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Old(ish) guy needing to upgrade my suits

J.R.

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Thanks for the many options to check out.

Went to yet another store. A nice but single location store call Kilgore Trout. Their inhouse brands are Coppley, Samuelson, Isia, Canali and Zegna. Much of what they had in stock was super super light and comfortable. Like wearing a shirt more than a jacket to the point of feeling like they should be summer suits but I was told they are intended as year round. Most of it was half canvased but some full. Most was also either no lining or just the butterfly lining, making it even lighter. Price for Coppley and Samuelson was the same range of 1200-1700 or 1700-2500 MTM. Canali was more $1700 plus RTW and Zegna $2500 plus. Not sure I'm ready for those price points but it was a huge difference. Samuelson has a trunk show next weekend I'll go check out. There was this Zenga flannel suit that was made to machine wash (though I wouldn't try that) that was amazingly comfortable. At $2000+ I'm not sure I'd spring for a seasonal flannel, but it sure was nice. Also, almost all of their RTW were setup for surgeon's cuffs with buttons to be added once the sleave lengths were set. I thought that was pretty cool.

My questions then are (a) what is the down side to the ultra light, little or no lining suits? (b) looking at online shops including online MTM, how do you know the feel, weight, comfort before you get it home? The Coppley suit I've been looking at previously is lighter than my old stuff, but it still feels more like my old stuff than the Canali and Zegna jackets I just tried on.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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Kind of three extremes: older guy who has been selling Coopley for 30+ years with the same in house tailor for 20+ and runs a bit more old school conservative style / mid-aged tailor/owner who does full custom and is a bit more flashy, but has some nice conservative OTR / younger sales guy in a very trendy store (which was in a mall FYI).
...
I must have short arms. Most of these I see the jacket ends around the thumb knuckle but those I'm trying on end a bit below the tip of my thumb. But, both in various pictures and in those I have tried on the jacket ends just about the bottom of my backside.

I would be careful of a tighter shorter jacket. It was en vogue around 2010 when young guys got into tailoring because of Mad Men, and were overly conscious of looking too old-man or too boxy. You end up looking not-boxy, sure, but you also start looking like a sausage. As with most things in life, balance rules the day. In the case of jacket length (and you touched on this when you mentioned your arm length), the arm test is not a good one for determining correct length, since we all have long or short arms (I'm on Team Short myself). A better assessment is to look at your entire body, from the base of your neck to your shoes. The jacket should cover half that distance, and the pants the other half, for a balanced proportion. This test accounts for variations such as unusually long/short arms and legs and gets it right every time.

Looking at Coppley - their stuff is very blah for lack of a better term.

This is true. However, if I were at the downtown business club where OP and other lawyers are competing for business, blah might not be a bad thing, and might even be preferable. Cavour's style is by no means too loud, and I certainly love their stuff myself, but in that crowd, that is, a bunch of businessmen with lots of money for attorney retainer fees, I think something very conservative like Sameulsohn, Hickey, Coppey, Canali, etc. would fare better. If I were a wealthy business guy looking to hire someone to 1. take care of my finances or 2. keep me out of jail especially if I am guilty (!), I definitely want someone who isn't memorable for what he wore to our meeting. OP correct me if I'm off the mark about your target audience?


Thanks for the many options to check out.

Went to yet another store. A nice but single location store call Kilgore Trout. Their inhouse brands are Coppley, Samuelson, Isia, Canali and Zegna. Much of what they had in stock was super super light and comfortable. Like wearing a shirt more than a jacket to the point of feeling like they should be summer suits but I was told they are intended as year round. Most of it was half canvased but some full. Most was also either no lining or just the butterfly lining, making it even lighter. Price for Coppley and Samuelson was the same range of 1200-1700 or 1700-2500 MTM. Canali was more $1700 plus RTW and Zegna $2500 plus. Not sure I'm ready for those price points but it was a huge difference. Samuelson has a trunk show next weekend I'll go check out. There was this Zenga flannel suit that was made to machine wash (though I wouldn't try that) that was amazingly comfortable. At $2000+ I'm not sure I'd spring for a seasonal flannel, but it sure was nice. Also, almost all of their RTW were setup for surgeon's cuffs with buttons to be added once the sleave lengths were set. I thought that was pretty cool.

