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looking to buy an 'affordable suit.' FL, USA

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Good evening all,

 

First post here. I'm posting for advice on where i can find an affordable suit and what to get. I'm in grad school so I need to have a 'go-to' suit. Looking to spend between $500-700. I'm a well built guy, so the "slim" fits don't fit me. I have a 3-button solid grey suit so should I go with a pin strip or plaid suit? Since i have a 3 button suit should i go with a 2 button? I don't wear bow ties, so should this play a role in what to buy? One last question... Do most of you close the 'flaps' on the back on the sport coat or leave them open?

 

Sorry about all the questions, but I wanted to make sure I give all the necessary info. Thanks in advance and I'm looking forward to hear what you all have to say.

 

 

post #2 of 14
Go for a solid navy in 2 button.
post #3 of 14
Or a solid charcoal in 2 button.
post #4 of 14
As a fellow graduate student, I would suggest that you to get a solid charcoal or navy suit (as per above). 2 button and notch lapels. Those "flaps" I assume you are referring to are called vents, and you should leave them open for mobility. You can go with either single vent or double vents, people on this forum tend to prefer double, just do not get ventless.

In your price range you can:

A: Buy a suit off ebay (the nicer brands sell for a discount there, either pre-owned or new)

B: Ehaberdasher sells Benjamin suits for ~$500

C: Kent Wang can essentially make you a MTM suit for as little as $650.

In the future, "well built guy" means very little. Height/weight and your regular/closest suit size would be more useful. Also, if you buy an OTR (off the rack) suit, I highly recommend taking it to a tailor.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gauss17 View Post

As a fellow graduate student, I would suggest that you to get a solid charcoal or navy suit (as per above). 2 button and notch lapels. Those "flaps" I assume you are referring to are called vents, and you should leave them open for mobility. You can go with either single vent or double vents, people on this forum tend to prefer double, just do not get ventless.
In your price range you can:
A: Buy a suit off ebay (the nicer brands sell for a discount there, either pre-owned or new)
B: Ehaberdasher sells Benjamin suits for ~$500
C: Kent Wang can essentially make you a MTM suit for as little as $650.
In the future, "well built guy" means very little. Height/weight and your regular/closest suit size would be more useful. Also, if you buy an OTR (off the rack) suit, I highly recommend taking it to a tailor.

 

thank you all for your suggestions.

 

Gauss17 - I meant 'well built guy' as in 5'11 and 225, in good shape. My current suit is 42R and fits tight in the shoulders and arms. Waist is 32/34. Im going to buy a OTR suit and if i have to I'll stretch to ~$800, because i know it will be used and well appreciated. My brother recently went to Mens Warehouse and got 2 suits, 2 shirts, and 2 ties for all under $800. Obviously this is a great deal, but are suits from these kind of stores worthy of the good deal? Im new to the site so thanks again for all you help its greatly appreciate it.    

post #6 of 14
I would steer you away from Mens Warehouse, and here is why. Mens warehouse is more of a "bargain dealer" of sorts for men with little time and are only putting on a suit because someone is forcing them to (for work, a wedding, and interview, etc). People on this forum will tell you they are poor in terms of cut, fabric, style, etc. (or just yell kill it with fire). Personally I think they can make you look fine, but you won't be as comfortable or as happy with the clothing. The deal your brother got probably included polyester, fused suits and shirts with somewhat scratchy non-iron fabric. Ties are almost always silk and are less of a big deal in my opinion.

You mention that your suit is tight in the shoulders and arms, which makes me think you and I have similar problems with suit jackets. I am likely not as muscular, but I do have very broad shoulders and a 9-10 inch drop (i.e. the different in my chest and waist measurements, for example 44" chest and 34" waist). I often have issues with mobility in cheaper suits and cannot easily make a "hugging" motion and it drives me crazy. I have less issues in the nicer suit jackets. I believe it has to do with cut of the jacket and it's construction, canvas (fabric lining inside the jacket) construction is more mobile than glue (used to create fused jackets). A %100 wool suit will also breathe much better than a synthetic one. I once wore my brothers polyester sport coat to a New Year's Eve party and sweated through my shirt in 30 minutes. You are likely right and the more slim fitting models will not work for you, so you are likely going to want a more traditional fitting suit (Brooks Brothers Madison Fit as an example) and then have it tailored. The pants will certainly have to come in at the waist, just try and stick to pants that aren't more than 2-3" off. Flat front pants are preferred, but in a suit, pleated pants are acceptable as well.

