What should I look for in a quality pre-owned suit?

TL,DR synopsis at bottom.
My wife and I have been invited to a wedding as guests. The theme is “20’s Deco,” but I’ve been told that keeping with the theme is not a major consideration due to financial considerations for everybody involved.

I had four suits that were of well known brands and fit well. None fit anymore. I just went by name and fit when I bought them. At the time I didn’t have to worry to much about cost.

There’s a little known thrift shop nearby. Run by a local church whose members are elderly, well-off, and donate to the store often. My wife and daughters love the place and constantly are talking about the bargains they found. We’re not talking Goodwill prices, but still cheap for what they get.

So, when I go there, what should I look for in their suits? Some sort of stitching, (less common) brands, linings? Until I’m buried, this is probably the last suit I’ll buy so I’d like it to be a nice one.

**TL,DR Version.**Buying a suit from a thrift store. What should I look for?

Thanks in Advance - DESK

If you can find something that fits in a style you like at a thrift store that’s a great find right there.

Yep, fit, fit, fit. Try it on for your wife before you buy. Let her judge. Nothing is worse than an ill fitting suit. If you have to buy new just get a sport coat that will go with slacks you have. Places like Goodies and T.J.Maxx sometimes have great prices on suit coats. But, hey the second hand places sometimes can surprise you. My Daddy donated many nice suits and coats to his church’s charity closet. They loved seeing him come in with a bundle.

I’ve had great success with thrift stuff. $40.00 cdn for a very nice suit, $50.00 for tailoring and off you go. Feel of the fabric is a useful measure, tight even stitching, and it’s worth looking up how suits are constructed so you can get an idea of how much the fit can change. Designer labels (real ones, not store brand) are usually very well made. Lapels are important, but anything less than a full 1970’s width can be worked around.

If you find a powder blue 3 piece or any leisure suit in a 40 Regular don’t buy them, they are hideous, and let me know because I badly need them in my life.

The best advice I’ve ever seen on how to look good in a suit started with being a 25 year old Italian with 8000 Euros to spare. I’ve never really mastered it.

Check the pockets for hidden cash. You would be surprised how much you’ll find.

I knew you were gonna say that. You tickle me.

Look at the sleeve buttons. If they actually unbutton and not just sewn on, this is probably the most obvious indicator of a high quality suit (if they have those, they will also probably other less than obvious bells and whistles such as canvassing in the construction). Look at the material. It should be wool, or a wool blend. Visible pick stitching is in style now for lapels, so look for that too. Obviously, it should fit well, especially in the shoulder area. If it’s too small, don’t buy it. If it’s a little too big in the waist, a tailor can take care of that.

Don’t assume a well known brand has this stuff, but higher end stuff like Hugo Boss probably does.

Hold the pieces up to the light to make sure they’re not shiny or worn through in the elbows or the rear. Also, you can’t necessarily plan on being able to let out the sleeves or the cuffs; if it’s been creased in one spot for years, that crease may never come out completely.

How much don’t the old suits fit? Sometimes a good tailor can work surprises.

Natural fibers would be my number one. A light wool, or silk/cotton flannel would be good. Don’t get 100% cotton either, as it tends to look more casual, even in a suit. Tweeds and heavy wools would be miserable in GA.

MHO - Look for a deep blue rather than black.

If it comes down to a choice, choose the one that’s a little too big. A tailor can always fix that, and they usually don’t charge as much as you’d think.

Check the seat pleat. If it’s puffed out from wear by a too-big owner, that can be nearly impossible to fix.

If you are very excited to find one in your favorite sports team’s colors, don’t buy it, your wife will kill you. Or buy it, but also buy a suit for formal occasions. Happy hunting!

Ideally, it should be empty of its previous occupant.

Well if you’re going to be THAT fastidious you’re never going to get the really good deals.