What are you buying when you buy off the rack?

Many times hesitant customers attempt to compare our prices to the prices of suits that they normally buy. Typically, these suits are purchased from retail establishments, who either specialize in suits and other similar clothing or they come from department stores with menswear departments that have within them a subsection of suits and other formal menswear. Often times customers will state that when I buy during a sale, I am buying one suit and getting two or three suits free, this averages out to about $350-$400 per suit after tailoring.

There are a few problems with making such a comparison to our suits, or any custom suits.

1. Not all suits are created equal

Most of the time, in fact it is fair to say almost all of the time, rack store suits are what is commonly referred to as ‘fused’ construction. Even the high end stores that sell so called luxury brands at $1,000 or more are often fused construction. What you may not realize when you buy a suit is that it is much more than just the wool exterior and inner lining of the jacket. There is an inner shell to the jacket as well. This inner constructions is the key to quality, value and life of the suit. When you purchase a fused suit, the outer wool is glued to the inner lining. It is stiffer, and the wool does not drape as nicely as in a canvassed suit. On the contrary, the canvas suit is hand stitched to the inner lining.

In the end, if you’re looking for a quick cheap suit this may not make a difference to you. If you only keep suits around for a year or so, and then rotate them out, you are unlikely to ever notice the degradation of the glue after heating from dry cleaning or natural weather conditions and other temperature considerations. Yes, fused suits will fall apart in time.

2. Are you comparing buying 4 of their suits to one of ours?

Sure, if you buy 4 of their suits they may come to around $350-$400 each after tailoring, but have you looked into our package prices? To simply compare a 4 suit deal that a national competitor may run on their fused suits, our 4 suit package for a half-canvas construction suit also includes 5 custom shirts, 4 100% silk ties, and runs just under $2,500 for the entire package. In the end, you are getting a superior product, for moderately more money–if any more money at all. We are considering the possibility of creating a few packages that are only for multiple suits, without the shirts, but to this point we haven’t had enough interest to do so.

3. How many suits do you have to choose from?

When you go to a retailer, you must first start with your size, and hope that they have suits that you like in your size. This size, typically, is predicated on your chest measurement, and bears no significance on whether you have broader or narrower shoulders, longer or shorter arms, or any other differentiation from their “normal suit wearer” that would make the suit look horrible on you. Also, you have an incredibly limited selection of fabrics to choose from. In some of these stores you may only find about 40 or 50 different fabric selections, where as we can offer you over 300 different fabric choices. Also, lets say you find that perfect prince of wales suit in just the color you want, but you’d like to make it a 3 piece, or perhaps a different lapel style or width. Too bad. First, you’re not finding a prince of wales pattern in most of the retail stores, at least not this year, secondly, most of these companies do not make 3 piece suits, and finally–you get what they have or you often get nothing. They rack their suits, and usually do not keep anything else in the back. If you want peak, and they have notch lapel, sorry.

4. The fit.

As mentioned above, you will have your chest measured and you’ll be eyed up and given one number. You’re a 38 or a 42, or a 44. That’s what they show you. This means the jacket will fit properly around your chest when you wear it, but that’s all that you can be sure of. This isn’t to say that you might be their ideal model size in all dimensions–if so, fantastic, you are the exception, not the rule. Most of the representatives in these stores that I have interacted with do not even look to whether or not the shoulder width is appropriate, or if the sleeves fit correctly. Therefore, they’re not altering them, or if they do they’re charging you a mint to do so. Why not start with the fabric, select the selections, and then we’ll cut the suit precisely to your measurements–all of them!

Do your homework, and figure out exactly what you want from a suit. When our entry level suits, out of the package are $499, and you’re needing to buy 4 fused suits from a competitor to beat the price, you may have all of the information you need to make the right decision! Visit our main site to contact a representative and take a look at our fabrics.

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