Insight from an expert:
An interview with a former dressmaker
The current president of IISE Concordia conducted an interview with his mother, a former seamstress. The transcript can be found below
What are some of the materials to look out for when buying suits?
The main one would be wool. It's a little bit more expensive, however: it does not wrinkle; it is a porous fabric, so that even if you sweat you won't become smelly; and it also looks like a nicer suit. You can tell a wool suit from a polyester suit and it will last a lot longer because of the fabric. It's a little bit more expensive, but some places that sell it like Signor Terry or Club Uomo in the East End of Montreal are good. I don't know any of the West end.
What fabric would you recommend to students who are buying on a tight budget ?
The next best would be a polyester blend. It is much more affordable, however, it wrinkles. It's not the same. You can easily tell by the eye a wool suit from a polyester suit. Another place that you can buy a good suit if you find sales is The Bay.
What about shirts?
Shirts I would go with cotton. Same reasons again; it's porous, it absorbs sweat, it feels good, and it looks nice too. Anybody who will recognize quality clothing can tell a cotton shirt from a polyester shirt. Obviously, you need to iron them, however, the end result is much nicer. For everyday use, you can buy the polyester blends, which is much cheaper. You can find all of these at Winners or the Bay when they have sales. Father's Day is the best time to buy clothing for men.
Where should women shop then?
For women, The Bay is a great place to buy suits. Reitman’s, Laura, Simon’s, or Zara are all good choices. They have good quality clothing, and a lot of selection.
How can you tell that a piece of clothing is good quality?
Look at the tags; if it’s a suit, you want to have the interior lining of a better silk or some kind of viscose. If it's a polyester lining you can tell sometimes if it's really thin, it’s of lower quality.
Sometimes in the stitching and finishing as well, if you turn it inside out you can tell.The stitching should all be uniform, even, and tight.
And when you wear it, good clothing fits like a glove if you're one that can buy clothes off the rack. Also when you're looking at your sleeves, if you're one who's a standard size, when you're bending it towards your belly in an L shape with your elbow, your sleeve has to fit right to the wrist. When it's poor quality the lengths aren’t good, they don't fit properly right away, the buttoning isn't the best. Even the buttonholes you can tell the stitching.
So it's all the fine little detail, like in anything else, that makes a difference.
The same goes for pants. If you're buying the pants with the suit, they will fit well.And again, the pockets, the zippers, and the belt loops a nice, smooth stitching. If it's not of high quality, it means the manufacturer didn't take their time to do the finishing properly, so you have a sloppy-looking finished product.
By Anthony Montanaro - President 2022-2023
Special thanks to the author