The distinguishing factor of a fine, well-made suit is simply a matter of the details.
In short, the more handwork that goes into a suit, the more expensive it will be.
For instance, most of the less expensive suits have canvas fused or glued to the front of the jacket in order to stabilize the shape and cloth.
In this post, we’ll discuss the different types of suit jacket construction—namely, fused vs. canvassed and why they should matter to you.
The term canvassed refers to the construction of a suit jacket. A canvassed suit jacket has layers of canvassing material,
A full canvassed suit has horse hair which is stitched to the inner lining of the suit jacket and extends down the entire front length of the jacket.
While this canvas is hidden from view on the exterior, it plays an incredibly important role in keeping the proper balance, structure, and shape of the suit.
Full canvassing is the highest level of suit construction because the horse’s hair allows the wearers body to mold to the suit creating a shape that drapes naturally and looks very sharp.
Half-canvassed suits are basically constructed in the same way as full canvassed suits except — the horsehair canvassing are only present on the chest and suit lapels and not on the lower half of the jacket.
Whilst a full canvassed suit is better quality than a half, Maybe slightly stiffer than a full-canvassed jacket but the half canvassed suit is still great quality and a very acceptable choice.
Basically, what this means is that you get the benefits of the natural drape and shape that canvas provides where the suit needs it the most — the chest and the lapel. At the same time, you enjoy some cost savings in terms of materials and labor.
A fused jacket has a fusible interlining that’s glued to the wool shell of the suit – both in the front panels and in the lapels.
Fused suits represent the lowest quality suiting construction. Instead of having a lining of horse hair which has been stitched to the suits the inner material, a fused suit has a thin synthetic lining which is glued in place.
As the suit is worn extensively and cleaned or dry cleaned a number of times, the likelihood of “bubbling” becomes very strong. Bubbling is when the glue separates from the material of the suit and the suit has visible air pockets which look like bubbles.
A fused suit is also far more rigid and won’t conform to the wearer’s body like a canvassed suit will.
In the finer suits, however, the canvas is stitched by hand, so that the cloth tends to shape itself to the body. However, The one exception to this is with cotton suits, for which, because they wrinkle, fused fronts may be preferable.
In most cases, the softer the feel of the suit, the better it is.
One might try putting one’s hand on the chest and squeezing the cloth. If it is soft to the touch, chances are it’s not only a fine fabric but of quality manufacture.
Try – Suiting 101: An Introduction to Suit Jacket Construction For More in-depth Information on Canvas Construction
The more pieces of a suit that are sewn together by hand, the better the quality and, naturally, the higher the price gets
Industrial technology today allows clothing companies to make a suit almost entirely by machine, but a fine-quality manufacturer will still insist on having some parts made by hand.
Two areas are particularly significant, and one should check them before choosing a suit.
First, look under the collar. A fine-quality jacket will have the — collar attached to the jacket by hand.
The other important detail involves the setting of the — sleeves to the jacket body. If they have been felled by hand, one can count on good fit and proper shape. this is the area that receives the most wear and pressure, so a strong binding is also extremely important. The best suits use fine-quality silk thread.
Hand stitching on the edge of the lapel is another detail one might look for.
This stitching has no utilitarian value, but it is a nice finishing touch to a lapel and is evidence of a concern for quality on the part of the manufacturer.
The ability for mass-manufacturers to replicate what used to be hallmarks of a custom suit has never been greater. With that said, you still want to examine the quality of the craftsmanship and look to see how the suit comes together.
Look at the quality of the stitching. Not just the actual material but the technique used and how it all comes together.
“Look for consistency within the stitching, as lower quality suits usually boast irregular patterns or a lack of pick stitching.”
For the uninitiated, pick stitching refers to the fine stitches you’ll find around the edge of the lapel or breast pocket.
Although it serves no functional purpose, it’s an extra process that suggests greater care
A lovely trapping of fine tailoring is handsome lining.
Traditionally, the body lining was color-coordinated with the suit fabric (this is still occasionally available) while striped linings were used in the sleeves.
But the color is less important than the quality of the fabric. Make certain it is soft and neatly sewn into the coat.
Curiously, it is actually more expensive to make a suit without a lining than one with a lining.
