I’m in the market for a new suit. But I’ve no idea how much I should spend on one. Will the style I choose make a difference? What budget should I set? How much does a suit cost?
There are three different price bands for suits. A basic, everyday suit can range between $200 and $500. For a mid-range suit, the price can vary between $500 and $1500. High-end or designer suits are the most expensive, ranging from $1500 and up. The actual price of a suit is based on fabric quality, tailoring, style, occasion, and brand.
In this article, you’ll learn how much a suit costs. You’ll also discover how ready-to-wear differs from custom-made and how much you should spend on your suit.
What Goes Into the Price of a Suit?
When you start looking into purchasing a suit, you’ll notice that the price can vary greatly. That’s because there are so many suit styles and choices out there. Each different option, whether it’s the fabric, the number of buttons, or even the type of pocket, can impact the price of your suit.
The average price of a good quality suit is around the $500 mark, but you can pay more or less than that. The actual cost will depend on several factors. Let’s take a look at what they are.
The Style of Your Suit
The definition of a suit is a matching ensemble that always includes tailored pants and a jacket. That’s the minimum requirement. It must have a jacket and pants that go together as a set. Otherwise, it isn’t a suit.
If your suit only has a jacket and pants, it’s known as a two-piece suit. But you can also get three-piece suits. These will include an additional item, a vest or waistcoat.
A waistcoat adds an extra layer of finesse and sophistication. Because of the extra garment, a three-piece suit will cost more than a two-piece. This is not only due to the extra fabric that goes into the waistcoat but also the additional sewing needed to make it.
The Fabric of Your Suit
Suits can be made from a range of fabrics. Traditionally, they would have been made from 100% wool. Many still are, but they tend to be on the pricey side. Durable and long-lasting, wool is a quality fabric that oozes comfort and has an excellent drape. The bad news is wool’s price tag means you are unlikely to find pure wool in cheaper suits.
You can usually tell a high-end suit from a budget-friendly option by touching the fabric. A suit off the rack in a department store is more likely to be rayon or polyester. It may even blend synthetic fiber with recycled or reconstituted wool. With a rougher feel, the fabric will lack the drape and flexibility of a more expensive material.
Even the lining material will differ. More expensive suits tend to use silk, particularly if they are custom-made, while a cheaper, mass-produced suit is more likely to use a polyester lining.
Tailored or Ready to Wear?
The biggest factor in the cost of your suit is how it was made. There are two options for suits. You can have them tailor-made or you can buy them off the peg.
A custom-made suit will be brimming with tailoring techniques to ensure the perfect fit. A skilled tailor will make the suit based on your measurements. You’ll need to go for more than one fitting before your suit is finished.
They will use tricks of the trade, like pad stitching, to secure canvas fabric inside your suit. This is similar to interlining and helps mold the suit jacket to your body shape.
That’s not all. Tailored suits can be incredibly detailed. There is a high level of hand stitching in a custom suit. From the lapels to the welt pockets, all the stitching is intricate, professional, and extremely durable.
In contrast, off-the-peg suits don’t have the same level of expert tailoring. They tend to be mass-produced and rely more on machine stitching. They are more of an instant garment and have a grab-and-go feel. You take them off the peg and they are ready to wear. Although you can have them altered to fit properly post-purchase, most people just wear them as they are.
What’s the Occasion?
There is more than one reason for wearing a suit. Whether you wear one to the office or need one for a wedding, there are different suits for different occasions.
The suit you wear to work is likely to be a basic suit. You need to look professional and smart, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune. Particularly if you’re wearing it every day. You want easy to care for and durable. This type of suit is more likely to be off-the-peg. Simply because they are so readily available.
For a wedding or a black-tie event, you’ll need something with a little more finesse. This level is more likely to be custom-made. A special event like a wedding or an opening night at the opera warrants a high-quality suit. One that you’ll look a million dollars in. Because of that, special event suits are more expensive.
Who Made The Suit?
When it comes to clothing, brand names are important. It’s how we identify quality and value for money. Brand-name clothing will always cost more than a store’s version. Simply because of the name. The same is true with suits.
