Whether you’re a student on a tight budget, a big-earning gent who’s squandered his weekly pay on other essentials, or someone who needs a suit for only one occasion before it gets shoved to the back of the closet never to be worn again; sometimes a man just needs a cheap suit.
While we highly recommend splashing out a bit of dough on a high-quality and impeccably tailored suit, we understand that some men simply can’t afford it, or don’t wear suits often enough to justify that much cash.
Therefore, we’ve written this guide (and rounded up our favourites) to help you find affordable suits that won’t compromise your style.
What to look for in a cheap suit
Cheap suits don’t necessarily equate to low-quality tailoring or a sloppily constructed jacket-and-trouser-combo made from horrible materials. There are plenty of suits on the menswear market today from several reputable retailers that are both well-made and affordable; you just need to know what to look out for before purchasing.
Focus On The Fit
Even cheap suits must fit your body right. The cut of your suit needs to be perfect, running along the contours of your body without being restrictive. Most men have never been professionally measured, so this is your starting point.
Have a store assistant or capable friend measure your chest, waist, and leg length before contemplating your size; suits aren’t like jeans where you can sometimes wing it with the fit. Now, with up-to-date measurements of your body, you can easily buy suits both online and in-store with much more confidence that the fit will be right.
Alterations Are Everything
While a custom-made suit is best, you’d have to head to China before getting something made-to-measure on a budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get things altered, post-purchase.
Because we all come in different shapes and sizes, the fit of a cheap suit will most likely be slightly ‘off’ – either too long in the leg or gaping slightly in the waist. As a general rule, if you find yourself in between sizes, go slightly longer or bigger, as it’ll be far easier for someone to then alter.
Take your suit to a local alterations place and ask them to match your measurements. Pricing, like any service, varies so if you’re on a severe budget, do your research. But remember, you’ve already saved a few hundred dollars by buying off-the-rack and from a cheaper retailer. If the suit is for work, you’ll get a lot of mileage from this piece, so it’s worth the investment. Once altered, the suit will automatically look more expensive too, which is what you want.
Natural Vs. Synthetic
Again, like the bespoke option, you’ll be lucky to find a pure wool suit for your price range. So let’s talk about fabric. Most cheap suits will come in materials made from the following synthetic fibres: polyester, viscose, elastane, Lycra, and spandex.
The cheapest suits will only boast these man-made yarns, which can be recognised for their sturdy feel and sheen. However, synthetic suits are hotter to wear in summer and less insulating in winter and don’t feel as nice to touch.
Some cheap suits boast a synthetic-natural fibre blend or come made from a fabric that is purely natural, such as cotton. Linen and seersucker fall into the cotton category, as they are all plant-derived. Natural fibre-made suits are breathable and feel nicer to wear, but they often crease more than synthetics and aren’t as indestructible.
As a rule, make sure you find out what fabric a suit is made from before you purchase and try to go for the following: Elastane and Lycra will offer more stretch, linen will feel soft and breathable (but is more casual), and a polyester-wool blend suit is perfect for the office.
Cheap Suits For Work
The cheap suit for work looks best in traditional neutrals – black, grey, navy, and brown – and in minimal prints such as checks, herringbone, or fine pinstripes (never thick or wide pyjama-type stripes). There is nothing worse than a suit that looks novelty, and because the cheap suit’s fabric may look less luxurious when compared to more expensive suits, keeping things classic in the office will help you look more suave.
Over accessorising falls into this category, too. Stick to a business-savvy tie with a tasteful stripe and colour and play around with woven and flat-look options for textural difference. A nice watch adds some instant dollars to your ensemble. As do quality-made, leather lace-ups, freshly polished. Add a waistcoat to form a three-piece suit and you’re mighty dapper, instantly.
Cheap Suits For Events Or The Weekends
If you’re after a cheap suit for an event, one-off occasion, or just want to rock a suit on the weekend Barney Stinson style, well then go for bold colours and unstructured tailoring. The beauty of cheap suiting means you can buy one in every colour (well, almost). Don’t be afraid to experiment when you’re off-duty and consider purchasing a suit in trendy hues such as marsala, mint green, and white.
Bolder windowpane checks and geo prints look great on the weekend and give you a chance to flash some personality. Not into outlandish tailoring? Pop a printed pocket square into your navy jacket and lose the tie and socks. And voila, you’re on trend, sharp, and no one will ever know just how little you’ve spent.
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Take a look at these fantastic brands who make rather good quality and stylish suits for under $350. These are the absolute best cheap suits for men that’ll make you look sophisticated… and like you’ve spent much more than you have!
They only have one suit on offer, but it comes in navy and charcoal; both very debonair shades. Everlane calls it ‘The $300 Italian Suit’ and while it’s affordable, it is also one of the most well-made and highest quality suits on this list. Crafted from wool sourced from Tollegno, Italy, featuring a breathable lining, and cut in a slim tailored fit, this suit is ever so comfortable; making it perfect for all occasions.
Mango has a huge range of marvellous suits that come in multiple colours and styles. The best thing is that these rather well-made suits won’t cost you more than $300.
Preppy outfitter J. Crew has just one suit in its repertoire: The Ludlow. Available in slim and classic fits, the Ludlow comes in multiple colours and, above all, is extremely affordable.
Marks & Spencer
Pairing impeccable craftsmanship with timeless designs, M&S’s range of suits are ideal for weddings and formal events, but will also bring a dash of professional flair to your workwear. They have classic 3-piece suit styles and contemporary slim-fit cuts, all created in wool-blend fabrics for a luxurious feel. Plus, they are super affordable!
River Island has an extensive range of men’s suits that are extremely sophisticated looking and well-made; especially when considering their price points. If you’re looking for a traditional suit for cheap, you can’t go wrong with River Island.
While Boohoo Man has a huge selection of men’s suits, their suits are not as well made as other brands on this list; but they are by far the cheapest. Plus, Boohoo Man’s range is also the most experimental and contemporary, so if you want to turn heads with a bold suit that costs next to nothing, Boohoo Man is the brand for you.
Lands End has an extensive range of men’s suits that are extremely affordable. Classic in style, Lands End’s suits come in various timeless colours and designs.