A suit is a relatively big investment. Learn how to spot a cheap suit and make your next suit purchase a smart one.  


THE PRICE

Using price an an indication of quality might seem obvious, and generally speaking, the age old adage that 'you get what you pay for' holds true for suits. However, there are some great bargains out there. Conversely, there is a lot of over-priced crap on the market too. The trick is to know what to look for so that you can separate the genuine bargains from the cheap and nasty. We've made a lot of suits here at George & King, so it's safe to say we know what goes into making a high-quality custom tailored garment. Believe us you can't do it, while still operating a viable business, for less than ~$600.

When you see those unbelievably good deals it's a clear sign that the tailors are skimping either on fabric quality or construction - usually both. We urge caution. These deals are often too good to be true. It's better to spend a little extra on something that will fit and is made well, rather than blow your hard-earned on a sub-standard product that you won't feel comfortable wearing, or one that will fall apart a few months down the track.

You've spotted a cheap suit if:

- It's an off-the-rack suit with a price-tag lower that ~$500.
- It's a custom-tailored suit retailing for less than ~$600

 


THE FABRIC

Pure Wool is the Way to Go Most cheap suits are not going to be made using 100% wool. Instead they will be a "Wool Blend". This means that the fabric is composed of part wool and part polyester (or other materials). The ratio between the two materials will differ, though more often than not you can follow this rule: The cheaper the suit, the higher the polyester percentage. So what's wrong with polyester? The major issue with polyester is that it will not breathe as well as wool, so you will feel hotter, more uncomfortable and sweatier. Additionally, the polyester will tend to feel harsher and the very cheap ones tend to look a bit shiny; So you will actually look cheap. Not a good look.

Check the label

Fortunately, almost every suit (custom or otherwise) will have a tag inside one of the internal pockets (usually the breast pocket) that details the fabric composition. Most reputable sellers will also clearly state the fabric they use on their website or marketing material. Be careful though, because there's plenty of other businesses out there who aren't as honest. If in doubt, refer to the price rule; If it's cheap, it's probably, well... cheap.

Understand the "Super" Rating

The various grades of cloth are referred to as Super 100s, Super 120s, Super 150s and so on, all the way up to Super 200s. Always remember that the quality of fabric dictates the price of a suit. A suit made of "60-80 twists" fabrics will obviously be cheaper than one made of 100 or Super 110s, for example. A "high-twist" 100 or super 110 means a suit is made of a worsted wool yarn that has been twisted more often than the usual 60-80 twist fabrics. Super 120 wool is one of the most expensive materials commonly used.

Many suit salesmen will throw these numbers around when trying to sell you a suit. A higher Super rating generally means a softer more luxurious and delicate fabric. However the irony the higher the super rating the more fragile the wool will be. So don't buy a Super 150s suit and expect wear it everyday, all you'll be wearing is a hole in the pants! At George & King we believe the sweet spot to be Super 120s - the perfect mix of quality, durability and comfort. Again, the label inside the jacket should tell the story. Or if you know what you're looking for the feel, thickness, and fall of the fabric are all strong indicators.

You've spotted a cheap suit if:

- The tag inside the breast pocket of the suit indicates the fabric is composition is a blend anything other than 100% wool. - It's not a super rated cloth, or the seller is making dubious claims about the cloth rating without any proof of said claims.  

 


THE FEATURES

Manufacturers of the cheap and nasty suits on the market will look to cut corners at every turn. Hallmarks of a dodgy suit include:

- Cheap looking plastic buttons
- Cheap linings
- Plastic zippers
- Non-working button-holes on the sleeve
- Fake 'non-functional jacket pockets

On the other hand a good tailor understands the importance of quality trims. Keep an eye out for:

- Genuine horn or mother of pearl buttons
- Durable bemberg linings
- YKK zippers
- Functional button-holes - AKA surgeon’s cuffs
- Thread Shanks on the buttons for added durability
- Functional Pockets
- Double saddle crotch pants

Check the pockets, and the buttons. If they're functional, then someone has decided to put some effort into the construction.

You've spotted a cheap suit if:

- The buttonholes on the jacket sleeves are fake
- The pockets breast and hip jacket pockets are fake