Suit shopping is hard at the best of times. But on a budget, your climb can seem Everestean. On one end of the trail, there are fantasy pieces hand-crafted by a cadre of wizened Italian craftsmen, all housed within the enclave of a Florentine mill. These are the best of the best; the suits you try on, and adore, and see yourself in the mirror as the man you always strove to be. Then you see the cost. This is the man you want to be, truly, but just without the envisaged salary.
Then at base camp, there's a glut of high street fire hazards that aren't as much tailoring as they are GCSE textiles projects. They're often shiny, uncomfortable, and not so flattering. They're cheap, yes, but they're cheap for a reason. You pay for what you get, and all that.
Believe it or not, however, there's a way to straddle both camps. You can buy an affordable suit that has all the charm of a big ticket get-up, and they don't quite cost the Earth either. You're skeptical. So, in a bid to battle your pre-conceived notions, we've gathered together the best examples of the best suits that won't bankrupt you. And, with a little spare change leftover, you've the budget to pay for a little tailoring, to adjust the suit to your fit. That's what makes these Florentine works of art look so bougie.
Here are all the best suits under £500.
Dutch outfit Suitsupply really did build Rome in a day. That's because a fine line between affordability and craftsmanship filled a gap in the market, and thus took the world by storm. Expect classic fits, customisation options and wallet-friendly finishes.
Havana Suit, £329,
For suits that provide a foundation as opposed to a full stop, Cos is one of the best labels out there. Think structure, versatile palettes and classic shapes the veer on the modern (and Scandi) side.
Straight Fit Suit, £269,
Reiss is a master at modernising the classics. And, as the seasonal window closes, its noted skill in the tailoring department can be accessed at an even lower price, much like the Viper charcoal suit that's available on reduction.
Viper Suit, £190,
Arket is very much in the Scandi minimalist pantheon, and the label offers clean, structured staples at an ever cleaner price tag. That means a hopsack suit – the sort of loose, basket weave texture than can be dressed up or down at will – will clinch the cost-per-wear ratio without incurring much cost.
Hopsack Suit, £145,
im电竞官网-A double-breasted suit is your friend: it adds bulk to slighter frames, and is a welcome change of pace to the quieter, simpler single-breasted alternative. And it's even better when Topman produces a slimfit version at a mere 100 bones.
Grey Marl Textured Suit, £79,
im电竞官网-'Summer' and 'affordable' rarely sit in the same sentence. But, as Zara proves, you can have your cake and eat it: cake being a season and pocket-friendly two-piece, and eating it being the best-dressed guest at the next wedding.
Textured Suit, £45.98,
Consider this your off-duty suit. With a touch of stretch in the fabric and that trackpants-like waistband, this is the kind of tailoring built for creative offices and smartish weekends. And since it comes in at less than £500, you can afford to have a little bit of fun with how you style it.
Blue Two-Piece Suit, £420,
Yes, M&S is a high street stalwart. But its expertise extends well beyond a lovely cut of meat reserved for the third date. The label is just as adept at providing quality and cost-effective tailoring, with an in-house alteration service available for all purchases.
Black Slim Fit Suit, £79,
Every man needs a black suit, especially now that they're acceptable for more than just funerals and Reservoir Dogs fancy dress parties. Boss's is slim-fit, well-made and will look the business with either a white shirt or a black rollneck.
Slim-Fit Black Suit, £232,