Shopping for a new suit can be very overwhelming, especially when you look at what a suit can cost.
Price tags run an enormous range; how can you know which suits are worth the money?
Of course, it’s tempting to purchase the least expensive suit, but you need to be sure it will last a long while and that it doesn’t look cheap.
What Determines the Suit Price Difference?
A suit’s pricing isn’t arbitrary. Sure, companies want to make a profit, but they don’t just randomly decide on a price they hope people will pay.
Instead, they first calculate the cost to manufacture the suit, including labor and materials.
There are a few things that can influence whether a suit is expensive or not so costly. Of course, many of these factors also contribute to the suit’s quality.
People expect more from their suits when they pay more, so the manufacturer needs to deliver that high-quality the customers expect.
Otherwise, people will catch on very quickly that they are being charged a lot of money for a poor-quality suit. Soon, nobody will give that company their cash; not a good business model.
Some suit fabrics are low in quality. But, on the other hand, others feel luxurious.
That makes the fabric one of the main differences between cheap and expensive suits.
Walk into any cheap or discount clothing store and feel the material of their merchandise. You can immediately tell it’s cheap because it will feel either flimsy or like sandpaper.
Synthetic fabric is cheap to produce, which is why so many stores are filled with it.
But you can even see it’s cheap before you touch it; synthetic material doesn’t drape or move like natural fabrics.
Natural materials feel soft and drape nicely across the body. You can see and feel the difference with high-quality fabric.
Luxury fabrics earn their price. Aside from feeling amazing to wear, they are highly durable. A suit made from the highest-quality material can last many years.
Lining & Canvas
The lining of your suit is an interior accent for your jacket. Suit linings come in many material options. However, whichever material the lining is made from must match the quality of the exterior fabric.
So if your suit construction is made with expensive fabric, its lining will likely also be another costly aspect of your suit.
The inclusion of a canvas will also raise the cost of a suit. Not all suit styles have canvasing, but it certainly raises the quality, hence the increased price.
There is also more labor involved in a canvased suit because this part is generally hand-sewn.
A suit without canvassing isn’t necessarily bad; for example, it’s common for linen suits to skip the canvas.
Be sure to avoid any suit with a glued interface instead of canvas. This lowers the cost of your suit as well as its quality and durability.
Off-The-Rack vs. Custom-Tailored Suit
A pre-made suit from a department store isn’t made with you in mind. Instead, these suits provide generic sizes; their idea of the average size of most people.
Humans are rarely built entirely proportional for these suits. And off-the-rack suits offer nothing in the way of tailoring or personalization.
Still, manufacturers can mass produce these suits quickly and in large quantities, so they can afford to sell them at a low cost. After all, it hardly cost them anything to churn them out.
On the other end of the suit spectrum, custom-tailored suits require time and great attention to detail. And as the saying goes, time is money.
So, of course, a bespoke suit will cost more money, but it will also be unique to you. It’s not a cookie-cutter, generic suit.
It can be helpful to brush up on quality suit brands before shopping. Certain brands will always cost you a lot of money.
They have the recognition and are popular, so they can get away with charging a lot just for the name.
A brand name isn’t necessarily worth paying an exorbitant amount of money. If the name is a trendy, of-the-moment brand, you’ll pay a good deal of money for it.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always equate to quality.
Basic Suit Cost
Don’t have much money to drop on a suit, or are you investing in your first one? It’s fine to go with a basic suit in these instances. Basic suits can run you $100-$500.
You can find plenty of options when shopping for cheaper suits. You’ll choose between the standard fits and cuts and pick from various colors and prints.
However, basic suits aren’t likely to cover your formal needs.
Of course, a suit is an investment. You don’t want to skimp on quality; get a suit as well-made as your budget can handle.
To stay in the price range of a basic suit, you will usually be looking at a synthetic fabric or synthetic blend. For example, most basic suits are polyester, a poly-rayon blend, or some type of wool blend.
It’s unlikely you’ll find a pure wool suit for this cost, but a blend can be an acceptable substitute.
Wool is a marvelous fabric, so if you can get a blend, your suit will benefit. It’s breathable so that you won’t sweat as much as in a pure synthetic, and it’s highly durable.
However, your suit’s lining is likely to be entirely synthetic, either polyester or rayon. And that isn’t breathable; synthetics trap in air.
What to Look For When Buying Basic Suits
When you’re working in this budget range, you aren’t likely to be able to afford a custom-made suit.
So instead, you’ll be considering off-the-rack suits that have been machine stitched. However, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for exactly what you see on the hangar.
For a little extra cash, get your suit altered by a professional. Good suit alterations can elevate the craftsmanship of your off-the-rack suit. It allows for a few customizations and a better fit.
Customization is always helpful in helping set your suit apart from the other generic suits. However, the suit fit is crucial to make it look good.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful or expensive a suit is; if it doesn’t fit, it won’t look good.
Medium-Level Suit Cost
If you can shell out a little more, you should consider bumping up your suit to a medium-level suit. This range includes suits costing $500-$1500.
Medium range suits are usually more formal and professional looking. They are also likely more stylish than your basic suits and are often timeless.
Suits at this medium level aren’t typically purchased off-the-rack. Instead, they are usually made-to-measure or custom-made. This means that your suit receives personal attention, unlike mass-produced ones.
