Fellow members and purveyors of fine men's clothing:
eBay is a great place to save a tremendous amount of money on the items that can cost up to 90% more in retail environments. Below are a few tips for potential suit buyers to make sure your transaction is positive for both you and your seller.
We have been selling and buying menswear on eBay for nearly 6 years now and have learned a tremendous amount of tips that has made our eBay experience better as both a buyer and a seller. I hope these help you.
- The most important thing is for you to be an informed buyer. Don't just scroll to the pictures and bid based on what you see. Read the auction in it's entirety. Make sure you agree with the seller's terms, measurement guides, return policy, and shipping prices. Against all recommendations from eBay we still refuse to place pictures at the top of our auction description. Why? We want you to read everything before deciding the item is right based on the picture alone.
- Manage your expectations. Do not expect things that are too good to be true. For example, if you get an Armani suit for under $100 do not expect it to be brand new. The item will most likely be in good used condition. However, it will certainly show signs of use. As a rule of thumb, most sellers are encouraged to list items as New, Mint, Excellent, Good, Poor. New is New, Mint is used but perfect may have a sign of wear, but overall is perfect. Excellent items show signs of wear but nothing major and still has plenty of life in the product. Good items show signs of wear, might have a minor flaw, but still has life in the product. Poor -well unless your looking for scraps do not buy this stuff. We list nothing in Poor condition and very seldomly something in Good condition. We have over 20000 transactions under our belt with over a 99.5% approval rating meaning that nearly 100% of our buyers agree with our assessment of the condition of the items we sell. Because of this our assessment is not up for debate, unless we missed a very obvious flaw -which sometimes can happen.
- Measurements: This is so important. Suit manufacturers do not use consistent constants when giving "off the rack" sizes. Off the rack sizes are how you would generally search for your size on eBay (40 Reg, 42 Long, 44 R, etc). Keep this in mind: Suit maker A does not use the same measurements as Suit Maker B when determing this size. Always refer to the specific measurements of the item. If you do not see them ask the seller to provide them. Make sure you understand how they measure to ensure proper fit. Furthermore many of the suits listed on eBay are used, that is okay, did you know the average suit is worn less than 5 times by its owner. You can get steals on items that are nearly new. However, just as you would buying a new suit, the previous owner surely had alterations done to have the suit fit properly. This is another reason to check the specific measurements as even if the tag says 44 Regular, the previous owner could have gained weight and had the suit altered to a 46 Regular. This is actually common. Avoid this pitfall by knowing your exact measurements and matching them with the item you are interested in. The best way to do this is to take a garment you own that fits you well and apply the seller's measurment guide to your garment. A note on international sizing. We do not list (EU) sizes at all as we do not ship internationally. If you are interested in purchasing from a seller with the EU size notated it is important to note that the EU size is 12 points higher than the generic off the rack US size. For example and 54(EU) = 42(US), 58(EU) = 46(US). Be even more careful to look at the specific measurments as (EU) suits often have large shoulders and narrow waists unlike the more boxy American cuts.
- Super Numbers - the biggest farce is suit history! Just because the number is high does not mean the suit is better. Educate yourself on this system that was created to do nothing more than increase slow garment sales in the 80's. Furthermore one of the biggest pitfalls of a consumer is to buy based on labels. Just because it has a Super 120 label does not mean it is and if it doesn't does not mean its not. For example, most bespoke suits can range from Super Worsted to Super 180 and never show labels. Why? Because the man that buys bespoke is concerned about quality and fabric he fancies, not labels. Labels are nothing more than marketing . . .remember this and you will be a much happier consumer.
- Number One: Different tests provide different outcomes. There are no international standards for Super Numbers. Why do you think all Chinese suits are Super 150?
- Number Two: Feel(texture) and Fabric weight are not determined by the super numbers, period. To suggest or assume this is grossly wrong
- Suits come in a wide range of qualities, but you need to know personally what definition of "quality" you're using before buying a suit. Is it "quality" in terms of texture and design? Or is it about durability and strength? If you continue to purchase items based solely on numbers or labels you could end up spending a lot more money and feeling disappointed very often.
Article on the Number Game with Paolo Zegna (pay close attention to the last sentence)
(copy and paste link)www.ravistailor.com/news.php?ItemNo=123(copy and paste link)
Article on Wool and Super Numbers
(copy and paste link)www.american.com/archive/2007/may-june-magazine-contents/the-controversy-over-super-wool(copy and paste link)
Perhaps the best article on why I would take experience over a label
(copy and paste link)www.post-gazette.com/pg/06317/738034-314.stm(copy and paste link)
I hope this helps you with your purchases of suits in the future.
Note on Author. Guide is written by Stuart Becroft. Stuart has over 20 years of experience in the textile and menswear industry. He has worked at a number Fine Men's Stores around the country and is now the Director of Online Operations for Lord R Colton Menswear.