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First Power Suit

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Hey, all. Longtime lurker, first-time poster.
 

I've been offered a job at a consulting startup that's opening its doors in January. The majority of my coworkers will be former military so I expect to see a lot of guys in their first-ever suits, and I doubt anyone will be holding anyone else up to close scrutiny around the office. Frankly, I'll be surprised if everyone wears clothes that are tailored. For that matter, I'll be surprised if everyone wears clothes.

 

Alexandre of Savile Row -- whom I'd never heard of until I saw them on-base today -- is currently offering MTM 2-piece suits for $550 at our local PX. They don't appear to be bad suits. They're fused but nicely-finished; the fabric offered is wool but nothing outstanding. $550 for a MTM fused suit vs. $499 for an OTR fused suit at MW seems a no-brainer. I intend to pick up a couple of MTM Alexandre suits for regular wear around the office.

 

My actual problem is this, though: part of my job will be briefing potential investors, including Boards of Directors in New York, London, and Bahrain. Some of the projects we'll be consulting on are worth 8 figures. An Alexandre suit is not going to cut it. 

 

I have about $3000 altogether for my business wardrobe, at least to get me through the first few months.

 

I figure $1100 for two Alexandre MTM suits (tax-free at the PX), another $400 or so to get some OTR OCBD's and have them tapered (ex-military; 44 chest 33 waist), and a few pairs of gray slacks. I already own black Johnston & Murphy cap-toes, a navy herringbone sportcoat, an assortment of Repp ties, and a few white and pinstripe shirts that I can get tapered. 

 

That leaves me about $1000-1500 for a suit that won't get me laughed out of a boardroom. More to the point, I need to be able to A.) sit at the end of the table quietly and look like I belong there; and B.) be taken seriously when I give my presentation. Essentially, I need to wear what the big boys are wearing, or be so close that what I'm wearing won't be a distraction. 

 

It'll have to be OTR at that price, so I'm thinking HF from Nordstrom or BB 1818 Madison. Definitely navy. That's about as far as my thinking takes me.

 

If this gig lasts a year, I'll be able to go bespoke; but to get there I'll need to really nail these first few presentations and impress the people who need impressing.

 

I'm open to suggestions. 

 
post #2 of 67
ex-military ... visit the boardroom with an AK47 that will make them sign contracts.lol
post #3 of 67
Try suit supply first
post #4 of 67

$500 isn't bad for MTM, but I would stick with half-canvassed garments if possible.

 

As for your 1000-1500 suit, don't buy OTR. Fit is the main thing that is going to make the suit look good. A BB 1818 Madison cut is going to fit you like a tent. Same with HF. As Unbelragazzo suggested, Suit Supply is a good starting point. They generally offer slimmer-fitting suits, but with a large chest and arms, these still may not fit you. They also have a MTM program, which should come in well under 1500 with a decent fabric.

post #5 of 67

Proper grooming, and a good attitude will do a lot when it comes to making it seem like you belong at that table.  


Think about what you want your suit to say.  Assuming you want to look confident and trust worthy, have you thought of going for a double breasted or three piece suit?  IMHO they give that extra touch of formality and reflect a certain degree of confidence, which, if your talking to potential investors, is pretty darn important.  I would go for a conservative cut, nothing too modern or flashy, which are generally reflective of risk takers. 

That would be my two pennies...

post #6 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2010 View Post

ex-military ... visit the boardroom with an AK47 that will make them sign contracts.lol

 

That's not exactly the image we're going for. In fact, "ex-military consultants" is exactly the opposite image we're trying to portray. Otherwise I could go in there with cargo pants, a company golf shirt, a G-shock watch, and Oakley sunglasses. Those, by the way, I own.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

$500 isn't bad for MTM, but I would stick with half-canvassed garments if possible.

 

As for your 1000-1500 suit, don't buy OTR. Fit is the main thing that is going to make the suit look good. A BB 1818 Madison cut is going to fit you like a tent. Same with HF. As Unbelragazzo suggested, Suit Supply is a good starting point. They generally offer slimmer-fitting suits, but with a large chest and arms, these still may not fit you. They also have a MTM program, which should come in well under 1500 with a decent fabric.

 

I just checked out Suit Supply. Looks great. Thanks for the recommendation. The problem is, they're only on the East Coast. I'll be in Seattle, and right now I'm in Portland, OR, so that's out. At least, for a MTM. The next time I'm out there, though, I'll make an appointment. My location is why I was thinking BB, or the Nordstrom flagship in downtown Seattle.

 

Are there seriously so few physically-fit men in the modern workforce that no OTR suits will fit? The models who wear them are fit; that's what kills me, here. I'm 175 lbs at 5'10" and about 15% bodyfat. It's not like I'm built like Mighty Mouse. By military standards I'm statistically average.

post #7 of 67

How much would a MTM at a local tailor cost you?

Out here, Madrid, Spain, most local tailors´ prices for a MTM suit start around 1200 euros.  Not quite sure about the € / $ rate now, but I´m thinking it shouldn´t be impossible to get a suit MTM for about 1500.  Granted, you´d have to check out a couple tailors and their work, but chances are a MTM suit done by a decent tailor will fit you better than a 1500 dollar OTR.  

 

post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierce R View Post

 

That's not exactly the image we're going for. In fact, "ex-military consultants" is exactly the opposite image we're trying to portray. Otherwise I could go in there with cargo pants, a company golf shirt, a G-shock watch, and Oakley sunglasses. Those, by the way, I own.

