Should Men Buy Used Suits Online?

The internet is currently awash with sites selling used, pre-loved, and pre-owned luxury and premium clothing and accessories. For many, the chance to get their hands on [and arms and legs into] a designer suit can only be realized through the second-hand route. And with some items tagged as ‘bought but not worn’ or in ‘very good’ condition, who’s to know the difference anyway?

Sounds like an ideal solution to Average Joe’s desire to look like James Bond. And in some ways, it is but certain caveats exist and – like a loose thread on a cuff button – should not be overlooked.

Don’t Think Brand, Think Fit

Most people think that they’re going to look better wearing something with a famous name tag attached. There’s something in that – designer and luxury clothes tend to be made of better materials with greater attention to detail. But quality should never be the first consideration when buying clothes. Here’s a list of the most important factors you should consider [in descending order of importance]:

  1. Fit
  2. Appropriacy
  3. Need
  4. Quality [and brand]

I’m not saying quality is not important. But if the suit doesn’t fit and isn’t appropriate to the context in which you’re wearing it, quality is irrelevant.

Conversely, quality can be relatively low, but if said item fits well and is appropriate for your office or lunch date, it could give you three- or four-years good service [and you can accessorize more expensively anyway].

Expect to be Disappointed

If you’re buying a used tie online, it will fit you. But if you’re buying a suit, you’ll need to try it on. You can probably return it, but the site probably won’t have the next size in stock. And here’s the clincher: designer clothes, to look good, must fit perfectly. Some people think that designer/luxury clothes have a better cut or just ‘hang’ better. This is partly true but only if the item fits properly in the first place.

So, the advice here is:

  1. Check it fits. If it doesn’t and it’s not something that a tailor can’t alter, return it
  2. Buy six or seven of the same or similar items [if you can]. Always be prepared, indeed expect to return them [and have that cost at the back of your mind too].
  3. Stick to items where you’re confident of the sizing:
  • Ties and shoes tend to size reliably.
  • Sweaters from a known brand are quite reliable
  • Suits – where you have the size of the jacket and pants to consider plus the length and cut – are not reliable at all.

Know What You Want and Need

Think about what you need rather than what you like the look of. This sounds relatively easy but goes much further that simply stating, “I need a suit for a wedding.” You also need to consider [especially if you’ve got a bit of money to burn and before you start looking]:

  • The color
  • The material [summer or winter]
  • The cut
  • Single or double breasted

You also need to be certain of the following components before and when trying suits on:

  • The jacket’s length
  • The length of the arms [some shirt cuff should be on show]
  • That it’s double vented at the back [single vents were for horse-riding]


Buying a suit through a ‘used’ website sounds like a great way to rock a branded look at a discount, but many men are dazzled by the label and fail to consider whether said suit is the one they need. Worse still, many men have no idea what suit they need in the first place and this – ignorance – is generally what separates the very stylish from the not so. Think more about fit and appropriacy and go shopping [whether online or in store, new or used] with the confidence of 007.  

Need help? – this and many other sites on YouTube offer fantastic advice on getting the suit right at any price. – Alan Flusser’s seminal work is a bit stuffy but looks magnificent on any gentleman’s coffee table.

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