Suit yourself

Jennifer Chen doesn’t like the cut of your Lowes suit

Jennifer Chen doesn't like the cut of your Lowes suit

Suit prices vary considerably between brands, regardless of sex. In wallet-friendly brands such as yd. and Ben Sherman, a typical suit will cost between $100 and $500. Shoppers may have noticed a few extra trailing zeroes on some price tags: Hugo Boss suits sell for over a grand and a suit by Ermenegildo Zegna will cost up to $6, 000. Perhaps too many zeroes for your liking, but there is at least one legitimate reason prices differ so profoundly between suits: construction. Suits are either canvassed, fused, or somewhere in between.

Canvassed suits use horsehair, camelhair or wool to create a rigid ‘interlining’ that holds the suit in shape. With time, this conforms to the wearer’s body shape. The outer wool ‘shell’ is then stitched onto the canvas. A fully canvassed suit has a nice natural drape, won’t sag and gives a clean and mouldable fit.

A fused suit has no canvas, instead using a comparably limp and usually synthetic interlining. This is glued to the outer wool shell. While this adequately keeps a suit jacket’s shape, it creates an unnatural stiffness. Fused interlining may become unstuck during dry-cleaning or over time, and ”bubbling” may appear with time around the chest and lapels

Half-canvassed suit jackets have a canvas interlining running only through the chest and lapels. Below this, the jacket is fused. These are cheaper than fully-canvassed suits and the canvassing across the chest means a reasonable amount of conformity is maintained over time.

How to take care of a suit

  1. Do not wear the same suit for more than two days in a row (not for looks’ sake, but for the sake of a suit’s delicate fabrics)
  2. Once worn, allow the suit to rest for two days before wearing it again
  3. Always hang your suit on a wooden hanger
  4. Store in breathable canvas bag
  5. Always dry-clean your suit jacket and trousers together.