How do YOU ID quality?

MTM_Master?

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Hello All,

Wanted to see what different members of the forum look for in a suit when identifying the quality of said suit? The goal here is to learn how to tell what makes suit A better than suit B-and no fair using tags, labels, or brand identification as it's too easy to say "this Oxxford suit is better than this Men's Warehouse suit because it's Oxxford" (even though that will almost certainly be true).

I'll start by sharing some of the most basic things I often look for:
  • chest piece construction - fully canvased, half canvased, or fused?
  • suit buttons - are they MOP, horn, plastic, etc? How securely are the buttons sewn on?
  • buttonholes - sewn by hand or machine?
  • suit lining - is the lining sewn in neatly? Does the lining lay smoothly in the jacket?
  • collar - does the collar have felt or is it self lined?
  • pick stitching (if applicable) - done by hand or machine?

Let the discussion begin!
 

Hitch

Super Member
chest piece construction - fully canvased, half canvased, or fused?

How do we sartorially challenged individuals determine this cornerstone of quality?
 

MacTweed

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I am no pro, but here are some of the things I look for:

Working buttons on the suit jacket; surgeon's cuffs(?)
Buttons: Are all the buttons' holes aligned with one another? This indicates attention, to detail in my mind.
Pattern alignment: Does the pattern of the pockets, sleeves, et-cetera align with the body of the jacket?
 

Snow Hill Pond

Elite Member
Although objective, the OP's list doesn't address the unquantifiable impact of "fit and feel"...which should be addressed prior to going through the quality checklist and are themselves indirect markers of quality, in my opinion.

The very first thing I do is to make sure the suit jacket I'm considering fits great. There are basically three things I check when putting on a jacket of the correct size:

1. Does the suit jacket sit comfortably on my shirt collar without any gapping?

2. Do the lapels buckle when the coat is buttoned and I put my hands in my trouser pockets. If yes, that's a deal breaker.

3. When buttoned, is the coat comfortable around the chest and shoulders when I extend my hand (to shake someone else's, to grab a glass of water, etc.)?

If the suit passes these tests, then I may check for some of the objective measures, but frankly, assuming the price is right and the suit flatters my appearance, the deal is 90% done if the suit passes these tests.
 

MTM_Master?

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Although objective, the OP's list doesn't address the unquantifiable impact of "fit and feel"...which should be addressed prior to going through the quality checklist and are themselves indirect markers of quality, in my opinion.

The very first thing I do is to make sure the suit jacket I'm considering fits great. There are basically three things I check when putting on a jacket of the correct size:

1. Does the suit jacket sit comfortably on my shirt collar without any gapping?

2. Do the lapels buckle when the coat is buttoned and I put my hands in my trouser pockets. If yes, that's a deal breaker.

3. When buttoned, is the coat comfortable around the chest and shoulders when I extend my hand (to shake someone else's, to grab a glass of water, etc.)?

If the suit passes these tests, then I may check for some of the objective measures, but frankly, assuming the price is right and the suit flatters my appearance, the deal is 90% done if the suit passes these tests.

This is a great point! Let me officially go on record by stating what is perhaps obvious to most of the seasoned suit veterans- fit is king! Quality without fit is worthless.
 

L-feld

Elite Member
collar - does the collar have felt or is it self lined?

Which one is better and why? I've heard this alluded to, but never got a grasp on it.

FWIW, i don't think I've ever seen a collar lined with anything other than felt.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
 

MTM_Master?

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Which one is better and why? I've heard this alluded to, but never got a grasp on it.

FWIW, i don't think I've ever seen a collar lined with anything other than felt.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

I believe I've read that the purpose of felt is to hold the collar shape and is preferred over other materials as felt does not fray easily. I've seen felt under the collars of almost every suit I've ever looked at- I think having felt under the collar is practically a must-have for any decent suit. Between different suits, the main difference I see between felt is that way is is attached to the collar and the thickness of the felt.
 

sp999

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I am no pro, but here are some of the things I look for:

Working buttons on the suit jacket; surgeon's cuffs(?)

I am going to have to disagree on this point. Having surgeon's cuffs on an OTR suit is impracticable. The only way to shorten sleeves is from the shoulder making such alterations very expensive. This feature in only feasible on MTM or custom tailored suits.
 

medhat

Super Member
This is a great point! Let me officially go on record by stating what is perhaps obvious to most of the seasoned suit veterans- fit is king! Quality without fit is worthless.

Agreed, but I'd like to think a good many on the Forum, after getting the fit right, will spend the remainder of the time (in my case as with many others, TOO much :)) perseverating over the 1-5% that no one else with notice. That's the fun part. Surgeon's cuffs, pleats/no, 2/2.5/3 button, low/hi gorge, waist suppression and rolled shoulders, it's been a wonderful way to bide the time.
 
1. Does the suit look good?
2. Is there anything wrong with it?
3. Would buying it be a stupid way to spend money?

If it passes those three tests, then it's in. Otherwise, it's out.
 

arnaudr

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I would add another aspect to look at: the quality of the canvassing used. What kind of hair is used, how has it been twisted, what is the canvas blended with are some questions for which there may be no answer on the attached labels and certainly no answer to be found with the sales-person you are dealing with. The look, touch and feel can give you these answers.

If a tailor is using quality inside where it is not visible, you can rest assured that everything else is fine.

Our customers send us jackets to replicate that have "Lining: 100% Bemberg" written on them and they turn out to be 100% polyester.
 
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