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Journey to my first new suit in over 15 years....

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

This may or may not be of interest to anyone, but I thought I would put up a quick summary of my recent journey to find a new, proper-fitting suit.

 

Back Story:

I spent about 15 years working in banking in Europe (mostly in London and Amsterdam), during which time a suit was obviously required business attire.  Because of my build, it was impossible to buy a suit OTR, and so I ultimately ended up with a wardrobe comprised of mostly single-breasted, 2 button suits from Gieves & Hawkes (with a few DB's thrown in), as well as a few from a small tailor in Amsterdam.

 

Roll forward to 2001, and we moved back to California, where I started my own financial services firm.  Dress in CA is clearly not as formal as in Europe, and so I ended up taking about two dozen suits to a company that sold them for me on eBay.  Looking back, amazingly I netted only about $100 per suit.

 

Roll forward to 2012, and I have greyed and aged enough where I think it will be appropriate to start wearing a suit now and again.  So having discovered this great site, I commenced a search for a MTM product.

 

Sizing:

A swimmer since childhood, I have a fairly difficult build to fit OTR.  Height of 6' 2", weight of 185-190 lbs (depending on the season).  Chest of 42-43", but shoulders that need a 45/46" equivalent.  Waist of 33-34", inseam of 34".

 

The Quest:

First attempt was a nice medium grey suit from Benjamin Sartorial, in a size 41/42L.  The trousers fit great, but the jacket felt "tight" across the chest.  I could button it, but barely.  So I took it to a local tailor in Portland, OR (Silvain of European Master Tailor), who concluded "This is not the cut for you".  Too small in the shoulders, very tight across the back, etc.  As evidence, he pulled a basic 2 button suit jacket off his rack, in a 42L, and it fit fine (albeit needing some tailoring).  He concluded that a 44L might fit better in the shoulders, but that the tailoring required would start to fundamentally change the shape of the jacket, and not in a good way.  "Send it back, and try a less modern cut".  The suit's fabric felt quite nice for $500+, and I was disappointed it wouldn't work.

 

Second attempt was a Napoli grey suit from SuitSupply, in a 42L, at $469.  Compared to the Benjamin suit, the fabric was not as nice, and the fit was comparably bad, arguably worse.  Back to Silvain to get his confirmation, and sure enough: "Why do you keep trying to fit into a modern suit, cut for a man built like a boy?  You need a different cut."

 

Third attempt is a grey suit from Proper Suit.  PS has a "fixed" (rather than pop-up) location here in Portland, Oregon.  So I paid my $150 deposit online, and the same day I received an email to schedule my appointment for fabric and customization selections, and measurements.  

 

On the day of my appointment, I was met by two of the company's west coast staff, Max and Lance.  They took about 10 minutes to explain in fairly painstaking detail the PS process (i.e. not fully custom, but based on a standard "template" size, which is then modified based on detailed measurements taken).  They then took several dozen measurements, before asking me if there were certain fit aspects that were important, like a higher trouser rise, a longer jacket, etc.  All of this information was recorded on paper and in their PC.  

 

Based on the measurements and preferences, they gave me a "template" jacket to try - a 54.  The fit in the shoulders was quite good, which was a pleasant surprise.  Lance and Max then started a dialogue amongst themselves about the amount of waist suppression required, the raising of the arm holes, the rotation of the sleeves, the lowering of the top button, etc.  This "live commentary" took about 15 minutes for the jacket alone.  For the trousers, for which my template was a size down (so 52 equivalent) my only two changes were a higher rise, and slightly roomier thighs.  No elephant ears on the jetted pockets.

 

Lance then sat down with me and presented me with three books of fabric swatches.  All were clearly labeled, as were the price points (A through E, I believe).  Given that it was my first suit with them, I opted for a level 2 (imported 120s medium grey wool) fabric, rationalizing that I'd rather be out only $850 if it was a disaster, rather than $1,500 or more.  The more luxurious fabrics could come if and when my fit is dialed in.  We then breezed through all of the free options - ranging from pocket style on the jacket, piping and lining for the jacket, back pockets for the trousers, to cuffs or none for the trousers, and so on.

 

I paid my remaining $700 online the same afternoon, and shortly thereafter received a confirmation email that my suit was in process.

 

All in all, the PS process was quite enjoyable.  I look forward to receiving the finished product.  I find it hard to believe that the fit won't be "great", but at my age nothing surprises me anymore. If the result is good, I plan to order a few more suits from them.

 

If anyone is interested in the final result, just post it, and if anyone wants pics of the final product, I'll post those, too.

post #2 of 8
Flicks??
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ter1413 View Post

Flicks??

Didn't bother with any of the SuitSupply or Benjamin suits, because the fit was so bad.  Will definitely post some of the PS final result.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ter1413 View Post

Flicks??

No pics of the SS or Benjamin suits, because the fit was so bad.  I will post some of the PS product once it arrives...

post #5 of 8

I too live in Portland and am consider PS. So please provide updates, with pics. When are you expecting delivery?

 

Thanks.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blakers76 View Post

I too live in Portland and am consider PS. So please provide updates, with pics. When are you expecting delivery?

 

Thanks.

Will do.

 

Delivery should be in about 4 weeks, so let's say 15 February.  Will confirm with them tomorrow...

post #7 of 8

I (three) live in Portland and would be interested in hearing (and seeing) the end of this story.

 

Thanks!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Delivery took muuuuuuch longer than expected.  The initial excuse was Chinese new year holiday, then a shortage of the ordered fabric.  The end result was delivery about 9 weeks after order date.  There was good communication from the company about the reasons for the delay.

 

But I am very satisfied with the final product.  I didn't order the highest-end fabric, figuring that if it was a disastrous fit or poor construction quality I wouldn't be out too much money on the experiment.

 

The fit is better than anything I have every bought off the rack and had tailored, and rivals the custom suits I had made for me in Holland and by Gieves & Hawkes in London many years ago.  And I am a rather strange fit (broad, straight shouders, fairly thick chest/back, and narrow waist/hips).

 

My only complaint is that the trousers have, for my taste, a low-ish rise.

 

I definitely plan to order additional suits, and feel comfortable with ordering a more expensive fabric now.

 

I will have someone shoot a few photos of me in the suit and post them asap.

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