We are fast approaching wedding season here in Australia, and one question that always gets asked is it better to Hire or Buy a suit?
So, let’s try and break this question down, now this is a hard question to answer as everyone’s situation is different and there are a lot of things we need to take into consideration, most importantly: Budget, Quality and service.
Historically hire suits have been notoriously horrible things to wear. They are typically made from heavy fabrics and are over worn, the styling is dated, and limited to only a few choices. And not to mention you are can’t even tailor hire garments as the alterations are only limited to only the lengths. Sleeve length and Trouser Length.
During that time the answer would have been always “Yes” its better to buy. And in our opinion the answer is still a big yes.
It is true, you can find a suit to purchase for as little a hire suit, however the quality of these suits is average at best, and in most cases are made from inferior man-made fabrics that shine in a way only cheap polyester does.
We also need to factor in the costs of alterations when buying a suit, also shirts, shoes and all the accessories you would like to add to your outfit. On a hanger a cheap suit may look good, but after you have worn the suit even just once or had it dry cleaned, you will find they will look tired, a little shabby and cheap suit will tend to lose their shape after a dry-clean or two. The shoulder pads will collapse, and around the chest you will see bubbling starting to appear. As I mentioned, manmade fabrics become shiny once you apply heat to them, fabrics such as polyester, viscose, and microfiber, even wool blended suits that have a decent amount of wool composition will become shiny. So, pressing these garments is always an issue, especially if they require alterations or dry cleaning.
Now if you are getting married and you have a bridal party, we need to take into consideration that some guys are just not suit wearers, and let’s face it, will not get value from the purchase. If you have young groomsmen, they may grow out of their suit before they will get another opportunity to wear it.
Unless you are buying a clearance item, most good quality suits will start from around $599 - $699. For those that appreciate the highest quality, full canvas suits and half canvas suits is where you should start. The price point on such garments will start from $1000 to $5000 off the rack. Prices will vary depending on the brand and or the quality of the fabric.
Garments made with this construction will most definitely be made from high quality European or English wools. And of course, Australian Merino wool. So, with more luxurious fabrics, also comes a higher quality construction.
Now Made to measure needs to get a very quick shoutout here, because you can get yourself a beautiful Premium, made in Europe garment starting from around $2500. Depending on the fabric. The key word here, is Made in Europe. I would be concerned if you are buying a made to measure garment for under a $1000. Very concerned. Ok… I’m getting off topic… Let’s continue.
So, let’s say your budget is around the $2000 for your new suit. What does $2000 get you? I use this figure as it seems to be the average that most guys are spending these days. At $2000 we now have some options. If you’re an easy fella to fit and you find something you really like and it goes with your wedding theme, you could get yourself a complete suit for around $799. Maybe half canvas, maybe floating chest piece, (ask the salesman or saleswomen on that one) a fitted pure cotton shirt for $249, a tie or bow tie, for $129, a good quality pair of shoes $299, and maybe a waistcoat say $499. The total $1975.
Great, so next we must factor in alterations. If you fall into the very small percentage of gentlemen who are an exact off the rack fit, and maybe you might want to taper a trouser, and shorten a hem, then on average, currently you may spend $80 on alterations depending on which part of the world you are getting this done.
That’s total of $2055. A little bit over. And you may want to comprise on the cost of the tie, and shirt, or maybe the shoes. That’s not a bad haul.
We don’t recommend compromising on the quality of your suit. Especially if you want to wear it again after your wedding. As most guys do want to get some milage from their purchase.
Now let’s look at the hire. Hire suits will sit around the $220 mark. Shirt hire if it offered is $25 – 30, waistcoat hire is about $40-$50, and bow tie or tie hire is about $10
Your hire outfit comes in under $300. Brilliant! But is it really that brilliant? You can’t tailor or alter the suit any in away. Only the sleeve length and leg length. And you are stuck with the style and the fit that is offered at the time. And being a second had suit, it will most likely be worn and a little shiny, and maybe a little bit worst for ware.
However, if that’s what you can afford and what you’re happy to wear it then great. Everyone situation is different. You must do what suits you best.
We will always strongly advocate to all men looking for their wedding suit to consider buying rather than to hire. But carl, I’m never going to wear again, yes maybe, but neither is the bride with her gown.
I understand the groomsman may not want to do buy, but as for the groom, it’s your wedding day. You should always want to look your best.