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Help with buying my first decent suit

boosims

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I wanted to purchase a decent suit. I have owned many suits in the past but they would be considered rather lower tier on this forum, from what I have seen, and also should be about don’t growing so I would like to purchase a good suit. I wanted a more formal one I could use for interviews or any formal occasions. I was wondering what brand would be good or where to look at purchasing one. I am 6ft and have slim build if that matters. I am sorry that I am pretty much a novice when it comes to nice suits. Thank you for the help it is very much appreciated.
 

Ben W

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What is your budget and where are you located?

The most important thing to consider with a suit, imo, is fit. It doesn't matter if it is a $5000 suit from one of the big names: if it doesn't fit you properly it isn't going to look good. As such I'd recommend finding a local tailor who can measure you and do a "made-to-measure" type suit. It can vary a fair bit depending on where you are, what fabric you choose, etc but I'd expect to pay around the $1200 – $1700 ballpark for such a thing.

For a first "good" suit I'd recommend going with something conservative: sold charcoal or solid navy. NOT black. Black is for funerals and wait staff (you'll be fine wearing charcoal or navy to a funeral, though). Don't do any customizations that are loud like ticket pockets, contrasting pick stitching, etc. You can get into a bit more flare on subsequent suits if you expand your wardrobe in the future. Consider going single breasted, two button, notch lapel, straight flap pockets, side vents, with dark horn buttons in a color close to the color of the fabric. Avoid any sort of synthetics like polyester. They'll make you sweat. This is essentially a classic and traditional "business suit." It'll work for interviews, weddings, funerals, client meetings, and any "formal" events shy of "black tie" dress codes.

My personal choice would be to have the trousers made for suspenders and without belt loops, but that is negotiable. Also consider getting a 2nd pair of trousers if you can afford to do so as you'll likely wear through the trousers quicker than the jacket. Alternate the trousers and never wear the same pair two days in a row if you can avoid it. The fabric needs to "breath" and "rest." If you get to a point where you are wearing the suit multiple days in a row it is time to consider a second suit.

Dry clean it as infrequently as you can possibly get away with. Invest in a steamer, or use the steam function on your iron if you have a good one, and use that to keep the items fresh. Unless you get something on it or a good steaming isn't doing the job it shouldn't be going to the cleaner. If you pick a fabric with a tight weave or with a bit of a mohair blend a quick steam should take out any wrinkles. If you get a particularly obnoxious one and need to iron it do some research on proper technique beforehand as you risk making you suit very shiny if you apply the iron directly to it.
 

boosims

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For the price point as I will just be entering college I do not have the much money to spend on one. I was thinking about spending around $500-800 on it. I would perfer to keep the cost under a $1,000 at the most. Would it be possible to get an okay suit with this much money. Currently I only own suits from retailers like express. I understand if most would consider those suits rather bad. I thought that I should get a better one as I will be soon going to different interviews for internships and things. I have also always enjoyed wearing a suit so getting more into how or what kind of suit to wear seems like something I would enjoy.
But thank you so much for the advice and your help. Your advice on what style of suit and color seem really helpful.
 

Ben W

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You're very welcome. Do you have an Indochino near you? https://www.indochino.com/showrooms
You can probably get into a fairly nice made-to-measure suit from them for that price range. I would not recommend trying to do measurements yourself.
 

boosims

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Yes I do, there is one in the city i am going to college at. Do you have any other advice for the fabric or a link to somewhere I could read more about different ones. Sorry for keep bothering you and again thank you so much.
 

Ben W

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No bother at all. I love talking about this stuff. :)

Considering you'll have access to one where hopefully they can do the measurements for you Indochino may be a good bet. They often have sales or promotions floating around so be sure to look for deals.

Fabric is a tough discussion because a good tailor will have hundreds if not thousands of options, and they may be completely different from tailor to tailor. It can be overwhelming, and I don't claim to be an expert there. I've recently become a big fan of mohair blends because they tend to be very wrinkle resistant and breathable (I'm a bigger guy so I overheat easily), but they also tend to be a little more expensive and harder to find. I'd say don't worry about getting a high "super" number. Super 120s or lower is probably going to be a better bet for a first suit. It won't be quite as silky soft as the higher supers, but it'll be more durable and last longer.

Something like this might be a good starting point, and leave you with some money to start saving toward a second suit or some shirts, or whatever else you might need to build your wardrobe / wardrobe maintenance essentials:
That price is pretty crazy. I'm not sure how they can do it for $300.

