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Buying A Suit - Pinned?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
I just purchased my 1st suit in 10 years. I spent many (enjoyable) hours researching this purchase and among the many things I've learned from this Forum is the wide variety of suits available in today's market. Fit, style, construction and materials are all things that I have learned about and in my quest I have put together a "comprehensive list" of branded suits that reflect members' opinions. This was time consuming and I feel that some members (especially newer ones) would benefit from a "suit buying guide" that could be pinned. While I have my little list of suit makers, other guides might include: Styles, Construction, Fabric, Fit & Measuring (A Harris guide is great) and anything else we could think of. Kind of a one-stop-shop for buying a suit. Most of the info is already here, it would just be a matter of compiling it.

So I guess my question is:

Does this sound worthwhile?

If so, I can post my list.

Also, BTW, my new suit is a Paul Stuart made in Canada (by Samuelson I believe) and it has a canvassed front with fused lapels (which for some reason kind of surprised me). I'm very pleased.
post #2 of 49
That would be excellent - if you felt like putting it on the forum Wiki (see pinned thread), that might be a better format as it would allow people to alter/correct and update anything on there. Or if you just want to paste it, I or someone will put it on the wiki.

Thanks for your help!
post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 
j, Great. Here goes, and just so everyone knows that I still pretty much consider myself an ignoramus regarding this topic in this crowd. The "ratings" were my consensus of all of the opinions I saw in this forum. One of the reasons for the OP was that it is so confusing to a novice and I'm sure my confusion will be evident here...especially when it comes to things like "the Polo Blue labels (and some Black labels) were made by Corneliani until 03 except for the Canadian made ones (made by Samuelsohn) and then they changed over to St Andrews who also make some of the Purple Labels except for the flannels which are made by...you get the point.

I don't have a Wiki password so hopefully someone will paste and we can add and revise and make this a truly accurate and comprehensive list. Thanks to all who provided their insight.

The List:

Quality Suits

Premiere
Attolini
Kiton
Oxxford

Also Premiere
Barbera (Luciano) Collezioni Sartoriale
Bijan (there are some by Brioni)
Brioni
Dior homme
Isaia (Enrico and most Gianluca)
Sartoria Attolini
Zegna Napoli

1st Tier (canvas front, basted lapels, handpicked lapel edges, and handsewn buttonholes)
Battistoni
Belvest
Borrelli
Castangia
Cheshire Clothing (Chester Barrie)
Cifonelli
D'Avenza
Stuart's Choice (Isiah until 06, St Andrews post 06)
Ralph Lauren Purple Label (both the Saint Andrews and the Chester Barrie)
St. Andrews
Zegna (regular and Napoli lines - not the "Soft" suits)
Caruso (some,)
Hickey Freeman (some)

2nd Tier (canvas front, basted lapels, handpicked lapel edges, no handsewn buttonholes)
Boss Baldessarini (made by Caruso)
Canali and Canali Exclusive
Cantarelli
Caruso
Corneliani
old Faconnable Tailleur (made by Canali and Cantarelli)
Ralph Lauren Polo Blue Label (currently made by Canali, older by Corneliani)
Nervesa
Ravazzolo
Zileri sartoriale line

3d Tier (canvas front but no other significant detailing)
Armani Classico and Black Label (made by Vestimenta)
Canali Proposta
Corneliani Trend and CC
Polo Blue Label (made in Italy)
Samuelsohn - Canada
Paul Stuart (made in Canada by Samuelson)
Vestimenta
Zileri Gruppo Forall [white label]

4th Tier (canvas front and handsewn buttonholes but without handpicked lapels)
Armani Collezioni
Hickey Freeman (most)
Martin Greenman (the Marcus Neiman Marcus line and the old Donna Karan Couture suits are examples)

5th Tier (fused fronts)
Abboud
Armani Emporio Armani,
Cerruti 1881
Faconnable (white square label)
Gianluca Isaia
Hugo Boss
Zegna Soft.

