There are a few special occasions that call for a new suit. Perhaps you’ve been invited to a wedding, a christening or maybe you’re looking to sharpen up for the office. Either way, a suit should be viewed as a necessary investment. A cheap suit is almost guaranteed to need replacing in a couple of years, whereas well-designed tailoring can last you 20 plus!
When buying a new suit, what should you look out for? And, of equal importance, how can other people tell that you’re wearing the best. CT shirts, retailers of navy suits, have created this guide to make your purchase the right one.
Check the materials
What the suit is made of can determine how long it will last. Look for suits that have been created with natural fibres, avoid those with labels that say it has been created with a wool-blend or man-made materials. Polyester, for example, should be avoided. It retains a lot of heat, is less breathable and creases easily. A suit with 100% wool is something that you should look out for — these suits are versatile and ooze comfort. For a lustre look, often silk or mohair (a silk-like material made from the hair of the Angora goat) is added and this gives a luxurious shine to any suit. For extra movement and comfort, a high-quality suit is often made with a small amount of Lycra and this improves its elasticity.
Take a look at the number alongside the ‘Super’. The Super is a way of indicating that the wool is of high quality and the higher the number, the finer and lighter the cloth will be.
Have you ever thought of considering what the buttons are made from too? Plastic buttons are prone to breakage and chipping — imagine if you brush against a wall or table, it will be the buttons that take the impact. Another high-quality material that is often used for making durable and long-lasting suit buttons is corozo nuts.
Take a look at the design
The design of the suit is important. It determines how it fits your body and moulds to your shape over time, it is what makes the suit truly yours.
It’s usually down to personal preference what weave is preferred but some are considered higher end than others. The patterns are created in the suit by interweaving different coloured threads in different ways. The ‘twill’ weave is considered to be stylish — this has a diagonal line of raised fabric and a silk-looking finish. The ‘herringbone’ also gives a smart look— this is an intricate V weave that creates a smooth feel.
There are some tailoring techniques that make a difference too. A canvassed suit jacket for example is created so that it has layers of material that sit between the outer suit fabric and the inner lining. This helps the suit maintain structure and shape. What you should look out for is a ‘floating canvas’ — this is where the middle layer has been stitched to the fabric loosely so that the suit is able to mould to your body shape and move when you move.
Examine the lining to see how well it has been made. Despite popular belief that an unlined suit is cheaper than a fully lined one, it actually takes more effort to create an unlined suit as the stitching and cut of the material is exposed. However, lined sleeves improve your ability to slide the jacket on and off.
Looking out for smaller details on the suit shows that care has been taken to make the suit. It can be the tailor’s own way of integrating quality into their work.
Take the lapels for example. These are the folds that sit either side of the opening across the chest. One detail that can indicate the quality of a suit is the lapel roll — this is the fall and curl of the lapel from the collar to the first button. If the suit is one of many rolled off a production line, it is likely that the lapel will be completely flat against the jacket and the roll will be almost non-existent. In a high-quality suit however, the lapel roll will look like it has been carefully curved — giving the jacket more texture and a better appearance.
Or, consider the style of the back vents. These can determine how easy it is for you to move around and feel comfortable in it. Choose suit jackets with twin back vents on the back of the jacket to improve its flexibility and range of movement.
Take time to see if the jacket has stalk loops. This is a traditional tailoring feature which neatly keeps your flower stalk tucked away. Although it may not be a necessary feature for everyone, it shows attention to detail that’s likely to be an indicator of a good suit.