What Makes a Suit Expensive? Factors That Affect Suit Prices (2024)

You can often tell the difference between a cheap suit and an expensive suit—but few of us can articulate exactly why. Is it the cut? The construction? What are expensive suits made of? The expensive suit material? Maybe you’re thinking “Hold on… I can’t easily spot the difference” - Well, you’re certainly not alone, and this article is for you!

For people taking their first steps in the world of dressing for sartorial elegance, the average suit prices may make you fear for your pocketbook. Yet, a high-quality, well-constructed suit quite literally speaks for itself and is well worth the investment… but it still doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Today the expert team of tailors at Oliver Wicks will walk you through what goes into pricing a suit, and why it is a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to elevate your style and profile.

  • Average Suit Prices
  • What Affects Suit Prices?
    • Tailored vs Ready to Wear
    • Construction
    • Fabrics
    • Service
    • Brand and Reputation
  • The Differences Between Expensive and Cheap Suits
    • Fabric
    • Cut and Fit
    • Retail Space
  • What’s the Most Expensive Suit in the World?
    • Stuart Hughes’ “Diamond Edition”
    • William Westmancott’s “Ultimate Bespoke Suit”
    • Kiton K50
  • Conclusion

Average Suit Prices

If you’re new to the world of suits, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer variance in the cost of men’s suits. In a world where you can get a suit for as little as $100, why are some men happy to shell out $5,000 (or more) on one?

First of all, these two price points don’t give a true sense of the market, because we’re not comparing apples with apples. There’s a big, big difference between ready-to-wear (also called “off the peg” or “off the rack”) suits, made-to-measure suits, and bespoke suits. There is also a huge difference in cost depending on what fabrics, skills, tailoring, brand names, etc. are used.

Off-the-rack suits are made to standard men’s sizes. Of course, few men actually fit these sizes perfectly, so the look and fit are usually not quite perfect. The cheapest suits are mass-manufactured in factories, which can keep the costs down, but also means you lose a lot of quality. While you can pick these up easily, and for price tags of $100–$300, they aren’t a particularly good investment.

Of course, you can also find high-quality ready-to-wear suits, with better construction and materials—with a little tailoring, these can be a decent entry to the world of suits. These range from $350–$600.

However, to truly wear a suit well, made-to-measure and bespoke suits make all the difference. With many of the more complicated tailoring aspects completed by hand (and some suits being fully handmade), and true quality fabrics used, suits are often a classic case of “you pay for what you get.” You can pick up some fantastic made-to-measure suits from $600 upwards, while bespoke suits from the brands of Savile Row tailors can venture into the thousands.

In short, you can get a fantastic, made-to-measure suit for well under $1000, if you know where to shop, and what to look for.

What Affects Suit Prices?

What Makes a Suit Expensive? Factors That Affect Suit Prices (1)

So, we’ve discussed the bare basics of why there’s a lot of price variance in suits. Now, let’s look at what affects the price of a suit more closely.

Tailored vs Ready to Wear

We somewhat covered this above, but it is worth revisiting. A ready-to-wear suit, even from an excellent tailor and made with great materials, is created to fit a theoretical everyman, working on averages about bodies, shapes, proportions, and so on. A made-to-measure, or tailored, suit, on the other hand, is made for one man—you!

Our Oliver Wicks fans already know how much of a difference this can make—after all, our slogan is, “the suit that fits you.” Made-to-measure and custom-tailored items account for all your personal quirks—be it a heavy paunch or broad shoulders, long legs or a long torso—and however nature made you.

While there are quality ready-to-wear options out there, and tailors can tweak and retrofit these suits (within reason) to fit better, a tailored suit will always fit better because it is patterned and made for you alone. The price of made-to-measure is, of course, a bit higher, but, a custom suit from us is still a fraction of what you’d pay a bespoke tailor to create a suit for you, by hand, in person.


The skill and methodology of construction impact the final product significantly. Hand made suits come at a hefty cost, and mass-produced garments often skip important structural features to cut down the cost of manufacturing.

That all feels a bit ‘all or nothing’, right? This is where made-to-measure bridges the gap of quality suiting accessibility. We recognise the importance of great construction, and features, but are able to use modern European machinery to tailor so that no corners are cut, without the need for many hours of labor that create the large bill at the end of a bespoke tailoring experience.


