The Best Suits for Men from $300 – $500
So you’ve broken out of the pandemic athleisure rut. Maybe you’ve got a wedding to go to coming up. You’ve tried on your suit (or suits) and… the last year+ hasn’t been kind to how your suits fit. You’ve lost weight. You’ve gained weight. Doesn’t matter. It’s okay. But it is time for a new suit. Or, suits. So, where do you spend your money?
These four brands are consistently the best bang for the buck suits under $500, with a few of them going for much, much less. There are pros and cons to each. But 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 Wool Suit – $348
- Medium Heather Blue Super 110s Wool Suit – $348
- Charcoal High Twist Travel Wool Suit – $448 ($498)
- Light Heather Gray Super 110s Wool Suit – $348
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 $328 or $348 priced suits in wheelhouse colors. 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: Stock can sometimes be limited. Stuff sells out relatively fast. Only your first suit, sportcoat, or pair of shoes ships and returns for free. After that, you’re on the hook for returns.
REVIEWS: Head here for a review of the more athletic leaning, “contemporary” fit. A review of the slim fit can be found here.
- Dark Grey Napoli Fit Italian Wool Suit – $399
- Navy Napoli Fit Italian Wool Suit – $399
- Mid Grey Italian Tropical Wool Lazio Suit – $359
- Mid Blue Check Napoli Fit Italian Tropical Wool Suit – $359
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.
REVIEW: Head here for a review of one of their suits from the entry level “Wardrobe Starters” line.
PROS: GREAT for those with frames that don’t fit into standard suiting “drop” zones, and thus have to have a suit made to their measurements. If you’ve got tree trunk legs, or big shoulders, or short arms, these guys are worth a look. Half canvas construction. Base fabrics feel good, but perhaps not as nice as some of the Italian fabrics Suitsupply uses. Fully customizable details like lapel styles, jacket linings, etc. put you in control. Comes with a $75 local alterations credit (you pick the tailor, they reimburse you) as part of their “perfect fit promise.” Ships free. Easy returns, although they’ll try and get you to get it tweaked at your local tailor/do a remake for you before you send a custom suit back to be trashed.
CONS: Self-measuring process can take a while, and if you input the wrong measurements, you might end up with a wonky fit (although their customer service team really does do a solid job trying to weed out any outlier/odd measurements). Takes a bit to get your suit made and delivered. 3-4 weeks at present. Prices have been creeping up over the last year, and stock at present is really quite limited (which is not uncommon here in mid 2021).
REVIEW: Full review of Black Lapel can be found here.
- Navy, Charcoal, or Black Slim Italian Stretch Wool Suit Jacket & Trouser = $300 – $350 ($568)
- Gray or Bel Air Blue Slim Italian Stretch Wool Sharkskin Suit Jacket & Trouser = $300 – $350 ($568)
PROS: Yes really. The mall brand, Banana Republic. Why? Because these are great if you’re in a hurry and/or don’t wear suits all that often. Sold as separates, so you pick a sized jacket, and then a separate pair of sized, pre-hemmed trousers. You can possibly avoid a trip to a tailor (as long as you’re happy with the jacket fit too), and that’s mega key if you’re in a rush and running out of time. And the Italian 99% wool / 1% Elastane Italian fabric really is pretty good for what they charge when 40% – 50% off. Ships and returns for free.
CONS: Jackets are fused and not half-canvas, so the quality isn’t quite as nice compared to Spier/Suitsupply/Black Lapel. Buttons and other details just don’t feel as nice as the other brands. Overpriced unless you get them for 40% or 50% off, and they can sometimes be excluded from codes and promos.
REVIEW: Don’t have one at present, but when my buddy Chuck got married, I helped him try out a bunch of suits and the Navy BR Italian Stretch Wool was the eventual winner. He and his wife now have two kids, and they’re still married. I’d call that a win. And the suit hasn’t changed that much over the last few years. And why would they? The online reviews are glowing. It’s a nice suit. It’s fused. But they are nice.
Also Receiving Votes: Brooks Brothers 1818 suits – gotta wait for them to go on clearance. J. Crew’s Ludlow line – not everyone likes their lower slung button stance, and without a significant sale they’re super spendy. J. Crew Factory’s Thompson line – fused and… very cheap. Bonobos Jetsetter Line – also have to wait for a solid sale, not as nicely constructed as Suitsupply/Spier, but the Bemberg lining is nice and the fact that they’re separates is great.