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Suit gurus! Please advise...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Trapp, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Trapp

    Trapp Senior member

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    I have a question about fit and quality.

    Today I found a nice looking charcoal grey suit in a consignment store. It was made by Hickey Freeman and was originally sold out of the Peter Elliot store in New York. I'd been trying to find a charcoal suit for some time and, lo and behold, the jacket fit like a glove. The shoulders and chest were perfect, the lapels were simple, elegant (on the narrow side...which I like), and subtly pick stitched. It was double-vented, the proper length, and it had high arm holes that felt comfortable and looked great. It was a three-button with the top button rolled. If I bought it, my tailor might find something small to refine, but there was no bulge in the back of the neck, it had a slim profile, and even the sleeve length seems perfect as is. I slipped it on, fastened the button, and it was like, click, this is what how a jacket should feel--and fit.

    I'm not too familiar with Hickey Freeman, so I don't know if it was LTD or Mainline. I've just read up some on the boards and intend to use what I learned to find out tomorrow, as the store is holding the suit for me. The jacket was canvassed (half or full, I don't know. I just took a pinch between the jacket buttons.)

    So, my question. When I removed the jacket I noticed the fabric was Loro Piana and it was super 130. The fabric had a soft feel and seemed a bit on the delicate side (I don't often wear suits; I spend more time in the streetwear forum, and the suits that I do have are a fairly coarse wool.) I checked the suit carefully; the fabric was a bit wrinkled on the pants, possibly from handling in the store, but the only flaw I could see was a subtle bit of sheen on an inch or so of the waist band that might have been caused by an iron or dry cleaning. This was hardly noticable and would be concealed by a belt as well as the jacket, but I wonder if it's an indication of the fabric's delicacy. I've been reading a lot of posts by members who have a low opinion of LP's suiting fabrics--so many that I'm now feeling a bit dissuaded. The store has listed the suit for $190 -- no remarkable steal. And while it's rare for me to find a jacket that fits so well, and that has so many of the features that I prefer, and that is so useful (a deep charcoal that was somehow very attractive, not boring), I don't want some piece of crap that will fall apart on the third or fourth wearing.

    Incidentally, I do wear mostly streetwear, and would only wear this suit 1-3 times a month.

    Finally, as this is germane to my decision, the trousers. They were flat-fronted with a nice slender cut down the legs--hard to find as someone whose budget inspires thrifting. The waist would need to be let out a lot though, maybe as much as 1.5" or even (to be safe) 2" (the front pockets pulled open when I buttoned the top.) In the seat, a touch snug. Nothing ridiculous, and given the clean fit of the suit as a whole I think the seat looked okay. In theory, there was enough extra fabric in both the waist and the 'seam in the seat' (not sure what you call that) to allow for adjustment, but I've had a few similar adjustments on odd pants done by my tailor with somewhat mixed results (one turned out great, another a bit iffy). I'm curious what people think. Should this be a deal-breaker? When I do wear suits, I never take the jacket off (i sweat so much i can't), and I'm inclined to think that as long as the trouser alteration comes out decent, if not perfect, it would not be noticed with the jacket on.

    I decided to err in this post on the side of being thorough. Sorry it's so long, and if you made it this far, thank you. Wisdom, suggestions, guidance? On either the trouser situation or the quality (or lack thereof) of a Loro Piana super 130? There seems to be conflicting opinions about Loro Piana fabric, and I welcome comments from both camps.
     


  2. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

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    I can't speak from personal experience but I think that if you're only going to wear it a couple of times a month it should be fine, and $190 isn't exactly expensive either, I would say go for it...
     


  3. porcelain monkey

    porcelain monkey Senior member

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    I have no particular expertise in tailoring or fabric, but I have some Lorno Piana fabric suits that have held up quite well. Nothing you describe sounds particularly bad to me and $190 sound fair.
     


  4. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Enjoy your good deal. There are way more positives than any negatives you may encounter. Performance of the cloth is subjective and objective. You are not a heavy user so the cloth should hold up. Wrinkling is normal and expected. The shine may be from pressing without a press cloth and could be removed with light steam.
     


  5. Trapp

    Trapp Senior member

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    Thanks s.m., p.m., and despos.

    To be clear, no one thinks the trouser alteration should be much of a big deal?
     


  6. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If the cloth is there to let out it is no big deal. If you are worried about it, ask if you can return it if the tailor says it won't work.
     


  7. Trapp

    Trapp Senior member

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    The cloth is there to let it out. Also, I just called the shop, and I can return it if the tailor says it won't work.

    I'm going to go for it.
     


  8. Mark Seitelman

    Mark Seitelman Senior member

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    I know Peter Elliot's merchandise and its owner.

    Peter Elliot sells the regular Hickey-Freeman suit that you would buy in either Saks or Neiman Marcus. I believe that it used to be called the Collection. Peter Elliot doesn't sell the lesser bridge line H-F, such as Ltd. Therefore, you are getting the regular, full-fledged H-F. The only better H-F is the hand tailored line or Presidential line which is sold in very few venues.

    The suit probably retailed for $1,500 or so at Peter Elliot.

    You got a good deal.

    Good luck!
     


  9. Trapp

    Trapp Senior member

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    Thanks, Mark, for the info on both Peter Elliot and the suit. I went back today and confirmed your suspicion that it is from the Hickey Freeman 'Collection.' It's nice, and my tailor said the trousers won't be a problem.

    Interesting postscript: the shop last night put out another Peter Elliot H-F 'Collection' from the same guy that brought in the first. It was on the rack when I returned today. This one has the same essential cut and features but is made from a hardier fabric, and has more casual colors (i'm tempted to describe it as a window-pane pattern, but that's not quite it). Beautiful suit.
     


  10. overdog

    overdog Senior member

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    $190 for a used Hickey Freeman? New ones go for $200-250 on the B/S forum all the time. But then again, if it already fits you really well, it might be worth it.
     


  11. Trapp

    Trapp Senior member

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    Really?

    Now that I know my size and the cuts I like, I'll keep my eye on the b&s boards next time I'm in the market for a suit.
     


  12. Erik.Lazdins

    Erik.Lazdins New Member

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    Sounds like a terrific deal even at 2x the price!

    Congrats!
     


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