This is another major cost driver in suiting. Long, strong, natural fibers are most desirable for quality garments, but take the most effort, skill, and cost to produce.. Respectablesuit brands use high-quality, long-wearing material. A suit needs over 3.5 yards of fabric to make, so it’s certainly a decent chunk of the overalltcost.

Not all wools are created equally. There’s a reason that Oliver Wicks chooses fabrics from the best quality mills of Italy and the UK. Any time bulk production processes, cheaper sources of materials, etc. are introduced, the fabric quality declines. The best wools come from reputable, established mills, who’ve often been around for a very long time, and of course, they’ve earned the right to charge appropriately for their superior products.


So far, we’ve looked at physical factors. Now, let’s consider the buyer journey. How willing is the merchant to protect you, the buyer, from shoddy workmanship? How seamless is the customer experience? Do they remember repeat customers and treat them well? Will they help with alterations? What is your experience like from your first decision to the final product?

While big mass-production chains can typically afford to be liberal with returns in ways that smaller entities can’t, you and your product issue are just a numbers game. A smaller retailer often can’t match returns policies—but will go out of their way to make certain you don’t need them.

Oliver Wicks protects our clientswith our free remake, alteration coverage, and return policies, and you'll have one-to-one communication with our tailoring team throughout your made-to-measure experience . You can read more on this via our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

Brand and Reputation

Luxury tailored suits from brands and tailors with a strong reputation and long history are coveted for what they are, as well as the look they give you. Just like Dior perfumes or Versace leatherwork carries a reputation globally, certain tailors and luxury brands (like Armani suits) also attract a higher price tag for their hot designer labels. The most expensive suit brands in the world have good tailors, yes, but they also lean on their brand name to bump the price. .

Of course, this fact can also be leveraged to get you a great deal. If you have an eye for quality and little concern about magazine brand names, you can find fantastic options from less-coveted “names.” By truly understanding what quality looks like, made-to-measure can build a collection to be proud of, and save a heap of your hardearned cash.

Oliver Wicks sit somewhere in the middle here. Big names are not only associated with inflated prices, they can also become known simpy for their excellence. This is why we work with some of the oldest Italian mill “names” in the world, such as Vitale Barberis, Reda, and Bottoli (to name a few).

Looking in the mirror, we view our brand as one puts the client first: We want to exceed your expectations with our customer service, fabrics & construction, and the fit, at a price point that is accessible to many. Protecting our great reputation is also extremely important to us - We’ll bend over backwards to support a client until they are happy with their purchase. Is it worth it? You bet! We have a giant collection of verified 5-star reviews, and that makes us very happy and fulfilled.

The Differences Between Expensive and Cheap Suits

What Makes a Suit Expensive? Factors That Affect Suit Prices (2)

A higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality, and you don’t have to spend thousands to own a high quality suit either. This begs the question - If not by the price, how do you judge the quality of a suit?


We mentioned fabric before, but now we’ll look at a few things that you can look at when you’re choosing which suit to purchase.

Garments should come with a label that indicates the composition of the fabric (with jackets, it’s often found inside the inner pocket). Brands with a good reputation will also display this information in the product description. If you see something like “Wool, Polyester, Elastane”, you’ll know that while the suit does have real wool, it’s blended with cheap synthetic fabrics.

Another jacket might have the label “100% Wool”, which tells you right away that it’s a higher quality suit. There are sometimes exceptions - A suit may contain a very small amount of synthetic material and still be of high quality, it’s just sometimes included for stretch and comfort.

Synthetic fabrics are commonly rather shiny and waxy in appearance, whereas 100% wool only has a slight sheen to it. It can also feel slightly stiff and rigid, like a piece a cardboard. This is not only unpleasant to touch, but it also won’t follow the contours of your physique like a natural wool fabric will.

Cut and Fit

This can be confusing, because certain styles and fits are designed to be tighter, or looser, on the body. But a well-tailored “relaxed” or “skinny” garment can never be confused for one that simply doesn’t fit well.

