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Expensive Suits - Can anyone tell - Page 10

post #136 of 143

My go-to method of classifying a suit would be to look at the button-holes and fabric. More than often, only bespoke/mtm and $4k++ RTW suits will have completely hand-sewn ones (Especially the lapel buttonhole is easy to spot). If it's some expensive fabric like 100% cashmere, it has a very nice sheen to it. Same with those ultra fine fabrics (Super 180's and up). Fit alone won't tell you much, as there are (unfortunately) lots of men walking around in mediocre fitting $8k suits out there. 

 

Shoes can also tell you something, but again, lots and lots of beat to sh!t old loafers out there. 

 

A bit off topic: I personally enjoy expensive suits because they seem to fit me better. If I try 10 suits that are $1500 and up, most of them will usually fit me pretty good off-the rack. If I try 10 different suits around $300-$500, most of them will not fit me. Lower armholes, neck pull/bulge, shoulders look terrible, etc. 

 

I'm not sure why. Maybe the more expensive suits have been made with better patterns? 

 

Some affordable brands (like Suitsupply) have  gotten better, but most department store brands, or cheap licensed stuff seems to fit pretty poorly.  

post #137 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gs77 View Post


Are you computer scientist? 256 corresponds to 8 bits for each component.

Anyways... I meant where you take that jacket with you to compare but let's assume your tailor doesn't have the exact same cloth. Would you be able to find something that matches...
 

 

I know what you meant, but there's a difference between what NYDRH was implying, where you look at the guy across the room and trying to recall from memory which fabric was the closest match in color to having a swatch book in front of you to see if something is a perfect match. Here's an example of two navy suits, and you're right that they're not an exact match. However, I'ld be surprised if even the members of this forum could guess which was more expensive at better than chance or would rate one color as obviously better based on anything other than personal preference. I would be impressed if even the bespoke tailors could do what NYDRH is claiming and identify the suit designer or the mill and fabric grade  based on how "unique" these colors are.

 

 


Edited by recentgrad - 8/20/16 at 8:14am
post #138 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYDRH View Post
 

All I can say is, it is. My assumption would be the quality of the dye/pigments and the material taking the dye make the difference much like high end indigo in denim. Im sure someone more knowledgeable than I could chime in. The wool or other base material(s) is of better quality and it has a different texture, sheen and feel and with that holds and shows color differently. You also see more interesting weaves which have an impact on all of the above where generally alot of RTW has that super 120 thing going on where everything has a generic feel to it which is why I believe the higher end stuff tends to stand out more and makes it easier to spot. For example, Zegna has many lines (tiers) of fabric and while each line might have a navy if you were to compare the swatches you can see how different they are when comparing them.  If you could get your hands on a high end swatch book and take it to Saks, Barneys etc and compare the fabrics, I think you would see what I am referencing. As you go into the higher levels there is definitely diminishing returns but there is a distinction.  Im not saying this is 100% the case as some higher end RTW use the same fabric but more often than not the distinction is fairly obvious.  Tom Ford uses Mohair blends in some of his suits, it is very unusual to see mohair in RTW(I remember Prada using it), and it is very easy to spot. Kiton uses alot of exclusive and often interesting unique fabrics, the textures standout and in my opinion are very nice but at full retail you can get high end bespoke and choose your fabric.

While Zegna could use different dyes with their fabrics, I suspect most of what you're identifying as better is having a very glossy finish, which would be a function of the fabric and the weave. Mohair is known for having a sheen and being slightly shiny.

post #139 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by recentgrad View Post
 

While Zegna could use different dyes with their fabrics, I suspect most of what you're identifying as better is having a very glossy finish, which would be a function of the fabric and the weave. Mohair is known for having a sheen and being slightly shiny.

