Earlier in the year we started a discussion about “off the peg suit shopping for a special occasion”. In the first part of this item we set the scene and talked about the first suit of our five chosen suits which came from Next. You can read part one if you click here . Now it’s time to conclude our search with the final four of our recommended off the peg suits.
The second suit is from Primark, the full suit came in at our most affordable price of £70! I still am in shock at how little a full trouser and jacket suit costs. There suits come in a range of colours and materials, but are only featured in their larger stores such as Oxford Street and Tottenham court road. I would recommend the dark navy suit as it seemed the best in terms of quality and dies, a lot of the black suits and grey suits looked very cheap due to the colour of the material used, whereas the navy suits had a much smoother appearance.
All the suits are slim fit with a 2 button style, the cut is rather flat when you put the suit on and is not particularly complimentary to any shape. Therefore I would recommend spending some extra money on having it tailored to you, after £50’s worth of tailoring the total comes to £120 and you have a suit that will give a far more expensive suit a run for its money. Therefore if you are looking for a top budget suit look no further than you local Primark (be it a super sized Primark).
The third was from John Lewis, I went in looking for a navy suit, but left having bought a Tailored Fit Wool Dress Suit in grey. The simple reason was because the price was perfect and the fit was fantastic, also because you are buying it from John Lewis you know that if you have any quality issues in the first 3 months of owning the suit, the helpful staff will either send your suit of to be repaired or give you a replacement. The suit itself cost £200 for a 2 piece or £260 for a 3 piece, I would recommend the 2 piece as the waistcoat was very uncomfortable and I found the material to be very scratchy and a slightly off colour compared to the suit. Also I can vouch that the staff at the Oxford Street branch where very professional and can help with choosing the right suit as well as organising tailoring for anything you buy.
The 4th choice is from Zara, it’s a dark navy ‘fashion suit’ with contrasting collar, stitched pockets, peaked lapels and a single breasted one button front. The suit costs £135 for the jacket and trousers, unfortunately its only 19% wool, with the rest of the composition being made up of 79% polyester and 2% elastane. Thus the quality is not particularly high, although on the plus side, it means that you can hand wash the suit rather than dry clean, which if you are strapped for cash is an added bonus. Apart from the poor quality material, its basted and stitched well meaning that it will age quite well, also it will suit ectomorph body types as it cut very slim.
The last and final choice is from Marks and Spencer, a three piece pure wool 2 button pinstripe jacket for £248.50. Its the only affordable 3 piece suit in the guide and one of the highest in terms of quality, however its also the most expensive at only £1.50 under budget. The suit is cut beautifully with notched lapels, single breasted, 2 button fastening, 4 button cuff and twin vent. The fall is fantastic, it will suit a mesomorph and endomorph body type, while the latter will be glad of a slimming effect provided by the pinstripe in the material. It will look smart enough for a special occasion whilst being suitable for work, making it a very versatile suit that would make a good investment.
All in all I believe that its always best to invest in your clothes, we live in a disposable age where Primark and H&M have created generation Y (for Yuppies) that can happily afford to wear something once and then throw it away. If you’re really strapped for cash then the Primary suit will fit all your requirements, however if you have up to £250 available to spend I would recommend the John Lewis or Marks and Spencer suits as they will be comfortable to wear in more seasons that the non pure wool Zara suit. Combine that with the fact the suit should age slower than the cheaper alternatives due to the quality of the basting and seems, it makes the JL or M&S suits a more intelligent long term investment.