 

 

I just checked out Suit Supply. Looks great. Thanks for the recommendation. The problem is, they're only on the East Coast. I'll be in Seattle, and right now I'm in Portland, OR, so that's out. At least, for a MTM. The next time I'm out there, though, I'll make an appointment. My location is why I was thinking BB, or the Nordstrom flagship in downtown Seattle.

 

Are there seriously so few physically-fit men in the modern workforce that no OTR suits will fit? The models who wear them are fit; that's what kills me, here. I'm 175 lbs at 5'10" and about 15% bodyfat. It's not like I'm built like Mighty Mouse. By military standards I'm statistically average.

BB does offer different cuts (Fitzgerald, Milano, Regent). The problem is, your drop is like 11 inches. Most OTR suits are 6. I really think your only option is MTM (Suit Supply or someone else). You can try the other BB cuts, but I don't think you'll be happy. And the only way you are going to get a 33 or 34 pair of pants with a 44 chest is to go with separates or MTM.

post #9 of 67
Thread Starter 

I wouldn't even know where to begin looking for local tailors who could do that kind of work. 

 

Anyone in Seattle have any ideas?

 

I'm moving up that way after Christmas.

post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierce R View Post

I wouldn't even know where to begin looking for local tailors who could do that kind of work. 

Anyone in Seattle have any ideas?

I'm moving up that way after Christmas.

A great tailor will go a long way. I would allocate some of your budget to alteration costs. Generally when I buy suits I make sure the shoulders and length are right since tapering the body is an easy fix. I am sure SF will provide some good recommendations. I typically try them out, with a simple fitting (jacket taken in) and make small talk. How long have you been at your trade? Did you used to make suits (all the regular tailors I have used made bespoke suits sometime in their past). Act interested and see how well he can explain what he plans to do to you.

I think if you pick up a navy and dark grey suit you will be fine to start. If you do not wear suits regularly, it will take you some time to get used to them, know how you like them to fit, and what looks good on you. I think after a couple of months wearing suits/blazers/sports coat, then look into upgrading to nicer threads. If there is a Brooks Brothers near you, I think that is a good place to start. They have numerous cuts, various sizes (so you can try suits +/- or R/L length) and see what looks good on you.

Personally I would buy another pair or two of shoes. You have some flexibility with suits because of cuts/fabrics, but a nice pair of shoes will always be noticeable. Also, you do not want to be seen wearing the same pair all the time (this is a giveaway). Black captoes are a good start. Maybe a pair of dark brown wingtips or half brogues.

Finally, and most importantly, coming from one who provides service to those who have served: Thank you for your service.
post #11 of 67

What's the color/pattern of the two mtm suits that you're going to get? It may help to know that before making suggestions for the 3rd suit.

post #12 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnyMac View Post

What's the color/pattern of the two mtm suits that you're going to get? It may help to know that before making suggestions for the 3rd suit.

 

Navy, maybe with a subtle pinstripe; and dark gray or maybe charcoal. Single-breasted, two-button, very subtle padding in the shoulders, conservative notch lapels, slant pockets, and single pleat trousers. 

 

I don't expect to wear a suit to the office every day but I'll be managing my department so I want to step it up one notch above what's required. The dress code is, and I quote: "Nice. Shirt with a collar, no running shoes." Also, as our designated hitter, it's on me when we do get a drop-in visitor who wants a pitch or a briefing. So I figure I won't ever be in anything less than a sport jacket and tie. 

 

Man, I really want a guncheck tweed jacket, something really professorial. But I digress.

 

The Power Suit will be navy; I've decided that much. I may well go with a 3-piece.

 

I think the first thing I'll do, I figure -- based on the above advice -- is start with one Alexandre MTM and see how it turns out. They might be presentable after all. 

post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdkeene View Post

How much would a MTM at a local tailor cost you?

Out here, Madrid, Spain, most local tailors´ prices for a MTM suit start around 1200 euros.  Not quite sure about the € / $ rate now, but I´m thinking it shouldn´t be impossible to get a suit MTM for about 1500.  Granted, you´d have to check out a couple tailors and their work, but chances are a MTM suit done by a decent tailor will fit you better than a 1500 dollar OTR.  

 

 

€1200 is a lot for MTM... that is what my tailor charges for bespoke with cheapest fabrics, MTM (half-canvassed) starts at around €550.

 

OP, I'd google for tailors in Seattle/Portland, then visit some and see what you can find. There's no online substitute for a real tailor.

post #14 of 67
I think you've gotten some great advice on the suits so far. Let me just say that you should consider upgrading your shoes to match the quality of your suit. Anyone who will actually be interested in your suit will first take a peek at your shoes. Going MTM with a pair of J&Ms on is like taking the Roadster out on four spares. Consider a pair of C&Js or Peals from Brooks.
post #15 of 67

If the firm opens its doors in January and you'll need the suit almost immediately, I don't know that MTM is a realistic option. So, back to OTR. 

 

I have no idea what is available retail in the Seattle/Portland area, but I'd be surprised if Nordstrom HF or BB are the best you can do for that money. Particularly given that a lot of holiday sales have either started or are about to hit, if I were in your shoes I'd go hunting for bigger game - maybe an Isaia, Canali or Zegna marked down. Although not quite as traditional a cut as you're after, Ralph Lauren Black Label would probably work for you pretty well, and are on sale in your price range right now.

 

That said, to get the simple navy you're after you'll need to go early and have the patience to shop. 

 

And, of course, to find a tailor who can take in the pants for you.

 

Cheers,

LM

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