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Guys, how many of you can honestly tell if somebody is wearing a quality suit?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by spidercan, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    Unless I can actually feel the fabric, or inspect it for hand-made buttonholes/sleeve head etc, I usually can't.


    Sure some may point to the way it fits, but one can easily purchase a $8,000 Kiton in the wrong size, or a $150 slim fit Alfani that fits them perfectly. And quite honestly many Kitons are not very attractively cut anyway. I've heard of people saying a polyester suit's fabric just looks bad, but honestly without touching one I usually can't tell it apart from wool from a few feet away. The supposed "sheen" just isn't apparent to my eye, and who's it say it isn't a 90% wool 10% silk blend if it is shiny?

    I think drape and lapel roll are the only legitimate way one can differentiate from sight. But honestly I feel like drape is such a nebulous description, and seriously raise your hand if you can really differentiate drape and aren't just BSing to make yourself sound good on teh stylefrvm.

    So for me, I only look at lapel roll, and I'm not even completely confident with it. I have a Kiton with a horrible lapel roll that's worse than a $10 suit (or at least my fused polyester Armani), but I believe a really nice 3-2 roll can only be done with a hand sewn lapel and canvass.

    Thoughts? Feel free to disagree

    I have too much time on my hands, so just for kicks, can you guess from these photos? I realize these are static images vs moving IRL, and I'm probably making these extra hard :)

    <$900 (ie cheap brands)
    $1k-2K (designer fused suits such as Armani, D&G (there are no Lanvin by Caruso or Prada by Belvest etc))
    >$3K (high end Styleforum approved, think Kiton, Attolini)


    1)
    [​IMG]

    2)
    [​IMG]

    3)
    [​IMG]

    4)
    [​IMG]

    5)
    [​IMG]


    6)
    [​IMG]

    Bonus)
    [[​IMG]

    :foo:)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  2. kulata

    kulata Senior member

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    What if the cleaners press the lapel flat. That takes lapel roll out of the equation. :)
     
  3. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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    Then I would donate the jacket to charity and set the cleaners' establishment on fire
     
    3 people like this.
  4. minervau

    minervau Senior member

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    I agree with you in many respects. It's easy to see good fit, but that is not necessarily indicative of high-quality materials or construction (e.g., full canvas).

    I think a few properties are characteristic of nice suits, and can be noticeable from far away:

    1) Collar gap as a person moves or raises their arms -- I feel like only well-constructed "good" suits -- e.g., at least half-canvas -- will show little to no collar gap at all times as a person moves around. Even a well-fitted Alfani, to give one example, might look amazing when a person is robo-posing or with their arms at their sides, but will show collar gap when they reach up or even lift their arm for a handshake.

    2) Lapel roll -- as you indicated.

    3) Button holes or pick stitching -- It's not always the perfect thing to go by nowadays, when machines can basically emulate pick-stitching, but one still sees this more on high-end garments.
     
  5. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    Distinguishing very cheap from expensive suits is often possible, e.g. by spotting
    - Cheap plastic buttons!!!
    - Bad optics of the lapel roll
    - Terrible pattern matching in case of suits with stripes, windowpane etc.
    - And in some cases the fabrics really look cheap

    It gets tougher to visually distinguish different levels of quality once you reached a certain level, e.g. Canali vs. Zegna vs. Brioni
     
  6. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    Nice. A couple points that were brought up that I didn't think of:
    -pattern matching
    -collar gaping (although I think this is more of a symptom of a low arm hole, another cheap suit indicator. Although even budget brands have been raising their armholes recently)

    Seems like lapel roll is a common one.

    Buttons: Can't say I completely agree with buttons, I pulled out my Isaia and Kiton suit and they both have pretty run-of-the mill plastic black buttons. Although I suppose if one were to have really nice horn buttons this would be a good indicator...but once again, I can't differentiate fake palstic horn from real horn unless it's up close (that being said I don't really have a discerning eye for buttons)

    Keep it coming guys!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  7. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    :cry: I am shocked.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  8. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    Ha you made me go through my closet. Two Armani Black label suits, and my Lanvin by Caruso have horn buttons. The Kiton and Isaia definitely plastic. Sartorio I have for sale looks like plastic, although there's sort of a horn looking design on the back, and Givenchy looks to have horn. So horn for designer, plastic for high-end Neapolitan. Go figure. Just never checked my buttons until you brought it up, but I'll take hand-sewn buttonholes over horn buttons any day :slayer:
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  9. LaymanX

    LaymanX Senior member

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    Being surrounded by suits daily in the finance district, it's not that hard to tell after a while. Drape and fit are primarily what I look for. Most cheap suits have boxy, padded shoulders with low arm holes and are 'stiff' from the fusing.
     
