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first suit - where to buy?

deviations

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after having to attend a wedding in a random dress shirt with random pants, i realized i have nothing to wear for formal occasions. i'm looking for a suit for weddings, interviews, and basically anything that requires me to dress up. i'm a broke college student, so my budget is around $300.

i'm not sure where to get a suit from. i searched the forums and saw that brook brothers, nordstrom rack, and saks off 5th might have suits in my price range. i also took a look at indochino.com and their prices aren't too bad. i did take a look at TaT, which gets pretty good reviews, but its a little out of my price range.

where would be a good place to get a suit? i'm looking for something charcoal with a sort of slim fit. nothing too formal, i want to wear it to a lot of different occasions. pretty average build, 5'11'' 170 lbs. 32-34 waist size, 32 inseam. i wear slim jeans, regular shirts.

thanks for the help guys.
 

Mr.P

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I had a similar question, though I'm looking to invest slightly more in a suit that will last a while.

I think your best bet is to get a dark navy suit. Navy is the most versatile colour, so going from an interview look to a formal look is a matter of changing accessories. The key is to get a suit that fits well. Different brands will have different styles so I recommend you set aside a day for shopping and go try things on.
 

uzairh

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Originally Posted by Mr.P
I had a similar question, though I'm looking to invest slightly more in a suit that will last a while.

I think your best bet is to get a dark navy suit. Navy is the most versatile colour, so going from an interview look to a formal look is a matter of changing accessories. The key is to get a suit that fits well. Different brands will have different styles so I recommend you set aside a day for shopping and go try things on.


+1
Also, make sure to take someone with you who wont shy away from giving you an honest opinion on how the suit fits.
 

intent

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Originally Posted by deviations
after having to attend a wedding in a random dress shirt with random pants, i realized i have nothing to wear for formal occasions. i'm looking for a suit for weddings, interviews, and basically anything that requires me to dress up. i'm a broke college student, so my budget is around $300.

i'm not sure where to get a suit from. i searched the forums and saw that brook brothers, nordstrom rack, and saks off 5th might have suits in my price range. i also took a look at indochino.com and their prices aren't too bad. i did take a look at TaT, which gets pretty good reviews, but its a little out of my price range.

where would be a good place to get a suit? i'm looking for something charcoal with a sort of slim fit. nothing too formal, i want to wear it to a lot of different occasions. pretty average build, 5'11'' 170 lbs. 32-34 waist size, 32 inseam. i wear slim jeans, regular shirts.

thanks for the help guys.

Where do you live? If you're in a city an off-price retailer like Filene's Basement might have what you're looking for.
 

JohnShaft

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This may be a bit of a long, complex answer and I'm not sure if you have all these resources near where you live but, if so, it should set you off on a path to being economically well dressed for life. Trust me, it's worth the read.

I was, and am not, well dressed due to abundant financial resources. If my style were based solely on money spent, I'm quite certain my clothes would look average at best. But I was blessed with coming from a tasteful, fashion-oriented family and that, when combined with my wicked frugality and eye for a deal, has seen me through a goodly portion of a well dressed life.

I would urge you to do some research before shopping to purchase.

Visit a store like Neiman-Marcus or similar. They usually have a wide range of suits that, while most likely not in your price range, will give you a chance to experience the 'feel' of many different suits. They also have better sales consultants and store tailors that tend to give good advice that would be especially valuable to the beginning well dressed gentleman. They will help you to properly measure yourself as well. (This is all-important when you shop online, especially ebaying)

Looking at good suits will give you the chance to feel the hand of the fabrics used, identify the workmanship associated with better OTR construction, etc. This will be of great use to you when you step down a few notches in the retail food chain where you will need to be your own sales assistant in order to identify the suit that's right for you. You'll be shocked at how much you've learned when you start putting hand to sleeve as you look through the racks at the lower stores.

Oh, and the recommendation to take someone honest with you is spot on. Take the person you think has the best classic taste in clothing and will be totally honest with you. Not to be rude but unless your girlfriend is old money, a fashion/design student, a cougar, or a man, don't take them with you. The advice you get will tend to be too trendy.

When you are at the better stores, inquire about local tailors of quality. You may use the pretense of having regular business clothing tailored or being new to town if you feel the question is out of place for whatever reason. I know, you're beginning to panic because you think I'm going to tell you to have a suit made. I'm not. But you need to identify an excellent tailor with whom you can form a relationship. This is integral to the John Shaft System (TM). lol When you identify a tailor or tailors, have a decent pair of OTR pants altered by them to confirm their quality and to see if your styles mesh. When you and he are both satisfied at the end of the job, you've found the man to deal with your first suit.

