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15 Easy Ways People Can Spot If You’re Wearing a Cheap Suit

Stepping out in style goes beyond the brand of your suit—it’s all about the quality. From the seamless fit to the fine details, a well-made suit can set you apart in any room. But how can you tell if your suit makes the cut or falls short? Here are some insider tips to help you discern whether you’re sporting a high-end ensemble or a cheaper alternative.

Beware of Bargain Prices

Let’s start by talking about pricing. Spotting a cheap suit usually begins with a shockingly low price tag. If a new suit costs under $400, chances are it’s glued together rather than properly stitched with canvas. Remember, you often get what you pay for.

The Infamous Collar Gap

The collar gap is a dead giveaway of a suit’s poor fit, where there’s visible space between the suit and shirt collar. This flaw, common in ready-to-wear suits, caters to generic body shapes and often can’t be altered without significant cost. Interestingly, this is not exclusive to cheaper suits but is a frequent offender.

Rough Around the Edges

The Melton, a wool fabric under the jacket’s collar, should feel smooth to the touch. A coarse one indicates lower-quality material, which is likely to save on costs. High-quality suits use a finer Melton that not only feels better but also helps the collar maintain its shape and crisp appearance. While often overlooked, this detail is a subtle indicator of a suit’s overall quality.

Shoulder Line Disasters

A well-fitting suit should have shoulders that smoothly contour your own. Cheap suits often fail here, with the shoulder fabric bunching up and looking disheveled, a clear sign of inferior padding and materials. While even the best suits may need some shoulder adjustments, a chronic lousy fit in this area is usually a hallmark of a low-quality suit.

Simplistic Sizing Spells Trouble

When a suit is available in generic sizes like S, M, and L, it’s a clue that it might not be the best quality. Fine suits are sized more precisely to accommodate different body dimensions. This method of sizing is typically reserved for casual wear, not something structured and sophisticated like a suit.

The Case of Plastic Buttons

Buttons can reveal much about a suit’s quality. Cheap suits often use plastic buttons, which feel and look inferior compared to horn or mother-of-pearl buttons used in higher-end suits. Always check the buttons and their anchors; poor quality here likely means compromises were made elsewhere in the suit.

Aesthetics Over Functionality: Sleeve Buttons

Functional sleeve buttons signify a well-made suit, allowing for minor alterations. On cheaper suits, you’ll often find that the buttons are merely for show, indicating less effort and cost in manufacturing. While not the most critical flaw, it’s a shortcut that can hint at overall quality.

Buttonholes as Quality Indicators

Quality buttonholes are meticulously made and can be a major indicator of a suit’s craftsmanship. Cheaper suits often have machine-made buttonholes that lack the precision and care found in bespoke suits. High-end suits might feature hand-sewn or specially crafted Milanese buttonholes, which show attention to detail.

Lining Quality Matters

A suit’s lining can also indicate its quality. Synthetic linings like polyester are cheaper and less comfortable, often used in budget suits. In contrast, higher-end suits typically use natural fiber linings like viscose or Cupro, which are more breathable and feel better against the skin.

Cutting Corners with Fabric: The Gusset

A gusset might seem like a minor part, but it’s telling of how a suit is constructed. Cheap suits may use less fabric, resulting in a gusset where two fabrics are stitched together, often done to save cost. In contrast, more luxurious suits will use ample fabric to ensure a better fit and allow for future alterations.

Pattern Mismatching

An uneven pattern at the seams, especially where the sleeve meets the shoulder, can indicate a poorly made suit. High-quality suits ensure that patterns align perfectly, which requires more fabric and careful cutting—steps less likely to be taken when producing cheaper suits.

Lapel Tells

Lapels should lay nicely and roll smoothly, adding to the suit’s aesthetic and fit. Cheaper suits often have flat, lifeless lapels that indicate poor internal structuring and the use of adhesives rather than stitched canvassing. Good lapels are a sign of a well-constructed suit that maintains its shape and structure.

The Importance of Suit Canvas

The canvas of a suit is its internal framework, which should ideally be hand-stitched to the fabric. Cheaper suits use a fused canvas glued to the fabric, which can deteriorate and bubble over time. Half-canvas or full-canvas constructions are preferable and indicative of a higher-quality garment.

Stitching Says a Lot

Look closely at the stitching on a suit. Irregular or sloppy stitching, often seen in cheaper suits, is a sign of rushed manufacturing processes. Fine suits will have uniform, nearly invisible stitches that enhance the suit’s durability and appearance.

Overall Fabric Feel Equates to Quality

Finally, the quality of the fabric is paramount. Cheaper suits often use synthetic materials that are stiff and less comfortable. A high-quality suit uses superior fabrics that not only feel great but also enhance the suit’s overall drape and fit.

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