My questions then are (a) what is the down side to the ultra light, little or no lining suits? (b) looking at online shops including online MTM, how do you know the feel, weight, comfort before you get it home? The Coppley suit I've been looking at previously is lighter than my old stuff, but it still feels more like my old stuff than the Canali and Zegna jackets I just tried on.

LOL! Now you are well into the deep end haha. When you say lining, are you referring to the innards of the jacket, or the smooth lining on the backside? Others who know more can add to this but in my experience the lightness of a jacket depends on the fabric itself as well as much much "skeleton" is built in the jacket to give it structure (chest piece, canvassing, shoulder pads, etc.). For the fabric, a lighter fabric will feel more airy but also might be less robust and wear out a bit more quickly. For the structure, more structure will give it more of a rigidly defined shape and build your torso up to the shape of the garment. This might be good for guys who are too skinny or too fat, as it moves them closer to that aesthetically pleasing Michelangelo's David shape, while less structure is better for guys who are already in decent shape. At the far extreme of this it starts turning into a shirt. I'm not a fan of totally unstructured unless you want to wear the jacket with a t-shirt and jeans as it looks overly casual. Instead, I am a fan of happy mediums as usual and like just enough shoulder padding to give you a clean shoulderline, and a medium amount of chest piece and canvas. If you are referring to the visible lining of the jacket, you want the shoulders lined at least, so that the inside of the jacket is slippery and won't snag all over your shoulders. This so-called half-lining or buggy-lining is the traditional construction method. Most OTR jackets have the entire backside lined, which can make them stuffy in warm weather. This was done as a cheap and easy way to conceal sloppy workmanship in lower end garments, and not as common in more expensive brands. Leaving the sleeves unfinished is also a popular option amongst these higher end garments, which is nice.

BTW! If you are near Kilgore Trout, would Cuffs in Chagrin Falls OH also be within range for you to visit? It's considered a bit of a best kept secret in the menswear arena, probably because it's location is a bit unusual for such an ultra high end shop but if you like how the Canali and Zegna feel you'll probably loooove what they have. Some of it miiiight start bordering on too Italian for that aforementioned downtown business club, but perhaps still worth a visit if it's not out of the way. Their prices though....well let's just say their prices are not unfair given the quality, but will probably be the part where you get to really flex the "LOL I'm already a partner" part of your biography.... :D :D :D
 
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J.R.

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I would be careful of a tighter shorter jacket. It was en vogue around 2010 when young guys got into tailoring because of Mad Men, and were overly conscious of looking too old-man or too boxy. You end up looking not-boxy, sure, but you also start looking like a sausage. As with most things in life, balance rules the day. In the case of jacket length (and you touched on this when you mentioned your arm length), the arm test is not a good one for determining correct length, since we all have long or short arms (I'm on Team Short myself). A better assessment is to look at your entire body, from the base of your neck to your shoes. The jacket should cover half that distance, and the pants the other half, for a balanced proportion. This test accounts for variations such as unusually long/short arms and legs and gets it right every time.



This is true. However, if I were at the downtown business club where OP and other lawyers are competing for business, blah might not be a bad thing, and might even be preferable. Cavour's style is by no means too loud, and I certainly love their stuff myself, but in that crowd, that is, a bunch of businessmen with lots of money for attorney retainer fees, I think something very conservative like Sameulsohn, Hickey, Coppey, Canali, etc. would fare better. If I were a wealthy business guy looking to hire someone to 1. take care of my finances or 2. keep me out of jail especially if I am guilty (!), I definitely want someone who isn't memorable for what he wore to our meeting. OP correct me if I'm off the mark about your target audience?