A tailor will measure you to ensure the suit fits you perfectly, and you can choose the suit’s details, such as fabric, color, and stylistic touches.
Wider Range of Quality Fabrics
You can still find blends in this higher-quality suit, but synthetics aren’t included in this level. Instead, medium-level suits are made from better, all-natural fibers.
You can find suits made from a blend of up to three fibers. For example, wool, silk, and linen blend is a common mid-range suit fabric.
Not all mid-price range suits are wool. You can get suits at this price made from other natural fabrics, like velvet.
What to Look For When Buying Mid-Level Suits
One of the best features of a mid-range suit is that it often has at least half canvas.
Canvas raises the quality of your suit; it gives it shape and molds the suit to your body, providing a better fit.
The canvas is made from a thick, stiff material (often wool or horsehair) and sits between your suit fabric and lining.
Part of what makes including canvas in your suit expensive is that it involves hand-stitching. It is a much more time-consuming process than simply gluing in interfacing.
That’s why this price level is usually only half canvas suits. You still benefit from some canvassing but aren’t paying the full price.
Most medium-level suits are hand-stitched as part of their construction process.
When you purchase a made-to-measure or custom suit, they are being made for only you, so the manufacturer gives them personal attention.
High-End Suit Cost
Usually beginning at a minimum of $1500, high-end suits are the finest that money can buy.
Luxury fabrics, details, and design justify these suits’ steep cost. In addition, they are often fully custom-made.
Expensive suits are an investment. They are good for people who wear suits nearly every day or have the privilege of money and can afford to make a statement with their suits.
If you purchase a high-end suit, be ready to wear it a lot to get your money’s worth; don’t worry, it can withstand a lot of wear.
Only the Best Suit Fabrics Available
Because synthetic fabrics bring down the quality of a suit, you’ll only find natural fibers at this level.
The best high-end materials are super wool, cashmere, silk, and cotton. They are also wonderfully wearable and durable.
Of course, blends are acceptable. They don’t lower the quality of your suit.
Top-quality suits only use fabrics with the finest quality of each of these fibers. Therefore, high-range suits are made from the softest textures available.
So, for example, wool has many levels of types. Some are superior to others, and those are the ones that will be in this type of suit.
What to Look For When Buying High-End Suits
High-end suits are made from only premium materials, and every minor detail is given full attention.
A high-end suit should have a full canvas. Just as the suit’s fabric is high-quality, so is the canvas’s material.
You can find the standard wool and horsehair, but also cashmere, silk, and mohair. A full canvas suit moves better, is softer, and has fuller molding.
In nearly every case, a high-end suit is built from the ground up. It’s either custom-tailored or fully bespoke; it can take months to make your suit.
However, you don’t need to feel pressure to design your own suit. Instead, a good tailor can advise you and work with you to find the ideal look for your body.
Made-to-Measure Suit Cost
If you purchase a made-to-measure suit, you can expect to pay from $300 on up.
You’ll still get a pre-constructed suit; however, it’s adjusted to your measurements, and you can select customizations. To simplify the process, you choose your customizations from a menu of options.
It is an easy way to order a suit. You give the company your measurements, and the company matches the suit to the numbers you or your tailor provided.
Unfortunately, the suit may still need a few adjustments once you receive it.
Made-to-measure suits offer a reasonable standard price for a basic suit with no unique add-ons. However, custom choices often cost more, raising the suit’s price.
If you don’t see a particular option that you want for your suit, you should ask the company if they can make that for you.
Custom-Tailored Suit Cost
A different way to order a suit made just for you is with a custom-tailored suit. This can cost you at least $1000, but it can cost much more if the suit is bespoke.
Custom-tailored suits offer all the finest options and details available to you, sometimes for an extra added cost.
Of course, the more options or higher quality choices you add, the more your suit will cost.
You aren’t only paying for the premium materials. You also pay for the labor, talent, artistry, and complex, detailed work that goes into making each suit.
Your suit is built one hundred percent for you and will last a long time. It could last well over a decade.
But what is the difference between bespoke and custom-tailored? Custom suits are created just for you based on your measurements, but the experience doesn’t go further than that.
Unlike bespoke, it’s considered done once the custom suit is constructed. If you need any alterations, find a good tailor.
Bespoke suits aren’t finished until they fit perfectly. Therefore, you’ll have multiple fittings and adjustments throughout the process, and any alterations or adjustments are completed before you take your new suit home.
Suit Cost FAQs
What is the average suit cost in the US?
For a standard suit without all the bells and whistles, you can expect to pay an average of $300. If you spend any less, you can bet that the quality is probably relatively low and your suit won’t last you many years.
Why are custom-tailored suits so expensive?
Many hours go into making a custom-tailored suit. These suits are sewn by hand, a tedious process requiring great skill. As with any skilled artistry, this work is valuable.
How much should I spend on a decent suit?
This price can fluctuate, but most experts suggest you spend a minimum of $500 to get a proper suit. At this price, you’ll get quality fabric that won’t wear out easily and will last you through several years of suit-wearing.
Is a custom-tailored suit worth it?
It is absolutely worth every penny if your bank account can afford it. Don’t take out a loan to buy a new suit; buy the best quality within your budget, but definitely don’t skimp.
How much should a good-quality suit last?
You should get at least a solid ten years out of a good-quality suit. Breaking down the cost over ten years helps frame your high-quality suit as an investment, helping the price tag make more sense.
Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.