Ask the Tailor: Is it Worth Choosing More Expensive Fabrics?

Photo by Michael

Each month we ask our expert tailors to address one of your most frequent questions. This month we’re talking cloth. Is it worth investing in more expensive fabrics?

In tailoring, the type of fabric you choose has a huge impact on your finished garment. Different types of cloth will behave differently and will affect how your clothing looks when you wear it. 

As a general rule of thumb, the better quality fabric you use, the better your finished item will be. This is true for a number of reasons:

  1. Because better quality fabric will look much more luxe.
  2. Because better quality fabric will hang better.
  3. Because better quality fabric will be more comfortable.
  4. Because better quality fabric will wear better over time.

There is, however, a really key point to remember here: quality and cost are not always equal! Paying more for a certain fabric isn’t always a guarantee that it will be of a better quality than other less expensive options.

Why is this? 

When you buy fabric, the cost is dependent on more factors than just the quality.

Sometimes you are paying for a brand name

Just like in ready to wear clothing, bespoke tailoring is still subject to brand names and designers! There are brand fabrics that will cost more than cloth of equivalent quality that doesn’t come with a ‘name.’

Sometimes you are paying for design

Intricately printed or designed fabric is likely to be more expensive than solid colour fabric. Whether a fabric has a pattern or not doesn’t affect the quality, but it will have a big impact on how your finished garment will look. 

Sometimes you are paying for manufacturing methods

Fabric that is made by more traditional methods is often more expensive than factory or machine made fabric. It may be important to you that the fabric you choose is sustainably produced, or this may be a consideration that just isn’t in your budget at the moment. 

Sometimes you are paying for exclusivity

Some types of fabric are more expensive because they are rarer. This may be because they are produced using natural fibres of limited availability, or it may be because they were part of a design house limited run. 

So depending on your style preferences, it isn’t always worth choosing more expensive fabrics. The additional cost can often cover recognisable names, design, manufacturing methods and exclusivity: all or none of which may be important to you. 

However, we do believe that it’s always worth choosing the best quality fabric you can budget for. Not only will tailoring cut from high quality cloth look better from the moment you pick it up, it will also continue to look better year after year of wear. 

Next month we’ll be sharing our thoughts on trouser styles. What’s better: turn ups or a plain finish? Sign up to our newsletter to be one of the first to read it.