In an unlined jacket, all the inside seams must be perfectly finished. Yet when manufacturers made and tried to market unlined jackets in an effort to make clothing softer and cooler,
However, a lining does provide a jacket with increased durability as well as helping to maintain its line.
The buttonholes are another indicator of a suit’s quality. Another holdover from the past is the fact that all fine-quality suits have handmade buttonholes.
You can tell a handmade buttonhole by looking to see whether it is smooth on the outside and rough on the inside; a handmade one will be just that, but a machine-made one will be smoother and more perfect-looking on both sides.
Traditionally, buttons have been sewn on so that they are cross-stitched. The buttonholes should be well- finished, with no threads hanging.
If a manufacturer would release a suit with one of its most visible aspects in disrepair, think how little care must have been given to those parts of the suit that don’t show.
Real buttonholes on the sleeve – ones that actually function – have long been a symbol of custom tailoring. Mass manufacturers could not employ this detail because stores needed the capability to alter the sleeve length to fit different-size arms.
The only way to alter a sleeve that has an open buttonhole is to remove the sleeve from the shoulder and then make the adjustment – a prohibitively expensive alteration.
Originally, these open buttonholes might have served some real function, such as allowing a man to turn back the sleeves while working or, in the past, for using with detachable-cuff shirts. Today, however, they are simply a symbol.
Whether they are serving a function or not, buttons should be on the sleeves of jackets; four each on suit jackets and overcoats; two or four on sports jackets.
The four buttons on a suit should be set closely together, with their edges “kissing,” and the edge of the bottom button should be no more than — three-quarters of an inch from the bottom of the sleeve.
The one working buttonhole worth having is on the lapel. After all, it is the most visible of all the buttonholes.
Besides, a working buttonhole allows the wearer to sport a flower in the lapel, which from time to time can be a wonderful aid to a stylish look and on those occasions when one must wear a flower, there is nothing considered outermore than the stem being pinned to the lapel.
For this reason alone, no fine suit lacks a functioning buttonhole.
The buttons of a quality suit will be made from horn and not plastic. Quality buttons will be thick and sturdy and well stitched to the fabric.
Poor quality buttons will be thin and shiny and may be loosely stitched to the suit and look as though they may easily disconnect.
The second of the signs of a good quality suit is the fabric used to make the suit. Quality suits will be made using natural materials which is most commonly wool as well as cotton, linen, and silk.
These natural materials are more durable and will breath more effectively which means they are more comfortable for the wearer and won’t cause you to sweat or feel uncomfortably hot.
There is only one immutable principle governing the selection of fine suit material: the cloth must be made from natural fibers.
This means some type of fine worsted or woolen in the cooler periods of the year – worsted, flannel, gabardine, and so on – and in the summer, if not a tropical wool, then linen, cotton, or silk.
There is absolutely no way a man can ever be considered well-dressed wearing a blended suit with more synthetic fibers than natural ones.
These fabrics stand away from the body, stiffly retaining their own shape, rather than settling on the individual wearer. No matter how hard one tries, one’s suit will somehow always look artificial.
In addition, to look and feel, there will be less maintenance required for a natural fiber suit. A fine wool suite rarely has to be dry cleaned.
Because air can pass through it, the wool can “breathe” and damp odor from perspiration will readily evaporate. Wool yarn can also return to its original shape.
If the trousers are hung from the cuff and the jacket hung on a properly curved hanger after a day’s wear, the suit will return to its original uncreased form by the following day.
Perhaps the most important compensation of wearing natural — fiber suite is the comfort one can enjoy having a fabric next to the skin that somewhat simulates its properties.
Natural materials have a soft, luxurious feeling. They act like a second skin, letting out perspiration and body heat when necessary and holding in warmth when it’s cold outside.
Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are forms of plastic.
They have no ability to “breathe.” In summer, these suits are hot, holding in the warmth of the body; in winter, they offer no protection from the cold.
One can choose a suit with 3 to 5 percent nylon reinforcement, but any larger amount of — synthetic fiber will be to undermine the natural material’s beneficial properties.
This article required a thorough research and may contain paragraphs and concepts taken from the following references
- SIGNS OF A GOOD QUALITY SUIT
- Clothes and the Man The Principles of Fine Men’s Dress by Alan Flusser