If you are in a big hurry to get something quickly for an event, then Men's Warehouse is a quick fix, but if you are looking for a more long term investment (as I assume you to be) I would recommend the following:

1. The tie honestly doesn't matter too much, stick to %100 silk. You can get them cheap off of tiebar. If you want something more elegant, you can upgrade to Brooks Brothers (wait for a sale) or even drakes, but I would not spend a lot of money here.

2. Shirts, start with white and a light blue. I am personally picky about my shirts, but the Brooks Brothers luxury line hold a good price/value point for me. If you wait for a sale, you can get them for ~$85 a piece and their non-iron fabric is actually very nice. I have both non-iron and iron versions, and they are very comparable. If you have larger arms, I recommend the regular fit and have the waist taken in.

3. For the suit I retract my ehaberdasher suggestion as they are a trimmer fit. Kent Wang can still make a MTM (made to measure) suit for you in your price range with any dimensions you wish. The ebay option works well (and I have done it in the past), but the trousers will almost always need extensive alterations. If you wish to try the ebay route, get your measurements down and look for a good deal on a new or "pre-owned" Oxxford suit in a classic cut (still stick to charcoal or navy). They have a special stiched armhole for good mobility and are extremely well made, their only downsides are (1) their styling is not always fashion forward or exciting and (2) the trousers (again) will need major work.

For example: I bought an Oxxford suit off ebay for $180 then spent ~$200 on tailoring everything (sleeve length, letting out back, finishing inseam, taking in waist, etc). So $380+dry cleaning for a nicely tailored suit, it isn't MTM/bespoke, but it is pretty darn good for a sub $400 suit. The Kent Wang option will save you some hassle, but the ebay route may save you some change. Your call there. If you do go the ebay route, get your measurements down (go to a store and try on some coats if you have to) and don't be afraid to ask the sellers questions.

You can also search the Buying and Selling portion of this forum for good deals on suits, shirts, and ties. If you follow the above, you should be able to stay within or close to your budget. These are however just my suggestions based on personal experiences, feel free to look around on your own and ask others.

I would start with a go-to white shirt, charcoal/navy suit, and whatever color tie you like, then build from there.

If you wish to search ebay, search the following brands as a starting point:

Oxxford Clothes, Ermenegildo Zegna, Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, Brioni, Hickey Freeman, Corneliani, Kiton
Edited by Gauss17 - 4/22/12 at 10:50pm
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Man, you hit it right on the head with Mens Warehouse. My brother is the last person you would catch in a suit, but he had a trip to go on and needed a suit last minute. The suit he got turned out to be a pretty good. I didn't put it on, so i can't tell you how the fabric felt.

 

The suit i have is Hugo Boss, which i have come to learn most people on this forum don't like lol. But, i was fortunate enough to have someone buy it for me as a gift in 2008. So, clearly it doesn't fit the way it did when it was brand new. But, yes i have broad shoulders and big arms, so most suits are a problem for me. Hence, i don't like to buy things off the internet; I can't try it on. But, i do see your point about the alterations. I can find a cheaper suit then take it to the nearest alteration place and it will end up being cheaper than originally planned. If you were to pick, would you rather get the suit off eBay and have it altered or OTR and have it altered? I will definitely look into eBay and look up the brands you recommended. I really appreciate you telling me all those names. I'm accustom to going to the nearest mall and picking stuff out there. One of the reasons why i joined this forum was to broaden my horizons on the suit, tie, shoes, etc department of my repertoire.

 

I'm not in a big hurry to buy this suit. I have my cousins wedding on July 14th, so I have a decent amount of time until I need a sharp outfit. But more importantly, I'm getting it as a long term investment as you alluded to earlier. So, I want to make sure i exercise all my options before i pull the trigger on something.

 

Ties... I like wearing double windsor nots. I'm not a fan of skinny ties because i think they look too small on me. Is there a reason why you like silk ties? I own a few ties, but none of them are silk.

