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In this video, we highlight the key differences between a $100 dollar suit and a $1000 dollar suit and explain to you what you have to look for so you get the best value for your money.
First, let's focus on the $100 dollar suit. Basically, it is a completely machine-made suit that is sewn together in 2-3 hours max and there is no handwork whatsoever. When it comes to suits, hand sewing is better because it is more flexible and it adapts to your body more easily and so especially for a jacket, you always want more handwork. A $100 dollar suit is made of very cheap fabric and cheap lining, that means, it's usually stretched polyester with nylon or other artificial fibers. Also, the raw materials may be cotton or wool that go into that fabric are of the lowest quality possible. It simply is stiffer, less comfortable, and you're more prone to sweating in it.
A $100 suit has a glued interlining. So, what exactly is interlining and why do you use it? When you start out with fabric, you have a two-dimensional surface, in order to keep it in a three-dimensional shape, you need a second layer and the layer needs to be attached in a certain shape. For the $100 suit, this interlining is of very low quality and is glued to the fabric, that works in the beginning but it also acts as an insulator so you're much more likely to overheat and sweat.
Another aspect of a $100 suit is the lack of attention to details. For example, the buttonholes are first sewn and then cut not the other way around that means you see some fraying. Also, the trimmings are usually low-quality, the buttons are plastic, the lining is polyester, and everything is made to remain low on the cost side but it also means low on the quality. The cut of a $100 suit can in theory, be as good as the on of a $1000 suit or a more expensive suit but in practice, that's really rarely the case. More often than not, $100 suits are either very fashion-forward, with very skinny lapels and you can only wear them a year max, before they go out of fashion or they're simply old-fashioned and the cut is boxy and bulky and simply not favorable.
Another pet peeve of mine is the deep-cut armhole that restricts your movement and $100 suits usually have this 90% of all cases. In recent years, it has changed a little bit, sometimes they have adopted more modern cuts and they try to go with details such as working buttonholes, but in reality, they still use cheap buttonholes and it still looks cheap.
The time that goes into a thousand dollar suit can range from 8 hours to 30 hours so that's obviously a huge difference and you will also be able to feel that. Generally, a thousand dollar suit show some amount of handwork. Sometimes, they have decorative elements like hand-sewn buttonholes that look really nice, they use a silk thread that is shiny or a cotton thread, they may have machine-made buttonholes but it looks nice. They may have an interlining that is sewn in hand or a collar which makes it softer and fit better and make you look better.
The biggest advantage of a thousand dollar suit over a hundred dollar suit is the interlining and the construction. Where the $100 suit has a glued interlining, the $1000 suit has a half canvas or full canvas interlining. A half canvas is actually sewn to the fabric and it's usually made of materials such as horsehair or cotton or wool and that way, it's more breathable so you don't overheat. To save on cost, this form of interlining is only used on the upper part of your body such as your chest and it's glued at the bottom part of your jacket. Full canvas means that the interlining is sewn throughout your jacket and it's the best version you can get. At a thousand dollar price point, usually, these canvases are made by machine and not by hand.
This little secret has helped me save a lot of money and to get quality suits. When I walk into a store and look at suits, the first thing I do is I flap up the collar and look at the stitching. If it is machine-sewn, I move on especially at a vintage store. If it's hand-sewn, I take the jacket off and take a closer look. I do this because a hand-sewn collar indicate a very high quality. If the collar is hand-sewn, chances are, it's a high-quality garment and it deserves a second look and you can use the hallmarks I described in this video to identify if you should buy it or not.
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