Just as important as investing in a quality suit is investing in everything that goes along with it: a nice (white) shirt, dress shoes, over-the-calf dress socks, a tie, a good iron / steamer, a clothes brush, and quality hangers. It is easy to overlook some of the minor details, but they're essential. Not many people think about hangers when starting out, for example, but poor quality or ill-fitting hangers can ruin a suit. I'd recommend checking out Kirby Allison's Hanger Project for hangers. He has a coupon code for SF members to get 10% off orders over $100: SF10. They also carry very nice ties and maintenance items such as clothing brushes and shoe polish.
 

Ben W

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Oh, and one other piece of fit advice: your trouser waist band should sit at your natural waist (at your navel). This may feel a bit odd if you aren't accustom to wearing such garments, but that is going to be the most flattering look. Trousers that sit where your jeans likely do are not going to be advantageous.
 

boosims

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I will go to that store soon. As for the extra things I need I will purchase a couple hangers from the place you recommended. I was wondering what was a good store I could purchase some shoes from. I was planning to get a navy suit like the one you posted a link to for reference. Also I will live in Columbus Ohio for my location. For the shoes should I get a black pair or brown or would you recommend any style or looks when I do buy them.
I do own some dress suits but they are mostly from stores like express should I purchase nicer ones and if so what type of one? Sorry for asking so many question I just would like to not make any mistakes when wearing and or purchasing this suit. From reading this forum I realized that I have made many such mistakes in the past and would like to learn more to not make them in the future.
 

compuccesory

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I have had suits made at Indochino. For what they charge, the product is *technically* OK, in that the materials are wool, half canvas, cupro lining, working buttonholes, high armholes, etc. They also have lots of physical stores which makes both returns and alterations relatively painless - there are other online MTM places that can give you the same stuff(i.e. from the same Chinese supplier) for cheaper, but you can look into those once you get some experience with an actual in-store fitting.
HOWEVER:

It's my experience and that of a lot of other people that their communication with their Chinese suppliers appears to be inconsistent, in that they often deliver suits that are wildly off in size, even with in store measurements. As long as you are not in a time crunch this is not a deal breaker as they are fairly generous in allowing for remakes (it seems they are aware of their communication issues). However, you must ensure that you yourself *know* how a suit should fit and be firm in asking for remakes when what they deliver doesn't. This was my issue - I ended up with a suit that I now recognize as too tight, and by that point after 1 remake already i.e. over a month, I was impatient to just get the damn thing already. I guess it kind of worked out for me in the end because I lost some weight and now it's a passable if still rather tight suit, and at the end of the day I'm not sure I could have done any better for cheaper anywhere else, but I could have avoided it had I known better how a suit should fit at the beginning.

So if I were to do it over again I would actually watch a lot more youtube videos on suit fit - obviously youtube menswear channels have a lot of marketing nonsense in them but the basic information on how long a jacket should be and how tight it should be in the chest are good if you don't already have a lot of experience wearing suits. Obviously also read some of the other threads here to get an idea of common fit issues and how they look. Also when you get the suit take it home and show it to friends and family and get their opinion, and don't hesitate to go ask for a remake if the fit is off.
 

Ben W

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I will go to that store soon. As for the extra things I need I will purchase a couple hangers from the place you recommended. I was wondering what was a good store I could purchase some shoes from. I was planning to get a navy suit like the one you posted a link to for reference. Also I will live in Columbus Ohio for my location. For the shoes should I get a black pair or brown or would you recommend any style or looks when I do buy them.
I do own some dress suits but they are mostly from stores like express should I purchase nicer ones and if so what type of one? Sorry for asking so many question I just would like to not make any mistakes when wearing and or purchasing this suit. From reading this forum I realized that I have made many such mistakes in the past and would like to learn more to not make them in the future.
No need to apologize for asking questions. Happy to help if able. That's why I'm here (as well as to ask a few questions of my own). :)

Black cap toe oxfords without much if any brogueing are often recommended as a first shoe. These are basically the "you'll never be wrong for wearing them" option. Some other options to consider might be wingtips or monk straps in black, dark brown, or oxblood. My favorite is oxblood. If you are going to wear them with a belt then make sure you get a matching belt from the same store. Again my personal preference is to skip the belt (and belt loops) and wear suspenders. Like the suit the ideal situation would be to not wear the same shoes multiple days in a row. If you get into a job where you're expected to wear dress shoes every day you'll want at least a couple pairs to rotate between. Back to the point about essential accessories... make sure to get at least one quality pair of shoe trees to help keep creases out of your shoes. Search Amazon for "adjustable split toe cedar shoe tree" to see what I'm talking about.

