The short version;
Although all Boys' wool suits tend to look alike to the untrained eye, and especially so while still new, with just a little knowledge it is easy to spot quality or poor quality in a new suit for a boy. Poor suit quality is sometimes visible the minute the suit is worn so never assume it will not matter. Some signs that point to high quality include sleeves that end in open tips (vented sleeves), especially with diagonal seams on the underside, fabric labels that proudly list the origin of the fabric, ideally superfine 100 or better (better in boys suit wool would be super 110 or 120), fine wool from Italy, and a boys suit that shows no puckering in general stitching or even in the shoulder seam. Attention in manufacturing sometimes involves pressing the boys suit after each step to avoid zig zag stitching in the long seams, such as down the boys pant leg. This slows down the production and some factories turn a blind eye to the truly compromised boys suits that can result from skipping these steps. Some better factories, like those that produce pants for us mount the pants vertically as they are stitched. The result is a boys pant or boys suit that just lays more naturally.
Signs that point to a poor quality in a boys dress suit include fabric that is not 100% wool or not from Italian mills, suits for boys that comes from countries unknown or that do not have a label testifying to the manufacturer of the fabric and it's quality level, or has a thick, woolly or fuzzy appearance. A tip off is a suit that pretends to be made in one country, by virtue of it's name or label graphic, but really comes from another country as determined by its origin label, often hidden in the pocket or sewn in as a hook at the neckline, often seen on a suit festooned with too obvious Italian names and Italian flags but made thousands of miles away from Italy.
A more detailed version;
There are many factors, that together help make a boys' suit a really good quality boys' suit. The first is the fabric. The wool fabric should ideally be a superfine 100 to 130, 250-280 grams, 100% wool. Anything lighter would usually wilt unless artificially stiffened and the suit would 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, the finest wools are produced in Italy, usually in or around the region of Biella. Always look for the label from the mill identifying the type, quality level and source of the fabric, such a label might read, 100% virgin wool, super 100, made in Biella, Italy, or use the region, abbreviated as BI. Valdengo is near Biella.
The Country that boys suits are made in is also a factor. While it should seem as though a suit can be made anyplace in the world, but the reality is that suits made in Italy are usually 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. Don't underestimate these factors, the tight communication in the industry helps 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 which counts, not a label hanging by a string, regardless of the number of Italian flags and colors 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 or unlined pants. Most 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, actually, 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.
There are even signs of quality of boys suits hidden in the lining. The most obvious is the number of inside pockets and the method of closure. It is easier to eliminate the pockets, that makes for the cheapest production. The finest suits include a pocket, a loop to close the pocket with and a flap to cover the button. A relatively new innovation in boys suits is to use a Bemberg lining, this is an ultra smooth lining material, to touch it is to experience luxury. Suffice it to say, it is rare on boys suits.
Perhaps the most important information we can list is the list of options. Make no mistake, these may be considered mere options, but if too many are left out, the suit is nothing but a piece of fabric shaped like a shirt. One factor is the finish at the sleeve cuffs; they should be open like the edge of a shirt cuff, with two layers, not 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 (split waistband) to allow for alterations. Most suits, especially single breasted models should have a buttonhole in the lapel, and inside pockets on the jacket. It may very well be that no one individual option of those listed here is 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.
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