What makes some suits cost more than others?

I’m asked all the time why some suits cost more than others. The answer is the same as any product on the market, whether it’s a suit, a washing machine, or a lawn mower. Time and materials dictate the price of anything. The amount of time put into the product and the quality of materials will determine what it can be made for and what it can be sold for. Like anything else, you will get what you pay for and because of the stiff competition in the industry, you will rarely overpay.

Let’s take a look at the three types of suits available on the market. Off the rack, made-to-measure and full custom or bespoke. Off the rack suits are constructed in about 30 min to 2 ½ hours with materials costing anywhere from $15 to $150. The construction is all done on machine. The low end suits retail for $99 and the high end retail up to $1000 with the average price being about $495. The chest piece and lapels are fused with epoxy or glue to adhere the fabric and lining.

Shelton Clothiers sells off the rack suits from $395 to $650.


Made-to measure suits naturally take more time. They are constructed in about 8-12 hours with materials costing from $200-$400. Made-to-measure suits are made by a combination of hand work and machine. The inner construction could be full canvas or half canvas. The canvas is a horse hair material that conforms to your body shape much better than a fused garment. The customer will pick the fabric and lining of his or her choice and then be measured for the garment that will then be made from a pattern with some alterations done in the factory and a few minor adjustments in the store. The cost of these garments can reach $2000.

Shelton Clothiers offers made-to-measure garments from $695-$795.

made to measure suit


Full custom suits (also known as bespoke suits) are all hand tailored garments that are made just for you. After the customer’s measurements are taken, a special pattern is cut just for them. The garment is constructed in up to 75 hours of materials that cost anywhere from $600 to $800. Bespoke suits can cost up to $8000 but most stores offer a good selection in the $900-$1300 range.

Shelton Clothiers offers a selection of bespoke suits in the $895-$1295 range.

full custom suit


So, as you can see from this quick tutorial that it is indeed time and materials that dictate the price of a suit. When shopping for a suit, it is important to be armed with this information before making a purchase. Unfortunately, there are dishonest retailers who do not disclose what type of suit they are providing and play games with pricing in order to draw customers. When you are offered 4 suits for the price of one, rest assured, you are paying for all of them and maybe more.  Legitimate retailers far outnumber these dishonest ones.  At Shelton Clothiers in downtown Memphis, we provide honest pricing on our clothing with monthly specials posted on our web site. www.sheltonclothiers.com.

I hope this helps you find just the right suit for you.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *