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Jacket/pants size quandry

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I'm looking to spend up to $1500 on an interview suit for next tuesday (law firm). I've looked at Corneliani (Spencer model) at Saks today, and I'm okay with the cut, but I have a problem - my jacket size is 40r, but my waist size is 32. They offered to alter the 34 pants (that come with the 40 suit) so it will fit me better, but I'm almost swimming in 34 pants. Should I do that? they won't sell seperates. BTW, I need the suit for next Tuesday, so MTM is not an option probably. I'd hate to get a BB/Jos Bank "seperates" hack job, as I want this suit to serve me long term. What are my other options in NYC?
post #2 of 14
That is such BS. Go to Bergdorfs or Barneys, explain your problem, and get the service and consideration you deserve. You are paying full retail, and shouldn't have to make that type of concession. Are you seriously swimming in the pants though? Do you have really skinny legs or something? I am about the same size as you (though I do have 33 waist, and thighs that come from running a lot, and although the pants from more traditional makers are usually roomy, they are not actually swimming. Maybe try a more modern designer whose suits have slimmer pants, but the design of which is still acceptable for an interview - a standard navy Helmut Lang would probably fit the bill well.
post #3 of 14
A good tailor can not only take in the waist for you, but can also completely recut the pants. I bought a HSM suit back when I was 21 years old -- a nice interview suit and I got it for $225. The pants were 1.5 inches big in the waist. Additionally, the legs were pretty baggy. A very fat guy look (the jacket was remarkably slim fitting for an HSM though, for some reason). I not only got the waist taken in, but the tailor slimmed down the pants for me so that they now fit, IMO, like a Dawson or Emerson fit pant from Banana Republic (if that gives you an indication). That alteration only cost me $15 dollars.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, LA and Johnny. Here's an update - I DO have skinny legs, but well developed upper body. I DON'T have time to have the pnats completely recut for the interview, but may be able to do it later. I used my lunch hour to scour some shops along 5th and here are my findings- BB: lousy fused crap starts at $800, the better grade is closer to $1200. All cut in the sack suit style, which I don't like. H-F: my firm has a 40% off event with H-F tonight, but I checked the goods, and the cut makes me look bulky and too broad. Bregdorf: The only thing in proximity to my bidget was a beautiful Zegna. Now normally I don't look good in them, but the salesman said it's cut differently for them, and it did look much better. Gorgeous fabric too. The price + tax is closer to $1900 though, no discounts. And they do drive a hrad sale over there, which is off putting. Barney's: nothing in my size on sale, save for a Brioni for $2500, but those make me look like Charlie Chaplin (you know, too narrow shoulders). Zegna there are regular cut and regular price, but I can get 10% off if I open a barney's account. Borrelli: believe it or not, I stepped into their store just to try a jacket for size, and it is beautiful. The price is less intimidating than I thought - girl said I can have an MTM for as little as $2600 (lower end fabrics of course). I'll definitely put in in mind for the future. Tonight I'm gonna try Century 21 again. They have Isaia on sale for $900, and barbera (fused) for about $600. Hopefully they have my size. If not that, I think I'll go with the Corneliani from Saks.
post #5 of 14
Lomezz: You are what's called a Drop 8 which is an athletic build. The concept of Drops is the difference between a jacket and the pant in a suit. Drop 6 (most suits) means that the 40 Jacket will accompany a 34 waist. Drop 8 for broader shouldered individuals, people in your situation means that you need to go down 8 numbers to get the correct pant. Huskies will have a drop 4 so the 40 Jacket will go with the 36 pant. Ask them for an athletic buid. (drop 8) . Thats what you need. Good Luck on both finding the suit AND the job. JJF
post #6 of 14
The Barbera fused was high priced for fused, but it wasn't bad. Why don't you have time to get the pants recut? Your interview is on Tuesday, and I'm sure that the tailor could do a rush order for you if you throw a $20 his way. Cutting the pants can't be too time consuming if it was only a $15 job for me. You obviously have to get the trousers hemmed and such. Personally, if you have the money to be looking at $1900 Zegnas, why not just go for the Corneliani -- I'm guessing that it's around 1K. What does "H-F" stand for? Is that Hickey Freeman? Your firm has a 40% discount on Hickey stuff? Man, could you pick something up for me??? (I say half seriously).
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
johnny - yes, H-F stands for Hickey, and as luck would have it, my compnay has a closed event tonight 6-8 at their 5th Ave. store - everything at 40% off. I'd be happy to pick something up for you (or anybody else) the only problem is it turned out I didn't RSVP on time, and now it I can't get in. but they have these events every couple of months.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
also - don't you think I'm better off with Century 21 Isaia (or even the barbera) provided I can find my size, than with retail Corneliani? I like the isaia cut better, even though it's still not perfect on me. Anyway, I have to make the decision by tomorrow at the latest. argh... finally I get to buy a new suit, and it has to be a rush job.
