I closed my first post in this series by discussing my budget per suit. I would like to follow that up with discussing exactly how I planned to spend the $500. You see, I like to follow the belief that one should buy the best they can afford. However, I also have a taste for the finer things in life. Unfortunately one cannot buy a fine suit for $500. Thankfully, I also believe that there are ways to acquire what you generally cannot afford at a price that you can afford (i.e. not paying retail).
By effectively shopping for what you want you it is possible to find things at a discount of up to 60%, if not more. This means that $1,500 suits had been placed within my consumeristic grasp. The difference between a $1,000 suit and a $500 suit can be substantial. A $500 suit would likely be fused and of lower quality cloth and construction in contrast to a $1,000 suit which would likely be at least half canvassed and of higher quality construction and cloth (In the near future I will post on the differences between fused and canvassed jackets, but for purposes of this discussion know that a canvassed jacket is always preferable to a fused in terms conforming to the wearers body, general appearance and feel, longevity and overall quality). However, this rule does not always stand.
Consumers must be careful to not fall into the designer suit trap. As is the case with many designer label products the ratio between price and quality is less than that of a non-designer product, consumers pay a premium for the brand name. Many department store brands (Burberry, Theory, Hugo Boss, Joseph Abboud, Michael Kors etc) are prone to this plague; even lower end Brooks Brothers suits can be included in this grouping. However, there are exceptions, the best course of actions is to research individual brands as well as to conduct your own evaluation of the quality of the garments in question.
Not paying retail can be attained though a variety of methods; sales (seasonal, preferred customer events etc), discount retailers (Syms, Century 21, Filene’s Basement, Gilt etc), eBay, negotiating prices, buying used and thrift shops are the most common. For this search the first three options were the only three I was considering. eBay was only an option if I could find the item being sold in a store so that I could try it on first. I was not going to buy anything without first trying it on, as fit was paramount.
In the third and final installment of this series I will discuss how the actual shopping process that followed establishing the criteria for my suits and taking into account what is discussed in this post.