As for where to look for shoes... try catching Allen Edmunds on a sale or see if you can find factory seconds in your size. Definitely worth having your feet measured by someone who knows what they are doing. There is nothing worse than walking around a job fair all day in ill-fitting dress shoes. Don't just buy dress shoes in whatever size sneaker you wear... that may not be a good fit in a dress shoe. They can also sell you a belt if you want one as well as shoe trees.

For shirts: if they fit well, are made of 100% non-synthetics, and the collar is sized proportionally to your body then you may not need to invest in anything else there. IMO the shirt you wear with a suit should not have a pocket, and especially when starting out should be white. Light blue is also easy to pull off. Any other colors I'd hold off on until you get more comfortable with the rules and start to know how and when to break them. The biggest thing I see, which is more common with large guys such as myself, is off-the-rack shirts tend to have a poorly proportioned collar. You get a lot of big guys in 2XL or larger shirts that have the same size collar on them as a medium shirt. I ran into this problem myself when buying shirts from Mens Wearhouse. It was one of the first things pointed out to me when I asked for help dressing better.

I have had suits made at Indochino. For what they charge, the product is *technically* OK, in that the materials are wool, half canvas, cupro lining, working buttonholes, high armholes, etc. They also have lots of physical stores which makes both returns and alterations relatively painless - there are other online MTM places that can give you the same stuff(i.e. from the same Chinese supplier) for cheaper, but you can look into those once you get some experience with an actual in-store fitting.
HOWEVER:

It's my experience and that of a lot of other people that their communication with their Chinese suppliers appears to be inconsistent, in that they often deliver suits that are wildly off in size, even with in store measurements. As long as you are not in a time crunch this is not a deal breaker as they are fairly generous in allowing for remakes (it seems they are aware of their communication issues). However, you must ensure that you yourself *know* how a suit should fit and be firm in asking for remakes when what they deliver doesn't. This was my issue - I ended up with a suit that I now recognize as too tight, and by that point after 1 remake already i.e. over a month, I was impatient to just get the damn thing already. I guess it kind of worked out for me in the end because I lost some weight and now it's a passable if still rather tight suit, and at the end of the day I'm not sure I could have done any better for cheaper anywhere else, but I could have avoided it had I known better how a suit should fit at the beginning.

So if I were to do it over again I would actually watch a lot more youtube videos on suit fit - obviously youtube menswear channels have a lot of marketing nonsense in them but the basic information on how long a jacket should be and how tight it should be in the chest are good if you don't already have a lot of experience wearing suits. Obviously also read some of the other threads here to get an idea of common fit issues and how they look. Also when you get the suit take it home and show it to friends and family and get their opinion, and don't hesitate to go ask for a remake if the fit is off.
This is good to know. I don't have personal experience with Indochino. I recommended them because they were available to take measurements locally for the OP and because they had options within his price range that would give him some flexibility to get some other essentials as well. While there are a lot of online MTM options available, some undoubtedly of higher quality and some probably less expensive, I do think especially for a first suit it is important to have someone who knows what they are doing take measurements in person.

I'll second the recommendation to watch some YouTube videos about fit. Real Men Real Style and the Gentleman's Gazette are some of my favorites. Doctor Mike also has a good video on the subject:


One thing Dr Mike says that I disagree with is where the waist of the trousers should be... I like them at the navel, not 3 fingers below. The trend now is for lower rise pants. I don't think that is as good of a look.

To add to what compuccesory has said: once you get the suit you can also post photos of you in the suit here and ask for advice on the fit. The folks here can tell you if you need to request a remake or what alterations might be needed.
 
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cvb1

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I'd recommend suitsupply's MTM program. I've tried both more expensive MTM programs, but also cheaper ones, and Suitsupply have been the best experience. They however start at 600 USD I think (In Sweden atleast). Then you'll get full canvas and atleast super 110 if I remember correctly. And the service att SuSu is always great.

