or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › First "real" suit purchase, advice needed!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

First "real" suit purchase, advice needed!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've been lurking in this forum for a while, trying to gather as much knowledge as I can, but I must say, trying to learn all the nuances of a nice suit is really confusing. So, my situation is that I'll be attending a wedding in a month or so and am in need of a nice suit. I'm ashamed to say it, but I'm 26 years old and I haven't owned a suit since early college, and now I've finally decided it's time to invest in a nice suit. Basically, I'm looking for a versatile suit that I can wear to weddings/formal events, etc. I would obviously like for it to last me a while, but if given a choice, I'd rather have the suit lean towards the trendy side (although not at the expense of it being out of style within a year). I'm looking to try to keep the price under $1k. I'm 5'9", 155lbs... have a pretty lean (but not scrawny) build, with fairly wide shoulders. I'd like a suit that I guess I'd call a slim fit (something that would taper in a bit at the waist). Again, I have absolutely no experience buying suits, so please forgive me if what I'm saying makes no sense at all. Any advice that you guys can give would help. What brands should I look for? Any recommendations on color? What stores should I check out (I'd probably need to find a good sale to find a really nice suit in my $1k price range)? Do suits have different "cuts", or is that just a matter of getting a suit tailored? Thanks for any help.
post #2 of 19
Sway, I am by no means an expert in this arena, but I've at least been in your shoes and can share what I learned from my experience.   I would go with a navy or grey suit as those are the most versatile.  I would probably vote for grey because, in my opinion, it allows you more options in terms of patterns.  If you go navy, you'll probably want to go solid navy or pinstripe or chalkstripe -- none of which are very trendy in my opinion.  If you go grey, there are all kinds of patterns to choose from that can be, if not trendy, at least a little bit more unique, while still being very classic. For under $1K, you could get a suit custom made by WW Chan if you're not in a big hurry and live in an area that they'll be visiting on one of their tours.  I haven't gone this route but plan to for my next suit purchase.  One advantage of getting your suit custom made is that you can pick the exact style you want.  Another is that you could, for example, have them make two pair of pants for the suit -- one flat-fronted, which is a little trendier, and the other pleated, which is more traditional. A few years ago, I bought a couple of suits from Jos. Banks -- a black one (which I wore for my wedding) and a tan check.  They were pretty reasonable, and the tan check fits me really well and gets compliments every time I wear it.  On the other hand, they are obviously not great quality, and now that I've learned the difference between fused and non-fused, I'll never buy another fused suit again.  Given your budget, though, you'll easily be able to get something of good quality. I would recommend picking up a copy of Alan Fussler's Clothes and the Man, in which he talks about the different cuts of a suit (American, British, Italian).
post #3 of 19
actually I would go with a dark charcoal - works for interview, wedding, funeral (your own or others) and even does well if you have to stand and face a jury. Suggestions: 1. Repeat after me: "I shall not pay full retail" 2. Forget trendy, trendy suits are trendy generally because they have incorrect proportions. A properly made and proportioned suit from 60 years ago will look a LOT like one made last week. Classicly tailored suits look good regardless of trends because they are proportioned to you. 3. If ya want trendy, go funkier on the shirt/tie - these are your short term investments. Suits are the savings bonds in your wardrobe portfolio - meant for the long term. No sense in wasting money on a suit that will be out of style in a year. ...some examples of what not to do - big pockets, skinny/wide lapels, that down to the crotch "Everyone look at my penis" gorge Armani tried some time ago... Brands to consider: You are young and want something current/classic that accentuates your "No kids, no mortgage, my ass is not as big as Chuck's thank GOD" figure you have goin on. Corneliani and Canali are two excellent choices that can be had in your price range. Both are excellent values. You want a canvassed suit (fabric sewn to canvas interlinings rather than fused (ie, hot glued) to cheap interfacing. A Canvas suit last a lot longer, does not blister and will mold to your physique over time. Hickey Freeman or a deeply discounted Oxxford would be excellent (A little more conservative than I am guessing you want though... tomorrow you'll be glad for the Corneliani, 10 years from now you'll say 'Why did I not find an Oxxford?'. Hope this helps
post #4 of 19
1. fit: yes. different designer has different fits. 2. color: for evening wear, I would get mid night blue type. 3. style: go with traditional 3 button. if you want to dress funky, u can always do that with accessaries and shirts.
post #5 of 19
Personally I would agree with Carlo and look for a dark charcoal, either in a solid or pinstripe, single breasted, perhaps 3 button, and some good brands include Corelliani and Canali for new suits from a boutique, or if you know your measurements and don't mind buying a discount suit online, you can purchase a large variety of suits from ebay vendors including Isaia, Oxxford, Belvest, and potentially Attolini, Borrelli, Barbera, or Brioni.
