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buying suits on ebay-rookie

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
first off i've searched to no avail...

i've started to buy suits off ebay: one RLBL, one RLPL, for $500 and $800 respectively, both NWT. From past experience RLBL fits me quite nicely (if a little small in the chest); the RLPL seemed even better as it's slightly fuller cut with wider lapels (I have a broad chest).

These seem like superb deals to me given the retail prices. As I search around I see even more such deals, D'Avenza suits for $700, to give one example, among others.

What are the pitfalls? I can't imagine these suits are faked? If you know your size and a cut that works for you, this seems to be great (and very easy) savings? What else am I missing/should I be looking for?

Thanks
post #2 of 5
There most certainly can be fake suits, which is why there is the authentication thread. It's uncommon, but if in doubt, post there first.

http://www.styleforum.net/t/231002/fake-or-real-authentic-genuine-etc-official-authentication-thread

Other factors, off the top of my head:

Age/Manufacturers
- Ex. RLPL has been made by at least 4 different companies: Cantarelli, Chester Barrie, St. Andrews, Caruso, now St. Andrews again
- Certain features can be quite dated, such as low gorges
- Suits could be older than you realize (which is not necessarily is a bad thing) unless you know what to look for

Cut
- Same companies may have different cuts, and one may not work as well as the other
- Companies may also tweak measurements from year to year
- Ex. RLPLs have a Savile Row and Drake cut. This may not be clear on eBay

Alterations/mismatches
- Just because something is NWT doesn't necessarily mean it'll fit exactly as you expected
- Sometimes it's NWT or NWOT because the customer never picked it up, after requesting alterations
- Possible that the suit was in fact MTM, but was not made clear
- I've had one instance where the pants were from a smaller size, but I didn't know it was a mismatch until I received it

Colours and patterns
- Computer monitors have a funny way of distorting colours
- What looks good online may not be so great in real lighting


Yes, there are definitely deals to be had on eBay and the B&S board here. However, they also carry a certain level of risk. Caveat Emptor.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your response.

At the risk of sounding naive, I really couldn't believe there were fakes of high-end suits-thanks for the heads up. Brand-whore items I understand-Moncler jackets, Burberry scarves, etc-things that are easily faked and attract a lot of attention from the casual shopper. I would think that faking an RLPL suit is a difficult proposition especially given the kind of customer those items would have. That said, I do the pinch test whenever I get a suit and if it doesn't "feel" right then I'd get suspicious. Any other things to watch out for when it comes to authenticity? When it comes to the RL stuff, I have some purchased from the store so I have a baseline to compare to.

As for the other factors, I only buy when there's a return policy, so if I don't like any aspect of the item, I just return. Granted that takes some time + paying for return shipping but even if my hit rate is a mere 1 in 5 I feel I'm coming out way ahead. I have had some bad experiences with RLBL, some items appear to have been mistagged and I have received a few items tagged R when in fact they are S...

Could you perhaps expand on your comment about the age of a suit? Is there any way one can determine if one is getting a very old item? Is this a bad thing?
post #4 of 5
Faking suits isn't that hard: a brand label (can be fake or even real) is sewn onto a random garment and voila, it's a suit with Brand X on it. That's why if you spend any time in that authentication thread, there's so much discussion and focus on the inside fabric tag, which is much harder to fake. I've not been around that long, but have yet to hear an instance where a fabric tag has been faked.

Other things to look for are stitching, especially the label itself. Brioni has a very distinct cross-stitch pattern, for example. Or, for most brands you expect at least a straight, even line of stitching instead of sloppy work.

Age of suits is often more a question of styles and trends, and also an extent of whether the fabric's colours have possibly faded. Gorges, lapel widths, button stances, these things vary over the years. It's just good to keep in mind. To date garments, you really need some working knowledge of the brands and the manufacturers they use. I learned a lot from reading the boards. As a not-so-accurate example, for RLPL

Cantarelli - 80s
Chester Barrie - 90s
St. Andrews - early to mid 2000s
Caruso - mid 2000s to 2013/4?
St. Andrews - current

Then it's about knowing what manufacturers' tags look like:

http://www.styleforum.net/t/352887/the-official-thrift-thread-maker-label-guide

You get the idea.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your time Wayward.

I'd like to think (hope?) I could tell an obvious fake, especially if I already own genuine copies of the same thing, which is the case for my RLBL suits. But much appreciated-if in any doubt I'll check out the authenticity thread.
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