What I've learned from Styleforum (or, a guide to not wasting money / avoid buyers remorse) - Page 4
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Should not be under-estimated.
I'm always a bit shocked on the pictures you find on these forums where someone has spent literally 1000s on an outfit, but they are very out of shape.
Getting into decent shape (not necessarily Superman) is surely going to make someone wearing a cheap but fairly fitting polyester suit, look better than an out of shape guy in Kiton/Brioni sack coat and billowing trousers.
I didn't understand the no-silk tie comment. One of the most beloved brands on here "Drakes" creates 100% silk ties that are great, and I think a novice new to learning about clothes would certainly be better upgrading to a nice silk Drakes tie or Brooks Brothers repp tie, than a cashmere or tweed affair.
Unrelated - There is a tendency on this forum to want to re-enact the golden age of Carey Grant films and it is inferred this is the 'correct' and only way to wear a suit. I love those suits.
But unfortunately I do not feel that look will always translate into the age we live in. Unless you are in your fifties, I feel this look replicated entirely, will look costumey on a younger man and will not be understood or respected by his peers. So my take from those screen icons of the past is that they inspire me to go with heavier cloths which drape better, but I do not necessarily ask my tailors to recreate the cut of the suit they wore.
Well, some will say "You should dress for yourself only". Or maybe your significant other. But if your outfits start to leave your peers clueless at best, and at worst, laughing behind your back at what you think is "correct", then you have started to become conspicuous and not a positive way.
For example, I love tie-pin collars. But in my environment, I just don't think it would translate and it would be seen as TOO costumey and would have people remarking on it all day which can get wearisome. I am happy for people to say "I like your suit", but when you find yourself explaining the details of an outfit to someone, to me, you have scored an own goal.
There was a great sentiment expressed on another site about clothes and it sums up my philosophy, it went something like this:
Your aim is to have people complement you on suit and say "hey, you look smart", but if you were to ask them why YOU look MORE SMART than the next guy who is also in a suit, they couldn't really tell you why they complemented you and not your co-worker / other guest.
Well, the answer is, you know you are wearing a 100% wool/natural fibre, bespoke suit. The man in the street doesn't. Nor does / should he care. But the difference, even to the "average joe" is immediately obvious - although they can not really tell you why.
My sense here is that a lot fall into the idea that dressing well means: 'remarkable' suit (loud tweed) "bespoke details" (unnecessary and decorative hand stitiching or hand stitch button hole fetish - I have had suits made for years and still don't understand what would make that more aesthetically pleasing without a microscope), loud pocket square billowing out of top pocket. Foppish accessories (beautifully made, but anachronistic in nature) e.g. pocket-watches, fedora hats (on the under-60s), garish shoes that are certainly well made and out of high quality leather, but nevertheless, garish and 'attention seeking'.
Style is personal. Some here have graduated from wanting to look like JT / David Beckham, to now wanting to look like the most-likes-Tumblr #menswear guy. Again, it's just copy-catting.
Use this forum as an inspiration, but if you never liked brown shoes, there is certainly no point in wearing them now, even if this forum deems them more 'correct' than black shoes. Same too, if you can't afford bespoke, (afford means disposable income, not scrimping and saving for months on end) do not be 'bullied' into thinking it is the only option for a suit for you.
Also, men tend to like to collect things. Do not think you need to collect loads of shoes because poster on here say you need "this, this, this, this". Probably one black and one brown oxford shoe from a good quality manufacturer would suffice for all men starting out and on a limited budget.
Having a suit made by hand is a different thing than "handwork" in the sense of pretty buttonholes or decorative pick-stitching. Beyond any discussion of the intrinsic value of making a suit by hand (I know there are diverging opinions on this forum), if this thread is about not wasting money, then I think it is somewhat relevant to understand what one is paying for. What justifies a $4k tag for a suit? If one is looking at it from a retail/cost ratio (am I paying for highly skilled labor and fine materials or am I paying for marketing and markups), then one should learn to differentiate a handmade suit from a machine-made suit - not because one should be bought and the other one not, but at least because it helps understand what one is paying for.
^Excellent post. Through buying a lot and making a lot of mistakes, I've learned three very valuable lessons:
1) Know what is important to you, know where to find it, and be willing to pay for it. For example, I love the way Brioni jackets look on me, but I won't pay bespoke prices to support their marketing. Also, I easily find RTW trousers that fit well, but RTW jackets do not, so I buy trousers OTR and have my jackets made for me.
2) Fit is important for comfort and looks, so a good alterations tailor is critical. Wherever I live, I try to find the best alterations tailor (one who does top-notch work and listens to my wishes, but isn't afraid to tell me when he thinks I'm making a mistake) and gladly pay his asking price. Almost everything I buy OTR goes to the alterations tailor.
3) Spend money on the basics. When I started out, I would have "special" pieces custom made because I figured I could buy things like a navy blazer anywhere. Now, my "special" jackets and OTR navy blazers rarely get worn, but I reach for my custom navy blazer all the time because it fits perfectly, feels great, and coordinates with everything.
- Quality is good but overrated especially if it's only a marginal increase. Fit is king.
- Get a good tailor, Bespoke and/or Alterations.
- Know your measurements. Invest $1 in a measuring tape.
- RTW sizes are highly variable, don't get your mind stuck on one particular size.
- Bespoke should never be the first option. Only go bespoke if you are either, a hard fit in RTW or you are a hobbyist and truly enjoy the bespoke process.
- Don't go cheap on staple items. They are hardly on sale anyways.
- Build your wardrobe for your lifestyle and ignore comments like, "it would look better if it was xxx". Well, I hardly ever wear xxx!
- Think about the gaps in your wardrobe before making any purchase.
- Find the right silhouette that flatters your body.
- Not everybody is going to like your style and it's OK
Not sure if I learned this here, but something that @Manton and I have debated from day 1: Know history, but don't feel bound by it.
And of course, have fun. Don't worry too much about making mistakes. It's going to happen anyway. This will free you up to really go for it. This way, when you get it right, you'll really get it really right. Two of my favorite dressers, @Parker and @gdl203 developed their very high taste levels by being omnivorous.
Making "mistakes" was the way I discovered what suits me best. Unfortunately, I'm slow learner and this is an expensive habit.
I'd still recommend experimenting -- with stuff both "forum approved" and not. Also live with new things awhile before making too quick a judgement.
Yeah, that one got me too. I do not own any linen ties and only a couple of cotton ties, but I have quite a few wool, wool-silk blend and textured silk ties, and they do very definitely ratchet down the formality of the suit in much the same manner that a button down shirt does. I am not saying that either the BD shirt or the textured tie are necessarily wrong with a suit, but I will eschew both if I really want to be "dressed to the nines."
- while I still post random questions, using the search function has definitely saved me $$$; through members experience, fit/sizing, quality, return/shipping etc, etc..It can be overwhelming at times, but there's so much info out there.
- compiling a list of members with similar sizes also helps. I can always send pm's if I have specific fit questions. While final call is always mine, it does help using all these information.
On the note of fit I would also add how the suit move when I move is something I pay more attention to now, kind pointless if the suit only looks good if I am motionless