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. 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).
     
  2. edwinl

    edwinl Well-Known Member

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    Can't you just look at the label on the end of the sleeve? Lol.
     
  3. 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
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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).
     
  6. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    Hmm this is more commonly done on mannequins not on real life models. The majority of the model photos had rear views as well as front views, some had 360 degree videos. I did a quick check for real life photos, and they weren't noticeably slimmer. And honestly if it can be pinned it can be tailored the same way (and wouldn't that mean a cheap suit with a slim cut takes priority over construction?)...so a bit of a moot point.


    And really I'm way too tired to go through and re-upload real people photos, just give it a shot :)


    Edit: All of the non-styleforum approved suits had at least rear shots if not videos
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  7. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I hope someone has said this already, but comparing different suits when new is a little silly. Yeah, the higher end will generally look better, but the real test of the suit is how it will look after a year or two of wear. Line up a well worn JAB next to a well worn Hugo Boss next to a well worn Brooks Brothers next to a well worn Zegna and most anyone will be able to spot which is higher quality.
     
  8. spidercan

    spidercan Senior member

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    I disagree, I don't think most people go out in well-worn suits. When suits get well-worn they get replaced. That being said, one could argue that well made suits last longer (which is another separate although tangentially related controversy).
     
  9. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't mean worn out. And there is an obvious gradient between looking new and looking like a suit needing to replaced. A good suit will look better, more natural, more relaxed after a year of wear (maybe 2-3 times a month depending on rotation). A cheap suit won't.

    I see cheap suits constantly--I live in a city where even cellphone salesmen wear suits. There is more to a suit than how it looks when it is new. And a cheap suit starts looking cheap--if it didn't already--very quickly. Folks can only wear a suit for the first time once.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  10. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    answer C) dont concern yourself whether what someone has on is expensive or not
     
  11. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    Interesting thread. I honestly pay much more attention to how someone's suit fits and what type of silhouette it has, which are probably the most important factors in determining how it looks, rather than anything else. Occasionally I see fabric that just looks cheap, awful pattern matching or other giveaways but I generally am not looking for them. I agree with others who have said that it gets harder to tell how expensive a suit is above a certain level.
     
  12. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    Besides this site, I don't look at other people's clothes closely enough to be able to make that call. Unless you're a woman, I probably won't even notice what you're wearing. When I do notice, it usually doesn't go any further than basic fit issues (pants length, shoulder fit). That's usually enough for me to move on.

    For those who do actually analyze other people's clothes in real life, most of them can't tell shxt. They don't have x-ray vision, and they usually don't get to feel the fabric. All that they can do is point out whether the suit has features that they associate with expensive clothing. Most of it has to do with how the suit fits; the rest of it is rationalized bullshxt. Obviously, on this site, there's a larger proportion of expensive suits, so it's easy to guess correctly here, but in real life, you can't tell.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  13. MZhammer

    MZhammer Senior member

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    Well I can't tell if it's an expensive suit but I can usually tell if it's a canvassed suit, like you said, by the lapel roll and how it moves on the body. Fused suits get pretty easy to pick out after you've seen enough of them.

    I used to sell suits and it became a bit of a game to tell if a man was wearing a canvassed or a fused suit when he walked in. But really, from far away it's just a guess. Once you're close I have a better idea but who studies it that closely? Now that I don't work there anymore I could care less what others are wearing.

    On that note, I had one customer who adamantly required we leave that on. He said he wanted the label to stay on the sleeve to show others the brand. No matter how many times I told him that wasn't the way suits or coats are worn, he didn't let me remove them. He bought probably 3 suits and 1 overcoat that way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  14. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    I once worked for a guy who was very good looking and quite well-dressed who occasionally came to work
    with the jacket label still affixed to his sleeve and the pockets stil sewn shut.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  15. MisterFu

    MisterFu Senior member

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    Just out of curiosity, what brand of suit was he so adamant about advertising on his sleeve? I hope it wasn't Pronto Uomo...
     

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