Buying my first suit

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

  1. 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


  2. 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.
     


  3. 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


  4. 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?
     


  5. 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$.
     


  6. Texastyle

    Texastyle Senior member

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    Unless you can nab something off the B&S, Ebay, or thrifting then you are going to have a hard time getting a decent suit and then having it tailored for 400. Whatever you find, just make sure you get it tailored afterwards because it will make it look like you actually spent a lot more.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011


  7. hpreston

    hpreston Senior member

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    If you are looking for just the suit for $400 you may be able to find a decent sale, or something on the B&S forum, or eBay.

    If you are looking for the complete outfit (suit, plus shirt, tie, and shoes) for $400, you are probably going to need to hit some thrift stores.
     


  8. Square101

    Square101 Member

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    As long as you don't have problems wearing another mans shoes, its never bothered me but some people don't like it, definitely go thrifting and look around on ebay for shoes. I spent the summer in Denver going to thrift stores a once or twice a week and was able to pick up 4 pairs of shoes that would normally run $300-$400 for $10 bucks a pair and then found two others on ebay for cheap as well. Since you live in a large enough area you should definitely be able to find some good and even possibly great quality stuff for cheap at thrift stores if you are patient and do your research before you go.
     


  9. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    You can certainly find something in that price range. If anyone laughs at you, they are working through their own insecurities.

    If buying new I would look for a suit on sale to get the best value.

    As this is your first suit, I suggest buying it in a bricks and mortar store rather than via the Internet. Only after you really know your size and some key measurements (coat: length, chest, waist, arm, shoulder. trousers: waist, length, & inseam.) should you attempt to buy on-line ... and even then only if you aren't overly particular about a 'perfect' fit. Personally I'm not ridiuculously picky and have had some very good luck over the internet ... including 40 or 50 'gently used' Savile Row (the street, not the company) pieces.

    Thrifting in some of the better shops (a place akin to Good Byes in San Francisco) can result in some nice finds. You can likely pick up a very good quality 'lightly used' suit for a few hundred dollars ... one with an original retail value of $1200 or more.

    Cptjeff is dead on with his above comment ... as is the rest of his post.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011


  10. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    If you have some time to check different sales (I assume you don't need it within the next week) that should be possible.


    • Make sure you know your belt size and get your arms + neck measured in a good clothing store so you know your shirt size. Go to discount stores or check websites and look out for shirts from cotton (polyester will make you sweat) and find a silk tie and a basic belt.
    • Don't buy shoes online since you wanna make sure that they really fit. Looking at endless there are a bunch of things under $100 which are probably OK for your purposes, e.g. http://www.endless.com/Bostonian-Me...1&nodes=242120011&sort=price&colors=519114011]
    • For suits you need to check thrift stores or sales until you get lucky and find something which really fits you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011


  11. zackhyde

    zackhyde Member

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    I can get you there for under $400.

    But first, a point of clarification. To be absolutely clear, a "suit" is a two-piece garment sold with a single price tag. If a suit costs $100 or $1,000, you will be getting a jacket and a pair of pants, typically hanging on the same hangar. With a suit, the jacket and pants are always made of the same fabric--otherwise, it is not a suit.

    It can also look dressy to wear either a blazer or a sport coat and nice pants. However, if you do that, you should NOT try to match the jacket to the pants. They should complement each other, not match. Navy jacket over grey pants, or houndstooth jacket over navy pants, would be acceptable.

    When you get a first suit, keep the jacket with the pants. Don't try to wear them as separates if you're a novice. (Incidentally, if you do something that destroys your outfit, you will thus only destroy one suit, not two.)

    Now, your goal with $400.

    First, shoes. I recommend the company Johnson & Murphy (J&M) and the shoe that they call the 'Melton'. Around here, you can always find these in places like Discount Shoe Warehouse for about $169.00. You may also find them at Macy's or similar department stores. You can likely buy them from the J&M web site or from Amazon or similar.

    The J&M Melton may be one of the least expensive shoes you can buy that puts you over the line from really cheap, mass-made crap, and into the field of durable, reputable shoes. They can be re-soled. they will last a long time. The Melton is a black, cap-toe oxford with a thin leather sole. It will look great in any situation in which you wear a suit. they should be easy to keep shined.

    If you don't find or want the Melton, look at it online nonetheless, and then go look for something similar. Learn the difference between open lacing and closed lacing. Closed lacing looks more formal. the Melton has closed lacing. You should choose somethign with closed lacing.

    Now, turning to the suit. First, go to a department store that sells suits. Try on a bunch until you know your size. Hopefully, there will be a jacket size that fits you off-the-rack. For instance, I fit right into a 42L. But put on a bunch of jackets and look in the mirror. Pay attenttion to the shoulders. You should not look like a Marvel super-hero. The jacket shoulders should natrually follow yoru curves, not protrude up and out at all.

    The tops of the sleeves should not really show any puckering or wrinkling because the shoulder pads in teh jacket go up or off your shoulders at all. that would be an indicia of a too-large jacket.

    Once you know your size, go home and search for examples on ebay. Here are some brands that are reputable, but that you shoudl find at affordable prices used or new on ebay: Zegna, Canali, Hugo Boss*, Hickey Freeman. Some Style Forum members will excoriate you if you mention Hugo Boss. Hugo Boss suits with a "black label" that says "Boss" should be okay for a first suit, though. I have had really good luck with Hickey-Freeman. They tend to be very corporate and relatively un-interesting. Zegna and Canali are Italian makers with a more luxurious feel and maybe a little more interest in colors and fabric choice--but still completely acceptable for all office jobs.

    You may have luck with Brooks Brothers, but be forewarned, BB has made some very weird suits. There are ones with un-lined jackets, for instance.

    When you find an ebay acution for something in yoru jacket size, see if the inseam is as long as, or longer, then yours. If so, bid on it or buy it.

    I have found a variety of Canali, Zegna, Boss, and Hickey Freeman suits in my size with a buy-it-now price of around $100 to $140.

    Use Yelp to find a local tailor who gets good reviews for altering men's suits. Take your suit to him, and explain that you are on a budget and, for now, only want the pants made the right length. This should cost under $25.

    Spend the remaining $100 on: undershirts, dress socks, white button front shirt from Nordstroms or similar (do not get shirts with buttons on the points of the collars--those are casual in the Americas).

    If you have Nordstrom Rack in Montreal, you should be able to get a white Nordstrom dress shirt in "tailor fit" (less puffy and tent-like than regular) for $30. Get two.

    There you are. Under $400.
     


  12. lemmywinks

    lemmywinks Senior member

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    If you have access to Uniqlo you can get a suit for like $130. Should fit better than Jos A Banks off the rack.
     


  13. cioni2k

    cioni2k Senior member

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    Am I the only one that thinks black shoes DON'T go with everything? I own about 5-6 pairs of brown shoes and one pair of black and I rarely ever wear the blacks. Brown goes with anything except Black. Try wearing black shoes with shades of green, khaki, brown, etc. without looking dumb.
     


  14. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    I too wear mostly brown shoes but if I had to have one pair of shoes that was going to have to serve me well in different social and business situations, I'd probably choose a black one. Depends on your industry some.
     


  15. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I rarely wear black either ... but the most essential pair of shoes is black in that everynow and again a degree of formality is not simiply suggested by required: funerals, opera, that not-quite-black-tie charity event, an Episcopal Church wedding, etc., etc., etc. Wearing brown shoes to sucn an event is just not done by those who care to dress appropriately.

    From this point of view ... everyone needs a pair of black cap toe Balmorials for the not-quite-but-almost formal events. For everything else a pair of brown derbys works well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011


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