What are the tell-tale signs of a good quality suit? Advice from the experts

If you’re investing in an expensive new suit, you want it to be worth it. But how can you differentiate a good quality suit from one that won’t last as long? CT shirts, retailers of black, blue and grey suits, tells us more:

What’s it made from?

A lot of the quality in the suit is down to the materials that were used to create it.

Go for shirts that have been crafted from natural fibres. Similarly, 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.

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Look for the ‘Super’ number on the label — this is an indicator of how fine the material is. 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.

Consider smaller details too, such as what was used to create the buttons. 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.

How has it been designed?

You want the suit to mould to your shape and fit you perfectly, this is all down to the design of the suit.

It’s up to you what weave you prefer, but some are considered more luxurious 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.

If you buy a canvassed suit jacket, you can expect a garment that has layers of material that sit between the outer fabric and inner lining. This tailoring technique 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.

Check out the lining of the suit to see how well it’s 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.

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Have you examined the details?

Added details are often ways that the tailor integrates quality and specialism into their suits.

Examine the lapels on a suit jacket — these are the folds that sit 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.

Decide what style of back vents you want to go for. The back vents on a suit 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.

Check out smaller details, too, like 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.

Take a good look at the buttonholes. Cheaper suits can often have frayed buttonholes, as they haven’t been stitched with delicacy. Small details like this are big giveaways as to how your suit has been made.

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