I think what I am identifying as "better" is a combination of all of those attributes that I previously mentioned. I do not think glossy finish is the main factor at all, many high end fabrics are muted with no gloss to them.  I was specifically referencing the color as something that differentiates nicer fabrics on a suit from a distance and it really has nothing to do with it being shiny.  I used Zegna as an example because they are a well known cloth manufacturer and they have many grades and lines of fabric that could be compared to one another vertically any high end mill/merchant has various "books" on offer and quick side by sides will show you the difference in quality.

 

Realistically, it is not one thing in particular but a combination.  As with any product there are high end and low end materials and when you purchase lower quality component parts it is not going to be as good as the higher end which is why they cost more. Take paint for example, why does one one gallon of cheap Kmart Martha Stewart paint cost $20/gallon and really high end paint go for more than $50/gallon? Better ingredients including pigments so one navy is not going to be the same as the other.  Brands have pricing power but there is a reason they are a brand in the first place, because they are delivering a known level of quality to a consumer base that trusts that brand.  We might live in a world of increasing brand and quality erosion but there are still companies that stand for something and are not just a brand name purchased by a conglomerate and gutted of the quality that built the brand.

 

Higher end fabrics cost +$150/yard or more without getting into the stratospheric levels of Vicuna or diamond chips woven into the fabric et al, I am just referencing high quality cloth merchants and mills. If you need 3 to 3.5 yards to make a suit you are talking about $500 in fabric at a minimum, which means you are never going to see those fabrics on a cheap suit, it would be hard to turn a profit if your materials were in excess of 50% of the retail price.  These fabrics cost more because they are of higher quality, color, texture, weave etc and not because someone put a nicer label on them. A J.Crew, Hugo Boss, suit supply suit that retails for $1000 can't possibly be produced with fabric that costs even half that which doesn't even account for thread, buttons glue(hopefully the really good glue), marketing costs and of course labor. Those products rely on volume, extremely low wages and bulk purchases of fabric that do not have the small batch "artisinal" qualities you will see with more expensive cloth.  Which is why I mentioned fabric in the first place because if a suit has nice fabric you know its expensive without even touching construction, fit, handwork etc. And generally tailors/clients don't invest +$500 of fabric into something that will be constructed poorly so if you see a nice fabric its highly correlated to the overall quality of the suit.

 

Mohair is more than just a sheen, the material has a different cellular structure than wool and behaves differently on a finished garment, specifically it holds its shape very well and is instantly recognizable with color an texture. I have a few suits in wool/silk/mohair blends so I have some familiarity and they really aren't that shiny and certainly not gaudy, they are perfectly acceptable in a business environment.  I was referencing it before because it is a more expensive fiber and not something you typically see on a low quality garment.  As with the above there are cheaper suiting cloth made with mohair and there are expensive ones, I have no doubt the expensive ones look better. Cashmere is the same way, as are most other high value fibers it often has to do with the length of the fibers being used.  Everything is graded and priced accordingly.  Just because something is labeled cashmere or mohair doesn't mean its all  the same just as all "navy" colors are not all the same.

 

I did a quick google search on the color references made earlier and without delving into math and color theory the answer was the human eye can detect up to 10 million colors that to me would suggest there are a multitude of navy blues out there.

 

I don't think it is even necessary to break it down into scientific elements, you know it when you see it.  Your original question was can  a person tell/recognize an expensive suit, and as I have already said yes, yes people recognize it immediately. Of course their are outliers like the guy that is as easily satisfied by a Big Mac as he would be eating at Peter Lugers (insert name of high end restaurant) but that isnt within the range of normal.

post #140 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by recentgrad View Post
 

 

I know what you meant, but there's a difference between what NYDRH was implying, where you look at the guy across the room and trying to recall from memory which fabric was the closest match in color to having a swatch book in front of you to see if something is a perfect match. Here's an example of two navy suits, and you're right that they're not an exact match. However, I'ld be surprised if even the members of this forum could guess which was more expensive at better than chance or would rate one color as obviously better based on anything other than personal preference. I would be impressed if even the bespoke tailors could do what NYDRH is claiming and identify the suit designer or the mill and fabric grade  based on how "unique" these colors are.