LOL! Now you are well into the deep end haha. When you say lining, are you referring to the innards of the jacket, or the smooth lining on the backside? Others who know more can add to this but in my experience the lightness of a jacket depends on the fabric itself as well as much much "skeleton" is built in the jacket to give it structure (chest piece, canvassing, shoulder pads, etc.). For the fabric, a lighter fabric will feel more airy but also might be less robust and wear out a bit more quickly. For the structure, more structure will give it more of a rigidly defined shape and build your torso up to the shape of the garment. This might be good for guys who are too skinny or too fat, as it moves them closer to that aesthetically pleasing Michelangelo's David shape, while less structure is better for guys who are already in decent shape. At the far extreme of this it starts turning into a shirt. I'm not a fan of totally unstructured unless you want to wear the jacket with a t-shirt and jeans as it looks overly casual. Instead, I am a fan of happy mediums as usual and like just enough shoulder padding to give you a clean shoulderline, and a medium amount of chest piece and canvas. If you are referring to the visible lining of the jacket, you want the shoulders lined at least, so that the inside of the jacket is slippery and won't snag all over your shoulders. This so-called half-lining or buggy-lining is the traditional construction method. Most OTR jackets have the entire backside lined, which can make them stuffy in warm weather. This was done as a cheap and easy way to conceal sloppy workmanship in lower end garments, and not as common in more expensive brands. Leaving the sleeves unfinished is also a popular option amongst these higher end garments, which is nice.

BTW! If you are near Kilgore Trout, would Cuffs in Chagrin Falls OH also be within range for you to visit? It's considered a bit of a best kept secret in the menswear arena, probably because it's location is a bit unusual for such an ultra high end shop but if you like how the Canali and Zegna feel you'll probably loooove what they have. Some of it miiiight start bordering on too Italian for that aforementioned downtown business club, but perhaps still worth a visit if it's not out of the way. Their prices though....well let's just say their prices are not unfair given the quality, but will probably be the part where you get to really flex the "LOL I'm already a partner" part of your biography.... :D :D :D

Yeah, you are pretty spot on for the most part. Sounds like you are in or know Ohio? I'm in Hudson so when I'm going for a meeting or networking, 90% of the time is the Union Club and 90% of the people are wearing dark navy or dark charcoal, with a few odd conservative sportcoats / blazers. I'm not a member but I'm thinking about it. We are members at the Country Club of Hudson and there I can be a bit more smart casual or flashy. Not heard of Cuffs, but I'll swing by and check it out.

I was talking about the lining on the inside of the jacket that conceals the inner stitching. The sales guy said a bit of what you did, that it is actually more expensive as they have to finish off the inner stitching to make it look clean. They all had at least a bit in the shoulders and armholes but little if any on the inside of the back or fronts of the jacket. The fit was good too, and the guy definitely steared me to 42 - or rather 52, which actually fit well in the Canali and Zegna with needing only very minor alterations.

So, I thinking maybe one a bit more American style traditional jacket with some, but not a lot, of shoulder padding and structure to keep the formal business attire look, and one more Italian style with minimal structure, softer shoulders and a bit more casual cut, but still somewhat traditional flap pockets, etc. Then, maybe one sports jacket with some patch pockets and a bit more fun color like a lighter blue or something. Maybe two suits and a few jackets and pants combos would be sufficient as I'm only wearing a true business suit maybe twice a week, once of which I can wear the traditional blazer.

I might try online for a mid-grey flannel suit at some point, styled to be casual so I could wear the jacket as a sports coat and the pants with a navy blazer.

I've been looking a bit more at my current wardrobe. I have a linen jacket from JosABank. It was cheap, maybe $200-300 or so. Fits well, looks fine, but I don't wear it because it has cheap lining that makes a rubbing noise when you wear it. Wonder if I can have that fixed, or if I'm just better of donating it and getting a new one that isn't cheap?
 

J.R.

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Reading a bit more. Would a Coppley RTW suit be fused or half canvassed? I've tried searching here and Google and it seems there have not been recent comments about it.
 

Phileas Fogg

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Reading a bit more. Would a Coppley RTW suit be fused or half canvassed? I've tried searching here and Google and it seems there have not been recent comments about it.

I think Coppley is half canvassed.
 

J.R.

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I think Coppley is half canvassed.

