Ok, so there's quite a few tell tale signs as to whether your suit was hand-made as the label says, or whether it was part of a production line. Here, I’m going to educate you on how to ensure that your suit is worth the price you paid for it:
After reading this and heading down to your local suit shop, you’ll be able to tell straight away whether the quality of the suit is worth the price you’re paying. Going back to my last blog ‘What makes my suit Super?’, you don’t want to be paying for a luxury sports car, and getting scrap metal.
Where are the suits really made? Unfortunately in todays world, it is estimated that over 90% of suits sold on Savile Row, aren’t actually made on Savile Row, despite still keeping the 4 figure price tag. Although the cloth is made in the UK, much of the time, the fabric gets sent over to China for cheap labour, to be cut, before again, finishing it in England. It’s a sad truth that due to machinery and low labour costs, companies are choosing the cheap way out, and shipping a trade that was exquisitely learnt over years, here in the UK, abroad. Ask exactly where the suit was made, from start to finish.
Make sure the buttons on the sleeves are actually used as buttons. Just in case you’re wondering, the buttons on a suit jacket’s sleeves were originally put there as a practical use. Men were less accustomed to taking off their jacket, and whether it was just a bit of handy work around the garden, or a surgeon doing well… surgery, a gentlemen could roll up his sleeves as oppose to what was seen as ‘stripping down’ back in those days.
Feel the collar and chest. When you feel the collar of a suit jacket, it should feel as though it’s 2 pieces of fabric rubbing together, if you can’t feel this, it’s likely that the suit is fused with glue. Once again, a cheap alternative to canvassing. Using glue is the cheap alternative to canvas (a mix of cloth including horse hair), it’s worked perfectly for years, and the only reason it was changed is by the large high-street corporations seeking a larger profit from their embarrassingly badly made suits. Take this suit to be dry-cleaned a few times, the glue melts, it bubbles, and the suit is completely useless.
Check the buttonhole on the lapel. Now this points a bit different. You’re actually going to be looking for irregularities. The stitching on the button, when stitched by a machine, is uniform, it all looks perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, no matter how much of an expert your tailor is, they’ll never be able to get the perfection of a machine. Look for the stitching being slightly uneven, or even having small gaps. This will ensure the suit was hand-made.
The price tag. Good things don’t come cheap, especially that of a well-made suit. If you’re looking for a quality suit, you won’t be looking at anything less than £900. The amount of hours in labour, and the cost of the quality fabric will bring the price just shy of £1000, but bare in mind, you buy cheap, you buy twice.
It is getting increasingly difficult to tell the quality of a suit, however we will continue to fight towards traditional craftsmanship. At least now, you have an idea of a few quick tell-tale signs to distinguish the true professional qualities of a suit.