 

Shirts... As I said earlier, I have broad shoulders. This is a problem because i usually have to get my shirts a little bigger to fit my shoulders and arm but then it looks too baggy in my waist. ill be honest, $85 for a shirt is a pretty good price. You mentioned white and light blue, is this due to the fact that they are easy to match and are good base colors that every guy should have? For some reason i feel like white is too boring. I know that sounds stupid, but i don't own a solid white shirt. Maybe, i should change that... especially if i buy a nice navy or charcoal suit.         

post #8 of 14
You will find far more answers were you to both search and just look through some recent threads.

This question is asked so often that the answers get increasingly fewer or else polarised on the thoughts of those who trouble to indulge a newbie who has neither lurked nor searched.

Your final question beggars belief.

" Do most of you close the 'flaps' on the back on the sport coat or leave them open?"

They are flaps and the baste stitches that you have obviously seen are for transit and display not wear. Another tip, look about you in the street,m at work etc and see what others do/wear to inform your choices.
post #9 of 14

Yes a two button will suit your built and ideally the coat should be buttoned, but when seated feel free to unbutton.

post #10 of 14
Go to Brooks Brothers on Father's day for its semi-annual sale.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutynee View Post

If you were to pick, would you rather get the suit off eBay and have it altered or OTR and have it altered?   

Technically OTR (off the rack) means any suit that was not made for you (i.e. originally made for the masses), so both Ebay and OTR are the same, but I get your meaning. You are right that a store allows you to physically try on the suit and feel the fabric, which has obvious advantages. If you feel most comfortable with that route, by all means go it. As for Ebay, that is why I told you to nail down your measurements before buying as it will save you some headache. Do not be afraid to ask the seller questions if you have them and some sellers have a return policy if it is a terrible fit. The brands I listed should all have good fabrics (other than maybe some Hickey Freeman or "Z" Zegna). Some good fabrics to watch for are anything listed as Super 100's, 120's, 130's etc. Super 120's is a great compromise for softness and durability.

Another choice I forgot to mention is "Thick as Theives" who make custom suits in your price range, they would be worth looking into. I think a 42 is the biggest size they make.

Were I personally to pick one? I would take ebay over a store, unless it had a very good sale. I have simply found the online discounts to be better, that said, I have bought some clothes and ended up giving them to Goodwill. It takes a bit of time before you get good at it. You can go to a store, find a coat that fits you well, measure it out and look for something similar (or just have a tailor take your measurements) to increase your chances of getting a steal. That said, I have no problem turning over $600-700 for a MTM suit of good quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutynee View Post

Is there a reason why you like silk ties? I own a few ties, but none of them are silk.

Silk is pretty standard for ties, even my "poorer" branded ties are %100 silk. As people expand their wardrobes, sometime they will change materials to something like cashmere. Silk allows you to diversify the materials in your outfit, more than likely, no other piece of clothing you are wearing is silk. As you already seem to know, do not get skinny ties, 3.5" is the standard and what you want. They can be had for cheap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutynee View Post

You mentioned white and light blue, is this due to the fact that they are easy to match and are good base colors that every guy should have?

Correct.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutynee View Post

For some reason i feel like white is too boring. I know that sounds stupid, but i don't own a solid white shirt. Maybe, i should change that... especially if i buy a nice navy or charcoal suit.

Boring? Perhaps, but it seems to look good on everyone and is the easiest color to match to. More specifically it is completely neutral and you can wear whatever color you want with it. A solid white shirt is my personal favorite with a Navy suit in particular (I prefer it to light blue). There is a simple crisp and cleanness to a white collared shirt that I enjoy. Just stay away from anything see through, some poorer quality white shirts are nearly windows.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grenadier View Post

Go to Brooks Brothers on Father's day for its semi-annual sale.

You can buy shirts and even try on a Madison 1818 suit should you so desire. It is a good quality suit, but you will likely pay a fair amount for it + tailoring. The pants will again be too big.
post #12 of 14

Where are you in Florida?  I'd suggest my Astor & Black rep here in Miami but you won't find much love for A&B here on this forum.  With made-to-measure A&B you'll have all the options you want as far as customizing the suit's features and design, plus a wide range of fabrics, and the quality is way better than anything cheap OTR such as Mens Wearhouse or Macys.  My rep here is light years more talented than most so I wouldn't just go with any of them.

