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European v. american suits

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mike C., Mar 26, 2003.

  1. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    Being in Europe for the past few months, I've noticed that suit makers cater local taste as opposed to producing a universal product. For instance: the Hugo Boss suits in Italy are double vented, with a slim waist, while in America they are formless, single or unvented. The same goes for Zegna as well. I haven't noticed any other brands, but I suspect more of the same. Shirts tend to be slimmer over here too. What gives? Anyone else notice this?
     
  2. davei

    davei Senior member

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    I've noticed this as well. When I was in Switzerland I brought a BOSS Hugo Boss sport jacket for emergencies (classic North American sack shape) and my friends were taken aback at the cut. It's only logical that large, international companies would tailor (no pun intended) their products to specific markets.
     
  3. BjornH

    BjornH Senior member

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    I think this has to do with the shape of the people that buy and wear the clothes. Selling european cut clothes west of the atlantic would just exclude to many potential american buyers. (sorry guys)

    This is one of my few complaints about RL and BB shirts - I could easily gain 25 pounds and they would still fit fine.

    B
     
  4. European Interloper

    European Interloper Senior member

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    Unfortunately, clothing sizing and cut doesn't seem to be warding off obesity in Europe- despite fine (and slim) tailoring from the likes of Boss and Sir Paul Smith, Germany and England are quickly coming to terms with obesity on scale with that in the US...
    I guess this is why so many pharmaceuticals have dropped the AIDS cure R+D and started in on obesity cures.
    --A [very] Cynical European Interloper
     
  5. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    How very true . . . I think this is due to the difference in our dining habits.  In America, a buffet is called "all you can eat," whereas in England, it's called "all you care to consume."  That said, I think the slim-cut European suits could do very well in L.A.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of overweight people I saw there during my two-month stay.
     
  6. Stone

    Stone Senior member

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    Hilditch & Key shirts work the same way - a H&K shirt bought from Saks is much fuller than the same shirt that you get in England/mail-order. It's actually kind of a shame - 16" necks fit me in England, but in the US, they're way too full.
     
  7. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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        I thought thats why also. It sucks for guys like me though; I also could gain 30 lbs. and wear some of my shirts the same way. In order for me to get a proper fitting shirt or suit in the US, I'm finding I need to dish out stratospheric prices. Whereas in Europe I'd be able to pick up a great fitting suit for around $300 (full-retail), and a shirt that uses half as much material as it's US counterpart for $70. Comparable products in the US would go for $900+ and $175+ respectively.

     
       Definatly, but also Europeans tend to walk places a hell of alot more. Think of people in NYC; the obesity isn't bad at all, due to walking. LA is an exception though; those people are way too into looks, obesity may even be considered a crime.

     On a separate note: Why are double vents so exotic in the US? They are clearly superior in flattering the figure more than a single, or ventless back. Enty level suits with double vents are at lest $1200 when bought in the US.
     
  8. Anomaly

    Anomaly Member

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    "On a separate note: Why are double vents so exotic in the US? They are clearly superior in flattering the figure more than a single, or ventless back. Enty level suits with double vents are at lest $1200 when bought in the US."

    It depends on the figure. If you have a large backside it tends to open the vents giving a Daffy Duck like appearance. Ofcourse such a problem could be corrected with proper tailoring, but proper tailoring is almost unknown in the US.

    -Foster

    "The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth."
    "Everything great and intelligent is in the minority." - Goethe
     
  9. diplomatic_lies

    diplomatic_lies Member

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    Would European or American suits be better for an Asian living in Australia? A thin Asian as well.
     
  10. mbc

    mbc Senior member

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    regarding dress shirts... are there any brands sold in the US that fit in the European style? i'm a pretty thin guy myself (6'1", 160lb or so) and don't particularly enjoy going for a swim inside my dress shirts... where might i pick up a decently fitting shirt?
     
  11. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    I feel as if no other item of clothing flatters the figure as a well as a nicely tailored suit. Living in Austrailia, you should have a few Saville Row-inspired tailors floating around. If you're looking for a slimmer cut, with double vents this is the way to go; it will look better IMO on a thin figure, than a shapeless american suit.
     
