The modern savvy shopper knows that the best kind of purchase is one that combines value with quality. A product is a good investment when it is the perfect cross section of longevity relative to price. When it comes to men’s suit jackets, you’re faced with a choice: Fused, Half-Canvas or Full-Canvas. Let’s look at which of these is the better value.
Types of construction lining, haircloth canvas, wrapped haircloth canvas, wool canvas, fusible.
The most widely available retail option is the fused suit jacket. Fused jackets start at the cheapest price point, but that savings comes with a few drawbacks. Fused jackets are made with an interlining that is heat pressed to the wool of the suit, and they often dry with bubbling in the chest and a certain amount of stiffness that prevents the suit from adjusting to your body-shape. Fusing can also separate for a number of reasons, either from excessive or abusive wearing, exposure to water (rain) or the heat from a dry cleaners press. Part of the job of a good suit is to absorb sweat, then air out well while keeping its shape and remaining odor free. A fused jacket cannot do this as well by the very fact it is glued into place. As a result, you run a touch warmer all day long and your shirt quality is affected. Of course if price is the only consideration, Banana Republic’s Monogram collection does make quality suiting with fused construction for around $500. They use a fine Marzotto wool and provide a modern fit and styling with slim lapels, slimming midsection and higher arm holes.
The next step up in quality is the half-canvas jacket. A half-fused suit jacket uses a sewn-in canvas piece for the chest and is fused on the bottom of the jacket. Therefore, good structure and fit are established in the top of the jacket while the fused bottom allows for a cheaper price point without sacrificing quality. This saves money and many top brands like use this method, but while it wears better than a fused suit jacket, it may still bubble if the glue becomes degraded. A common American favorite in the half-canvassed selection is Brooks Brothers Madison range which goes for around $1,000.
Half canvassed garment.
Ultimately though, the best option is the full canvas suit jacket, and luxury brands like Brioni, Zegna and Canali embrace this construction. Inside a full canvas suit jacket, between the wool fabric (that you see on the outside) and the soft lining on the inside, there is a layer of fabric which has been cut to the shape of the jacket. When made from canvas, the shell holds the shape of the suit to keep it from sagging or deforming. Full canvas is considered the most desirable because over time the canvas conforms to your body’s shape, creating a natural, flattering fit. It is soft, breaths naturally, and keeps you cooler than fused jackets. Also, the nature of the construction means that a canvas suit jacket will last a long time and be a good investment. A trending full canvas brand of late has been Canali and you can find their super 130s wool with Italian construction go for $1,700.
Fully canvassed garment. All photos courtesy of StyleForum.
We fully understand most purchases are dictated on price and budget but our belief is for the discerning gentlemen the decision is based on value, i.e. longevity, quality, details divided by price and convenience. And what if you could purchase fully canvassed suiting for somewhere between fused and half-canvassed retail prices? Why buy a fully fused suit jacket at retail stores when canvassed suits of a variety of makes and styles can be bought at reasonable prices? And if you’re in Boston and want to hear more about this, please email us at email@example.com and we’d be delighted to tell you more about a new offering we’ll be introducing in the Spring.