YOU'RE PAYING FOR IT
Every one who buys a suit hopes they're getting quality for price. A man with less than $500 to drop on a suit still wants the best quality he can buy, and the man who drops more than $1200 on a suit expects quality, but just because a high price tag is thrown on a garment, doesn't always mean it's worth it.
These days, it can be hard to work out if you're paying for a quality suit, sometimes the colour or texture of the suit can throw us off, or even a brand name can trick us into thinking we're paying for a quality suit when really we're paying for a label. When you're buying a suit, it's important to know the difference between fused or canvased suits, so you're not wasting your money on something that won't last.
WHAT IS FUSING IN A SUIT?
Fusing is in many suits today due to high production quantities, time restraints and pricing demands. It's what the interlining of most low cost and scarily, some very high end, suits are made of.
This doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing because most of the time it's inexpensive, a fused suit is great if you're buying a suit for a one off occasion and don't plan to wear it to every event for the next 5 or so years. They're not so great if you're after something for work, longterm wear and quality.
You see, if your suit has fusing in it, it won't dry clean well, the areas of your suit where fusing is placed will bubble and seperate over time, giving your suit a sloppy appearance. Also, if the interior of your suiting is fused, it's likely the rest of the suit isn't made with quality fabrics or design either.
Years ago, most suits were canvassed, that's why they lasted so much longer than the $200-$500 dollar suits many men can pick up today. These cheaper, unfused suits are great if you need a quick and temporary fix.
To check if your suit is fused, ask the shop assistant or look at the inside clothing care tag. A good indication that it's fused is if the suit is under $500, is made of polyester or hangs too stiff from the body.
WHAT IS CANVASSED SUITING?
Canvassing on the other hand refers to interlining made from woven horsehair, which goes between the lining of the suit and the outer wool shell of the suit. Canvas suiting lasts years and years, which is why it's often quite expensive and used often in made to measure or bespoke suiting companies.
Canvassed suits hold the shape of the fabric and stop it from dropping, like the foundations of a well built house. Even though you'll be fitted for a suit when you buy your next one, over time a canvassed suit will mould to your body and fit you even better. Canvassed suits often cost $1000 and up per suit.
WHAT IS HALF-CANVAS SUITING?
Luckily, if the idea of a fully fused suit seems like a waste of money, and a fully canvassed suit is out of the price range at the moment - there's a fabulous middle man and it's a half-canvassed suit.
Here you've got the best of both worlds where the chest piece of the suit will be canvassed, providing the fit and structure you need, while the lower part of the jacket, near the pockets and below the button will be fused. This is a common suit option in many suiting stores like MJ Bale, Farage, Hugo Boss, Canali, Z Zegna, etc.
Remember before you buy any suit to ask the suit fitter if it's fused, canvassed or half and if they seem like they don't know what you're talking about - walk away. There's plenty of great suit fitters that know what they're doing and will help you find a great quality suit that fits and flatters.
Alarna Hope is a personal stylist and blogger based in Sydney, Australia. She loves makeover movies like Crazy, Stupid, Love and Devil Wears Prada and she's very good at talking about herself in the third person. You can find her on instagram @alarnahope or searching through clothing racks in Sydney City's shopping precinct.