  12. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Matt:

    I think picking up a slimly cut shirt isn't a problem. Finding one at a reasonable price might be more difficult. For name brands Paul Smith and ETRO are currently very hot brands, and cost $150-200 US. The Neiman Marcus here in SF had a great selection when I looked Sat. at $155 and $175, and you could also wear them with jeans. But this is an adventurous, although popular look. For more classic whites, blues, etc. try Brioni or Barba, or even Prada or Dior Homme or Helmut Lang (if you can find them). Of course these will all set you back $250 plus. Thomas Pink in SF also had some new slim fit models hanging up in the front, but most were also candy-striped in appearance. If you're willing to share where you live, perhaps we could give you specific stores to try.

    Or you could try a custom tailor- one of which posts fairly regularly on the board and is very reasonably priced. However, none of the members have had their shirts for long so we don't know about durability yet. Plus I stirred up a bit of a controversy asking them about the conditions their laborers work under if you care about that sort of thing. If you want to check the archives, the thread ran back around Christmas I believe.
     
  13. davei

    davei Senior member

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    To add and deviate somewhat from what Steve B. mentioned, if you're in a reasonably large area, try a local tailr or better men's shop and see if they have a bespoke shirt program. There are usually sales/promotions around this time of year, and you can get locally made shirts to your specs for a very reasonable price (for example, I recently had some made for the same price as off the rack.) No shipping hassles involved, but depending on your area you may have to pay sales tax (in my area it's 15%, which is always a chafe...)
     
  14. mbc

    mbc Senior member

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    Whoops.. I'm in San Diego 'round the La Jolla area, if that helps at all.
     
  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Matt:

    I can check my notes, I think there was a custom shirt maker right there in La Jolla, and I know there's a custom tailor out by SDSU. I don't remember if he did shirts, too, but I can check.

    For spec stores I'd recommend Gentlemen's Quarter, very close to you. They had some nice Ted Baker pieces the last time I was in. I believe they're cut pretty slim, and aren't as colorful as ETRO or Paul Smith. GQ also carries Armani and Zegna, with Armani being the slimmer cut. Brady's is another option. I haven't been to the one in La Jolla, but I believe the one in Fashion Valley carries Eton, which can be a slim cut, depending on the shirt. Also the last time I went to the Rack and the Sak's Off 5th in Mission Valley they had some good clothes pricewise but nothing memorable that was a slimmer fit.

    Do you want to stay in SD, or are you willing to go to LA or Orange County? I can also give some suggestions there, and LA Guy has been a particularly valuable reference.
     
  16. Joe G

    Joe G Senior member

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    I've definitely noticed a difference in Hugo Boss's American and European products. (That said, my only HB suit is a blue linen deal from an Austrian thrift store.) However, I can't say the same about Zegna. Their cuts (and, unfortunately, prices) seem pretty constant across continental lines. My then-gf (current finace) bought me a jacket from their Soft line with the same boxy cut that one finds in the States. It even had a centre vent. That said, European stores tend to carry more of the higher-end Zegna stuff than American stores, which may account for your perception of difference. Peace, JG PS: How do you like the Reiter Sports? [​IMG]
     
  17. mbc

    mbc Senior member

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    Steve: I head up to LA at least once a month for varying reasons, so I'm definitely open to suggestions just about anywhere in that area. Thanks very much for the information thus far.
     
  18. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    Joe, I love them. However, I feel they are pretty expensive for what they are. I found it interesting that Puma uses the same exact outer sole. The leather inner lining is extremely comfortable and luxurious though. The styling and suede are exceptional as well. I'd be happier if they were priced around 150, where they should be, but all in all it's a great product.
     
  19. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Matt:

    I forgot the N-M down there in Fashion Valley, or at Fashion Island in Newport Beach should also have Paul Smith. Gary's in the same mall in Newport is also a great store, but I don't specifically remember any fitted shirts. However, I can call and ask for you if you'd like. Once you get to the West side of LA there are tons of options. I can post them, and LA Guy can chime in (he turned me on to most of these places anyway), or if you've got something specific in mind, e-mail me.

    Are you going for the "in" Paul Smith, ETRO, colorful look, or something more classic you can wear with a tie?
     
  20. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

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    Steve,
    I'd love to hear of places to shop in LA. The only places I know are Fred Segal; Saks, NM, Barney's on Wilshire; and the Rodeo Drive boutiques...
    Anything good on Melrose? Hollywood? West LA?

    Thanks
     

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