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Basics of wearing a suit...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Eric, Sep 19, 2003.

  1. Eric

    Eric Senior member

    Jun 17, 2003
    Washington D.C.
    Hey fellas.

    I'm new, obviously. I've got the whole slacks and a button up collared shirt thing pretty down. I get tons of compliments, and thats great and all, but I feel its time to step it up.

    I'd like to start wearing suits. I have a vague idea of what to go for, but if theres anything you guys could tell me or anyone else in my position to look out for?

    I would like to do this on a budget and I have noticed that its tough to find suits with flat front slacks?? Perhaps I'm not looking in the right places? I've only broussed, maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

    What are some good places to start looking besides Ebay for some nice suits that aren't gonna slaughter my wallet?


  2. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Mar 8, 2002
    Moscow, Idaho
    Where are you, what is your price range, and what general "look" do you like? Give an example of a public person who you think is stylish, for example, and we can probably give you some better tips. Generally, if you are young and fit, I think that Emporio Armani suits are a pretty good buy at an outlet or on Yoox.com (although prices are up now, even on Yoox. They used to center around $330, and now are up closer to $420.)

    They are conservative and understated enough for business (unlike, say, most Valentino Roma or Prada suits,) but fashionable enough for a night out at a club (Brioni does this well, but Kiton, while it looks pretty darn good sipping cappucino on the terrace, would look slightly odd at the Standard. And Oxxford would look like you didn't have time to change from the office.)
  3. Pink22m

    Pink22m Senior member

    Mar 15, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    This is an excellent question by Eric because everyone of us on this forum has been through that first time of purchasing a suit. I think there are many things you should know before making your first purchase.

    As LA Guy eluded to, knowing your budget really helps out alot. We can better steer you in one direction or another if you could tell us what you would like to spend. And because suits run on a vast price scale, its good to know where on thats scale you stand.

    First of all, IMHO your first suit should be something conservative and classic. I would stick to a navy, gray or charcoal 2 or 3 button suit. Two button is considered more classic then 3, but both will work fine on any occasion, from funerals to weddings to job interviews. Sticking with something classic assures that you won't fall victim to the latest fashions. I think start with the classic stuff, and then branch out into the fashion forward scene.

    Personally, I was in your position about 18 months ago. Excited about buying my first suit, I looked around at places ranging from Saks, to Nordstroms to Emporio Armani. I ended up getting a charcoal 4 button Emporio Armani suit. As LA Guy mentioned, Emporio is good if you are young and trim. The 4 button fits a slim build very well, and I have gotten many compliments on mine. However, I do sometimes wish I had gotten the 3 button, as its not quite as fashion forward. In any event, its still a great suit and cut rather conservatively. I have worn it for functions ranging from parties to weddings. It also came with flat front trousers.

    As far as places to look for, this all depends on your budget. I have personally never gotten anything off of ebay, and I would never buy anything from there, particularly a suit. To me, buying a suit without touching the fabric and trying it on is like buying a car without test driving it first. So I would shy away from ebay. You can check out local consignment shops in your area, although again, I don't have any experience with them so perhaps someone who has purchased suits from consignment places would be better able to elaborate on them. Nordstroms is a good place to go if you don't want to spend alot on a suit, as there suits start at around $600. The customer service is also good there.
  4. Yosarian77

    Yosarian77 Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    My advice is probably a little different than most on this forum. If you are working off a budget (and really, all of us are in some ways) then you can't run out and buy 4-5 Kiton/Brioni/Oxxford suits. That would run you 15K or whatever.

    However, I would never EVER buy a "cheap" suit. By "cheap" I don't mean price point. I'm talking about composition and fit. In just about every way, a John Nordstrom's store brand suit for $450 is much better made than a $1500 prada suit.

    I own a lot of suits, since I have to wear them to work everyday. I wish I could, but I don't own the best brands in suits (Brioni, Kiton, eg.). For the money, I think Canali is a terrific buy. Very well made, good fabric, and stylish. You can get a good Canali suit on bluefly or Ebay for 500-800.

    My basic style philosophy for suits, especially if you can't own 20 of them, is to go with whatever gives you the most flexibility. For the first 2-5, I'd go with a solid or pin striped navy, a charcoal or pinstriped charcoal, and a solid or pinstriped black. You can dress up, down, or fashionable with all of those.

    Here's an example: I have a charcoal Jil Sander suit that I like a lot. Flat front pants, button fly, tapered legs. If I were to wear this to the office, I'd probably wear a subtle shirt with a fairly simple, minimalist tie. I would probably go with a little color in the tie. Presto, conservative office attire, but the suit isn't necessarily a conservative suit. If I were to wear that same suit to a party or whatever, I would pair it with a Paul Smith shirt with lots of color and stripes, an equally flashy tie, and presto, same suit with a totally different feel.

    You get this same sort of flexibility with the other types of suits.

    And the punctuation to my two cents is this: you can have an inexpensive suit look good if it fits you properly and have it altered nicely. You can have a $3,500 Kiton suit, but if it doesn't fit you properly, it will look horrible on you.
  5. Eric

    Eric Senior member

    Jun 17, 2003
    Washington D.C.
    Thanks for all the replies fellas. I guess I'm looking for something around $500-600. I'm 20, work at an Express for Mens store that I could occationally sport a suit for. I'm 6'2 about 145lb, so I'm tall and slim. I'm assuming a single breasted three button is what I should look for initially. But I'm not really sure, thats why I'm asking you guys. [​IMG] As far as people that I think dress well...hmmm, thats a tough one, I suppose Puff Daddy, I think he dresses extremely well, aside him, Humphrey Bogart? I checked out Yoox.com, and I am impressed with their prices. I'll have to check out Bluefly.com. I can remember when I started dressing nicer about 2 years ago (slacks, nice shoes, and nice button up shirt) I made a ton of mistakes, and I learned from them and I dress much better now. I guess the best way to learn is to make mistakes and learn from them, but I wouldn't mind a little help (training wheels). Let me know what else you guys think I should know. Thanks again. Eric
  6. Kai

    Kai Senior member

    Aug 16, 2003
    At 6'2" 145 pounds, you will likely find that you require a fair amount of taking in on the pants of most suits. Find a decent tailor.

    You can find a nice Canali suit on bluefly for about $600. In my opinion, the best quality for the money in that price range.

    Three button would work. Depending on your body shape, you would probably look good in a double breasted suit too, as a double breasted cut can look terrific on tall, slender men.

    Good luck, let us know how things turn out.

  7. GQ Lawyer

    GQ Lawyer Senior member

    Mar 4, 2002
    They say that you should always start with the three "C's" depending on your wallet and position.
    1. Starting out, low on the pole, first suit - Claiborne
    2. Working your way up, have your first few pay checks - Kenneth Cole
    3. You've made it - Canali.

    Personally, I recommend skipping the Claiborne step. It is hard to go wrong with a nice fashionable Kenneth Cole suit in your stated price range. They are both acceptable in any work situation and are fashionable enough to wear after hours.
  8. Knowledge Worker

    Knowledge Worker Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    And then that crucial step, finding a tailor.

    Any recommendations, or is this another thread?

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