post #6 of 19
Charcoal or navy in color. If this is your first suit, I would recommend buying a Canali on sale at Bluefly.com. Bluefly makes it easy to return the suit if it isn't what you want. Problem with ebay is that most items you buy there are not returnable. If the ebay seller has a generous return policy and good feedback, however, then ebay might be a good deal. Get a good tailor to alter it to fit your body. Buy some nice dark brown oxford dress shoes, a nice shirt, plain brown leather belt, socks, pocket square, and tie, and you're in business.
post #7 of 19
If you are only going to own one suit for a while, I'd get a solid color rather than any kind of pattern. It is much easier to accessorize a plain suit than a patterned one, especially if you aren't used to wearing suits all the time and trying to accessorize them. Since a charcoal or navy suit with a white or blue shirt is a staple for conservative settings, you might as well start there and branch out when you need/want to. I also agree with getting a conservative and non-trendy style of suit. Canali and Corneliani are both excellent, well-made suits. Bluefly usually isn't the cheapest place to buy, and it can sometimes be hard to find simple (i.e. solid navy or gray) suits in your size. But their liberal return policy cannot be beat.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
First, I'd like to thank everyone who's offered advice. All your responses have been really helpful and educational. From everyone's advice, I think I have it narrowed down to a charcoal colored suit (the one suit I had in college was navy, so I figure it's time for a change... :-P), 3-button, single-breasted. While the thought of getting a custom-made suit does sound tempting, I'm probably not going to go that route for my first suit (it's confusing enough as is&#33. As for brands, a bunch of you in this thread have mentioned Corneliani and Canali (both of which I know have been recommended multiple times in this forum in the past), so I'll probably be focusing my searches on these two brands. So, here comes more questions: 1) With either of these brands, do they have different cuts, or does each brand have their own standard cut? 2) Also, with each of these brands, are there separate lines of suits, or, for example, are all Canali 3-button single breasted suits the same? 3) Carlo has mentioned getting a canvassed-suit (again, something I remember reading in previous posts on this forum... canvassed=good). Are all Canali and Corneliani suits canvassed? And is the way to tell canvassed-suits from fused is to look for threading where the inside-lining attaches to the suit? 4) What department stores should I check out given my search criteria? Again, I appreciate everyone's suggestions on places online with great deals, but for my first suit, it'd probably be a good idea if I went into a store to try these things on, and also get measured. The dept stores in my area are Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom's, and Macy's. One again, thanks for all your help. Greatly appreciated.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
First, I'd like to thank everyone who's offered advice.  All your responses have been really helpful and educational. From everyone's advice, I think I have it narrowed down to a charcoal colored suit (the one suit I had in college was navy, so I figure it's time for a change... :-P), 3-button, single-breasted.  While the thought of getting a custom-made suit does sound tempting, I'm probably not going to go that route for my first suit (it's confusing enough as is&#33.   As for brands, a bunch of you in this thread have mentioned Corneliani and Canali (both of which I know have been recommended multiple times in this forum in the past), so I'll probably be focusing my searches on these two brands. So, here comes more questions: 1) With either of these brands, do they have different cuts, or does each brand have their own standard cut?   2) Also, with each of these brands, are there separate lines of suits, or, for example, are all Canali 3-button single breasted suits the same?   3) Carlo has mentioned getting a canvassed-suit (again, something I remember reading in previous posts on this forum... canvassed=good).  Are all Canali and Corneliani suits canvassed?  And is the way to tell canvassed-suits from fused is to look for threading where the inside-lining attaches to the suit? 4) What department stores should I check out given my search criteria?  Again, I appreciate everyone's suggestions on places online with great deals, but for my first suit, it'd probably be a good idea if I went into a store to try these things on, and also get measured.  The dept stores in my area are Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom's, and Macy's.   One again, thanks for all your help.  Greatly appreciated.
