We have all definitely been at a point where we would like to look our best, but can’t afford the level of quality we might desire. The cultural machine makes us want all of the best things in life, but sometimes it doesn’t help you out with a paycheck that matches our wish lists.
This is often the case with suits, an item that every guy should own, and that can cost more than your first car. However, with EveryGuyed’s tips on how to get the most out of an affordable suit, you just might be able to wrangle the high fashion look you desire out of the most minimal of budgets.
Buying For Now, Or Buying Forever?
The reality is that a suit has to be missing certain features in order to drop its cost; but on the upside countless companies like H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo have managed to keep some pretty amazing designer elements in their looks. Still, you get what you pay for, and as the old saying goes, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. While a suit may look high fashion, and the differences may not be apparent at first, over years of wear these pieces start to fail where it’s more expensive incarnations won’t.
So the question you need to ask is are you buying a suit for now, that will probably last only a few years at best; or a suit that you’ll pull out forty years from now and still be happy with. There’s nothing wrong with buying a cheaper suit, but you need to be aware of the differences between a $200 suit and a $1200 suit and what you’ll get in the long run.
The Differences In Suits
The elements that are missing from suits at the lowest price points are easy to spot once you’ve gotten an eye for these things. A few of the most important differences include:
- Cheaper materials: The price of a yard of pure wool is considerably more expensive than the blends used for these suits. The cheaper the material, the faster it will wear out because of use and cleanings.
- Missing elements: Things like ticket pockets, working surgeon’s cuffs and other small details will likely be omitted. While the ticket pockets are an issue of personal preference, cuffs that are machined too closely can give the appearance of a cheap suit.
- The Fit: The most obvious difference will be in the cut and fit of the suit. Off the rack suits are machined to preset shapes and sizes, so unless you’re built like a mannequin, you’ll have difficulty getting the suit to fit perfectly. In a nicer suit, this is where much of the cost is invested, as you will be professionally sized for your suit, and it will be altered to your figure specifically. In the case of a cheaper suit, small wonders can be worked if you take the time to visit a tailor and spend some extra money having it professionally hemmed and lightly fitted to your frame.
Making Up The Difference
Even if you’re wearing a low-end suit, there are ways to make the look that much better.
- Be Fit: Apologies for guys with a spare tire, but skinnier guys have this inexplicable ability to make anything look better. Even shedding a few meager pounds will help a great deal, and investing in a suit is the perfect reason to get your body to exactly where you want it.
- A Well-Fit Shirt: If you’re wearing a cheap shirt underneath, it’s going to show. Buy a shirt that stays trim with your body type, and if you can afford details like collar-stays and double-ply cotton, invest.
- A Classic Color: The more unusual the color, the more attention the suit will draw. Navy and charcoal blend in well, but a bad brown suit sticks out like a sore thumb. Lower cost suits are best executed as classic numbers; so if you’re looking for something daring, at least buy the best you can afford.
- A Close Fit: It’ll never fit as nicely as a made-to-measure or bespoke suit, but get as close to a good fit as you can on your suit. If it drapes nicely and fits nicely, you will get away with a lot.
In a perfect world, we’d all have custom designer suits, but in this world, there are a few things to keeep in mind when your wardrobe budget needs to be stretched a bit:
- Quality and lasting power will not be as good – the wool will start to fade faster, so try to have them cleaned less often.
- Some details like surgeon’s cuffs may be omitted as a cost-cutting measure.
- Sizes are standardized off-the-rack with very little variation for your body type.
There are some things you can do to get the most out of your suit, no matter the price:
- Spend a few dollars and have your inexpensive suit fitted.
- A well-fitting, quality dress shirt can add a lot to your look.
- Stick to classic colors and styles.
- Get as close to your own fit as possible.
Remember, though not all suits are created equal, with a bit of effort, you can get a lot of use out of the charcoal gray two-piece you picked up at a store like H&M.
Need some more specific suit suggestions? Still confused about how to make that cheap cut look great? Use the comments box below to get the discussion going!