 

Your other option which I highly recommend is Suitsupply.com.  Search for the threads here about them.  High-quality suits with great style, excellent prices.  Free 2-day shipping and easy returns just in case.  They offer your choice of pant sizes with a couple of their Napoli suits in case you need a smaller or larger size; you'll have to email them for info about this option.

post #13 of 14
This is a case where re-measurement is the first priority; it means going to a decent menswear store. 32" waist, >42" chest, muscular build means no ready-made suit will fit and virtually nothing could be tailored to fit well for a reasonable amount of money. That leaves suit separates as the option (presuming bespoke/custom and made-to-measure are not financially feasible). Brooks Brothers sells suit separates.... So does Jos. A. Bank, but it almost certainly would cause a boxy look. By the way, not only is 2-button recommended, but 3-button probably would look lousy on that build.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gauss17 View Post


You are right that a store allows you to physically try on the suit and feel the fabric, which has obvious advantages. If you feel most comfortable with that route, by all means go it. As for Ebay, that is why I told you to nail down your measurements before buying as it will save you some headache. Do not be afraid to ask the seller questions if you have them and some sellers have a return policy if it is a terrible fit. The brands I listed should all have good fabrics (other than maybe some Hickey Freeman or "Z" Zegna). Some good fabrics to watch for are anything listed as Super 100's, 120's, 130's etc. Super 120's is a great compromise for softness and durability.
I have no problem turning over $600-700 for a MTM suit of good quality.
Silk is pretty standard for ties, even my "poorer" branded ties are %100 silk. As people expand their wardrobes, sometime they will change materials to something like cashmere. Silk allows you to diversify the materials in your outfit, more than likely, no other piece of clothing you are wearing is silk. As you already seem to know, do not get skinny ties, 3.5" is the standard and what you want. They can be had for cheap.

 

Im going to take your advice and go somewhere to get my measurements. As i alluded to earlier i feel like i have a body type outside the 'norm' so it'll be harder for me to find something that Id want, so chances are Im most likely going to shell out a few extra bucks to what exactly what i want. Just out of curiosity whats the difference in the numbers of the 'Super 100, 120, etc?' As for ties, i looked thru my ties after we talked about them earlier and i have one silk tie. Its a decent tie, but i like other materials better. But you're right about wearing different material. You mentioned my tie might be the only silk material i wear, but is it ok if i wear silk pocket squares? 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ancdmd View Post

Where are you in Florida?  I'd suggest my Astor & Black rep here in Miami but you won't find much love for A&B here on this forum.  With made-to-measure A&B you'll have all the options you want as far as customizing the suit's features and design, plus a wide range of fabrics, and the quality is way better than anything cheap OTR such as Mens Wearhouse or Macys.  My rep here is light years more talented than most so I wouldn't just go with any of them.

 

Your other option which I highly recommend is Suitsupply.com.  Search for the threads here about them.  High-quality suits with great style, excellent prices.  Free 2-day shipping and easy returns just in case.  They offer your choice of pant sizes with a couple of their Napoli suits in case you need a smaller or larger size; you'll have to email them for info about this option.

 

I live in Tampa. I lived in Miami in Brickell for a 4 months. I loved it. Do you have a A&B rep here in Tampa.. or know one? Why do people not like A&B? Thanks for your help. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

This is a case where re-measurement is the first priority; it means going to a decent menswear store. 32" waist, >42" chest, muscular build means no ready-made suit will fit and virtually nothing could be tailored to fit well for a reasonable amount of money. That leaves suit separates as the option (presuming bespoke/custom and made-to-measure are not financially feasible). Brooks Brothers sells suit separates.... So does Jos. A. Bank, but it almost certainly would cause a boxy look. By the way, not only is 2-button recommended, but 3-button probably would look lousy on that build.

 

I just think Im going to have to shell out some extra cash to get what i want. Its hard to do when i have all these loans to pay back. Oh well, it'll be worth it as long as i look good lol. The measurements you mentioned are pretty much spot on, but why do you say a 3 button will look 'lousy?' Thanks for you advice. 

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