Can't say about Corneliani, but Canali has a couple of lines, Canali, and Canali "Proposta".  As far as I can tell, the Proposta line is cut a little slimmer, and there is a bigger drop from chest size of the jacket to waist size of the pants.   In any given season, Canali 3 button single breasted jackets will likely be the same cut (again, with the exception of the Proposta line).  However, this cut varies slightly from year to year.  Another variation will be the vent of the suit.  Current Canali models have mostly double vents, while older Canali models seemed to be mostly ventless (and two button.)   I still own and wear Canali suits purchased 13 years ago, and the fit is similar to those purchased just a couple of years ago, so if you find that one Canali size 54R fits you, then probably most every Canali 54R will fit you.  Be aware that Canalis are sized in European sizes (54Euro=44US)   All Canali suits (regular and Proposta) are canvassed.  The one Corneliani suit I owned was canvassed.  That was many years ago, however, so I don't know about Corneliani's current construction methods.     If your Nordstrom is one of the big flagship stores, it might carry Canali or Corneliani.  Macy's and Bloomingdales almost certainly will not.  Neiman Marcus might.  Don't pay full price, however, if you can avoid it.  Check out smaller men's boutiques in your area.  Better chance of finding Canali.   What area of the country are you from? Some internet possibilities:   http://www.bluefly.com/sl....rs.html http://stores.ebay.com/Sartorial-Sol...enameZl2QQtZkm
post #10 of 19
Avoid Corneliani's 'Trend' line and stick with straight Corneliani. Trend isn't bad but it is more fashion forward and we want to avoid trendy in our suits, grasshopper. Canali is especially nice if you have a 'V' frame and wide shoulders as it runs larger in the chest/shoulder. Canali has three lines currently I believe - The blue label with "Canali", the black with "Canali Milano" and the White with "Canali Proposta". Proposta generally has a little less handwork and slightly less expensive fabrics but this is nitpicky. Corneliani runs a little slimmer with a more fitted silhouette. I would suggest trying both on if at all possible and see what fits you. Do so at a store you intend to patronize in the future. WRT Ebay it is an excellent option, deal with a seller who is reputable and let them know you need help. There are several of us on here who can help out and the 'forum guy support plan' generally has better terms on returns and such. If you aren't sure -ask here and the guys will do a good job of steering you the right way. There is a seller named Beldessari who many here are pissed off at for ending a bunch of Belvest suit auctions with 5 minutes to go and not following through but if he relists them and you can get one of those for $400 then you are practically stealing (I'm pissed too but this is about what's good for you, not him and those suits are suh-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet)
post #11 of 19
Corneliani makes the lower-priced Trend Corneliani line, the "normal" Corneliani line, and also is the maker for the Polo Ralph Lauren (not Chaps, not Lauren, not Purple Label) suits. I own one Trend Corneliani suit, which has canvas lapels and a fused chest.  It's basically a suit aimed at a younger/less spendy buyer, with some details of expensive suits but less expensive construction methods.  My Trend Corneliani definitely isn't a suit I'd wear for business, because it is a khaki cotton suit (thus too casual for business wear), not because it is a trendy cut.  The wool Trend suits are less conservative than main line Corneliani in fabrics and cuts, and again are fine for social wear but *may* be too trendy for business wear.   I like the fact that Trend C. comes in a seven-inch drop (the differential between coat size and trouser waist). I believe that the Corneliani-made Polo suits are similar in construction quality (canvas lapels, fused chest) but are cut a bit more conservatively.  Main line Corneliani, at least the ones I've seen as of last year, are full-canvas. A canvassed lapel will have small, tightly spaced puckers on the underside of the lapels from the interlining being stitched onto the fabric.  Canvassed lapels will generally roll nicer than fused lapels, lie nicer on the chest, and will not blister from separation of the glue.  At a minimum you should be looking for a suit with canvas lapels.  A canvassed body will generally drape nicer than a fused one, and you can search the archives for the fused vs canvas debate thread to read about how to tell the difference between a fused body and a canvas one. IIRC, Bloomingdale's does sell Canali suits.  Echoing everyone else, whatever you get and wherever you get it, don't pay full retail.
post #12 of 19
I say Canali is for slender built guys. Canali's shoulders are heavely padded and very straight I find. So if you have broader shoulders like myself, there is going to be a gap between the edge of the pad and your shoulder. For broader shoulder guys, I think Armani looks the best. Armani has very relaxed shoulders. Very sharp looking for built guys. If you do not care about fused suits, then Hugo Boss (black label) is something that you may consider. Most of people here does not like the label but you should be able to find wide range of discounted Hugo suits anywhere. I find Boss suit's fusing is thick, but better than others ..
post #13 of 19
Canali is for slender guys? The cut is quite boxy, almost sack-shaped IMO.
post #14 of 19
I would check out Filene's Basement first if you have one in your area.  They usually have a good selection of mainline Corneliani selling for $799.99 and Canali selling for $899.99.  I think there might be a suit sale coming up, in which cases the prices would drop to $599.99 and $699.99, respectively.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice guys. I did have a chance to go to Bloomingdale's this weekend just to try on some suits. They mainly carried Hugo Boss suits, so I tried on a few different 3-button, single-breasted ones. Unfortunately, even their more slim-cut suits seemed to fit large on me around the torso area. I'm a 40R, and the shoulders fit fine. But I guess I have a pretty small waist (around 29-30), so the suits seemed to just drape on me. Is it fairly normal to get the sides of suits taken in, for a better fit? Also, any recommendations on other brands that might offer a slimmer fit? From posts on this forum, it sounds like Hugo Boss suits are generally already considered a slim fit. And it sounds like the Canali/Corneliani suits (that have been recommended on this thread) are of an even boxier cut than Boss? Thanks again.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › First "real" suit purchase, advice needed!