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Classic Menswear as muscular guy

BB_Adept

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Dear forum.

I am in a bit of a struggle. About 3/4 of a year ago I started to be interested in classic menswear and began dressing differently. I bought a couple of shirts and trousers from collaro.co and luxire. The shirts are quite nice, I am still struggling with trousers though.
Additionally I took some of my father's old sport coats and had them adjusted by a tailor. They were nice ones from Rene Lezard and Ermenegildo Zegna.
They are now ok, but far from perfect. I enjoy wearing them.

My issue however is adding things to my wardrobe. I am a muscular guy weighing around 97,5kg at 1.81cm. Most clothes do not fit off the rack. On top of that I live in a small German town and I have little time to drive to cities 1 hour away to shop there.

I keep going back and forth between buying pre owend clothes and having clothes made for me (as in: what shall I go for next). Buying only mtm/bespoke, even if I opt for cheap tailors such as collaro, is quite pricey. Getting a sport coat for under 750 euros seems to be impossible. I earn quite a decent amount of money but this will limit my options severely as I cannot justify spending 10% of my annual income on clothes and end up with only a couple of sport coats.

I am open to buying second hand, either on this forum or from vendors such as Pete and harry (haven't found any other good places so far) but that is tricky as well. I have to rely on the information provided and I am not 100% sure about my actual size. That's why so far I didn't buy a single second hand item. Most of the good stuff is still too "expensive" to just buy it and risk wasting the entire amount.
Even if the clothes fit alright there is still no guarantee I will actually like the fit and style on my body.

Any suggestions? My preferred option is somehow managing to buy decent second hand stuff that fits well. I only want to consider online bespoke options when this is not a viable way to go.

I found another website named smithbespoke.com that seems very good for people in my situation, but the tax costs will ruin the otherwise decent prices.
 
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GaiusM

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I feel your pain. My build is basically identical, 95kg at 180cm, muscular/athletic.
MTM/bespoke will cost quite a bit to get good quality. If you cannot fit that into your budget right now your best bet is to buy second hand or RTW and have a good alterations tailor to fix everything.
With a muscular build you will have to size up and take in. To get your size take a day and go to a professional and get measured. You don't have to lie, just tell them you are new to clothes and considering purchasing a suit in the future and want to get your measurements so you know where to begin. Also helps to try on a lot of different fabrics and brands to get a feel for what you like. Don't hesitate to try on things way out of your price range, it will give you a feel for quality.
You say you are good on shirts. That is a good place to start. Find out what is alterable and what isn't. For coats, jackets and shirts the shoulders must fit well, non-negotiable. Sleeves and body can be taken in easily. IME too baggy can be altered much more easily than too tight.
For trousers forget about waist size except as a general guideline. Make sure you have a proper fit around your hips, and thighs. The waist can be taken in relatively easily, letting out the hips to accomodate your giant squat butt rarely works out well. I'm a 34 waist but usually end up getting 36-38 depending on the pair in question. Note that many online and retailers in general have trousers designed for slimmer, less muscular men. This makes those cuts useless for you unless you want the stuffed sausage leg look.
Since you have a tighter budget don't worry too much for now about getting things made. Maybe set a target, say 1 MTM jacket per year, and get everything else second hand or cheaper. You can dress well without breaking the bank; the key is getting the fit right and that is where an alterations tailor comes in. Buying online is a gamble until you know your measurements and have a good idea of how things should fit. If you are new to CM you definitely shouldn't do online bespoke or even online MTM yet. Take your time, acquire clothes piece by piece over time, try lots of things on when you can, learn what you like and what fits you well. When you do get something made I highly recommend you go in person to really get the most out of the process.
 

BB_Adept

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Thank you for your reply and your condolences.

However, i think you have a slightly wrong idea about me.
I know a little bit about sizing and fabrics. I have my own tape measure and I know how to use it (or can instruct my wife to do it). My first sport coat was from a local tailor and the fit is decent enough for me (not perfect though), so I can measure it and compare.

But buying locally is not an option as of right now. I work on a lot of weekends and I have a couple of other projects. Therefore I am "limited" to online purchases which I have refrained from so far due to the risk involved.
Maybe a vendor such as Pete and Harry from this forum is the best middle way. They offer second hand clothes and have a return policy. They also provide measurements.
Also thinking about trying out Spier and Mackay because they have high quality items for decent prices. Those would most likely need alterations though.
 

TheIronDandy

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I think getting a cheaper piece or two from Pete&Harry could be a good start, because it will give you something to work from without investing too much money. The guys that run P&H are also real menswear enthusiasts (and extremely nice people), so if you have questions about a piece they may be able to answer it.

You probably know these bits already, but when looking at RTW (new or vintage) there usually isn't much room for taking things out, so look for larger pieces and aim to have them taken in. Bespoke clothing usually has a bit more room to be taken out, so if you can find bespoke pieces in roughly the right size that can be a good deal as bespoke is usually quite reasonably prices pre-owned - you obviously lose the custom fit but they're still usually made to a high standard compared to many "luxury" RTW brands.

Best of luck!
 

rjc149

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I have similar issues, although I don't know how muscular you are or where your bulk lies on your body (bottom or top).