Okay. I tried that pinch test on my existing suits ... where you pinch the lining and the cloth and pull it apart to see if there is a third material in between. Doing that seems, to my extremely untrained eye, that all of my jackets are half canvassed. That is two decent at the time suits from a nice store in Lansing that are a good 20 years old, and two purchased from now defuncted S&K (similar to a men's warehouse), plus my navy blazer from Jos Banks. I'm guessing I'm doing it wrong as I was expected at least half of those to be fused based on what I paid. I could definitely feel material in between; maybe the fused material pulled away. None of them are bubbling or sagging in any way.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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Yeah, you are pretty spot on for the most part. Sounds like you are in or know Ohio? I'm in Hudson so when I'm going for a meeting or networking, 90% of the time is the Union Club and 90% of the people are wearing dark navy or dark charcoal, with a few odd conservative sportcoats / blazers.

I live in California, but I do love visiting Ohio. I started a few years ago when I was in sales for a bioinstrumentation company that made some really high end lab equipment, and would come into town to meet with research administrators from hospitals and biotech companies, core facility directors at academic institutions, folks like that. We were casualizing even before COVID and dress codes vary wildly of course, especially in science, but in general the folks in Ohio and surrounding parts would reliably show up in a dark boxy suit or maybe a blue blazer and tan/gray dress pants. For them, I found that a quiet navy blue or medium gray suit, with a subtle pattern, was always a safe option for looking respectful and competent but not flashy or overcompensating for something. I never did get an instrument into Case or Cleveland Clinic during my tenure though! Oh well, you can't win them all. (I think my successor managed to close a deal I started and there's one at Case after all now haha.)

So, I thinking maybe one a bit more American style traditional jacket with some, but not a lot, of shoulder padding and structure to keep the formal business attire look, and one more Italian style with minimal structure, softer shoulders and a bit more casual cut, but still somewhat traditional flap pockets, etc. Then, maybe one sports jacket with some patch pockets and a bit more fun color like a lighter blue or something. Maybe two suits and a few jackets and pants combos would be sufficient as I'm only wearing a true business suit maybe twice a week, once of which I can wear the traditional blazer.

I might try online for a mid-grey flannel suit at some point, styled to be casual so I could wear the jacket as a sports coat and the pants with a navy blazer.

It's good that you are being methodical with how to maximize your wardrobe's versatility without bloating your closet, as a lot of us have unfortunately done. This comes down heavily to individual taste and lifestyle, and others may have varying suggestions, but if I had to do it again, I would go with a serious medium gray suit, where the pants might pull double duty, and then a slightly more casual blue one with a bit of pattern/texture, which I can use the jacket separately. After that, maybe the casual blazer with hopsack fabric in medium blue, with patch pockets, which has enough texture to pair casually with khakis and jeans.

If you're into a gray flannel suit later, I'd suggest one with a coarser textured surface, with a herringbone pattern. A gray jacket is trickier to pair, unless you have stone or ivory pants or something like that, but the coarse texture and pattern will allow you to align it with pants by texture instead of by color. I have one in dark gray with patch pockets, which I wear frequently with dark jeans and more textured shirts like solid-colored flannels with button-down collars, in all colors. You can also layer a vest in there too. The pants of course can go with pretty much everything.


I have a linen jacket from JosABank. It was cheap, maybe $200-300 or so. Fits well, looks fine, but I don't wear it because it has cheap lining that makes a rubbing noise when you wear it. Wonder if I can have that fixed, or if I'm just better of donating it and getting a new one that isn't cheap?

A good tailor can go in and convert the full lining to a quarter lining. In addition to alleviating the noise, it would make your linen jacket more airy and better serve its purpose as a warm-weather jacket. It's a bit of a project though, as he'll also have to clean up the messy stitching left behind by the original maker, so I don't know how much it'll cost. Seemed to me like it'd be in the hundreds but some here have reported something like $80.

Okay. I tried that pinch test on my existing suits ... where you pinch the lining and the cloth and pull it apart to see if there is a third material in between. Doing that seems, to my extremely untrained eye, that all of my jackets are half canvassed. That is two decent at the time suits from a nice store in Lansing that are a good 20 years old, and two purchased from now defuncted S&K (similar to a men's warehouse), plus my navy blazer from Jos Banks. I'm guessing I'm doing it wrong as I was expected at least half of those to be fused based on what I paid. I could definitely feel material in between; maybe the fused material pulled away. None of them are bubbling or sagging in any way.

