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  • Writer's pictureNiels Strohkirch

7 Lies You Hear When You Buy A Suit

Most men typically do not like to go shopping. When they do, it has to be fast and efficient. And the only thing men dislike more than shopping is a bad shopping deal, in other words, shopping an item that does not hold the given promise. So, what promises from the sales person could you challenge when confronted with while buying a suit?

Here you can read the typical “white lies” sales people and advertisers use, to sell tailor made and off the rack suits. I call them “white lies” not to make it look too negative, but a “white lie” is typically to protect someone, in this case the only thing they want to protect is their own turnover and profit:

Lie Number 1: This is Merino Wool.

Ok, maybe not necessarily a lie. Maybe, just buzzing a word out, knowing that people associate it with high value and performance, and are willing to fork out more money for it compared to something called “Fine Wool” or boringly only “wool”. And for sure, real Merino Wool has great characteristics. The Merino Sheep is quite an ancient breed and it lives in very cold conditions in winter and in quite hot conditions in summer. Its fleece needs to cater for both extreme situations in winter and in summer. Hence, it needs a fleece which is insulating in winter and breathing in summer, but it should still be soft and light weight to move around freely. Merino Wool does all that, and is a great choice for any kind of suit.

But what does it mean when you read “Merino Wool” on the fabric books from your tailor of choice or on the inside jacket label of the suit?

First, the product description “Merino Wool” is not legally protected. So, anyone can use this word for their “Merino Suit”. Even when it only contains regular wool or even wool mixed with polyester. For this reason the Australian Wool Innovation owns the “Woolmark” label which gives consumers the confidence of the product quality and for sure, only “the real deal” is allowed to use the “Woolmark” trade label. Unfortunately, even this label can be faked and misused and has been in the past.

The next thing to consider is the quality of the Merino Wool suit. Here it makes most sense to follow the Super Wool logic. Only then you can make an assumption, whether this offer for an original Merino Suit is worthwhile its requested money or not.

Lie Number 2: You look great in this new “Italian Fashion Style Suit”.

Of course, the sales person will naturally always see the positive in it when you wear a way too tight and too short suit pants, while knowing that this is the last size he has in stock. Of course, it is the latest Italian Style as seen in Milan and you look fabulous! But, does this really work for you while you attend to your very conservative customers at a financial institute or in an insurance company? Or can you imagine meeting the auditing partner and the CEO at your Board Meeting in a relatively short pants with a style that reminds them more of a legging than a suit pant?

Always take sales men’s comments with a pinch of salt and ideally bring a friend or your spouse with you to get a more independent feedback on style and fit for your suit.

Lie Number 3: You should dry clean this suit at least once a month.

This is a great idea, especially for future sales of new suits as regularly dry cleaned suits last clearly shorter then less frequently cleaned suits and there is always a chance that a suit is ruined in the process. We tailors love bad dry cleaners, for sure.

Of course, we are not saying that you do not need to clean your suit at all. And we are also not saying all dry-cleaners are bad and mishandle suits to bring us more business, but assuming you own a wool suit, it is typically suffice to hang it out to “breeze air” after wearing and may use a soft wool brush to clean it off a bit. Dry cleaning while regular wearing it twice a year is typically sufficient. Only bring it direct for dry-cleaning in case you have stained it severely. But then do not wait and choose a good and reputable dry-cleaner.

You can find more information on dry cleaning here.

Lie Number 4: This is a Super Wool S 170

Unfortunately, here we encounter a similar problem as described under the Merino Wool Suit “lie”. In the case of Super Wool numbers there are no legal protection given, that whatever is promised will also be delivered. And proving by a customer the opposite is almost impossible, as this would include a quite expensive analysis in a professional laboratory. What is also important here is to use common sense: an offer that is too good to be true, probably is not true at all anyway.

You can find a detailed article on Super Wool numbers here.

Lie Number 5: You can use this black suit as a tuxedo.

This is a standard one. Tuxedos, or Dinner Jackets (DJs) as the British would call it, are typically quite expensive in comparison to a standard black suit. Given the fact that lapels and buttons are from satin and you have satin stripes down on the side of your pants. Using a black suit only shows that you have no idea what it means to wear a tuxedo at a “black tie” event.

Lie Number 6: You can wear this brown suit for any occasion.

Yeah, right. There are events, when you can wear a brown suit. But this is typically in less formal events and for sure nothing to show off at your next Board Meeting.

Lie Number 7: A polyester suit is better than wool suit in warm or tropical weather.

I do not know where this is coming from, but I also hear this a lot from my customers as well. The fact here is simple: wool breathes, polyester does not. Hence a wool suit is typically a much better idea to wear in warm or even tropical conditions. Especially when it has a light tropical weave. Some bands even create special wool designs weaved for tropical and very hot conditions as Loro Piana with Summer Tasmanian and Zegna with “Cool Effect - Sun Reflecting”.


I am sure there are many more than these 7 “lies” out. Take feedback from sales people with a pinch of salt, bring someone you trust to have a second opinion. Then the risk of buying a “lemon” suit should be clearly minimised.

Did you hear even “better sales arguments" while buying a suit or are you not sure whether you have been properly advised or duped at your last buy? Just contact me at and I will try to give you an independent feedback.

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