 

 

Few points:

 

1) If you edit a previous post those of us participating in the conversation wont get the alert that you are continuing the conversation. It is best to add the new material in a new post.

 

2)  The above bolded is not what I am "claiming" at all. I dont think it is necessary for me to rehash the whole thing as it is written above, but you are focused on refuting a point that was never made. I was responding to one point about color and recognizing differences in a crowded room not breaking down minutiae of wool origins like a master of wine telling you the soil content of the grapes from a sip of wine nor was I discussing designers as a way to recognize fabric. My point is you can tell a high quality fabric from one that is not and it is a good start to recognizing a nicer suit which people notice in casual meetings without much expertise or effort. I was giving some reasons why this is the case, nothing more.  This is literally true with every type of product manufactured on earth (except maybe bleach) otherwise materials like leather, glass, asphalt, soap, plastic come in all levels of quality and you tell the difference from the high end versus the garbage generally just by glancing at it. I'm sure a bespoke tailor or anyone in the industry can tell shit fabric by looking at it and definitely by touching it.

 

3) I am having a hard time understanding how this is even a point of contention. Do you not believe that there are differing quality fibers that comprise the production of fabric, and some are nicer and more expensive than others, and people can tell by looking at it? Do you think all dye and pigmentation is the same particularly when used in a real world application? This is not something generated on a pixelated screen. Even if you had the same exact pigments and dye and were to put it on two different fibers made into cloth they would not look the same in the final product every organic material takes dye differently.  But this isnt even the case because an inferior quality wool is not going to be processed the same way as the best wools.  You do realize that if you bought 3 yards of fabric to make into a suit and decided you wanted a vest, called the manufacturer to order more of the "exact same" product your vest would most likely not match, so how in the world would some shit fabric look the same as a nice one when it isnt even undergoing the same processes? In a vacuum with some mathematical equation for a color's wavelength all else being equal sure it would be the same but that is an academic exercise and not a real world application of the textile industry.

 

4) It seems to me your answer to your own question is that everything looks the same if you choose the same color, which is illogical. My suggestion would be to step out beyond the computer screen and gain some life experience.  Go look at fabric, actual cloth, actual cloth made up into a suit and note the differences.  If in the end you dont see any differences than you have your answer and you will have saved yourself a ton of money.  It is impossible to tell anything from a couple of colored rectangles on a computer screen.  Check out the unfunded liabilities thread and see how serious people get into the weeds of fabric http://www.styleforum.net/t/56404/unfunded-liabilities-a-k-a-the-cloth-thread/18690#post_8546225 and even then they order the swatches because you have to interact with the product with your eyes and tactile senses, very few mills even put the swatches on their websites because it tells you almost nothing and they want people to interact with the product the way it is meant to be used.

post #141 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYDRH View Post
 

Few points:

 

3) I am having a hard time understanding how this is even a point of contention. Do you not believe that there are differing quality fibers that comprise the production of fabric, and some are nicer and more expensive than others, and people can tell by looking at it?

 

This thread is approaching the point of diminishing returns, but I'll end with yes, I believe some fabrics cost a lot more than others and no I don't believe that there's much difference in the colors you see in a image taken with a high quality camera compared to in real life, if you control for things like lighting conditions and viewing distances.

post #142 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitals View Post

98% of North Americans, no.
2% yes.

I actually work with a guy who if he isn't sure, will just walk up and open one's jacket and read the label.

This is a good reason for you to go bespoke. He won't be able to find the label.

Then again, perhaps not ... but hopefully he's willing to give up if it's not in the usual place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I don't know how anyone can quit this forum.


I've tried and tried.
post #143 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post

I've tried and tried.

It's like reading Donald Trump news every day. You look it up just to go wtf??
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