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Fused vs canvas debate

Rudder

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Hey all,

As my profile reveals, I'm a newbie on this board. I'm very much interested in your opinion on the fused vs canvas debate.

Combing through old posts, I noticed that some are fickle about the construction of their suits -- rightfully so, quality matters. But can you tell the difference simply by wearing the suit or looking at it?

I'm asking this because I have an Armani Collezioni MTM suit that I love. It looks great, feels great and fits great. Since I"m satisfied with it, I can't justify spending extra money solely to get a canvas suit if I can't feel or tell the difference (based on trying a Kiton suit).

Another issue to consider then would be the life span of a fused suit vs a canvas one. As I've only been wearing suits for six years, I'd like to read about the longevity of your suits (by brand and construction if possible). So far a Boss Einstein suit that I bought in 1999 is still in good condition.

I'm in my late 20s and in great shape. I work hard to maintain my figure, but I also realize that ten years from now my body will change. With that in mind, is there any sense in investing in a suit for the long run? To the wiser ones, what have been your experiences in this?

I guess I've shifted the issue of canvas vs fused into a monologue about quality and value. Anyway, I'd welcome your comments on this -- esp. those that disagree with me.
 

Alias

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Actually, I don't find all fused jackets to be of bad quality. Also, they don't necessarily fall apart over a short time. It's just that, well, you have these purists, and they can only be satisfied by the very best
Go with what you like. Personally, I like "half-canvas" suits, with stitched lapels but a fused body. They don't cost an arm and a leg, but still look great.
 

MilanoStyle

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I wondered same issue for bit once I found out there was difference in suit construction.

Here is what I value the most:

1. Fit and Style: does the suit showcase the look that i am after? Am I look GOOD in this suit? Remember, people see you, not the canvas nor many stiches your under lapel has.

2. Drape: I don't care if your suit costs $10K or $100, a suit with wrinkles and kinks on any part of the suit will ruin overall image. I always take jacket off when I sit.

3. Construction: I really do not care this after all. I am not going to wear suits for life nor pass on to next generation. I rarely dry clean my suits (once with Hugo Boss Einstien suit) .. so I guess I'll have to find out.

I believe dry cleaning kills a suit, period. I think after phases of dry clean, your suit fabric will give out and will look cheap wether you have canvas or not.

Conclusion: I buy my suit which ever suits me and care them like babies.
 

johnnynorman3

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A couple of thoughts: First, right off the rack it is hard nowadays to tell the difference between fused and canvas. The fusing nowadays is so thin, light, and plyable, that it doesn't give the stiff look that I think it did in yesteryears.

However, based on my experience in consignment shops, etc., I can tell you that the fused suits do seem to be "stiffer" than the canvas ones. That could either be the result of bad fusing in the past, or could indicate that over time the fusing will stiffen. My sense is that it is partly both. That said, I agree that dry cleaning takes a toll on the fabric, not just fusing, such that while a canvas suit won't "bubble" (to be honest, I've never seen a bubbled suit, and don't know what it looks like), the fabric will dry out nonetheless. I also agree with Alias that the stitching in the lapels is something to look for, because stitched lapels will tend to have better shape. Hart Schaffner is a good example of a fused suit with stitched lapels, as is the current Polo blue label.

I would say that fit and fabric are more important than full canvas construction, which may not have been true in the days of pathetic fusibles. But now, the difference, in the short run at least, is not worth the extra $500 or $1000 difference in price, at least at your (my) age.
 

A Harris

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Fused suits look stiff and feel stiff. It's all about the roll of the lapel and the fit of the jacket over the chest. I can spot a fused suit from a good distance. Even the really good ones (Corneliani for Polo as an example) just don't fit like a canvased suit.

The fact that your MTM Armani fits you much better than the Kiton you tried on has to do with cut, not construction. The Kiton was cut for someone with a different body type. Find a canvased jacket with a flattering cut and believe me, you will see the difference.

As for durability, fused suits will eventually bubble. I've seen thousands of bubbled jackets (literally) and it is not a pretty sight.

There seems to be a LOT of confusion lately as to how you can tell a fused front suit from a canvased one. Ignore all the stuff about how many layers there are. A fused suit can be identified by the fact that the chest fabric will feel thicker than say, the sleeve fabric, when you roll it through your fingers. On account of the fact that there is actually two layers there - fused together.
 

Nick M

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There seems to be a LOT of confusion lately as to how you can tell a fused front suit from a canvased one. Ignore all the stuff about how many layers there are.
On that topic, I was always under the impression that in a canvas-front suit there's three distinct layers of fabric here:
(That's before you hit the pockets, of course.) True? Not true? True in some cases?
 

A Harris

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I just checked the two best quality fused jackets that I have seen (one by Polo/Corneliani and one by Southwick) and they both had only two layers in that area. So yes, that seems to be an accurate test as well.
 

HRHAndrew

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I can spot a fused suit from a good distance. Even the really good ones (Corneliani for Polo as an example)
Are we sure that these are fused? Strange that Corneliani/Polo would sell a fused piece for more coin than one can by a standard Corneliani canvas piece.
 

MilanoStyle

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I also tried Canali (not proposta) that has stiched lapel and front canavas. Canali does fit me well from the get-go. But what I did not find attractive was that high roll on the lapal. The saleperson says thats look of Canali .. I felt that the roll was too big.
 

FCS

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There seems to be a LOT of confusion lately as to how you can tell a fused front suit from a canvased one. Ignore all the stuff about how many layers there are.
On that topic, I was always under the impression that in a canvas-front suit there's three distinct layers of fabric here:
(That's before you hit the pockets, of course.) True? Not true? True in some cases?
That test won't work in half-canvassed, half-fused suits. You could still try to pinch the chest and feels the third layer.
 

Nick M

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That is one sharp suit.
It's Belvest, if you're looking for a new suit - although I guess it could very well be MTM Belvest.

How'd your tuxedo hunt go, other than running headfirst into Bostonian rudeness?
 

MilanoStyle

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That is one sharp suit.
I agree. What a sharp looking suit. I am thinking of getting Zegna 2 button MTM suit in black or VERY dark blue.
 

LA Guy

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johnnynorman3

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Fused suits look stiff and feel stiff. It's all about the roll of the lapel and the fit of the jacket over the chest. I can spot a fused suit from a good distance. Even the really good ones (Corneliani for Polo as an example) just don't fit like a canvased suit.

The fact that your MTM Armani fits you much better than the Kiton you tried on has to do with cut, not construction. The Kiton was cut for someone with a different body type. Find a canvased jacket with a flattering cut and believe me, you will see the difference.

As for durability, fused suits will eventually bubble. I've seen thousands of bubbled jackets (literally) and it is not a pretty sight.

There seems to be a LOT of confusion lately as to how you can tell a fused front suit from a canvased one. Ignore all the stuff about how many layers there are. A fused suit can be identified by the fact that the chest fabric will feel thicker than say, the sleeve fabric, when you roll it through your fingers. On account of the fact that there is actually two layers there - fused together.
I had said earlier that it is "hard" -- but not impossible -- to tell a fused from a canvas suit nowadays. Those such as A. Harris I have no doubt can tell the difference. I agree that the biggest difference is the way the suit drapes over the chest area.
 

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