I won’t lie to you—shopping for vegan suits is a pain. It’s undeniably one aspect of being vegan that poses added hassles. Still, with a little effort, you can find stylish and well-made vegan suits. So let’s review your main options.
Most suits aren’t vegan. The most common suit fabrics are made from wool, which of course is not vegan. Cashmere (from goats) and Silk (from silkworms) are two more non-vegan fabrics that are often chosen for suits.
Commonly-used vegan fabrics include linen, cotton, polyester, and rayon. This means that vegans have it easy when purchasing lightweight suits for summer, but things get trickier if you are outfitting yourself for colder weather.
Buying Vegan Suits Off The Rack
The majority of inventory carried by retailers won’t be vegan. Fortunately, most retailers will offer at least a few suits made from vegan fabrics.
The trouble is that you’re usually limited to stock on hand. Between finding a suit made from vegan fabric that’s also in your size, your selection can be quite limited. You’ll often encounter blended fabrics, like 50 percent wool and 50 percent cotton.
Custom-Tailored Vegan Suits
Get your suit made-to-order from a tailor and you’ll no longer have a limited selection. You can select from dozens of excellent vegan fabric options. You can go through a book of swatches and decide which fabrics and colors suit you best.
Many Southeast Asian countries including Thailand and Vietnam have scores of tailors who specialize in custom-sewn suits. You can buy tailored in Thailand at a very reasonable price. They can actually cost less than a nice off-the-rack suit sold in the United States. Most of these tailors will ship to your home country so you don’t have to lug your suit home with you.
The only problem is you’ll need to know something about fashion if you have your suit made to order. When you buy your suit off the rack, they’ll stock mainly the designs that are currently in style. At a tailor in Bangkok, you’re on your own. That gives you the freedom to get something really special, but only if you’re knowledgeable about what you really want.
If you have it in you to choose your own suit, the best place to start is the superb GQ’s Guide to Suits. I consider list-based articles obnoxious, but here’s a rare exception: Man of Many’s guide to the 16 most popular suit styles will acquaint you with the classic menswear designs.
Suits are nearly always worn with ties, which provide yet another challenge since most ties are made of silk.
Fortunately, you can easily find high-quality vegan ties, and they typically cost less than silk ties. Better rayon and polyester fabrics look and feel indistinguishable from silk. See our vegan necktie page for comprehensive buying advice.