You can find tailors all over the world. They are all skilled at their job and experts in their field. But, you’ll pay more for the services of a tailor based at one of the world’s more renowned outlets than you will for a freelance tailor on your local high street.
Take Armani and Savile Row, for instance. Both are producers of high-end suits. The first is a popular Italian luxury designer; the other is a famous street of tailors based in London’s West End. They can get each command high prices because of their reputations, fame, and desirability.
How Much Does a Suit Cost?
Suits have as many different prices as they do styles. They can range from a few hundred dollars to more than a few thousand. It depends on where you buy your suit and what you want it for.
To put the different price points into perspective, I’ve put suits into separate tiers based on their quality and construction. This should help you identify the best suit for your situation. As well as help you budget for the suit you need.
Basic Suits $200 – $500
A basic suit is your budget-friendly answer to looking good. These are ideal for job interviews, days in the office, and first dates. They are smart, can be classic in style, and look professional for a fraction of the cost of higher-priced options.
These are mass-produced suits designed for the convenience of being ready to wear. There are no bells and whistles. What you see is what you get.
Although you can buy them in different sizes, they are cut so that one shape fits all. Because of this, they tend to be boxy and fit where they touch. However, you can mix and match the items to get a close enough fit. For instance, you can go for a larger jacket with medium pants or a small jacket with larger pants.
Suits at the lower end of this price bracket are made from synthetic fibers or a blend of polyester and rayon. Aim for the higher end of this band and you can find wool blends.
Unfortunately, the cheaper components in this entry-level band of suits aren’t going to get you into formal events. But if all you need is a day-to-day suit you can wash and wear, these are where you should start.
Mid Range Suits $500 – $1500
The mid-range or medium-level suit is the next step up from a basic suit. These have more versatility than the basic option at your local department store. They are also made from a better selection of materials and are produced to a higher quality.
The reason for that is a mid-range suit is normally made to measure. You won’t find a suit of this level available off the peg. Because of this, these suits are more likely to span the gap between daywear and formal events. Especially if you choose a navy blue shade.
Mid-range suits are constructed by skilled tailors. Unlike basic suits, these are made using your specific measurements. This means no other person will have the same suit. Well, not unless you are buying two at the same time.
As these suits are custom-made, you’ll find the fabrics are unlikely to be synthetic. Mid-range suits are made from wool blended with natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. You’ll be able to see and feel the quality of the material just by being near it and touching it.
When you go down the route of buying a mid-range suit, you’ll find it is a whole shopping experience. You get to choose the fabric, color, and finishing touches. The tailor who makes your suit will know your name and will be with you every step of the way.
All to ensure you get the perfect fit and are happy with the result. That attention to detail will give you a suit you can be proud of. Better still, it will last you for years.
High-End Suits $1500 and Up
One thing high-end suits have in common with mid-range suits is that they are custom-made. However, the price tag that comes with high-end suits can make them unattainable for many of us. These are the suits for people who demand quality and have the money to pay for it.
Made from natural fibers like cashmere, cotton, and silk, a high-end suit is luxurious, comfortable, and a pleasure to wear. In fact, these suits only use the best materials money can buy.
You’ll also find that the tailoring is at a higher level too. The stitching is exquisite; most of the time, it will be done by hand. Then there are the construction techniques.
Although you will find some canvas as an interlining in mid-range suits, it’s usually only at the top of the suit jacket. In high-end suits, the canvas is used for interlining the jacket from top to bottom. As this canvas is routinely pad stitched by hand to mirror the shape of your torso, it can take an age. That’s a lot of hand-sewing!
The production of a high-end suit can take months. With the amount of detail and craftsmanship that goes into each suit, it’s little wonder that they are an investment in both time and money.
3 Piece Suit
A great way to lift the look of your suit is to opt for a 3-piece instead of a 2-piece. Adding a waistcoat or vest to your ensemble is guaranteed to add a higher level of charisma. It will also add more than a few bucks to the overall cost of your suit.
