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Recent graduate - buying suits. Bespoke vs off the peg dilemma

charraw

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This is my first post of the forum, so apologies for being ballsy and starting a whole thread. I've recently graduated and have the good fortune to a) have been hired and b) to have received a sign on bonus. I'm currently trying to work out where I should by my suits for work. I currently have two average off the beg suits, and one bespoke one (bought in Asia when I was much younger). I'm looking at buying three suits to replace these suits. Colour wise, I'm looking at navy, charcoal and one other (any ideas very welcome). My budget for each suit is around £400 (approx. $600). My dilemma is where to buy them from. I've heard good things about Aquascutum currently have a sale on and are selling heavily discounted suits (http://www.aquascutum.co.uk/index.cfm?page=1813). However, the other option is to take advantage of the fact that I am likely to travel to Asia before I start - Singapore is a definite, but Hong Kong and Thailand are also in the picture. My question to the the forum is, therefore, taking my budget into consideration, where should I look to buy these suits? If a tailor is suggested, any names of quality tailors in Asia that meet my budget would be very appreciated.
 

Antonio Centeno

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Recent Grad,

My advice would be to invest more time in building your foundation in the understanding of classic men's style. Once you have this down, you'll be able to walk down the streets of Bangkok or Kowloon and tell the scams from the real deal by inspecting their wares.

You are going to find the best deals in either HK or BK, with HK being a little better quality but higher priced while in BK you can find gold but it's harder to locate. Since you are buying from the source, you'll get much better quality if you go to the right tailor shop.

I've written quite a bit about suits here http://www.atailoredsuit.com/mens-st...ored-suit.html and on my blog (see below). Also buy any book by Flusser and Roetzel and spend a few hours reading the blogs Permanent Style and a Suitable Wardrobe.

Best of luck!
 

Master-Classter

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I suggest doing some research to understand what a good fit looks like.
Go to a few stores, like 5-10 and fit on many many suits and start ot get a sense for different cuts and value (price to quality) by simply feeling it out and looking in the mirror.
don't let the money burn a hole in your pocket. buy 2-3 suits like a navy, charcoal, to begin, unless you need to wear a suit every day (then get maybe a light grey as well), or if it's a bit more casual then pick up a navy and light grey sportscoats as well.


understand - whatever you're buying right now will probably end up being taken to a tailors, having more money wasted on it, and 6 months later disgarded for something better once you've actually worn it for a little while and realize what you really like/not.

I don't suggest doing some asian MTM at this point before you even know what you want/like/will use.

just my $0.02


PS - lurk moar n0ob and read the threads. you're not the first person to ask this question.
 

Jermyn

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I wouldn't recommend getting suits made in Thailand.

There are a lot of places in and around Nana in Bangkok that will make you decent shirts though. Getting the fit on these is just as important, as the suit jacket tends to come off as soon as you get to work.

I have an order of 17 shirts with various collars, cuffs and other peculiarities, in Egyptian and Italian Cotton, most with MOP buttons, arriving next week. Total Cost, shipped: £500. (It is worth noting that I was measured in person and have had various fittings before agreeing to have future orders shipped).

As far as suits go, you could do a lot worse than heading to B&S (the buying and selling forum) and buying something close to your size. If you are in London head to Fashion Workrooms in Covent garden and have it altered.

I've done this and can manage to wear RLPL altered to fit perfectly for around £500 (including delivery from an SF member in the States). Considering RLPL off the rack comes in at around £1500 before alterations in Bond Street, this works out pretty well. Plus you're helping out SF while you do it!

Finally, don't forget shoes.
Check out the thread with the gentleman that has $5k to spend to give you an idea.

If you can get there, Bicester village's Church outlet has by far the best price to quality ratio for shoes near London (make sure you stick to custom grade and not the shoes made from bookbinder).
 

Macallan

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I think you would be better of keeping the numbers to a minimum; for example: two suits (navy, charcoal, mid-grey), two shoes, four shirts (whites and lights blues in plain and striped designs). Then look to add another week's rotation.

