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second hand suit or wait it out?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I have only recently become interested in classic menswear and over the past year I have been slowly increasing my knowledge and building a very limited wardrobe. I am a full time graduate student (read, poor) so my improvements have been limited by a very tight budget. However, I am looking for a versatile suit for interviews, presentations, weddings, and other special occasions. My budget is $500-700, which I would gladly pay for a suit that fits me well and is of good enough construction to withstand once a month wear for the next 5 years or so.  I come to this forum seeking advice after several months of unfruitful searching. I am strongly considering ebay and SF B & S options, but my body doesn't lend itself to OTR suits and without a decent fitting suit I am unsure of the measurements I should be looking for. So, my questions are:


  1. Which option is best? Keep searching the secondhand options for a decent quality suit within my budget? Buy an inexpensive, low quality suit at half my budget that allows me to limp by for another 2-3 years, then once I am working again buy a high quality tailored suit?
  2. For the eBay or B&S options, how should I adjust my measurements? Since I don't have a jacket that fits me well, I don't have any garment measurements to work with, but I could take body measurements. How much additional space, for example, should there be between my actual chest measurement and the jacket's chest measurement?



OTR suits test driven (for the record): BR Monogram, BR Tailored, J Crew Ludlow, BB Madison, S. Cohen, everything at Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales for less than $1200, Suit Supply (every solid suit they offer) and several others that escape my memory at the moment.  

post #2 of 4
What problems are you having with fitting off the rack stuff? If you have some idea of why they're not fitting, someone here might be able to help you out, or the problem may be something a tailor could solve. Used won't solve any weird body shape issues that make you impossible to fit with a standard model, so I don't know why you're looking down that road.

You may want to think about MTM, if your body is really that weird, as most rely on body measurements. Modern Tailor and Indochino (do your homework first on them) are both within your price range, as is Thick as Thieves, if you're a smaller guy.
post #3 of 4
Forgot online, go to a store - try on different sizes to see what fits best, to minimise alterations.

What problems do you have with otr suits, you may need to look at suit separates options, as you could select the best fitting trousers and jacket.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

My major problem with off the rack suits is that I have narrow shoulders for my chest size and lower body. Many 38R jackets are even too big in the shoulders while simultaneously being fairly tight (although, not unalterably so) in the chest. Mostly, the trousers that come with the jackets that fit are typically 3-4" too small in the waist and are very tight across the hips.


I have looked at separates, but I have so far been unimpressed with the options available. They seem to consist mostly of slim lapel, fashion forward fits or a lower level of quality than I am willing to shell out $700 for.


The reason I was considering eBay and the like is that I have seen many suits for sale with larger waisted trousers that would either fit as is, or had enough room to let out that they would fit after alterations. The M2M results based on self measurement seem to be very unsatisfactory based on the responses in this forum. I would only consider it if measurements were made in person. I am exploring that a bit further, but the big names like Indochino only roll through Chicago once a year or so.

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