The following comes from Megan Gustashaw of GQ:
When more and more offices are opting for business casual dress codes or ones where hoodies are a-okay with upper management (looking at you, Silicon Valley) we can understand why guys don't want to empty their bank accounts on a single suit. While we firmly believe every man should have the bespoke experience at least once in his life, not to mention invest in a few break-the-bank styles off the rack, there’s also nothing wrong with padding your wardrobe with cheap suits of the under $500 variety. The trick is knowing how to make them look just as expensive as the good stuff.
For starters you want to know how to shop for an affordable suit. Avoid shiny synthetic fibers, for instance, and stick with the mass-market retailers that make an effort to offer quality fabrics and modern cuts (i.e. J.Crew, Suitsupply, Bonobos, and the like). And always check the sale section. It’s easy to grab a $1,200 suit for $600 if you’re savvy about when and how you shop. Beyond that, here are a few tricks you can use once you buy the suit to make it look a little nicer. Okay, a lot nicer. Master these moves and you might even find yourself wearing a suit without being asked to.
1. Take in the sleeves.
In a perfect world you’d be prepared to spend about $150 to have your tailor tweak every last detail of your suit so it looks custom-made. This includes having him or her take in the sleeves. You want a narrow, tapered sleeve that hugs, not hangs off your arms, while giving you enough range of motion to do what needs to be done (i.e. pose for Instagram photos, hold onto the subway rail, etc).
2. Replace the buttons.
Cheap suits tend to come with flimsy shiny plastic buttons that are easily broken or lost during a particularly hectic work day. While you’re at the tailor anyway, ask him or her to replace the buttons with genuine horn. Simple but worth it.
3. Add a cuff at the ankle.
Not only should your tailor give your trousers a slim, tapered leg and that has virtually no break at the hem, but you can also ask him or her to add a 1.5” cuff while they’re at it. It’s a detail you don’t often see on budget suits, so by default it looks expensive.
4. Try monochromatic styling.
Working within a limited palette when selecting your shirt, tie, and shoes is a modern move that tends to make the fabric of your suit look richer and finer. Switch up the colors and patterns ever so slightly with each piece to create depth. The 202-level move: Add one item like a pocket square or soft briefcase from a totally different color family.