post #9 of 14
If the Isaia fits, then yes it is worth spending the extra $300 IMO. Isaia is obviously better than Corenliani if it fits. But I really like Corneliani (and I think that the cuts they do for Polo are great -- too bad they are fused) too. The Barbera is a great suit too, despite it being fused. It may not be superior construction wise, but I really loved how it fit on me (I'm probably a similar build to you, though not as big in the chest). For $600, you could do worse for a rush job. Burberry is having a big sale as well, and for $500 you can get a suit there. I love their fits perhaps more than any other brand I've tried. They are fused, but they have canvas lapels and pretty good fabrics. Made by HF, so for fused it is at least decent quality. You could do worse for $500. But the Barbera is probably better still. So, assuming fit is equivalent: (1) Isaia (2) Barbera (3) Burberry
post #10 of 14
Check out British American House. They have a range of decent Italian suits, and are a small operation. They can do pretty quick turnaround on their alterations.
post #11 of 14
Lomezz, if you haven't bought the suit yet, don't stress over it. I don't know what level of interview you are going for, but I've seen lateral partner candidates at my AmLaw 50 firm come in with some fairly grubby looking clothes, and we have some summer associates at my office who are wearing some pretty outlandish suits. Since we are business casual for normal day-to-day operations, these guys are doing themselves a serious disfavor showing up in four-button suits and wearing their coats around the office. I personally showed up for my callback interview in a fused, inexpensive black suit, and seven years later I wouldn't change that decision. You are basically the same size as me--I take a 31.5 waist and a 40R coat. I frequently buy RTW suits and have the trousers cut down. I have never found a store that would sell me parts of two suits to make de facto separates, even at full retail--and I don't blame them, because if they did that for everyone it would wreck their ability to manage inventory. That is precisely why only BB, Banks, and mid-range department stores sell separates--only inexpensive product warrants the risk of unsold mismatched goods.
post #12 of 14
I have the same problem but even more severely-- I wear a 46L (big shoulders) and have a 33 inch waist. The choices are as follows: 1. A very good tailor. Most department-store tailors take in pants at the rear center seam only. If you need to take in 2 inches, the rear pockets get two inches closer together. Obviously this won't work for dropping a waist several inches. The technique for a real pants reduction is to remove the waistband, and take in the side seams as well as the rear seam, also reducing the leg circumference by taking in the inner leg seams. My tailor charges $150 for this big process. Most "alterations" guys can't handle it at all, especially if time is limited. 2. Suit separates. You are right that the only "mid-grade" suit available as separates is Jos Bank. But I would argue that a well-fitted Banks suit beats a poorly fitted bag of an Isaia. Fused or no, the silhouette will be what is remembered. I'd call it your best bet. 3. For those in an artistic field, a blazer/sportcoat and slacks. Sounds like this might not work for you. 4. In my experience, an "athletic cut" does not solve the small waist problem. The waist drop is only two inches more, and most athletic cut suits have oversize chest and billowy upper sleeve dimensions that work only on high-fat gorilla-type bodies. For a pro wrestler they might work, but if you're anything like a Brad Pitt lean-slim-well-muscled body, you'll be swimming in the jacket.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
hi everyone - thanks for your help. I had a stressfull weekend dealing with divorce matters (yuck) and didn't have much time to mind the suit business. Since I have a few fused pure dreck Banks in my closet, all in almost new condition (bought a month before my firm went casual, what a waste of money) I might use one and save the trouble. The thing is, if I could get the Corneliani with a 32 waist, I'd just buy it and have a nice suit for a change. My problem with the 34 pants is not merely the waist size - it's the allaround bagginess which bothers me, having rather skinny legs. What I thought I could do is buy a 40r suit AND an extra 32 pants (provided it's availabe for sale from the same brand in the same fabric), and then maybe sell the 34 pants on ebay, perhaps incurring a small loss. BTW, which brands sell 'athletic' cut suits? I definitely see MTM in my future, if I get the law firm job and have to go back to wearing suits. Perhaps even low-end bespoke (like WW Chan, although low end refers in this case only to price, not quality).
post #14 of 14
Lomezz, I doubt you will find anything in higher-end RTW that is available in separates form, which is basically what you'd be getting if you purchased an "extra" set of trousers to match an RTW suit. If you are looking for well-made full canvas suits that won't require a ton of alterations, I'd go with WW Chan. In fact, I DO go with WW Chan. I find that spending $700-800/suit from them is more cost and time-effective than having RTW suits altered. I used to use a pretty good tailor who would extensively recut trousers and do minor coat alterations for a total cost of about $150/suit, but when you add up the cost of an RTW suit (plus shipping and taxes) and alterations, plus the time involved, it's easier for me to just visit WW Chan when they are in town (or even have them send me swatches), tell them what I want, and be done with it. I'm happier with my $750 WW Chan suits than I am with the $500 RTW suits my local tailor has altered for $150. Once you correct for taxes, I'm basically spending $50 more to get a full canvas product, made to my exact specification, which takes one less trip to the tailor (Chan includes shipping in their prices, while my "local" tailor is a 30 to 40 minute one-way drive from my office). I still buy RTW once in a while when I find a really good deal or need something faster than WW Chan can do it, but it can be tough to beat their quality without moving way up market. BTW, if you are out bargain hunting, I think some of the Italian diffusion lines are available in a seven inch drop. I recently was shopping at Loehmanns and ran across a cotton Trend Corneliani in 40R with trousers that probably ran about 32.5-33" waist, which I ended up buying. Yes, it is fused, but I liked the cut and style, needed a summer suit, and most of all, it was very inexpensive . . . .
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