My suits are now all Asian bespoke (Hong Kong), which I've found to be quite good for the price point ($800-900), and the only way to flatter my V torso. When I bought off the rack, I would size according to my shoulders, but needed the mid section taken in pretty significantly, which would result in the lapels gaping at the chest.

I don't own any sport coats but given that they are usually a little roomier to accommodate layers, finding something that fits your chest and shoulders is paramount. The mid section can be boxier.
 

BB_Adept

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Thank you all for you replies. I am quite muscular but no Ronnie Coleman. My muscularity is limited by my physiological testosterone if you know what i mean. There are a couple of photos from my back in this forum (wearing a shirt).

@rjc149 it is funny you should mention that. This is an issue i have encountered myself and i was wondering where it comes from. I wanted to upload some pictures in "the tailor's thread" tomorrow asking what this is, actually I will still do that because i am interested in your opinions.

800-900 dollars would be an appropriate price for me. However, i cannot just go to Hong Kong and the tailors in Germany are considerably more expensive. That is why I was thinking about the online bespoke options that are out there and seem to do quite a decent job, but even Collaro costs around 800 € for a full canvassed sport coat.
 

BB_Adept

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If i may, i would like share the link of my earlier post in here as well. I would upload the pictures but i cannot find my smartphone.


I am still struggling to add to my wardrobe, especially when it comes to buying online since i do not quite know what size to buy.
 

rjc149

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Thank you all for you replies. I am quite muscular but no Ronnie Coleman. My muscularity is limited by my physiological testosterone if you know what i mean. There are a couple of photos from my back in this forum (wearing a shirt).

@rjc149 it is funny you should mention that. This is an issue i have encountered myself and i was wondering where it comes from. I wanted to upload some pictures in "the tailor's thread" tomorrow asking what this is, actually I will still do that because i am interested in your opinions.

800-900 dollars would be an appropriate price for me. However, i cannot just go to Hong Kong and the tailors in Germany are considerably more expensive. That is why I was thinking about the online bespoke options that are out there and seem to do quite a decent job, but even Collaro costs around 800 € for a full canvassed sport coat.
Many of the Hong Kong based tailors travel on tours to major cities to take measurements. The garments are then made in HK and shipped to the client. One of these tailors visited my office once per year (not since Covid though) and that’s how I got my suits.

Try looking through some of their websites and see when they’ll be in your area. They will post dates and locations. I’m sure a major German city like Berlin or Munich is on their itinerary.
 

BB_Adept

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Thank you! Any specific suggestions for a tailor? The nearest city that might be visited and is reachable for me is Duesseldorf or maybe even Frankfurt (Frankfurt is quite far though).
 

BB_Adept

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Thank you but going full bespoke is precisely what I did not want as of right now.

My wife and I are currently looking for real estate and at the age of 31 I am trying to build my financial assets. Even though I have a dcent income I cannot justify spending 1 monthly net income on a sport coat.

I can imagine going full bespoke later on in my life but for now it might be the wrong choice financially.
My income will progress over the next decade so I might not have to wait too long, but for the next 3 years (approx) spending 2.5k euros on a single item is just going to be too much.

Also, I do not even think that I need a 100% perfect fit to be satisfied. I only started being interested in CM this year so my preferences will change and so will my style.

As I mentioned beforehands, there is a US based tailor, https://smithbespoketailors.com/ , who seems to offer a tremendous value and an online bespoke hybrid service. I am still thinking about giving them a try. 2 sport coats+2 trousers+4 shirts are being offered for ~3200 dollars (+taxes and import charges though). The import charges are quite a bit, approximately 1000 (!) Euros. Still think about giving this a go.
They also offer single jackets for 1050 dollars so I might try one first and if I am satisfied I can order there once a year and build my basic wardrobe this way.
And there is still collaro.co whom I have tried before, but only for shirts and trousers. Sadly, even collaro is quite expensive costing around 350 euros for 2 shirts or 2 trousers.

Accessories can always be bought second hand.
 
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rjc149

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Thank you! Any specific suggestions for a tailor? The nearest city that might be visited and is reachable for me is Duesseldorf or maybe even Frankfurt (Frankfurt is quite far though).
I've been happy with this guy:

These are definitely not top-tier bespoke Saville Row suits, but they are quite good and perfectly adequate for business wear. Mine have held up well and fit me noticeably better than any OTR suit I've owned.

The appeal here is that you're paying about the same for a mid-tier OTR suit (Brooks Bro's, Hickey Freeman, Ralph Lauren etc) but it's a bespoke, canvassed suit.

Covid has put a stop to their touring, I know I've been waiting for them to visit NYC again since 2020. I think you can sign up for their email notifications -- Germany is definitely one of their stops, but it appears their touring is currently on hold.
 

dieworkwear

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Thank you! Any specific suggestions for a tailor? The nearest city that might be visited and is reachable for me is Duesseldorf or maybe even Frankfurt (Frankfurt is quite far though).
Torsten has used bespoke tailors in Germany. You may want to contact him. He has good taste and a sharp eye for clothing.