6th Tier (Junk)
Armani Mani


Various Makers - Notes

Armani
Classico/Black Label
Le Collezioni (Grupo)
Emporio Armani (Vestimenta)
Mani

Joseph A Banks
Signature/Signature Gold is decent
the rest is crap

Brooks Brothers
Golden Fleece

Corneliani
Black Label - New
White Label - Old

Gucci

Hart Shaffner Marx
Gold Trumpeter

H Freeman (not Hickey)

Hickey Freeman

Calvin Klein
Black Label aka Runway (best line)
Calvin Klein Collection

Paul Stuart
Stuart's Choice (Isiah until 06, St Andrews post 06)
Middle Line (Gianluca Isaia)
Regular Line (current Samuelsohn - Canada, previously Southwick)
Made in Germany - fully canvassed

Zanella

Zegna

Pal Zileri
Sartorial -- (comp to Zegna/Canali).
Gruppo Forall [white label] -- a notch below Canali in terms of quality.
Pull -- leave it alone.
post #4 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faded501s
: Also Premiere Barbera (Luciano) Collezioni Sartoriale Bijan (there are some by Brioni) Brioni Dior homme Isaia (Enrico and most Gianluca) Sartoria Attolini Zegna Napoli
Great list overall. However, one suit up there sticks out as an odd choice: Dior Homme. I never liked the style enough to check out the construction, but are they really worthy of being put ahead of St. Andrews and Castangia, or for that matter Corneliani and Canali? Or did you mean to write "Jil Sander" (Belvest-made) rather than Dior?
post #5 of 49
Ralph Lauren Black Label?
post #6 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
Great list overall. However, one suit up there sticks out as an odd choice: Dior Homme. I never liked the style enough to check out the construction, but are they really worthy of being put ahead of St. Andrews and Castangia, or for that matter Corneliani and Canali? Or did you mean to write "Jil Sander" (Belvest-made) rather than Dior?

S, Thanks. Again, I'm just about completely ignorant. It's been a couple of months putting this together and to be perfectly honest, if I walked out on the street 5 minutes ago and someone asked me what I thought about Dior Homme, I'd probably respond with something like "Kind of spicy but nice. I had a really rich girlfriend who used to wear that." I'm hoping that those who are in-the-know can further enlighten the rest of us. An accurate list would be nice. I hope this is just the beginning.
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
Great list overall. However, one suit up there sticks out as an odd choice: Dior Homme. I never liked the style enough to check out the construction, but are they really worthy of being put ahead of St. Andrews and Castangia, or for that matter Corneliani and Canali? Or did you mean to write "Jil Sander" (Belvest-made) rather than Dior?
The Dior Homme suits and jackets I've seen have been about on a par with Jil Sander, actually.
post #8 of 49
while your list is an accurate reflection of what would happen if you polled these forums, i think it's unfortunate that armani is rated so lowly. i have several mani suits -- the bottom of the line armani -- and they have exactly the same cut as the collezioni and classicos. while the forum may spout off about how suits are made (and may speak to the longevity of a suit), the mani suit looks just as good. and for my body, it has by far the best cut (wider shoulders, lower button stances, wide lapels, which find vestimenta and valentino also have). the same can be said for other fused suits for which the cut is superior to others. in fashion, where fit and cut is everything, i have a really hard time with these rankings, which tend rate how a suit is made, not how it fits and looks. but i guess that's the only thing we can really measure, since bodies are not alike. sd
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldseed
while your list is an accurate reflection of what would happen if you polled these forums, i think it's unfortunate that armani is rated so lowly. i have several mani suits -- the bottom of the line armani -- and they have exactly the same cut as the collezioni and classicos. while the forum may spout off about how suits are made (and may speak to the longevity of a suit), the mani suit looks just as good. and for my body, it has by far the best cut (wider shoulders, lower button stances, wide lapels, which find vestimenta and valentino also have).

the same can be said for other fused suits for which the cut is superior to others.

in fashion, where fit and cut is everything, i have a really hard time with these rankings, which tend rate how a suit is made, not how it fits and looks. but i guess that's the only thing we can really measure, since bodies are not alike.

sd

The point of a list like this one is to give some measure of understanding of quality of construction, materials used, etc.
The cut is a whole different issue in most cases. While yes, in designer circles and for many people over in the S&D forum the cut may be before everything, this is a different animal. If you find a few suits that fit well, which one will be the one that will represent the best price to quality ratio?
That is where these lists are useful. An ill-fitting Mani is not going to be less flattering than an ill-fitting Isaia. But if you have the chance to choose between a fused Boss at say 500 retail or a mainline Corneliani at 500 discounted and both work with your body, the decision using such a list would be easy
post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by skalogre
That is where these lists are useful. An ill-fitting Mani is not going to be less flattering than an ill-fitting Isaia. But if you have the chance to choose between a fused Boss at say 500 retail or a mainline Corneliani at 500 discounted and both work with your body, the decision using such a list would be easy

agreed absolutely. but show me a suit that has a cut like armani? i haven't found one, aside from vestimenta/valentino... canali/corneliani don't have that cut, and the brioni-s i've seen don't... for me, there is no alternative choice (other than bespoke).

