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Qualities of a Quality Suit

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by oakdog8, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. oakdog8

    oakdog8 Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Hello all, I'm currently a junior in college and I'm looking at buying a suit or two for interviews and such. For a college student, I know a good amount about dressing professionally. I know less about the finer points of quality mensware. Here's my question: When I see someone wearing a good suit, it stands out, and when I see someone wearing a cheap suit, they look like the FBI or something. However I am having trouble putting my finger on why. What are some qualities other than the most obvious of fabric that make a nice suit stand out?
     
  2. Thread Killer

    Thread Killer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    A lot of it has to do with fit. A high-quality suit that doesn't fit looks worse than a cheap suit that does. So whatever you buy, take it to a real tailor (not the in-house alterations guy at the retail store you bought it from, not the dry cleaner on the corner) and get it altered to fit you.
     
  3. CrimProf

    CrimProf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Location:
    Farmington, NY
    I've thought a lot about this, too, and so I could be very wrong here.

    Fit is part of it. For instance, I went from a JC Penney suit to a Hickey Freeman Madison & one thing right away I had to get used to was the high armholes (which meant I had to put the coat on a little differently) and the trimmer sleeves; the improvement in appearance was amazing even before taking it to a tailor. But this isn't universal. In some cases, one can have a suit made cheaply based on them receiving your measurements. So you can have a cheap suit with a great fit.

    You might see other styling details on a good suit that you won't often see on cheaper suits, like double rear vents or functioning buttonholes--although some less expensive suits may have one or more of those. Some folks put a premium on hand-make suits, with hand-stiched buttonholes, primarily for reasons of exclusivity (there's nothing illegitimate about that, but the tangible improvements probably don't warrant the markup--see below).

    But I think the real benefits you can't really see, which would be the improvements in construction. Full canvas, if I understand it right, means that the jacket will keep its shape for a long time. I think this means that over the years a cheaper jacket's fabric will hang rather badly. With a good suit, you won't have to worry about rain dissolving any adhesive holding the jacket together, either. So long as your own shape doesn't change, the suit will look grand on you a long time. Perhaps at cheap MTM or "bespoke" establishments, the construction can be inferior to a OTR Brioni, HF, or Isaia, and thus look like a cheap suit over time. So with a good suit, you will look good (after tailoring) for a very long time--the suit really does become an investment.
     
  4. oakdog8

    oakdog8 Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Thanks for the input. Unfortunately for me, with a 41 chest and 36 arms, finding clothes that fit can present a challenge of its own, let alone fit well.
     

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