 

TheIronDandy

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Thank you but going full bespoke is precisely what I did not want as of right now.

My wife and I are currently looking for real estate and at the age of 31 I am trying to build my financial assets. Even though I have a dcent income I cannot justify spending 1 monthly net income on a sport coat.

I can imagine going full bespoke later on in my life but for now it might be the wrong choice financially.
My income will progress over the next decade so I might not have to wait too long, but for the next 3 years (approx) spending 2.5k euros on a single item is just going to be too much.

Also, I do not even think that I need a 100% perfect fit to be satisfied. I only started being interested in CM this year so my preferences will change and so will my style.

As I mentioned beforehands, there is a US based tailor, https://smithbespoketailors.com/ , who seems to offer a tremendous value and an online bespoke hybrid service. I am still thinking about giving them a try. 2 sport coats+2 trousers+4 shirts are being offered for ~3200 dollars (+taxes and import charges though). The import charges are quite a bit, approximately 1000 (!) Euros. Still think about giving this a go.
They also offer single jackets for 1050 dollars so I might try one first and if I am satisfied I can order there once a year and build my basic wardrobe this way.
And there is still collaro.co whom I have tried before, but only for shirts and trousers. Sadly, even collaro is quite expensive costing around 350 euros for 2 shirts or 2 trousers.

Accessories can always be bought second hand.
If you're looking at spending that kind of money on affordable bespoke, I would suggest you check out Cad&the Dandy of in London (or their Swedish partner Götrich&Co in Stockholm). They do proper bespoke with patterns cut in London but the tailoring done mostly in India (in-house though, so it's not outsourced to random tailors). With both the UK and Sweden being closer, you could possibly fly in for a measuring/fitting, and if you're ordering from Sweden it's within the EU so less hassle. Sports coats start at around 1k euro, trousers at 300, shirts at 200. I'm not personally familiar with the UK branch but the Swedish branch is ran by people who really care about quality clothes. I've been a customer for a couple of years, and I've found the quality excellent and the service level top notch; when I've had issues (which happens in bespoke) they've been extremely willing to work with me to find a solution. When you're getting into bespoke, especially if you're hard to fit, dealing with a tailor who is easy to work with is a HUGE boon.

No matter what you do, starting with a single jacket is probably the better idea. Getting one custom jacket that's a decent-but-not-perfect fit is a learning experience, and it can be justified if it means they can nail the next one. Possibly getting 2 jackets and 4 shirts that need heavy alterations is going to be a mess - it also means the tailor has more incentive to challenge you on alterations, as altering that many pieces eats up time. Start with a single jacket and see how good they get the fit. Once they nail it, you can order more. At this point, I can call in my orders to my tailor because they know the fit.
 

BB_Adept

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Well first of all thank you for all these splendid replies.

If you're looking at spending that kind of money on affordable bespoke, I would suggest you check out Cad&the Dandy of in London (or their Swedish partner Götrich&Co in Stockholm). They do proper bespoke with patterns cut in London but the tailoring done mostly in India (in-house though, so it's not outsourced to random tailors). With both the UK and Sweden being closer, you could possibly fly in for a measuring/fitting, and if you're ordering from Sweden it's within the EU so less hassle. Sports coats start at around 1k euro, trousers at 300, shirts at 200. I'm not personally familiar with the UK branch but the Swedish branch is ran by people who really care about quality clothes. I've been a customer for a couple of years, and I've found the quality excellent and the service level top notch; when I've had issues (which happens in bespoke) they've been extremely willing to work with me to find a solution. When you're getting into bespoke, especially if you're hard to fit, dealing with a tailor who is easy to work with is a HUGE boon.

No matter what you do, starting with a single jacket is probably the better idea. Getting one custom jacket that's a decent-but-not-perfect fit is a learning experience, and it can be justified if it means they can nail the next one. Possibly getting 2 jackets and 4 shirts that need heavy alterations is going to be a mess - it also means the tailor has more incentive to challenge you on alterations, as altering that many pieces eats up time. Start with a single jacket and see how good they get the fit. Once they nail it, you can order more. At this point, I can call in my orders to my tailor because they know the fit.
This is a good idea in general, but I do not know if it is suitable for me. Traveling back and forth costs quite a lot in terms of opportunity costs. I am not a big fan of driving to and waiting at an airport so even a quick one day trip to London/Stockholm will cost me at least an entire day of free time with wife and family. On top I will not earn any money on this day and since I have the opportunity to work on weekends if I want to, this will drive up opportunity costs even more. I am not saying that I dismiss the idea right away, but off the top of my head I do not think it is likely that I will actually do this.

Right now I am leaning towards ordering from collaro. They commissioned a couple of shirts and trousers for me and the latest items were very nice and the communication is very good. They offer full canvas sport coats including a bastet jacket for about 800 Euros (+import charges).
The major advantage would be the opportunity to order online. If they get the fit right (which I sort of think they eill) I would have a tailor whom I can order from easily again. I do like their trousers and shirts already, trying a jacket seems like a natural next step.

Still, I would prefer to go vintage because I think this is a good and cheap way for many people to buy clothes, but possibly not suitable for me.
 

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