Key places to look on men’s suits are the shoulders—the armhole should fit the shoulder, with a near 90-degree fall. Sleeves should fit expertly into the armholes with clear, intentional pleats (where relevant) and not just random puckers. Even relaxed cuts will have a slight dip at the waist to elongate and accentuate the wearer. Close fits will hug the body, not smother it (or make you look like a Christmas ham about to pop out). Of course, if you want to ensure both quality AND a great fit, at a reasonable price, then it pays to spend that extra few minutes on your measurements, and go with a brand like OW. . Don’t overthink the measurements - Oliver Wicks has your back! THE most common concern we see, almost every day, is people who’re worried that they won’t be able to take good measurements. We’ve been doing this for over a decade - We know that our clients are not tailors, and we’ve adapted our methods to allow for this, and still achieve your dream fit.

If you create a free account on our website (no purchase necessary), you can access our simple and hassle-free measurement tutorials to ensure you always get a perfect size. You can also sign up for our newsletter and get helpful tips right in your inbox.

Details & Construction

This is where we get into the good stuff! The detailing and subtleties of a great suit are often a major part of what makes it a great suit. Look at the little details first—poor quality often shows here.

Do the pockets open? - Fun fact, cheap suits often feature fake pockets. On good quality suits, pockets will open and be fully functional (as you’d expect pockets to be!).

Do the sleeve buttons undo? - Same as above! Poor quality suits have sleeve buttons that are sewn on purely for looks, and they won’t work as buttons should.

Do the lapels have a nice, rounded shape? - Quality suits will have a proper canvas that provides support in the right places. Budget suits skip this to save on cost, and the result is lifeless, flat lapels.

Does it just look thin and floppy? - Lack of canvas, again! A quality suit will have a structural skeleton to ensure that it “drapes” nicely.

How does the stitching look? - Stiching patterns should look neat and tidy. If it is all wobbly, that’s a key side that quality control was skipped, or just not to a good standard.

There are many more details that indicate a garment’s quality (we could fill this article on this alone), but these are perhaps five of the most obvious signs to look out for. The link between quality and price is that these are areas in which budget manufacturers cut corners to keep production cost, and ultimately the retail price tag, low.

Retail Space

We’ll touch on this one just very, very quickly. Suit brands with physical stores often show off with fancy showrooms. The funding for this obviously has to come from somewhere, and you guessed it, part of the suit price is paying for the mahogany table by the service desk.

Oliver Wicks operate 100% online. Meaning no overheads, or retail space to rent, and we pass that saving onto you.

What’s the Most Expensive Suit in the World?

Now you know how to tell if a suit is expensive in quality, not just price tag, let’s have some fun. What are the most expensive suits in the world?

Stuart Hughes’ “Diamond Edition”

How do you feel about taking bling to the max? This suit sells for $778,290. It is constructed with cashmere wool and silk, an elegant fabric combo for any suit. And then, there are the nearly 500 0.5-carat diamonds tastefully layered on top. Not quite something you’d want to head to work in, no? There are 3 of these suits in existence, it took 600 hours to create each, and the look is subtle and understated, we’ll give it that. But wow, that’s a price tag indeed!

William Westmancott’s “Ultimate Bespoke Suit”

We assure you that you can get a fantastic bespoke suit for a lot less than $60,000! However, this suit originates from a top Savile Row tailor and is custom woven in English mills. It is ultra-lightweight and stitched in horse hair to help keep the shape. You do get five complimentary shirts with this one, too. It’s a favorite of Russian and Middle Eastern businessmen and it takes around 200 hours to create each suit.

Kiton K50

Also priced in the $60,000 range, and made from merino wool, this suit comes from the Saville Row tailor, Enzo D'Orsi. Only five tailors in the company can make this suit, and it takes about 50 hours of their time.


By now, we hope we’ve given you some useful points to look out for when choosing your next suit, and how various factors can influence both price and quality. . You should also have a better idea on how to spot “true” quality materials and construction, and feel a bit more confident on selecting a nice suit without having to consider outrageous price tags.

If you’re looking to find yourself a high-quality suit that screams elegance and power (or explore our many tailoring options), the helpful Oliver Wicks team is on hand to assist you. Simply reach out to us at custom@oliverwicks.com, and we’ll help sort you out, guide you to the right suit for your unique body, and answer any questions you may have.


What Makes a Suit Expensive? Factors That Affect Suit Prices (2024)


What Makes a Suit Expensive? Factors That Affect Suit Prices? ›

Suit Type and Style

What makes a suit expensive? ›

Expensive Suit: Expensive suits are typically crafted from premium materials such as high-quality wool, silk, or cashmere. These materials offer superior comfort, durability, and a luxurious feel.

