There are many factors, that combine together to help make a boy's suit a really high quality suit for a boy. The first is the quality of the wool fabric. The fabric should ideally be a superfine 100, 260-280 grams, 100% wool. Anything lighter used in a boys suit tends to wilt unless artificially stiffened and the suit would then be stiff and not look right. Anything heavier and the suit would be much too stiff in comfort and appearance and most children would refuse to wear such a suit. Most experts agree that in addition to being 100% wool and superfine 100 (or 110, 120 or even 130), the finest wools are produced in Italy, usually in or around the region of Biella. Ideally a suit should have a label provided by the mill, listing the type of fabric, the quality level and the region of origin, such as 100% virgin wool, super 100, Made in Biella, Italy. This region's famous wool fabric specialists were featured in the International edition of the Wall Street Journal on 12/17/03. However, please note that the regions of Biella and to a lesser extent Prato, when appearing on a label very often indicate just the origin of the fabric and may be used to fool a consumer into thinking the garment was actually made in Italy. Suits not made in the USA are required to be labeled with the Country of origin. Suits labeled with a City name are usually not made in Italy.
The lining factor is also becoming a factor, some better suits now use Bemberg fabrics as a lining, this is a new option and should be added to the list of options.
The Country that boys suits are made in is also a factor. It really seems as though a suit can be made anyplace in the world, but the reality is that boys suits made in Italy tend to be better quality than suits made elsewhere. The reason is probably the combination of skilled workers, designers and experienced managers nearby, and close, reliable deliveries of the newest fabrics, buttons, improved lining fabrics and the like. Don't underestimate these factors, the tight coordination in the industry and the zeal to be known as the source of the best quality help it all come together right. Be alert to the tendency of suits made elsewhere to hide their origins behind labels with Italian colors, flags, and even Italian words. It is the permanent label in the neck or in the pocket of the boys suit which counts, not a label hanging by a string, regardless of the number of Italian flags and words attached. Be especially alert to the possibility of a suit that is made elsewhere to show a sleeve label that has some strange words and then follows with Made in Italy, it may just mean that the fabric was made in Italy and shipped to another country, or the reverse, made in Italy of Chinese fabric.
The next factor to look for is the finish of the suit. Tips that point to poor quality are front pockets on the jacket that are sewn in crooked, a lack of real pocket on the back of the pants (better suits should have besom pockets as well as two back pockets) or unlined pants. Most fine Italian pants will have at least the leg front lined to the knee. If you already own a suit, see if the lapel is flat when it comes back from dry cleaning, it should never fold flat, it should have some body, like a thick section of a newspaper folded, not flat like a folded single sheet of paper. One final point to inspect is the seam connecting the sleeve to the rear of the jacket. Some manufacturers use unskilled labor for this complicated seam and the result is a puckered connection . No amount of ironing will permanently repair this problem, it will keep coming back. This problem is not usually noted on real Italian suits.
Perhaps the most important information we can list is the list of options. Make no mistake, these may be options, but if too many are left out, the suit will soon look like a shirt shaped like a boys suit.. One factor is the finish at the sleeve cuffs; they should be open (also referred to as vented) like the edge of a shirt cuff, with two layers, never sewn closed. Another easy check is the jacket pocket flaps, it is easier to skip the pocket flaps, but sometimes it looks as if something is missing. The pants should be lined and the waistband should have a center rear seam to allow for alterations. Most suits, especially single breasted models should have a buttonhole in the lapel, and inside pockets on the jacket. None of these options are that important, but if a manufacturer cuts costs here, he may very well cut hidden detail which affect the fit and usability of the suits.
This page is the part of a series designed to help educate consumers, copying is prohibited but linking to this page is permitted.
boysitaliansuits.com, a division of Natan Borlam Co. Inc.
Phone 866-782-0108 or 718-782-0108,
or visit us at 157 Havemeyer street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211