How to identify a valuable suit



2016-09-02 15:32:26

Identifying the value of a suit without a label is no easy task.

But if you don't know how to do that, you could passing up hundreds of dollars. 

Luckily, there are a few tricks and tips the experts use that you can learn quite easily.

Here’s how to tell your Armani from your Asda George.


Most higher quality suits utilise natural materials like cotton, wool and linen. Synthetic materials such as polyester are a sure sign of lower quality.

Polyester has a cheap,

Polyester has a cheap, 'plasticky' feel to it - Image: eBay

The lining should also offer some clues.

On more expensive suits the lining will be soft and usually coloured or patterned, which is not usually the case on cheaper suits. 

Working buttons

The devil is in the details with determining a suit’s value.

Working buttons indicate no expense has been spared - Image: eBay

Working buttons indicate no expense has been spared - Image: eBay

A sure-fire sign of quality is working buttons on the sleeves. If they serve no function other than display (i.e. you can’t undo them) then you’re probably looking at a lower quality product.

Similarly, the buttons themselves can tell you a lot.

Ideally you are looking for materials like horn, wood or brass rather than plastic.

So as a rule; synthetic is bad, natural is good.


Take a look at the stitching.

This suit shows neat detailing - Image: eBay

This suit shows neat detailing - Image: eBay

There should be no fraying at the edges and the effect should be uniform and even. Pockets will often feature extra stitching around the edges to prevent wear.

Similarly, extra cloth used at the cuffs and the waistband shows the maker hasn’t scrimped on materials.


Last but not least there is the canvas – the padding that goes underneath the silky fabric on the inside of the jacket.

The canvas is the lining of the jacket - Image: eBay

The canvas is the padding beneath the lining of the jacket - Image: eBay

High-end suits will usually have a floating canvas that adjusts as you move. 

It will usually be made of horse hair or a similar material. 

If it’s fused, meaning it’s stuck directly to the inside of the jacket (usually with glue), then it’s likely not a valuable suit.

Pinch the lining and the outside of the jacket using both hands - can you feel a third layer? That's the canvas. 

How much?

So how much could you get for your secondhand suit? 

Really it depends on a number of factors, from the designer to the quality of the materials used. 

It really could be anything from a few dollars to a couple of thousand. 

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