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Low cost suits

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by aard, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. aard

    aard Member

    Apr 14, 2002

    First I want to say that I'm new to posting at this forum, but I've been reading it for awhile, and I have found the advice here excellent.

    My dilema is this:
    I recently had to attend a funeral, and litterly had nothing to wear to it because I've never really started dressing nice until recently. Anyway, I felt out of place because it seemed like I was the only person not wearing a suit. So... I've decided to purchase one. I really do not know too much about buying a suit, but I have the following critiera:

    1. It has to be low priced. It seems that alot of people in this forum are attached to desgners such as Armani, but being that I'm a college student that works a part-time job, I don't really have the money to invest in a suit of that caliber. I was wondering if I could get a suit for around 200-300??

    2. I would like to be able to wear it year round. I know that if I bought a real light colored suit, it just wouldn't go in the winter, etc. I need to be able to wear it to a funeral or a wedding, and I would like it to be a little conservative. I was thinking maybe a dark blue or black?

    I stopped by the mall today to look at a couple of stores (Dillards, JCPenny, Mcraes, etc). This is what I found
    At JCPenny's:
    Haggar Black Label Suit.-- Reg 260. Sale 180.
    It's 3 button, polyester/worsted wool/Lycra, black and a gray.

    Stafford Reg 250 Sale 180
    It's 3 button, 100 % worsted wool, black

    Foleys has this add in the paper:
    Claiborne Suit.
    Coat reg 250, sales 165.99
    Pants reg 120 sale 79.99

    I'm kinda running out of places to go and shop. It seems that the suits either cost alot (600+), or they are really cheap.

    Anyway, any help would be appreciated.


    BTW: I'm in Baton Rouge, LA if anyone knows of a good clothes store in or around here.
  2. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

    Mar 4, 2002
    Well I don't know any of those labels but you're gonna want a wool suit, not one with polyester and lycra worked in. I'd stay away from department store brands cause I'm guessing they'll be pretty crappy. Your best bet for a low price suit of decent quality is gonna be Brooks Brothers. While I've never been to one of their stores, I think they are gonna be better quality than anything you'll find at low end department stores..

    You might want to think about why you're getting a suit. If you're not going to wear one any time soon, wait for the sales to start. I think a navy suit is generally considered the first suit you should get. Whether to get 2 or 3 button is up to you. Slim, tall people look good in 3 button suits. If you've got some extra weight you'll look better in a 2 button.

    You might wanna try and hit the outlet stores(check the forum for names of stores) as well. You might be able to find a designer suit at significant discount. Make sure it fits properly though, don't buy it just cause it's a particular brand.
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Mar 8, 2002
    Moscow, Idaho
    I would recommend a dark charcoal, three button notch collar as a good first suit. Make sure that it fits you and that it is made of good quality wook. It can be worn to interviews, weddings, funerals, etc... Black and navy suits are also nice, but somewhat more limited. I understand that you are not going to want to spend too much money, but consider spending a little more, maybe upping your price range to $350 or $400. Your options become a lot better. Saks Fifth Avenue outlets (called Saks Off fifth) and Barney's outlets (an even better resource) suits are on offer from about $300. The Barney's house brand is quite a good value. Emporio Armani suits at the outlets (Giorgio Armani General Stores) are now on sale, too, and come in at around $360 - if you know your size in EA, they will send you a suit. Be careful though. The sales are final. If you are not near outlets, try and wait until the seasonal sales in June, when prices go down substantially. It's quite possible that at a major department store, you'll find Donna Karan Signature and Hugo Boss suits on sale. A lot of people on this forum may scoff, but DKNY and Kenneth Cole also offer good value for entry level suits, and are both frequently at your price range on sale. Finally, you may want to check out Bluefly.com, which offers some Jhane Barnes (a well respected American brand) suits for around $350. Bluefly has a great return policy. Esuits.com might also be a good place to visit, but I've never had any dealings with them, and so can't comment personally. Good luck.
  4. GatorStyle

    GatorStyle Senior member

    Mar 5, 2002
    If you live near outlet shopping (and if you're not sure, post something here asking Steve B), absolutely check it out.  If you're willing to put in the legwork and spend some time, you can get a very nice suit for what you're looking to spend.  For your first, I'd absolutely go with a solid charcoal gray or dark navy and, like LA Guy, I'd lean toward the charcoal.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that Brooks Brothers (especially the outlets) carries nice starter suits.  When I was in school several years ago, I bought a few to beef up my suit wardrobe and they held up very nicely for a few years.  Two and three button, a bit of Lycra with the wool for some stretch- nice starter suits.  The salespeople will tell you when they run sales; I picked up mine for $250.  There are plenty of other examples, many listed in the posts above.

    One thing to consider is the alteration process that will follow.  If you buy off the rack, you will need alterations.  Some suits will require significantly less than others, so you may want to keep that in mind as you shop.  You may also want to poke around for decent tailors in your area that don't charge too much .
  5. The_Foxx

    The_Foxx Senior member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Northern VA, USA
    could you post your suit size, and your preference for single breasted or double breasted? i will try to make some recommendations of suits you can view on-line. some of the suits i suggest will be new, but some will be pre-owned, and will need to be altered to fit you. however, keep in mind...would you rather own a honda civic, or a pre-owned ferrari?
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Mar 2, 2002
    San Antonio
    ARD: Finding a quality suit in that range will indeed be difficult. With that budget, Brooks Brothers is an excellent suggestion, particularly if you visit one of their outlet stores, which are all over the place, and have $100 off sale virtually every weekend. Log on to www.brooksbrothers.com to find a location near your home in Lafayette. If you can bump your budget up to $4-500, and wait until the Father's Day sales start, you've got a great chance of finding a good designer labelled suit (Boss, Armani, Hickey-Freeman, possibly even Zegna) If I can help in any way, please e-mail me. I plan a trip to New Orleans some time before 6/15, and know of at least one good men's specialty store in your area.
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Mar 8, 2002
    Moscow, Idaho

    I would not recommend buying a pre-owned suit, or any suit off Ebay, at this point. First of all, purchasing clothing off Ebay requires a lot of savvy, in terms of knowledge of fits and brands and of who is and who is not a reputable seller. Secondly, even a lot of legitimate Ebay sellers have a no return policy, and you may be pouring money down the drain if the suit does not fit, the color is not to your liking, etc... Furthermore, buying a pre-owned suit is generally not a good idea. First of all, there is no objective criteria for determining the condition of the suit. Second, the suit may have been substantially altered, and may not fit you even if it the right size. Third, nothing beats going into a good store and trying on a brand new suit.

    Give brick and mortar stores your old college try.

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