What determines the price of a suit? ›

In short, the price of your new bespoke tailor-made suit (and other types of garment for that matter) depends on three factors – fabrics it is made of, the craftsmanship that goes into creating it and finally service. Let's first look at each in a bit more detail.

How can you tell an expensive suit? ›

Most expensive suits should be made from at least a pure wool. If you want quality, never choose polyester mixes. Ideally you're looking for anything above a Super 100s wool. This means the fabric is smoother and has less thread count per meter, making it super soft and luxurious to touch and feel.

What material is expensive for suits? ›

Both rarer and more expensive than cashmere, a fabric that expresses true luxury. Vicuna is the most expensive suit material in the world. It is water-resistant, breathable, has natural UV protection, and a luxurious feel.

Which suit is more expensive? ›

Stuart Hughes Diamond Edition Us$778,290

This is no different. The Stuart Huges Diamond Edition suit costs $778,290 as of today and consists of a blend of Cashmere wool, silk and 480 o. 5 carat diamonds smattered on the suit. Designed by Richard Jewels & Stuart Hughes, this suit took 600 hours to create.

How expensive is a suit? ›

The Basic Suit ranges from $300 to $599, though it is easy to spend more. It's considered to be a solid price point for the first suit. This category includes the most common fit types, wool/poly blend materials, and basic color schemes.

What determines a good suit? ›

The most important quality of a good suit is a jacket that has a full canvas layer between the fabric and lining. Cheaper suits have a lining that is fused or glued to the fabric. A more affordable option is half-canvas, where the designer only uses a layer in the more visible top portion of the jacket.

What determines the quality of a suit? ›

The first thing to consider when evaluating a suit's quality is the material used to make it. A high quality suit is made from 100% wool, and not just any kind of wool—merino wool. Merino wool is a type of worsted wool, which differs from other woollens.

Are $100 suits good? ›

The fabric of a $100 suit is usually stretched with polyester, nylon, or other artificial fibers. Even if natural materials, like cotton or wool, are employed, they tend to be of the lowest quality possible.

Were the suits in suits expensive? ›

It is True, Harvey Specter (Gabriel macht) wore off the rack Tom Ford Suits supplied to him & tailored by Harry Rosens Menswear in Toronto (where the show is filmed) But only for Season 1. The price for these TF suits ranged from minium $4500 CAD to around $10,000 (almost always the “Widsor” style.

How to make a cheap suit look expensive? ›

How to make a cheaper suit look expensive
  1. Replace the buttons: Instead of the existing plastic buttons, replace the buttons with something just a little bit fancier and more your style. ...
  2. Avoid shiny fabrics & always check the sale section. ...
  3. Take in the sleeves: If you're going to tailor anything, let it be the sleeves.

Why is suit fabric so expensive? ›

Quality suits use premium materials, and well, these don't come cheap. Fabrics like Italian wool, cashmere, or silk aren't just fancy names; they're known for their exceptional feel and durability. The quality of the fabric directly affects the overall look, comfort, and longevity of a suit.

Is a $200 suit worth it? ›

It really depends on your budget, and how often/hard you're going to wear your suit. If you're looking for a workhorse suit that you can rely on 2-3 times/week, a $200 RTW number will not last. You'll end up buying a new one every six months.

Is $2000 too much for a suit? ›

No, $2,000 won't buy you the best suit in the world, made from the most expensive fabrics with the most elaborate handwork, but you will get something that is good, that will stand the test of time, and that's comfortable to wear.

Is $700 a lot for a suit? ›

If you are on a budget, there are good-looking suits for $600-$999 that you can tailor to make look higher-priced.

What is the difference between a $500 suit and a $5000 suit? ›

$500 vs. $5,000

The intimate details like hand-sewn sleeves and multiple fittings allow the tailor to understand your unique body movements and style. A $500 custom suit will fit you well standing still. A $5,000 bespoke suit and shirt will fit you no matter what you do!

Is $200 good for a suit? ›

It really depends on your budget, and how often/hard you're going to wear your suit. If you're looking for a workhorse suit that you can rely on 2-3 times/week, a $200 RTW number will not last. You'll end up buying a new one every six months.

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