I'm looking to buy a new suit and have around a $500 budget for the suit itself (budget does not include alternations). What are some good brands to explore?
Looking for a new suit on $500 budget
Full Canvas only (not Fused) "made to measure" online shops is the best + cheapest route. It's all in the cut and the design, check out their websites for ordering:
Dragon Inside ($660 made in Bulgaria)
Black Lapel ($700)
Elitesuits.com ($545 real horn + quality lining)
IF you don't care about your suit being full canvas which is what differentiates a working suit from a once a year wedding suit, then you can order cheaper models from those MTM online shops. Matthewaperry I think is $260 half canvas.
Benjamin Sartorial ($525 full canvas not MTM) is your best bet for straight pre-made suit that's awesome in all regards but not made to measure to your body.
If you want premade cheaper but still awesome check the brand new Paul Smith Byard lines in Ebay for $300-350. Either full or half canvas., superior fabric, durable seams, Made in Italy.
+1. You want full canvas. You don't want fused (glued). Nowadays the cost of full canvas suits is the similar to crappy fused. However what makes a great suit is how it fits you body, hence the MTM route instead of buying off the rack.
If you're not sure about the various type of suit canvas then these two blog posts may be worth a read
If you want a more unbiased opinion read any of THESE ARTICLES. They all say basically the same thing