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Help needed! Buying for an athletic build!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi all, first time posting after lurking for a few weeks. Very impressed with the forum and all the knowledge here. I come to you all in desparation, with what might be somewhat of a newbie problem, so I would like to apologise in advance, in case my problem is one that has been addressed, but managed to evade my use of the "search" function.

Anyway, I've always been somewhat difficult to fit in terms of stuff on the shelf and even in M2M. This time last year, I would generally start well with a 46R jacket/38x32 pants, and would then have to have the seat let out, the collar lowered (I have very square shoulders that don't taper, which would cause the material to pull across the shoulders. I have since lost a considerable amount of weight and started lifting, and am trying to refill my wardrobe with clothing that fits me properly. As of last thursday, I was 43 7/8" chest, 33.5" waist (around the navel). I forget what my other measurements were. For shirts, I measured a 16.5 neck, 35" sleeve. My problem is finding clothing that looks right on me. Last week at brooks, I got a bunch of their 16.5/35 "slim cut" shirts, but they are still very, very baggy in the abdomen. I had to get a 37/34 in wool dress pants to fit me in the seat, but even moreso in the thighs (the pleats were pulling), which they are pinching the waist and shortening, meanwhile in golf khakis, I fit a 34x32 fine. I had no hope of getting a blazer/suit that could be tailored to fit me, so I went to their M2M, and the person helping me said that I should start investigating bespoke, because the design of their M2M wouldn't compliment my build.

Long story short, since all the father's day sales are going on in NYC, I would like to seize the opportunity to redo my wardrobe to have everything fit me properly, without having to spend more than 1/2 of my budget on tailoring items, which is still a crap shoot. Does anyone have any insight on how I can proceed? Any brand reccomendations? Tips on where to hunt? Insight on places that do M2M for people built like me? I'm young, somewhat limited in budget, but still want to look the absolute best I possibly can, so any help/insight on being a smarter shopper, and places to hunt in the NYC/Greater NY area (Online works, too) would be extremely appreciated. I would again like to apologise for the possible 'newb-ness' of my query, but we all need to start somewhere, and hope I can learn enough here and in my own experiences to offer help and insight like you all so graciously provide. Thanks so much in advance, and I look forward to hearing from you all.
post #2 of 8
An extreme case:
post #3 of 8
Your numbers are very close to mine. My underarm chest is about 43 - 44 inches and 34 waist. I wear 42 (43)S-R RTW suits. With most RTW clothing, I have baggy waist/belly area, which can only be fixed with besopke.
post #4 of 8
For shirts and jackets, the key areas of fit are the shoulders, chest, sleeves, and waist. If you can find RTW items that fit well in 3 of the 4, then I think it will most likely be cheaper and more convenient to go this route and patronize an alterations tailor. If most of the RTW you have access to is off on more than 1 aspect of fit, though, then I would definitely recommend pouring your energy into finding a good MTM/bespoke source.
post #5 of 8
Brooks Brothers is not the best brand for an athletic build. Likewise, for you buying tailored clothing (dress shirts, jackets, suits) online is not a good idea.

If you want the truth, since it sounds like your body is a work in progress and your tastes likely are evolving, you shouldn't be rushing to the stores. Sure, take a look and if something is just right or could be fixed easily by a tailor (for example, no more than 2 inches too large at the waist), buy it. Besides, some of the few brands that do athletic cuts are expensive designer brands unlikely to be on sale at physical stores. Another problem is that they often include flat front pants. Conclusion: ready-to-wear jackets might work, while shirts and suits probably need to be bespoke. As bespoke suits usually are expensive and you haven't said you need to wear clothes that look high end, you might want to try a tailor from overseas.
post #6 of 8
With your proportions, and given that you are probably not particularly tall, probably about 6', maybe a little under, look for cuts that will de-emphasize your physique (unless you are going for the cartoon look.) The governator does a good job. Suits with a natural shoulder are good, and you want suit with good drape and very little, if any, chest structure. You mos likely want to look for very slight waist suppression as well (don't worry, with the right cut, it will not look or feel boxy or loose around the lower torso.) Two buttons and Three roll tow buttons will give you more height.

As for shirts, I think that Prada (or Miu Miu) cuts a shirt that would probably fit you pretty well. They are slim, but not super slim, and have a surprising amount of room through the chest and shoulders. 16sur20 would probably be another good bet. Barba would be the best RTW "traditional" brand for you, I think, but I'm not sure who carries them.

I would urge you not to buy through the internet, as a newbie with an atypical body type. Try things on the good stores with knowledgeable people to begin with.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks a million for the knowledgable, informative responses. All of the assumptions you guys made are body is a work in progress, my taste has been evolving (particularly since I discovered SF), and I'm exactly 6'. Out of curiosity, what are some of the expensive designer brands you guys speak of that do athletic cuts? People have said that Hugo Boss does athletic cuts, but I don't particularly love the way they look or feel. Any others? I also hear that not all tailors are created equal in terms of the 'house' cut relative to a specific body type; I.E certain tailors are better with certain body types and looks than others. Is someone like a WW Chan suited to a build like me? Other tailors that people know of that cater to atypical newbies?

LA Guy, thanks very much for the tips on the shirts; it's the area where I'm currently hurting the most. As for suits with those qualities (I am partial to 2B since it downplays the chest, and is much more comfortable), any RTWs that you can think of that generally cut that way? Again, I apologize for the newbieness; I simply want to find a suit that won't warrant $200 worth of tailoring right off the bat, like the Zegna I recently brought in. Fortunately, the tailor promised me that it would look excellent despite the surgery. I realize that I will never be able to get a RTW that won't require a reasonable amount of surgery (lowering the collar), I simply want something that will be a little bit more suitable (no pun intended). Thanks again to all that responded, and thanks in advance.
post #8 of 8
As suggested, Prada makes suits for an athletic build. Other designer brands that do include Paul Smith, Etro, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci. Lower-end Oscar de la Renta actually has some with pleats and very large drops (8"), although you'd probably still need a pants re-cut, which isn't cheap.

Some more advice:
Avoid anything double-breasted and get yourself a suit with a non-striped large- or medium-scale pattern.
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