    2 people like this.
  10. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Senior member

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    Are you guys sure they are plastic and not corozo? Corozo often looks like plastic, and is common for many high end Italian makers.

    http://www.corozobuttons.com/
     
    2 people like this.
  11. HRoi

    HRoi Senior member

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    I look to see if the guy's face is blurry or blacked out. Waywt taught me that this is how to recognize the best dressed men
     
    5 people like this.
  12. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    you usually can just tell. if you cant, you need to handle more high end suits. oh i love how snobby that sounds. :)
     
  13. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    Was about to mention this as well, can't think of any reason why a higher end maker would skimp on buttons.
     
  14. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    Ah makes sense. The Isaia buttons do seem to have a bit more texture up close.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  15. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    This is one of the more interesting threads of late. Other than nuances of fit, I am not sure I can differentiate, to tell the truth.
     
  16. MisterFu

    MisterFu Senior member

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    It's pretty easy to spot the differences between a cheap suit and a decent suit. The decent, entry-level suit, in my book, is something with at least some canvassing, a lighter fusible and generally doesn't go for less than 600-700 bucks (transaction price, not "msrp"). The giveaways of the cheap suit are the over-constructed, no-slope square shoulders, stiff chest drape (over-padded chest) and limp lapel roll. Collar gap issues, IMHO, stem from poor shoulder fit coupled with the stiff chest pad. I have an older MTM (full canvas) that has fairly low armhole and I have a pretty wide range of arm movement without any collar gaping because the shoulder slope and size are correct and the chest of the suit can move and deform naturally. On the flip-side, I have a truly horrid (but well altered) suit (from an SF hated retailer whose name I will not mention) that, despite having quite high armholes and looking pretty well fitted in robo-pose, will gap once I move my arms around even somewhat (in my defense, this suit was an emergency, lost luggage purchase in a place with no other options in my size range - I now use the suit as my air travel condom).

    When you move from the decent to "mid-range" (1,200 and up) suit, it's trickier to spot the differences, but again it usually revolves around the shoulder fit and chest drape (an especially noticeable difference between say a 700 dollar RTW suit and a 1,500 dollar MTM suit). Some things like stitching and little details on close inspection are pretty obviously different and looking under the collar at the stitching usually highlights some pretty stark quality differences between the 700 dollar and 1,200+ price points.

    IMHO, it becomes very difficult to spot the differences between, say, a 1,500 dollar "mid-range" MTM suit and the 4,000+ dollar range MTM and bespoke suits. I have a few bespoke and high-end MTM suits that, using visual observation only, I can't easily distinguish between (qualitatively) those suits and my "daily" mid-range stuff. Wearing them, however, is a whole different deal; at the 1,500 dollar level you are always aware that you are in a suit whereas my top-shelf stuff feels like I am wearing comfy pajamas (while looking great all day long).
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. edwinl

    edwinl Well-Known Member

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    Can't you just look at the label on the end of the sleeve? Lol.
     
  18. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    Ok I'm putting up photos, see if you can tell the difference. I think some of the less fashion-forward cheap brands are pretty obvious, but there are some cheap brands that cut well enough it's hard to tell the difference.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  19. MisterFu

    MisterFu Senior member

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    Ya know, you can joke about that, but as I was walking down 6th avenue today, a guy passes me with (what I am pretty sure was) the white "Burberry London" sleeve tag still affixed to his suit jacket.

    I genuinely felt bad for the guy.
     
  20. MisterFu

    MisterFu Senior member

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    The challenge is that it has to be real-world photos of real people wearing these suits. Catalog shots are all shopped-up (with suits that have been carefully pinned up to fit the models properly).
     

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