When it comes to style, I'd say Ben W's advice is great.
 

boosims

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Would the suitsupply one be a better quality suit compared to indochino? If it’s a much better quality then I could go there but The closest store is about five hours away so I am not sure if that is worth to drive all that way for that store. I am located in columbus incase you wanted to know that for recommendations of stores.
 

cvb1

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Would the suitsupply one be a better quality suit compared to indochino? If it’s a much better quality then I could go there but The closest store is about five hours away so I am not sure if that is worth to drive all that way for that store. I am located in columbus incase you wanted to know that for recommendations of stores.
I've never bought anything from indochino, but going of what I've read about them I'd say yes. I'd guess the main difference being that the SuSu suit would be full canvas. However I can't be certain that SuSu is good enough go justify a 5 hour trip.
 

compuccesory

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Based on what I have seen:

In terms of fabric and workmanship:

The cheapest Susu ($359) is somewhat better quality than the cheapest Indochino ($329).

The more expensive SuSu ($600-800) is very nice and fair value for the price. I haven't seen a $600 Indochino suit but I probably wouldn't want one. Also just as a general principle if you're not experienced with this process, I wouldn't go right to the more expensive option, any more than you should buy a Corvette as a first car. A charcol or navy suit that fits is a great thing to have even if it's not super 180s Milanese buttonhole Italian supersuit that everyone here apparently wears. You can alwasy buy another more expensive suit later, better than blowing all your money on an expensive suit fromthe start that you might change your mind on later.

Last I checked full canvas SuSu suits are well over $1k and MTM starts at $1k. I forget if the MTM is full canvas but it seems unlikely. Suitsupply is a European company and their prices are cheaper in Europe.

Ultimately even the cheapest SuSu is going to be more expensive because you need to factor in alterations which are extra. Probably budget at least $50-$100 on top of the price of the suit.

Here's what I would do. Supposing you have a credit card and can front the money at least for a while, go check out Indochino which you said is close to you. At the same time, order a conservative, basic cheap suitsupply suit, or even better do the thing with SuitSupply where they send you 3 suits of different sizes, and try them on at home. You can return them no questions asked. That way, you can 1) evaluate the quality yourself and 2) decide whether you need MTM. Suitsupply is good in that they generally keep a variety of sizes around so that you can usually dial in your size. *MOST* people who are not super short/tall/have 3 arms don't really need MTM and can get an OTR suit that fits close enough, in which case Suitsupply is a fine choice. With Indochino you are definitely paying for the custom made aspect of it, although even then the actual suits they deliver are perfectly decent for the price range and still better than like 90% of the stuff you find at the mall. It might work out and then you can just keep the Suitsupply suit and be all set.
 
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cvb1

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Based on what I have seen:

In terms of fabric and workmanship:

The cheapest Susu ($359) is somewhat better quality than the cheapest Indochino ($329).

The more expensive SuSu ($600-800) is very nice and fair value for the price. I haven't seen a $600 Indochino suit but I probably wouldn't want one. Also just as a general principle if you're not experienced with this process, I wouldn't go right to the more expensive option, any more than you should buy a Corvette as a first car. A charcol or navy suit that fits is a great thing to have even if it's not super 180s Milanese buttonhole Italian supersuit that everyone here apparently wears. You can alwasy buy another more expensive suit later, better than blowing all your money on an expensive suit fromthe start that you might change your mind on later.

Last I checked full canvas SuSu suits are well over $1k and MTM starts at $1k. I forget if the MTM is full canvas but it seems unlikely. Suitsupply is a European company and their prices are cheaper in Europe.

Ultimately even the cheapest SuSu is going to be more expensive because you need to factor in alterations which are extra. Probably budget at least $50-$100 on top of the price of the suit.

Here's what I would do. Supposing you have a credit card and can front the money at least for a while, go check out Indochino which you said is close to you. At the same time, order a conservative, basic cheap suitsupply suit, or even better do the thing with SuitSupply where they send you 3 suits of different sizes, and try them on at home. You can return them no questions asked. That way, you can 1) evaluate the quality yourself and 2) decide whether you need MTM. Suitsupply is good in that they generally keep a variety of sizes around so that you can usually dial in your size. *MOST* people who are not super short/tall/have 3 arms don't really need MTM and can get an OTR suit that fits close enough, in which case Suitsupply is a fine choice. With Indochino you are definitely paying for the custom made aspect of it, although even then the actual suits they deliver are perfectly decent for the price range and still better than like 90% of the stuff you find at the mall. It might work out and then you can just keep the Suitsupply suit and be all set.
Damn, didn't know SuSu was that much more expensive in the US. In that case your advice is clearly the better one.
 

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