You will learn about things you like and dislike, the last thing you want is a wardrobe full of clothes that you are not fond of. For example, say you go for buttoned-cuff shirts but you change your mind and prefer double-cuffed shirts; if you started with a wardrobe of 16 shirts, it will take a long time to replace those shirts.


Bicester Village has been mentioned: Hackett, Gieves & Hawkes and Ralph Lauren for suits and shirts; and Church's and Ralph Lauren for shoes.


I have not been impressed by the Aquascutum suits I have seen so far, you can spend the same amount of money and get a better suit.
 

charraw

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Thanks for all of the advice. You will all be pleased to know that I've been lurking for a while, and have a pretty good idea of what I want out a suit (two buttoned jacket, adjustable side tabs - no belt hoops, not sure about cuffed trousers yet). It seems the advice so far is to buy an off the beg suit and get it altered. I think a trip to Bicester Village may be in order. Are there any other brands, besides Hackett, Gieves & Hawkes and Ralph Lauren, that are worth looking at? I'm still considering paying a visit to Iris (discussed here) when I'm Singapore though, just because I find the tailoring process fun and like owning MTM clothing. As for shirts, I already have a wardrobe of fairly decent shirts - doubled cuffed and in blue and white colours. I'm adding to that slowly but conservatively. Turning to shoes, I have a pair of Oxford Loakes that I'm fairly happy with. What would be a good pair of shoes to alternate these with?
 

GBR

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You do not give us the most information - where do you live/work and in what profession?
 

academe

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Originally Posted by charraw
I'm still considering paying a visit to Iris (discussed here) when I'm Singapore though, just because I find the tailoring process fun and like owning MTM clothing.
Iris is bespoke and not MTM. I like their work very much and would recommend them highly, especially for the price point. However, for your budget, you will have to supply your own fabric. If you buy fabric in SIN it will probably cost you around ~£700-800 per suit for basic fabrics, because of the high uplift charged by European cloth merchants in Asia.
 

saiyar1

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If you have a taste established, just go ahead and get suits made custom in Asia. It's cheaper, will fit very well, and you enjoy them. Get a solid navy, solid charcoal, and a a thin/faint stripe in one of the previous colors. You'll be all set.
 

Joenobody0

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Figure out what you like. Buy the staples now and branch out later. When you get to the point that you can cite specific reasons why you want/need bespoke, then you should start thinking about it. I can't begin to imagine the sort of "bespoke" you would get for $600.
 

saiyar1

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Originally Posted by Joenobody0
Figure out what you like. Buy the staples now and branch out later. When you get to the point that you can cite specific reasons why you want/need bespoke, then you should start thinking about it. I can't begin to imagine the sort of "bespoke" you would get for $600.



We're not talking about the absurd pricing for a bespoke made in London. You can get a nice suit cut from your own pattern made from scratch from several traveling Asian tailors for $750. And if you go straight there, it's cheaper. They are quite good too; I wouldn't underestimate them.
 

academe

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Originally Posted by Joenobody0
Figure out what you like. Buy the staples now and branch out later. When you get to the point that you can cite specific reasons why you want/need bespoke, then you should start thinking about it. I can't begin to imagine the sort of "bespoke" you would get for $600.


Iris in SIN does a great job for CMT at USD600-700 (i.e. labour only)... And I normally use an off-Row tailor in the UK. There are good tailors to be had in Asia at much more reasonable prices than in the UK or Europe. You just have to spend a bit more time finding them, and avoiding the tourist trap disasters. The main reason that they keep the prices down is because labour costs are comparatively lower in some parts of Asia for tailoring.
 

charraw

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Very helpful. I think I'll look at buying some fabrics in London and going over with them. Does anyone know any UK suppliers of suit fabrics?

Also, what is an acceptable bag to bring into the office? I can't help but think a traditional briefcase looks a little self-aggrandizing.
 

retozimmermann

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Originally Posted by charraw
Turning to shoes, I have a pair of Oxford Loakes that I'm fairly happy with. What would be a good pair of shoes to alternate these with?

Some dark-brown (assuming your Oxfords are black) derbies.
 

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