1. Styleforum Gives - Holiday Charity Auction 8: A Bespoke Coat from David Reeves

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Style and quality

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HRHAndrew, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Senior Member

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    As I am sitting on the plane flying to London, I was reading through some of the recent posts. Especially those about quality and designers. And of course the widely mentioned price/quality value of the Vass shoes. It got me thinking, how do you guys get a balance between style and quality, and price as well.

    For example, Oxxford is undoubtedly excellently constructed. But personally, I am not a big fan of the styling. Similarly, there are labels whose cut is nice, but quality is such that I avoid.

    For suits I like Isaia, Casual wear I am a Purple Label and Zegna man (admittingly Zegna does raise some quality issues).

    I would be intersted on how everyone else strikes the quality, style and price balance.

    I have to post this as I am about to lose the connectibility over the Atlantic.
     


  2. The_Foxx

    The_Foxx Distinguished Member

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    I was doing some browsing today, and thought about something in regards to suits/ sportcoats. It would seem to me that, like auto manufacturers, the small group of top-end clothiers have different things to offer-- as well as strengths and weaknesses.

    In particular, I was looking at the construction aspect of the coat. It has been my experience that Brioni, Kiton, Attolini, and D'avenza all make great suits, esp. those with very small patterns and vertical patterns (birdseye, pinstripes, chalkstripes, etc). However, all do not match up the pattern on seams very well when it comes to horizontals (glen plaids, windowpanes, etc.). Here, only Oxxford seems to really get it right.

    I noticed today that the sleeves seams in particular are the point of real perfection-- or lack thereof.

    Thought this might generate some interesting discussion, anyway. Myself, I'm willing to buy Oxxford in browns, taupes, maybe even grey plaids.....but the Italians have my business when it comes to stripes, more formal/ power suits.
     


  3. shoefan

    shoefan Senior Member

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    My primary criteria are appearance and relative value. I have bought stuff from basically all the big names, when I saw them on sale, I liked the look, and I didn't already own anything too similar (okay, if it was a big enough bargain, I guess I didn't necessarily worry about the latter. I own way too many clothes.) That being said, I really have grown to focus on the very top-end makers; I don't pay much attention to anything like Corneliani, Vestimenta, Armani, Boss, etc. because I don't like either their quality and/or their cut. I have found that, with enough effort, you can find the best stuff at very reasonable prices, though you really have to work at it. As a consequence, I have found that I like various stuff made by Brioni, Barbera Sartoriale, Oxxford, Isaia, Belvest, Lauren Purple Label, Chester Barrie, SaintAndrews, Hickey Freeman, and Kiton. However, I am eventually finding that I favor the Italians because of the cut, drape, and fabrics they use, although some of my Oxxfords I still love because of their fabrics as well. I also have a few Zegna's that I like, because I think the fabrics in those particular garments are nice, in spite of the somewhat lower quality of construction. When push comes to shove, if I can find a true $2500 sport coat or suit in my size and in a pattern I like for $250 or $300, I will buy it regardless of the maker.
     


  4. mistahlee

    mistahlee Senior Member

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    How do you?
     


  5. A Harris

    A Harris Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    That's my philosophy. If I find something that fits nicely, is well made and is cheap I will buy it. I could care less if the label is missing or defaced too. Whose label is or is not in a garment is of no consequence. Cut, quality and fabric - those are the most important things.

    It's a lot of work. It has to be a hobby (or in my case a business/hobby) in order for you to acquire a whole wardrobe off-price. It's a simple trade off - either spend more money and less time or spend more time and less money.

    You probably have enough info to get started from reading the forum. So now all you have to do is search, search, search on ebay and visit your local consignment shops and outlets frequently. Deals will crop up sooner or later.

    As Steve B. will tell you, (buy his book if you haven't already) shopping end-of-season sales at larger stores is an effective compromise. You can often get a lot of top quality clothing in one visit and at a 60-80% discount off retail. There are much better deals to be had on ebay but they require more work.

    My final tip is a repeat. BUY STEVE'S BOOK :) It is a gold mine of information on where to shop.
     


  6. shoefan

    shoefan Senior Member

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    I spend too much time shopping, and I have tried to learn what comprises a quality garment (in the days before this web site allowed people to learn fairly easily). The "how" is largely a function of two things: knowing what is quality and who really are good makers; and being in the right place at the right time. It is my experience/impression that many/most men don't really care about clothes, so they are pretty ignorant of brands. As a consequence, when stuff makes its way to the clearance centers/discount stores, the typical customer of these stores isn't interested in paying, let's say $700 for an Oxxford or a Brioni, and they've never even heard of Kiton, Luciano Barbera Colleziane Sartoriale, SaintAndrews, Belvest, or Isaia. Therefore, these items will often sit around and get marked down further. Also, some stores just seem to mark some items down to a huge degree when they ship them to their discount locations: a few cases in point -- Kiton and Barbera Sartoriale cashmere sport coats marked down from $3200/$2800 respectively to $249. And Oxxford Crown Cashmere sportcoats (including solid blue cashmere flannel) being marked down from $2800 to $349. Or, a new cashmere SaintAndrews/Lauren Purple Label sportcoat being marked down to $70 from $2900 (after having spent time at a Polo outlet and not selling at $170.) Or some Huntsman (by Chester Barrie), SaintAndrews, and Belvest suits being sold for $199 after not selling at Filene's for $699. You also have to spend alot of time visiting the outlets, get lucky, or have a salesperson who will call you when they get good stuff in. I also find that it helps to be open to slightly more interesting colors/patterns; most men seem to just want blue blazers, so sportcoats in earth tones, muted pastels, plaids, or green tones won't appeal, even though they may be incredibly beautiful garments. I also agree that an alternative is to visit really good stores at their end of season sales. You can score alot of great stuff in a hurry, although not as cheaply as at the outlets.
     


  7. marc39

    marc39 Well-Known Member

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    I use an amazing bespoke tailor in NYC who has the rare combined gifts of keen sense of style, as reflected in his garments, as well as brilliant technical tailoring skills (measuring, cutting paper, sewing, fitting, etc). However, prior to finding him, I grew very frustrated with other so-called tailors who really aren't tailors but say they are, who cannot make a decent suit if their lives depended on it, and the various high-end labels which might offer style but cannot offer truly bespoke garments---MTM does not "cut it" for me, no pun intended. For the most part, it's a compromise.
     


  8. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior Member

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    marc39,

    Please share with us the tailor that you use? How much does this tailor charge?

    -HitMan009
     


  9. marc39

    marc39 Well-Known Member

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    Having posted about my revered tailor on another fashion site, I hope you don't think I'm "shilling" for him as I truly am not--I'm just someone who has had a series of disappointing experiences with several prominent NY and Savile Row tailors, and who would like to see fellow "clothes horses" avoid getting burned and having their bank accounts depleted, and enjoy some phenomenal bespoke clothing. Anyway, his name is Raphael Raphaelli and he is a sartorial genius, an old-school master tailor who actually makes a garment from scratch--measuring, cutting paper, sewing, fitting, producing a beautiful work of art. And, he has an exquisite old-world sense of style. I'd rather not speak for Raphael in terms of pricing, but given the craftsmanship involved and the time put into each garment, the price is a bargain (<$3,000/suit for a 2-piece top quality worsted garment) His firm is called Savile Row/New York located on 53rd St., NYC. E-mail me with any questions: [email protected]
     


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