First, look under the collar. A fine-quality jacket will have the collar attached to the jacket by hand. The other important detail involves the setting of the sleeves to the jacket body. If they have been felled by hand, one can count on good fit and proper shape. This is the area that receives the most wear and pressure, so a strong binding is also extremely important. The best suits use fine-quality silk thread. Hand stitching on the edge of the lapel is another detail one might look for. This stitching has no utilitarian value, but it is a nice finishing touch to a lapel and is evidence of a concern for quality on the part of the manufacturer. Lining A lovely trapping of fine tailoring is handsome lining. Traditionally, the body lining was color-coordinated with the suit fabric (this is still occasionally available) while striped linings were used in the sleeves. But the color is less important than the quality of the fabric. Make certain it is soft and neatly sewn into the coat. Curiously, it is actually more expensive to make a suit without a lining than one with a lining. In an unlined jacket, all the inside seams must be perfectly finished. Yet when manufacturers made and tried to market unlined jackets in an effort to make clothing softer and cooler, American men refused to buy them. They believed that these "unconstructed" jackets must be of lesser quality, or else they simply preferred the ease of sliding into their clothing. However, a lining does provide a jacket with increased durability as well as helping to maintain its line. Buttonholes The buttonholes are another indicator of a suit's quality. Another holdover from the past is the fact that all fine-quality suits have handmade buttonholes. You can tell a handmade buttonhole by looking to see whether it is smooth on the outside and rough on the inside; a handmade one will be just that, but a machine-made one will be smoother and more perfect-looking on both sides. Traditionally, buttons have been sewn on so that they are cross-stitched. The buttonholes should be well- finished, with no threads hanging. If a manufacturer would release a suit with one of its most visible aspects in disrepair, think how little care must have been given to those parts of the suit that don't show. Real buttonholes on the sleeve - ones that actually function - have long been a symbol of custom tailoring. Mass manufacturers could not employ this detail because stores needed the capability to alter the sleeve length to fit different-size arms. The only way to alter a sleeve that has an open buttonhole is to remove the sleeve from the shoulder and then make the adjustment - a prohibitively expensive alteration. Originally, these open buttonholes might have served some real function, such as allowing a man to turn back the sleeves while working or, in the past, for using with detachable-cuff shirts. Today, however, they are simply a symbol. Whether they are serving a function or not, buttons should be on the sleeves of jackets; four each on suit jackets and overcoats; two or four on sports jackets. The four buttons on a suit should be set closely together, with their edges "kissing," and the edge of the bottom button should be no more than three- quarters of an inch from the bottom of the sleeve. The one working buttonhole worth having is on the lapel. After all, it is the most visible of all the buttonholes. Besides, a working buttonhole allows the wearer to sport a flower in the lapel, which from time to time can be a wonderful aid to a stylish look and on those occasions when one must wear a flower, there is nothing considered more outre_ than the stem being pinned to the lapel. For this reason alone, no fine suit lacks a functioning buttonhole. Materials There is only one immutable principle governing the selection of fine suit material: the cloth must be made from natural fibers. This means some type of fine worsted or woolen in the cooler periods of the year - worsted, flannel, gabardine, and so on - and in the summer, if not a tropical wool, then linen, cotton, or silk. There is absolutely no way a man can ever be considered well-dressed wearing a blended suit with more synthetic fibers than natural ones. These fabrics stand away from the body, stiffly retaining their own shape, rather than settling on the individual wearer. No matter how hard one tries, one's suit will somehow always look artificial. In addition to look and feel, there will be less maintenance required for a natural fiber suit. A fine wool suite rarely has to be dry cleaned. Because air can pass through it, the wool can "breathe" and damp odor from perspiration will readily evaporate. Wool yarn can also return to its original shape. If the trousers are hung from the cuff and the jacket hung on a properly curved hanger after a day's wear, the suit will return to its original uncreased form by the following day. Perhaps the most important compensation of wearing natural- fiber suite is the comfort one can enjoy having a fabric next to the skin that somewhat simulates its properties. Natural materials have a soft, luxurious feeling. They act like a second skin, letting out perspiration and body heat when necessary and holding in warmth when it's cold outside. Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are forms of plastic. They have no ability to "breathe." In summer, these suits are hot, holding in the warmth of the body; in winter, they offer no protection from the cold. One can choose a suit with 3 to 5 percent nylon reinforcement, but any larger amount of synthetic fiber will being to undermine the natural material's beneficial properties.