The Difference Between A $400 And $8,000 Suit

October 1, 2017


Buzzfeed is known for their formulaic, clickbait content, but this video comparing $400 suits to $8,000 suits is … actually pretty good?

To be sure, there’s a lot of marketing fluff here. And the two hosts don’t really get into the nitty gritty details of what separates ready-to-wear to made-to-measure to bespoke. (The answer is more complicated than bespoke giving you a custom fit, especially with the massive range in quality within each of these categories). That said, they’ve picked good companies to cover a range of options, and even with the fancy videography at each store, you can see the difference in fit.

Suitsupply, a brand we often recommend here for entry-level suits, does exceptionally well in the value category. If you have less than $1,000 to spend on a suit, this should be your first stop. Articles of Style is one of the many online companies nowadays offering made-to-measure, and while we’re generally skeptical of online custom tailoring for anything beyond dress shirts, their system of giving customers try-on garments helps take out some of the uncertainty.

Leonard Logsdail is clearly the best of the bunch. You can see how well the jacket fits – no puckering or wrinkling. Logsdail gave the host a jacket with slightly extended shoulders, fuller chest, and shaped back, which help give the illusion of a more athletic figure. The pants, which are the hardest part to get right, actually fall cleanly in the back (note the wrinkles behind the legs on the other two).

You can also see the payoff when you stick to a more classic silhouette – a buttoning point that hits your waist, a jacket that ends where it should, and trousers that neither fit too tight nor sit too low. It can be hard to buy suits like that off-the-rack because most people want fashion forward silhouettes (which look better on models than they do the average Joe).

Bespoke suits don’t have to cost $8,000. Entry-level price here in the US is about $3,000, depending on where you go. Still, that’s a lot of money for a suit and not all good tailors are the same (you may not like some tailor’s particular style). It’s hard to get ready-to-wear suits to look as good as bespoke, but it’s helpful to train your eye for things such as fit and silhouette, so you know where to compromise. Having a good eye also helps you actually get a suit that’s right for you, rather than buy things based on prestige or marketing mumbo jumbo.