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workhorse suit

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
OK, my new wardrobe is getting close to complete. I am now looking for a "workhorse" navy suit, and maybe a light gray and another charcoal to fill things out (SB). Any ideas on what brands generally make for a good solid workhorse suit? I won't be looking for fancy (forget Brioni), as these suits always see the most use in my wardrobe and I tend to abuse them. I don't want crap, but no need for $3500 Kitons here. The navy will probably be used mostly for the dull meetings, interviews, blah blah blah - the typical workhorse suit days. Anyone have any favorites here? I've been thinking Zegna and Brooks Bro's Makers line, and considering Canali. Feedback anyone?
post #2 of 37
This is what I am having made up for my workhorse suit this spring: Zegna has a Soltex swatch in dark navy for the spring. I am having it MTM in a model that I believe is called "Positano," but you would have to ask a retailer. Basically, it is a suit with flat front trousers, but the lapel on the jacket is slightly more narrow than on the cardigan model. The Soltex fabric is nice for travelling. The suit will be understated and versatile, fully canvassed, etc. I like Zegna's fit and find their fabrics more than adequate. Hope that helps.
post #3 of 37
I wouldnt focus on the brand as much as I would on the fabric. Most suits in the $700.00-$1200.00 range are constructed using similar techniques. Im sure those very well versed in suit construction can elaborate. My point is if you want a "workhorse" suit, you need a "workhorse" fabric. Nothing too thin, or elegant, or sheer, that will show alot of wear and break down quickly under the heavy usage of such a suit. My own personal style is that of a "gentleman hobo" as someone on here once referred. I love the look of well made things that fray and age over time. That look was built on my preference for "workhorse" type fabrics. I wear heavy flannels and tweeds in the winter, as well as cavalry twill. In the summer, the suits that have served me the best, in terms of durability, have been mohair suits. I have a RL MTM tan nailhead, made from mohair that is indestrucable. Its light, breathes great, yet the fabric has held up better than some suits that have fabric significantly heavier. I also have a linen suit that is made from a slightly heavier than usual linen, that while it always wrinkles, seems like it will last forever. Not sure if you would want a linen suit to be a "workhorse" suit though, with the upkeep. If you are interested in brands, I would go with RL blue label (can usually be found on sale), Paul Stuart also. The brands you mentioned - zegna, BB, and canali are not very similar, in terms of styling. Whats your style? do you like stylish italian suits, or are you more of a Brooks man, that likes very conservative clothes. This will be a huge factor in what you buy. Where are your other suits from?
post #4 of 37
My "workhorse" suit is a Oxxford navy pinstripe in Super 100s... I've worn it quite often for the past 2 years (probably once a week or so) and have drycleaned it many times, and it hasn't shown noticable wear (a little bit of pilling at the sleeves that I've taken care of with a clothes shaver) but otherwise it is flawless.
post #5 of 37
My Paul Stuart navy wool side vent three button that I got on 40% off sale. I wear the jacket alone with jeans, the suit always looks, fits great... I have spent a great deal more on other suits for far far less wear. I have had this thing taken in, let out... etc. etc... its great, I'd buy it again retail (well, no... that;s not true...) Also a Brooks Makers that is like 10 years old -its a heavy wool charcoal with a nice weave. It had stood the test of time... that one I actuall purchased retail - I was young, new to New York... Naive
post #6 of 37
Don't know how hard you are to fit, or what your overall satisfaction is with RTW. You might consider eBay or the thrift shop for something well-made but so cheap that you won't care one way or the other. Or, if you have something you really like in your closet, take it to Chan or someone else from HK and have it copied in a really durable fabric. Nailhead, pick-and-pick, and a few others can be unbelievably durable. Grey is often better than navy for this kind of thing, as it doesn't show dirt or wrinkling as much. Navy blue can look a little sharper, but that's not always a good thing in context.
post #7 of 37
stick with 9 gram super 100 - 120 wool fabric. Thats about medium weight and it'll be tough, drape well, and look cool.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
OK, my new wardrobe is getting close to complete.  
"Complete", as in stopping buying, is hard to pull off. "Close to complete" means you have a few specific items-also hard to pull off when faced with a sudden good deal. I thought I had bought enough recently and wasn't looking for anything more, but then why was I on Lance's website this morning and just happened to see a brown herringbone Kiton flannel sportshirt? As it was suitable for "farmer", I'm off to the races. Just commenting on lack of discipline (my own) when it comes to "complete" and hope you have more. Edit: Yes, I wear items like these to work on casual days but don't work behind a plow. Sorry for the digression. Agree with the suggestion of a gray, perhaps all-season, nailhead suit. Avoid supers over 100 for better wear. Accessories are easy with a suit this neutral.
post #9 of 37
Unless you're wedded to Italian clothes, go to an American manufacturer for a "workhorse suit." In the middle to upper range that includes Brooks Bros., J. Press, Paul Stuart, and Hickey Freeman. You will need a strong cloth with some weight. The featherweight suits will not last. Do not get anything under 10 oz. As a general rule the English cloths are sturdier than the Italian ones. Also do not go for super fine cloths. Nothing over 100. An 80's will be fine. If you're buying off the rack, tell your salesman that you want a workhorse and a "suit that will wear like iron." If you have a good salesman and good shop, you'll find these in your price range. Good luck.
post #10 of 37
I would agree with the above. Anything below 10oz is not a work horse. Anything over a Super 100s is not a workhorse suit. My workhorse suit is a Hickey Freeman, which travels extremely well. If you are going custom, look at the H Lessor 11/12 oz or 13 oz books or Smith Woolens 13 oz book.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
stick with 9 gram super 100 - 120 wool fabric.  Thats about medium weight and it'll be tough, drape well, and look cool.
I hope you mean 9 ounce fabric.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Quote:
(MilanoStyle @ Mar. 01 2005,10:04) stick with 9 gram super 100 - 120 wool fabric.  Thats about medium weight and it'll be tough, drape well, and look cool.
I hope you mean 9 ounce fabric.
Opps .. I ment 9 kilo
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Opps .. I ment 9 kilo
No lightweight suits for you, eh?
post #14 of 37
My 2 workhorse suits are Hickey-Freeman MTM (LP 120s) and Canali MTM (Vitale Barberis 100s). Panzer
post #15 of 37
My workhorse suits are a solid charcoal Zegna MTM and a solid navy Oxxford.
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