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Buying a first suit

Discussion in 'Menswear Advice' started by jonny2box, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. jonny2box

    jonny2box New Member

    Likes Received:
    Apr 23, 2013

    I've been a long time reader of SF and appreciate all the advice and sartorial knowledge that I've read from the community so far.
    I'm 35 years old and will need a couple great suits for formal events and dinners.

    Presently located in Montreal Canada, which isn't the worst of cities to be in for style and stores, but nothing like the selection down on the US side either.

    -So far my experience is limited to picking up the occasional thrift store find, where I've managed to score a few high-end suits like a gorgeous window-pane Sartoria Partenopea with beautiful handmade craftsmanship where the shoulders and waist size fit Ok perhaps on the big side, but it's a three-button suit for someone much taller and wider than I am. (can this be salvaged or re-tailored? I'm 5'8 and thinking this suit was made for someone over 6' tall)

    Recently went to try on some suits at Harry Rosen's and here's what I came away with for a first fitting experience.

    Tried on a Z Zenga suit with a 1500$ price tag. Which actually fit great, in a 38 S (first sales guy had me in a 38R -second guy said the S was better)
    but I was hoping for something a little better quality than the Z line made in Mexico.

    Here's the link > http://www.harryrosen.com/search?text=22050632

    When I asked about better quality, they showed me the E Zenga line at 2800$ and a Tom Ford (heavy weight construction) at 5600$ neither of those fit my slim build like the fashionable younger cut of the Z Zegna. They said I'm young, I have a slim body type and the other suits are more 'classic' made for old men and don't look good on me.

    My budget is about 1500$ per suit max. and I would never pay full price for a Z Zegna suit, knowing that there are better deals to be had out there but could be tempted to get one at 600$ on sale somewhere if the opportunity arose.

    Looking at ordering something online (maybe from Barney's Warehouse or similar)
    Trouble is the other brands I tried on were all over the board for fitting. Samuelson in a 38 R was swimming with room in the chest and front button and so was a Hugo Boss in a 38.
    A polo sports jacket fit alright in a 38R but it wasn't their Black Label or Purple Label, so not sure if that can translate well to an online purchase at Barneys.

    Can anyone provide some advice as to what other brands of suits I may try knowing that the Z Zegna fits my body type well ?
    I've also tried on a cheap Tiger of Sweden suit in the past that fit me well in a 38.
    I don't have broad shoulders or any real bulk in my torso, just a trim athletic slim body.

    If someone could provide advice on How or Where to begin looking for slim suits but step up the quality a bit more into brands that are typically well constructed with the same kind of fit as a Z Zegna or Tiger of Sweden ? Can a good tailor fix a bad online purchase or mistake as long as the 38 size is right ? Even at discount a 1000$ online mistake would be very costly to a young guy starting out. How do people on this forum make online purchases at discount and still buy with confidence about the fit ? Are there some shops with a better return policy ? Barney's warehouse seems to be an all sales final sort of outfit.

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016

  2. John-Galt

    John-Galt Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Clearance Rack
    Congratulations on the acceptance! I would say Montreal is one of the better cities in Canada for suits. I know how you feel -being a slim build- and often relegate myself to lesser suits just for the fit.

    Harry's carries the drop-7 E Zegna suits no? In my experience they're almost as slim as ZZegna but with a more pronounced chest and little less waist suppression. Aside for Harry's, there L'Uomo (across the street) that carrie E Zegna in a variety of fits. If you sift past the fashion rubbish on SSENSE there are some well made Jil Sander and Lanvin suits. Staff is generally good about bring items in to try on to the brick and mortar store in old Montreal. Uses these stores to get a sense of how you fit in other brands, then strike during sale season.

    Could swear Michel Brisson had a E Zegna on sale for cheap and a couple Neil Barretts (nice fabics). Winners isn't bad for finding RLBL and Zegna. Don't shoot me, but if you can get past the skinny lapels, Burberry London suits aren't bad (half canvass) when on sale on SSENSE.

    Where knowledge is concerned, pay a visit to Boutique Europa. Decent selection but welcoming staff. Recall having a lovely conversation with a senior gentleman about Saint Andrews and Isaia last summer. He's pretty open to slimmer cuts as well. If you approach him, I'm sure he'll point you in the right direction. There is absolutely not pressure to buy!

    Trust me you don't want to go through the disappointment of buying a new suit then altering it dramatically.

  3. greger

    greger Distinguished Member

    Likes Received:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Look around for a real tailor. Some are reasonably price. May not find one. But if you do, and is good, then that is a real bargain.

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