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Buying my first suit

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mlg321, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. mlg321

    mlg321 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I need to buy a suit for school to attend information sessions, do presentations, and for other activities. I only work 15 hours a week part-time while I pay for school so I really don't have much money for this but since it's required I have no choice. Do any of you have recommendations on what brands to look for that aren't expensive? I realize that buying some unexpensive stuff will not bring forth quality but is it still possible not to look too bad?

    I guess I need one pair of pants, a shirt, shoes, a tie, and a jacket (or blazer? not sure what to call it). I know the fit is important so I'll probably take it to a tailor (how much should that run me?).

    Is it possible to find some stuff at thrift stores? I live in Montreal so if anyone knows places I'd appreciate recommendations.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  2. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Do they have Jos a Bank in Canada? If so, they make decent stuff for the price, especially with constant sales.

    Whatever you buy, remember to have the pants hemmed (ask for no break or a very small one), and the sleeves shortened. They're deliberately made long so as to ensure they fit people with freakishly long arms, and are intended to be shortened to the proper length. About 1 cm of shirt cuff should show.

    Make sure it fits- don't be conned into buying a suit in the wrong size. Salespeople will for some unknown reason push that on you. The size of your suit should be the size of your chest- if you have a 38" chest, you need a size 38. And make sure the jacket isn't too long if you're a shorter guy. If you're short, insist on trying on a short.

    In terms of color, charcoal, mid gray, or navy for the first suit. Not black. Black suits have their place, but not as the first suit. Cheap black suits look cheap.

    And you need to get all wool. It's simply better in every conceivable way than polyester.


    Thrifting is absolutely a good option. You can get cheap, decent, good or even great stuff for rock bottom prices. Canali and Stafford (JC Penny house brand) will be the same price, so you need to learn how to tell quality. It takes a time investment, but at this stage in life, your time isn't worth much monetarily yet anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  3. mlg321

    mlg321 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the reply,

    do you have any suggestion about shoes? I think I'll end up buying a navy suit first so which color/model should I get to fit that?
     
  4. dune

    dune Senior member

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    Black dress shoes go with pretty much everything I think, though if you go for navy you could do a darker brown.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  5. Texastyle

    Texastyle Senior member

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    If you are doing a grey or navy suit then black or brown shoes will work. Black would probably be safer if you are doing presentations for school.
     
  6. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Are you not over egging this? Surely given your means and the low level of what you are doing a decent pair of trousers, a 'dress' shirt as USA apersons would describe it and a tie is enough?
     
  7. mlg321

    mlg321 Well-Known Member

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    Clearly stated I need a complete suit. I'll try and figure if I can get away without a blazer though.

    For the shoes, I'll probably get a black pair since I guess they fit with more colors, but what kind of shoes should they be? I know there's square toed shoes, and ones which are pointed (sorry I really don't know the terms)..which do I get?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  8. Texastyle

    Texastyle Senior member

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    Whatever you do, do NOT get square toe shoes.
     
  9. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Not squared toed. Anything but squared toed. Unfortunately, decent dress shoes are pretty expensive. How much time do you have? I know they don't get too much love here on SF, but if you sign up for Gilt they have Antonio Maurizi shoes on sale for $200-250 pretty often. I'm not a shoe expert, but for that amount of money, I think they're pretty good value. Get an oxford cap toe.
     
  10. Texastyle

    Texastyle Senior member

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  11. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Cap toe oxfords are just so boring (though don't hesitate to buy the pair I have listed for sale), at least in black. The Black captoe line is really quite silly- that advice is given because it's the most formal shoe short of actual formalwear, but for any situation you're going to encounter (interviews and whatnot), any traditionally styled black shoe is going to suffice. You might as well get something a little more interesting, say a wingtip or even just a punchcap.

    Black and conservatively styled. On a budget, Florshiem is a decent option. Nowhere near what most on here would consider a quality shoe, but you don't have the cash for those yet. Unless e-bay or thrift stores can yield it. Or the styleforum B&S.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  12. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Traditionally styled shoe will suffice I guess, but if you want to look "business-y" and you have no real personal interest/taste in footwear, you can just get the oxford cap toe and not have to think about it, and be sure that your footwear is never too informal. Nor will it ever be too formal when worn with a suit.
     
  13. mlg321

    mlg321 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys,

    say I buy a navy blazer, what color pants should I buy with it? The same shade of navy? Should I choose a white dress shirt underneath?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  14. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    To be clear - are you buying a suit, a blazer and pants, or all of the above?
     
  15. mlg321

    mlg321 Well-Known Member

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    I assumed a suit meant the whole ordeal, the pants, blazers, dress shirt, and tie. I need ''professional business attire''.
     
  16. jd2010

    jd2010 Active Member

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    You want a suit, not a blazer.

    A suit is a matching jacket and pant. A blazer is just a jacket that can be matched to a variety of pants.

    Charcoal or dark grey single breasted, two button suit is pretty versatile and is prob what i'd recommend for a first suit.

    Get it tailored so that the sleeves are slightly above your bottom thumb joint, and so that the pants have zero to a half break so that it doesn't look as cheap.

    The dress shirt in general should be light colored. White or conservative pastel colors, dark shirts are tacky. Slim fit if your frame can support it. If you're wearing cheap clothes, having them at least fit well helps immensely.

    Ties should work with the shirt. Dont do matchy matchy, but complementary colors works well, or a significantly lighter/darker version of the color on your shirt will work.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  17. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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    +1, I'll add that a blazer is usually a navy jacket with metal buttons ( roots in the military ). A separate jacket that you can combine with different pants and shirts, for a more casual look, is a sports coat.
     
  18. jd2010

    jd2010 Active Member

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    Unless hes a 52 extra long he isn't going to find much. BB's clearance stock is always ridiculously thin.

    That being said, most of my suits are BB suits. I racked up like 4k in gift cards on ebay back during the bing.com cashback fiasco and then waited for their BOGO sale on suits.

    Ended up getting BB suits for <350 ea.

    While we are on the topic, Im new to this forum and don't know what people think about this, but I am a brooks bros non iron dress shirt evangelist. They come out of the dryer perfect EVERY time. I own > 20... I hate ironing, and these are awesome.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  19. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    I think the advice you got so far is pretty much on point, but I understand if you are uncomfortable with some of the terms. Maybe to summarize it:

    The suit consists of a jacket and trouser in the same color. Try to find something that fits in grey or navy and if possible made out of wool. Add a white long sleeve cotton dress shirt (that is something you can also wear at different occasions) and a conservative tie (conservative means no funny prints etc. - in doubt get a solid burgundy tie). Don't spend more than you can afford, you won't wear this too often during school and your size might have changed by the time you graduate.

    Regarding shoes: Stick with black leather shoes with laces and leather soles. Avoid a square toe. This is the most conservative option and you can wear it at job interviews, presentations. The last thing you should get is a black leather belt with a conservative buckle (no big shiny things, no brand logos, ...)

    Regarding brands: How much can you spend in total?
     
  20. mlg321

    mlg321 Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea how an average suit runs for considering all items but, I was hoping (I'm probably gonna get laughed at) around 400$.
     

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