seed
post #11 of 49
I would prob. put Borrelli before Isaia, but both have the same fit
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldseed
agreed absolutely. but show me a suit that has a cut like armani? i haven't found one, aside from vestimenta/valentino... canali/corneliani don't have that cut, and the brioni-s i've seen don't... for me, there is no alternative choice (other than bespoke). seed
Yes, but we are not talking about the cut. Anyway some like the Armani cut, some don't. I own an unconstructed Armani (mainline IIRC) sportcoat that I just cannot love. The feel I get is sloppiness not "casualness". Irrespectively, knowing what I know, I can say that I do not want to put my discretionary income in something of lower quality, say Emporio or Mani, versus hunting down a mainline/Black Label on, say, eBay for a similar price. Would I have dropped the 90.00 on a similar Emporio or Mani sportcoat? Doubtful. But the fact that I was getting a bargain for something significantly better made sweetened the deal. Unfortunately I never warmed up to the cut. I mean look at Oxxford. Few are made as well yet few members here would want to buy an Oxxford with their classic boxiness (yes, some lines are better cut but that is a different story). Point is, it would be ludicrous to put Mani higher in a list that measures quality of construction. Vestimenta (iirc) made mainline Armani is much higher on it naturally.
post #13 of 49
OP: I doubt that Emporio Armani suits are made by Vestimenta from what I remember seeing unless Vestimenta also produces lower quality suits. Additions: Corneliani Trend: fused (or half fused) Corneliani CC Collection: fused, lower pricepoint Alfred Dunhill London (Made in Italy , full canvas - Zegna IIRC).
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
The Dior Homme suits and jackets I've seen have been about on a par with Jil Sander, actually.

Interesting. Any idea who their OEM is?
post #15 of 49
Nice list. Great idea for a sticky. You have "Ralph Lauren Polo" and "Polo Blue label" in different categories.

I'm assuming you mean
"Ralph Lauren Blue Label" as the Canali made one (canvassed) as the higher line and the "Polo by Ralph Lauren" (made by Corneliani and GENERALLY fused) as the lower line? The "Polo" suits generally have blue labels, but not always. I actually didn't know who made the "RL Blue labelsuits before. Some on SF have suggested Cantarelli, but CAnali is an interesting prospect. They have pretty soft shoulders for a canali.

Also "Gianluca Isaia" refers to the very nice fully canvassed models (there are two levels of this AFAIK, red and black colored labels". These are excellent suits.

The fused line is called "Gian Luca". The Gian Luca line made it into some Paul Stuart suits (I have one from Nitro Pete Testa). These are cut slim, with a lightly padded shoulder. I would rate them up with Ralph Lauren Black Label (which is also fused and very slim).

I won't comment on the ranking itself, but you could have included suits by Brooks Brothers. The Golden Fleece by martin greenfield exceeds Hickey Freeman Collection, and is about on the same level as Hickey Freeman "Hand Tailored". The 1818 is fused with canvassed lapels, though not as nice as RL Polo, which also has canvassed lapels. The $300 price difference reflects this. The BrooksEase and BrooksCool lines are cheap and serviceable.

For those who shop online, the Arnold Brant suits are worth including in the list. The "black label" versions are made in italy and very nice for the 300 or so you'll pay. (I didn't pinch test it for canvas). The standard Arnold Brant made in canada is a good deal for the $200-250 it sells for at outlets and on sale. I think it's better than the "Lauren" line retailed for $500 at department stores everywhere.

There is a big difference between the "Ermenegildo Zegna" mainline suits and the "Z Zegna" lines. The Zegna lines are fused, while I've seen some really nice stuff from the mainline, though heavily padded.

There are also Dunhill suits at outlets and at STP. These may be to obscure to include, but there are some great canvassed models (made in switzerland or italy?) and some not so nice models (made in mexico and japan?). The ones I saw in Saks off 5th were fused, with awful fabric and stiff.
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