You can get 3-piece suits in any of the price bands mentioned above. But, the one where you’ll notice the price increase more is in the basic suit category. This is one of the reasons that a waistcoat is less likely to be included in a basic suit option, particularly in budget-level stores.
For the most part, the price of that extra waistcoat will be factored into the cost of a mid-range or high-end suit. So you probably won’t even think about a separate cost for it. For lower-priced suits, you can add between an extra $50 to $200 to the price of your basic ensemble.
How Much Does a Tailored Suit Cost?
A tailored suit will cost you anywhere in the region of $500 and upwards into the thousands. It all depends on what your suit is made from, where it was made, and the level of expertise of the tailor.
One thing is for sure. Your custom-made tailored suit will set you back more than a basic suit you purchased off the peg. Tailoring is a craft and professional tailors are incredibly skilled. You can expect to pay a high premium to have your suit tailored.
There are different levels of tailoring. A suit made by an apprentice tailor will be cheaper. They are just starting to learn the trade, so they will be less experienced than some of the top names in tailoring. So too, will a tailor at a smaller, less well-known tailoring service. Even so, the work they produce will be exquisite and worthy of a reasonable price.
Much of the sewing involved in a suit is done by hand. Making a tailored suit is, therefore, time-consuming and labor-intensive. You do get more of a personal touch, though. A good tailor will take the time to get to know you and what you want from your suit.
From the fabric choice to the style, your tailor will check with you on everything. Talking you through the options and helping you choose what functions or features are best for you and your lifestyle. They will even help you pick the right color suit for the event you are going to.
It can seem that you are the center of attention for your tailor as they put your suit together. Although they have other clients, this feeling that you are important to them isn’t surprising. In fact, many tailors build a rapport with their customers as it helps them deliver the perfect suit. Not just for now but for every suit you’ll ever need in the future.
That’s what you buy into when you purchase a tailor-made suit. Professionalism, skilled craftsmanship, and personal service make you feel like royalty. You might have to pay $500 or more for it, but for a quality suit that fits like a second skin, you’ll find your investment is worth every penny.
Average Ready-to-Wear Suit Cost
Ready-to-wear suits are a little different from tailored suits. Like most fast fashion, ready-to-wear suits are mass-produced. Because of this, they are a lot cheaper than a custom suit made by a tailor. On average, you can look at anywhere from $200 to as high as $500.
You do have to watch the quality of the suit you are buying. There are off-the-peg suits that cost less than $200. Some can be as low as $80. However, they are unlikely to be made to a high standard. Nor do they use quality materials.
For a decent, budget-friendly suit that will last you longer than five minutes, be wary of going too cheap. You want to look smart. That’s the whole point of buying a suit. If you go for one that’s too cheap, it will make you look cheap and ruin the effect you are going for.
When your budget is limited, it can be tempting to go cheap. Resist that urge and aim for a minimum cost of $150. At least that way, you’ll know you can get some use out of the suit and you have a chance of looking good in it.
Average Cost of Suit for Wedding
- When you choose a suit for a wedding, you want to look your absolute best. Because of that, you should pay the average price in the region of $500 to $800. Your wedding is not the time to skimp on quality.
- You should also be looking at a tailor-made suit rather than off the peg. Simply because the materials and level of workmanship will be far better. The suit will fit you better and you’ll feel comfortable wearing it.
- There is a chance you could get a top-quality suit for less than $500. It’s always worth checking to see if your local tailoring service has a discounted suit that will fit you. That way, you could pick up a suit worth $800 for a more pocket-friendly price.
- You could even find they offer payment terms. Allowing you to get the suit of your dreams but at affordable installments. It does pay to shop around.
How Much Does a Cheap Suit Cost
You can pick up a cheap suit for under $100. Some online outlets are selling cheap suits for as low as $50. Unfortunately, a cheap suit will be made from cheap materials and is unlikely to be well-made.
There’s a lot of work in a suit and to keep production costs low, savings have to be made in quality levels and workmanship. Cheap suits are mass-produced and cut to fit any body shape. The fabric is likely to be a synthetic blend, so the suit won’t drape as nicely as a natural fiber suit.
