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Stocking up in Europe for first job


Aug 19, 2009
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Good afternoon all,

I'll be called to the Bar in Toronto in the next couple of months and it's time to put away childish things. I've got a pretty solid set of the easy purchases --- ties, pocket squares, socks, wallets --- but on a student's budget I've been making do with a friend's Thai MTM connection for four years now. The suits fit very well but just don't have any quality of craftsmanship and are reaching the breaking point. I've got a great pair of black Ferragamos that are serving me well, but the rest of the shoe complement is destined for the fireplace. I've also lost some weight and it's more trouble than it's worth getting all the old shirts taken in.

Time to start fresh.

Cut to the Big Question! I've got three months between the ceremony and starting my new job, so I'm off to Europe with the wife to celebrate. We have no particular plans for the month we're overseas. We can go to Paris, Milan, London... wherever our fancy takes us. I've got a clothing budget of $5,000 to stock up on whatever will be most cost-effective upon my return --- so if proper shoes will be 30% cheaper in Italy, but suits only 20% cheaper in France, maybe I should head to the former.

When I was in Paris shoe quality and prices were so much better after the exchange rate I bought a $20 piece of rolling luggage just to store four pairs and fly them all home as checked baggage; I'm sure the same can be said for suits, shirts, and so on in different nooks and crannies across the continent.

So, here's where I desperately need your help. With the exception of that single trip to Paris, I've never actually toured Europe. I have no idea where to go or where to shop for suits, shirts and shoes. (Mostly the former two.) Where specifically are the best balances between quality and price? Any favourite tailors or shops?

For a bit of background, I'm 6'2", turning 30, average build and generally Welsh-looking. (Just imagine you're dressing a tall, bearded Daniel Radcliffe.) Also, I can never make up my mind between English and Italian style, so your advice might really help me get started on my own style as I begin a wardrobe from scratch. As much as I tend towards the cut of a Zegna or Brioni suit, my personality's a lot more professorial and tweedy. (I was recently obscenely jealous of Benedict Cumberbatch's good fortune as a sort-of balance between the two.) I'm currently on the Canadian equivalent of Bay Street, so a more conservative shop might be the ticket.

Many thanks in advance! I can't wait to hear what the masters come up with.

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