Buying suits online can save you between 20% and 50% on a suit. But before you go for the massive discounts offered by online stores in Singapore, you should remember to prioritize quality. A top quality suit will not just act as your body armor for years, but will also inject a new sense of confidence, making you more prepared to take on the world. Unfortunately, most men do not know the fundamentals when it comes to suit quality and often rely on brand names (or the deceptive pitch of a persuasive sales article) as the judge of quality.
So what are the most important considerations you should make when buying your suits online?
When shopping for your suits online, you should ensure that the outer fabric of the suit’s shell is premium quality pure wool. Pure wool should be a priority because wool is a natural fabric that is heat resistant and will not acquire press marks when dry cleaned. Pure wool is also breathable and will keep you comfortable during the hotter summer and spring months. Indeed, other fabrics do not offer the same level of versatility, breathability and comfort as wool. For instance, polyester retains heat and easily gets wrinkled; silk has a luxurious shine which does not appeal to all men; cashmere is costly and out of the price bracket of most men; while linen and cotton crease very easily.
If you intend to use your suit for the workplace, you should go for Super 100s to Super 130s pure wool. The Super count refers to wool thread thickness and the higher the Super count the finer and lighter the fabric will be. However, there is usually no need to go for very high Super counts because pure wool marked Super 180s and above are vulnerable to snagging and are not durable. Nevertheless, Super 150s and above should be considered when buying executive business suits and special occasion suits such as dinner suits, tuxedos and wedding suits. If you are a young man looking for fashion suits with metallic finish, wool blend fabric is ideal for you. But you must remember that, depending on the percentage of wool in the wool blend fabric, the fashion suits may not be breathable and are usually susceptible to damage during dry cleaning.
(b) Perfect Fit
For online suits to offer desired quality, they must fit perfectly. When a suit fits perfectly, it will look good on your body and make you feel well-dressed and confident. Most online suits are designed for generic body types, a sort of one-size-fits-all approach in which only the chest size and the jacket length are used to determine suiting for different body types. But you can ensure that you get a suit with the best sleeve length, trouser and sleeve circumferences, crotch length, posture and shoulder shape by choosing an online store that offers suits which are perfectly shaped for your body. Furthermore, you can work with your local tailor to make the necessary alterations to the suits in order to achieve a perfect fit. In this case, you will spend an extra $10-$15, but it is worth it.
(c) Suit Lining
The inner lining of the suit should be breathable. There is no need having a breathable woolen outer fabric and a non-breathable interior. The best inner lining fabric option is rayon (it is made from natural cellulose fiber), but you can also go for Cupra (Bemberg) if you can afford it. Avoid anything that has a high percentage of acetate or polyester. Also avoid silk because while it appears like a luxurious option, it is usually impractical and will create friction against your shirt, often tearing or snagging. You should also ensure that your trousers are lined back and forth to offer more durability.
(d) Suit Stitching
When buying suits online, make sure they are “Fully Hand Stitched” rather than “Machine Stitched” or “Half Hand Stitched”. Fully hand-stitched suits are constructed with a web of stitches that offer proper curvature into the chest, resulting in better shape, fit and silhouette of the suit. Remember, fully hand stitched suits will cost a little more, but they will certainly offer good quality construction.
(e) Suit Construction
The finest quality online suits are either “Fully Canvassed” or “Half Canvassed”, and not “Fused”. A fully canvassed suit has the entire top and bottom sections of the jacket’s front built around an internal “canvas” layer. In half canvassed suits, the top half of the jacket’s front is properly canvassed while the bottom half is fused. Fully fused suits use waterproof glue to bind the entire jacket front (both top and bottom) together, with the application of the glue making the fabric stiffer and giving it a simulation of a canvas. However, fully fused jackets are not breathable and are susceptible to “bubbling” when dry cleaned. Your priority should be a fully canvassed suit, but if you cannot afford a fully canvassed suit, you should order a half canvassed one. Stay away from fully fused suits which are cheap but really inferior in quality.
The principal difference between top quality and low quality suits is the construction of their jackets. The chest of a top-notch jacket should have three layers of material: the outer coat fabric, the inside lining and the canvas layer between the outer fabric and the inner lining. It is the canvas that gives the coat its structure, strength and shape. Apart from the layers, a high quality suit should have working cuffs on its jacket sleeve, a genuine woolen felt under its collar, proper handcraft stitching around its lapels, reinforced jacket buttons, buttons on “stems” for easy buttoning, and spare buttons (of all sizes).
Choosing Your Suits Online
Once you know the criteria for choosing the best quality suits online, you should take the following steps to choose the right suit:
(i) Know your measurements: Before you jump online to buy a suit, you need to know your size. Have your local tailor do this for you or just measure your chest across the pecks. Also remember that the right jacket for you should reveal a half-inch of your shirt cuff.
(ii) Read the return policy: Online merchandises are returned at a rate of 40%, so you may just need to return a suit after buying it. Make sure the returns policy is flexible and allows enough time between shipping and returning, at least a 30-day return policy is good.
(iii) Order more than one suit at a time: Ordering more than one suit will ensure you do not attend your next party, executive meeting or wedding in rags if one of the suits does not meet your needs.
(iv) Examine the suit carefully: You should take your time to examine the suit material, stitching on the lapel, trousers and armholes carefully before ordering. And when the suit arrives, scrutinize it thoroughly to confirm whether you are getting the quality you wanted.