Your cheap suit may only cost an initial outlay of a $50 purchase price. But it could end up costing you a lot more than that. Turning up to an interview for your dream job in a cheap suit could lose you that role. First impressions last and an ill-fitting poorly-made suit has the power to damage your image and reputation forever.
Rather than a cheap suit, you should be looking for an affordable suit. One that looks the part and looks good on you. To do that, avoid buying your suit online. Go to a brick-and-mortar store so you can see the cut of the suit and feel the fabric. Better still, you can try the suit on.
You might have to shell out more than $100 but, those extra dollars up front will save you a fortune in the long run. Instead of looking cheap, you’re well-made, affordable suit will help you get that job.
What Makes a Suit Expensive?
- Quality makes a suit expensive. When you buy a suit, you’re investing in your overall appearance. If you want people to take you seriously, you have to buy quality clothing. The price of quality is never low. Nor is a professional, trustworthy image.
- Suits are surprisingly complicated outfits. They may be a pair of pants, a jacket, and an optional waistcoat, but there’s a lot more to them than that. A decent suit can take days to put together. Some high-end suits can take months.
- Each suit has around 15 different elements that need to be stitched together. Depending on your suit’s price point, these sections are sewn using a sewing machine or by hand. Hand stitching takes time and skill. The higher the level of hand sewing, the more expensive your suit will be.
Then there is the fabric that goes into your suit. You can buy cheaper suits made from polyester. They’ll be functional but not particularly comfortable. Polyester can make you feel cold and clammy. It can also grab your body as you move due to a static build-up.
In contrast, a natural fiber suit like wool will feel pleasant to wear. It will drape better and move with you rather than against you. A suit that looks and feels fantastic is going to be expensive.
Can I Get a Decent Suit for Less Than $500?
Yes, you can get a decent suit for less than $500. However, you will need to shop around. Although it can be possible to get a tailor-made suit for that price, the easiest option is to go for ready-to-wear. Simply because they are off-the-peg and more readily available.
The menswear section at your local department store will likely have a range of suits at budget-friendly prices. There will be racks of different sized jackets and pants in matching fabric. All you need to do is try them on and pick the sizes accordingly.
You could also wait for the sales. Heading out to a men’s clothing store in the sale season could help you grab a real bargain. Unlike department stores, a specific menswear store may be more likely to have a tailoring service.
This could open up your options for a budget-friendly suit. If you spot one for less than $500, but it doesn’t fit, they can alter it for you.
One thing you should always keep in mind is the quality of the suit. Getting one for less than $500 is fine, but don’t lower your standards to meet the price. Make sure that both the fabric and construction of the suit are still top-notch. Remember, you want a suit you can afford, not one that makes you look cheap.
How Much Does a Suit Cost to Rent?
The cost of renting a suit can differ depending on where you rent it. An average cost can be anywhere in the region of $90 to $200. How long you want the suit for will also make a difference to the overall rental fee.
Most of the time, it’s formal suits that are available for rent. Things like tuxedos, for instance. Or a suit for your wedding. The good news about suit rental is, depending on the package, you can also get shoes, a vest, and sometimes cufflinks, all included in the price.
Again, check out a few outlets before committing to hiring a suit. You want to get the best deal for your money. So look into the options available in your area to make sure you get the right one. When you’ve made your choice, try the suit before you agree to the rental.
How Much Should I Spend on a Suit?
The amount you spend on your suit depends on what you need the suit for and your budget. If you’re in the market for a suit, then you probably need to look smart and professional. To do that, you have to stick with quality workmanship and materials.
However, breaking the bank to buy a suit is never a good idea. You want to look great, not bankrupt yourself in the process! Have a budget in mind when you go suit shopping and keep to it.
You don’t want to go too cheap either. The lower the price of the suit, the more likely it will be poorly made from lower-quality fabric. Neither of which will help your image.
The magical figure with suits is around $500. Get as close to that as you can. That way, you will ensure you have a decent suit befitting any eventuality. If that price is too high, then aim for no lower than $150. You might not be able to wear it to a formal occasion, but at least you’ll have an affordable suit rather than a cheap one.