The Best Suits for Men from $300 – $500
Whatever the reason, it’s perhaps time for a new suit. Or, suits. So where do you spend your money?
These four brands consistently make the best bang for the buck suits under $500. That’s hard to do these days, considering inflation and production costs skyrocketing. But there are pros and cons to each. Yet picking a suit from one of these four makers should have you looking good, and more importantly feeling great, without causing too much pain to your bank account.
- Navy or Medium Gray Italian Bi-Stretch Wool (97% Wool & 3% Elastane) Suit – $498
- Charcoal Gray Made to Order Suit – $498
- Medium Gray or Navy Sharkskin Wool Suit – $368
- “Core Line” Wool Suits (Charcoal, Navy, Medium Gray, etc.) – $368 drifts in and out of stock
PROS: Nice fabrics, two fits, and made with a half canvas construction. Sleeve cuff buttons are non functioning so tailoring is a cheap breeze. Bemberg lined so they breathe much better than poly lined suits. Details liked a curved “Barchetta” style breast pocket and D ring stitching around the pockets that are usually found on more expensive suits. As good as it gets in terms of bang-for-the-buck. Look for the $368 suits in the foundational, charcoal/navy/mid gray options. That’s their “base” line. Maximum value there, although they do play around with spendier fabrics and prices go up the fancier they get. And they even run sales.
CONS: Stocks/sizes are often limited. Stuff sells out relatively fast. Returns can be a little cumbersome, as only your first suit (or sportcoat, shoes, outerwear, and shirt) purchase ships and returns for free. After that, you’re on the hook for a $15 return label.
REVIEWS: Head here for a review of the more athletic leaning, “contemporary” fit. A review of the slim fit can be found here. Size shown above is a 40R contemporary fit on Joe, who is 5’10″/185.
- Navy Napoli Fit Italian Wool Suit – $499
- Light Grey Italian Tropical Wool Lazio Suit – $499
- Dark Grey Napoli Fit Italian Wool Suit – $499
PROS: Great fabrics, often from famous Italian mills. Multiple fits. Half-canvas construction. Sometimes can get low on stock, but not nearly as bad as Spier. Always ships and returns for free.
CONS: Their sleeve cuff buttons ARE functioning. That’s a spendy proposition for those that want to show that “perfect” quarter to half inch of shirt cuff, and are unlucky enough that the sleeves don’t hit just perfect off the rack. Fits tend to lean true slim. Too slim for those of us with thicker legs/backsides. Their marketing often leans into (eye-rolling) “shock” territory, although thankfully they seem (for now) to have grown up in the last year or so.
REVIEW: Head here for a review of one of their suits from the entry level “Wardrobe Starters” line.
Banana Republic Italian Nailhead Wool Suit Jackets + Matching Trousers = $360* when 40% off ($600)
PROS: Sold as separates so you’re not stuck with a “nested” jacket and pants. You pick the size of the jacket, you pick the size of the pants, bang there’s your suit. All season wool from Italy’s Reda mill. Softer shoulder and sleeves designed for ease of movement. Suit, overall, moves super well with just a hint of natural stretch. Very subtle “nailhead” visual texture makes it interesting but still all-occasions appropriate. Also available in a deep blue option. Would excel in all three scenarios from our “Versatile Medium Gray Suit – 3 Ways“ posts. Size shown above is a 36R jacket and 31 trouser on Ryan who is 5’9″/160.
CONS: Just two colors available. Sleeve cuff buttons are functional and thus, difficult to tailor. Trousers come in (only) three lengths, with the intention you get them dialed in (if need be) by a tailor. Short length trousers = 29.5″ inseam, Regular = 31.5″, Long = 33.5.” And most importantly: You have to wait for a sale. And sales are increasingly rare these days at BR (there are two 40% off Friends and Family sales per year, and you might be able to get another shot around Black Friday.) Otherwise, six hundred bucks? You’re better off going with Spier or Suitsupply at that point.
J. Crew: Slim or Classic Fit Italian Wool Suit Seperates – $472.50* when 30% off ($675)
PROS: Available in either an Italian stretch-wool, or an all Super 120s Italian wool. And the stock availability is pretty consistent. J. Crew does a really nice job keeping these in stock. Fit familiarity is also big with J. Crew. A lot of guys already know how J. Crew jackets and trousers fit them, and these come in two templates: Slim or Classic fit. These, like the Banana Republic option, are also sold as separates. You’re not stuck with a “nested” pair of trousers with a 6″ drop compared to the jacket (ie buy a 40R jacket, you’re getting 34″ waist in the pants.) I know I know, you can request a trouser swap from Spier. But refer back to point #1. Doesn’t matter if they don’t have the stock on hand.
CONS: Another brand where you’re gonna be twiddling your thumbs while waiting for a very rare sale. These suit separates are almost always excluded from the somewhat constant 30% – 40% off codes J. Crew runs. There are exceptions to their exclusionary status, but they don’t happen as often as a lot of us would like. Also, quality can sometimes be hit or miss (just read the reviews). J. Crew has gone through a lot in the last few years, and it seems like inconsistency in manufacturing quality is something that haunts them.
Also Receiving Votes but didn’t quite make the $500 or under threshold:
- Bonobos Jetsetter Line – Sold as separates, and at $550 they’re just barely north of our self imposed $500 threshold.
- Brooks Brothers 1818 suits – gotta wait for their big two-for sales and/or scout the clearance section for after-season leftovers.
- J. Crew Factory’s Thompson line – fused and… very cheap.
- Black Lapel – Online made to measure, but prices have skyrocketed in the last year or so.
- Oliver Wicks – Another online made to measure. Made in Europe (Bulgaria I believe for some?) and quite nice fabric and construction.