I wouldn't worry too much about this. The purpose of the canvassing is to add structure to a jacket so that it doesn't hang limp like a shirt. Fusing was originally invented as a 1970s lightweight alternative to canvas, but it was flawed in two ways: 1. it tended to delaminate in dry cleaning, which looks like bubbling on the surface and cannot be fixed, and 2. it was stiff in the wrong ways and did not allow the fabric to hang elegantly and comfortably off your chest and shoulders. These days, improvements in polymers have largely resolved the bubbling issue, so if you don't feel like the structure in the chest and front bottom is rigid or uncomfortable, then you're good to go. Typically the chest benefits most from having a good canvas vs. fusing, whereas the front bottom area is about the same regardless of canvas vs. fusing, hence the popularity of half-canvasing as a win-win cost-saving measure. No need to drive yourself mad with the pinch test, which isn't that accurate anyway unless you know exactly what you are looking for.
 
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djohns7275

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If you going to go off the peg and you want classic tailoring there are a ton of Lutwyche suits on ebay at great prices . For those of you that didn't know Lutwyche suits were made in the original Chester Barrie factory which was in the town of Crewe in England .A breif look at Chester Barries wiki page will tell you about the factory . Lutwyche has gone bankrupt and all the liquidated stock is now on Ebay .
 

philwongnz

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I would say if you like to dabble into suiting again without spending a fortune I strongly recommend suit supply. I personally can't find a better company with its price point, quality and style. I personally favor the Italian look with slightly softer shoulders and softer draping. Not many off the rack suits has the barchetta chest pocket, half or full canvas and actual horn buttons.

If you like to sink a bit deeper, I mainly wear Tom Ford suits and for me it is the perfect hybrid between English (rope shoulders) and Italian detailing and style, milanese button hole, barchetta cheat pocket, wider lapels and high waisted side adjuster trousers.
 

J.R.

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It's good that you are being methodical with how to maximize your wardrobe's versatility without bloating your closet, as a lot of us have unfortunately done. This comes down heavily to individual taste and lifestyle, and others may have varying suggestions, but if I had to do it again, I would go with a serious medium gray suit, where the pants might pull double duty, and then a slightly more casual blue one with a bit of pattern/texture, which I can use the jacket separately. After that, maybe the casual blazer with hopsack fabric in medium blue, with patch pockets, which has enough texture to pair casually with khakis and jeans.

If you're into a gray flannel suit later, I'd suggest one with a coarser textured surface, with a herringbone pattern. A gray jacket is trickier to pair, unless you have stone or ivory pants or something like that, but the coarse texture and pattern will allow you to align it with pants by texture instead of by color. I have one in dark gray with patch pockets, which I wear frequently with dark jeans and more textured shirts like solid-colored flannels with button-down collars, in all colors. You can also layer a vest in there too. The pants of course can go with pretty much everything.

Do you prefer the dark grey flannel to the mid or light grey? It seems that they would be flexible to wear the pants or the jacket separate, more so than most suits. I was looking a bit at this.

I'd really like to get a three piece suit at some point, just because I like to wear vests - sweater vest, casual vests, my most worn garment is soft Arcteryx full zip vest that I wear with just about anything short of a full suit.


If you going to go off the peg and you want classic tailoring there are a ton of Lutwyche suits on ebay at great prices . For those of you that didn't know Lutwyche suits were made in the original Chester Barrie factory which was in the town of Crewe in England .A breif look at Chester Barries wiki page will tell you about the factory . Lutwyche has gone bankrupt and all the liquidated stock is now on Ebay .

Thanks. Very interesting and good pricing.
 

J.R.

