Suit yourself

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.