Why? Because you will be buying from lower level retailers at first and, if they have sales people or do tailoring at all, they tend to sell you a suit and 'tailor it for you' in order to make a sale. You don't want them to do that. They'll take a $300 suit and, at best, make it look like a $400 suit. And what YOU want to do is to search high and low for that one sale/clearance suit of decent, classic style and good hand, pay a low price for it, and have your new friend the tailor fit it to look like a $1,500 suit. You'll spend roughly the same amount (if you know where to do your final shopping) but the look will be worlds apart.

Then, as your income increases over time, you simply move the system up the scale until many millionaires begin to wonder why they tend to look so slovenly around you. Then, if they ask nicely, you quietly introduce them to your tailor and they owe you forever.


Now the brass tacks:

As others have said, go with a navy suit at this stage. Upscale dates, interviews, weddings, and funerals are taken care of; hopefully in that order. If you go solid navy, your suit coat can double as a navy blazer. Don't do this too much or you'll get uneven wear but considering your current social position and price point that could come in very handy until you thrift a quality navy blazer on it's own, later down the line. Yes, it'll happen. Much like potato chips and tattoos, it's difficult to stop with just one.

Not to knock this board but there are some serious brand names (and the prices that accompany such) tossed about on here. If you have a good tailor, you don't need those brands to look good. Don't mistake me, there's nothing wrong with them, you simply may not be 'there' yet. There's no shame in that.

The gent with a good eye can shop at places like Syms and other outlet stores, thrift and resale shops, and after some experience, online. These are all places that one can find a decent suit, suitable for tailoring, for $150 or less; sometimes remarkably less.

Remember that when shopping with tailoring in mind, slightly bigger is better than slightly smaller. Everything can be taken in but not everything can be let out. Generally, if you can make sure the shoulders, over all length, and sleeve length are sufficiently long for you, your man can handle the rest easily. Now, the more closely you can fit an item while shopping, the less money you will have to spend with your tailor, reducing your over all cost. Don't tell him I said that. he knows but, as gentlemen, we like to pretend it's a happy accident when items don't need much work. lol

Lastly, don't spend your life and money becoming well outfitted and then get fat. Ask me how I know.


Sorry for the long read and I hope this helps.
 

Chargersfan

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Does it really have to be a suit? In that price range you probably won't be able to get much, and don't forget the tailoring etc that will have to be done could add $50 to $150 dollars on top of the price of the suit. Stay away from ebay...check out the B & S forum here, or one of the affiliated companies links. Have a look at the what are they wearing now thread and see you can look sharp with a sportscoat and cotton trousers. Also, don't forget shoes....a $3000 dollar suit will look like crap if you're wearing ugly shoes.
 

A.K.A.

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$300 first suit. Go to a better department store and find a salesman who has sold men's suits for the majority of his career in retail sales. He will want to sell you a suit and maybe develop a return customer. Maybe.

Try Dillards or Belk or Macy's. I live in the Southeast and don't know where you live, so choose accordingly. Also, Nordstrom Rack, Off 5th Ave, and Polo are good outlets to find much better goods and still be in your price range. I find that Filene's Basement is too much of a mixed bag even for the experienced shopper.

Look only at Sale racks and don't try on a $1,000 suit if you aren't going to buy one. It's like test driving a BMW when you can't afford a clapped out Hyundai. It will only cloud your judgement and make things confusing. I disagree with whoever said you should go to Nieman's and try on suits.

Try on Burberry, Hart Schaffner Marx, Tommy Hilfigger, Abboud, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Jane Bharnes, etc. in your price range.

Pick the one you like best and have it properly tailored. Keep reading on here to find out what proper tailoring means.

If the suit proves too daunting, basics such as solid navy and charcoal gray are not always readily available on sale, then a navy blazer and dark gray trousers are perfect for most college functions and weddings. I didn't buy my first suit until I was a college senior, and then I paid full retail to get exactly what I wanted. Too many guys your age often buy suits that are very trendy and end up being useful for a very short period of time.

Best of luck to you, and welcome to the dark side.
 

Herrsuit

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Lauren by RL are discounted on Sierra Trading Post. They don't look half bad and you won't be wearing it often so don't need to worry about the quality of construction. I have one and it definitely gets use in my work rotation.
 

jeremyjoe

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if you have the time, check your local goodwill.....read the thrift store thread for good brands
 

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