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BTW! If you are near Kilgore Trout, would Cuffs in Chagrin Falls OH also be within range for you to visit? It's considered a bit of a best kept secret in the menswear arena, probably because it's location is a bit unusual for such an ultra high end shop but if you like how the Canali and Zegna feel you'll probably loooove what they have. Some of it miiiight start bordering on too Italian for that aforementioned downtown business club, but perhaps still worth a visit if it's not out of the way. Their prices though....well let's just say their prices are not unfair given the quality, but will probably be the part where you get to really flex the "LOL I'm already a partner" part of your biography.... :D :D :D

Went to Cuffs. Nice store. I forget their brands, but one was super expensive in the $5000+ range, two were in the $1200-1700 range with one being Ralph Loren. Then, they have a MTM program through Hickey Freeman using basically remnant fabrics at a cost of $800 or a small sample book at $1200. Good deal on remnants but limited selection.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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Went to Cuffs. Nice store. I forget their brands, but one was super expensive in the $5000+ range, two were in the $1200-1700 range with one being Ralph Loren. Then, they have a MTM program through Hickey Freeman using basically remnant fabrics at a cost of $800 or a small sample book at $1200. Good deal on remnants but limited selection.

I'm super jealous! It sounds like they didn't have what you are looking for, but hopefully it was fun and informative at least?

Do you prefer the dark grey flannel to the mid or light grey? It seems that they would be flexible to wear the pants or the jacket separate, more so than most suits. I was looking a bit at this.

I'd really like to get a three piece suit at some point, just because I like to wear vests - sweater vest, casual vests, my most worn garment is soft Arcteryx full zip vest that I wear with just about anything short of a full suit.

I like three-piece suits too, because that way, if I have to take off the jacket to have better arm mobility, or if the office is overheated because of some thin-blooded coworker with access to the thermostat, I still feel put together and won't have my tie flailing loosely around like on a nervous boy at a middle school prom. It doesn't really make sense for a light suit to have that extra vest layer, but for a flannel one, most definitely.

My own solid gray flannel suit is perhaps smiiiiiidge lighter than the one in the link they call charcoal, but I generally would recommend something in that ballpark. I actually ended up having a 2nd pair of pants made in the same fabric, as I can see myself wearing those out faster than the jacket, given how frequently I wear the pants as odd trousers. The jacket is trickier for me to pair, but as a separate, I generally combine it with dark jeans, dark corduroys, or light-colored flannel trousers (off-white, tan, beige). I also occasionally wear the pants and matching vest with a blue blazer, but generally only for fun and not for work, as this can get a bit too Prohibition-era-costume.

The other gray flannel on the He Spoke Style site, the one they call "light grey," is a bit too light as a fall/winter suit for my tastes. It's a good color for odd flannel trousers though, as those would pair easily with just about anything that you'd wear during fall/winter (blazer, sweater vest, fleece vest, flannel shirt, sweater, etc.).
 
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J.R.

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@stuffedsuperdud Yes it has been very informative running around to the various different stores and tailors. They all have pretty different takes on what is in style, even to simple details like jacket length and shoulder width. Thanks for all the help from everyone in this thread.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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@stuffedsuperdud Yes it has been very informative running around to the various different stores and tailors. They all have pretty different takes on what is in style, even to simple details like jacket length and shoulder width. Thanks for all the help from everyone in this thread.

It's good to try to hit a happy medium so that the garment will work now and also ten years from now. It can't go out of fashion if it was never truly in fashion, after all. However, even with these guidelines, ultimately, as you've noticed, a lot of this is subjective so the most important thing is that it feels right to you. It's no good if you're not happy with it and feeling self-conscious about it when you're meeting with your clients and potential clients. Anyway, have fun at the upcoming trunk shows and be sure to keep us posted on what you end up deciding on!
 

J.R.

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I'm getting this dark gray / light charcoal Coppley suit for now. It's a bit darker than this picture shows, the stripe is a mid-blue color and not as stand-outish as the picture shows. I went in to get fitted the other day and back to day to check on it. It's a 42 which was quite big, except in the chest and shoulders and they did a good good trimming it up. I asked them to bring in the waste a little more and they needed to tighten up under the collar a bit, then hem the pants. I went no cuffs on the pants at the shop owners suggestion, even though all of my pants, including flat fronts, have cuffs.

IMG_7446.jpg


I was debating a MTM via Coppley and considering either of the two on the left - a light navy birds-eye or a lighter blue check. But, I think I'll stick to the gray for now and decide on the second suit after a bit. I want to see how I like this suit and cut after a bit and may well either go with a bit more modern style or online MTM.
 

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