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Where to find higher-end suits on sale in NYC

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Bill H, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Bill H

    Bill H Well-Known Member

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    Hi Men,
    A bit of help please. I am in the market for a suit and was back in NYC this past weekend looking through several stores (e.g., Bergdorf, Saks, Barney's, Tom Ford, Isaia). While I found pretty much every brand I wanted to see, I was surprised to find literally nothing on sale. So is there a time and place within NYC when/where high-end suits go on sale. Secondly, what is considered a good discount; my gut says 40%+ off retail; would anyone agree/disagree. Thank you for any help as usual,
    Bill
     


  2. jrd617

    jrd617 Stylish Dinosaur

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  3. gyasih

    gyasih Distinguished Member

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    I agree with @jrd917. If you know your size B&S is great!
     


  4. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    If you can afford Tom Ford or Bergdorf at 40% off, you can afford to have suits made for you.
     


  5. Texasmade

    Texasmade Distinguished Member

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    Neiman Marcus had some TF suits on sale online back in June and were about 40% off. If you know your size and can fit their cut, it might be worth while to check the NM site every once in awhile.
     


  6. Bill H

    Bill H Well-Known Member

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    Hi Men,
    Thank you all for your thoughts; much appreciated.

    Edmoral, so a 5K suit at 50% off puts me at 2500 which is about my limit budget. When you say made for me, are we talking bespoke (please pardon as I know a (very) little but not a lot)? Can I get the same quality fabric and cut as compared to Tom Ford for 2500? What would my options and pricing be in the custom market I would be interested to know?

    Thanks for the Neiman Marcus and B&S recommendations. I will check NM and am certainly all over B&S; I agree it is pretty awesome, but at 48C can be pretty hit or miss.
    Bill
     


  7. smartie-pants

    smartie-pants Well-Known Member

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    @ $2500

    You can easily have a semi-bespoke suit made for you with comparable fabrics and 100% more customization offerings than any suit OTR. More importantly, the suit will fit you better!
     


  8. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    I have a long rambling answer to your question, which will not include specific names of tailors but will hopefully tell you how to narrow down your list of prospective RTW brands or tailors that would be right for you. But its long and rambling in my head, so let me make it concise on paper and then I'll post it here.
     


  9. Bill H

    Bill H Well-Known Member

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    Smartie-pants and Edmorel,

    OK, this is extremely helpful and I thank you very much for the insight. Basically, you are both saying that a TF suit, even at 50% off, is overpriced as I can have pretty much the same quality and fit, but customized if I go semi-bespoke. This is great to know.

    For better or worse I have a very clear idea of what I want (something similar to this http://www.ebay.com/itm/152159045446 in fit, but probably a silk blend or mohair) you are confident I can have this made for 2500? Edmorel, I would definitely be very interested in your input on where to go from here. Thank you very much men for educating me, I am quite appreciative.
    Bill
     


  10. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    A direct answer to your question (without knowing much about what you are looking for), I would not get that suit/style. A single vent suit with 5 buttonholes on the sleeve is not what I would consider classic (the single vent is, although very much out of favor right now, the 5 buttons are just too much). If you are simply looking for a 2 button notch lapel suit with relatively strong shoulders and a slim cut, yes you can get that made for you for $2500.

    BTW, I was not saying that a TF suit is overpriced, many things, tangible and intangible, go into pricing.


    A more general and much loooooonger response:

    This is assuming you want to go down the rabbit hole.

    It’s some mental diarrhea and probably covers stuff you already know. It’s not all encompassing and there are exceptions to everything I say. It’s basically a general overview to get you to think about, what to think about, when buying a suit :)

    Suit buying is no different than buying anything else, you have to look at what you need, what works for you and what is available (within your price range). Suits are not, figuratively, one size fits all. The same maker/tailor could look completely different on two people due to their body types, stylistic details etc. So for someone whose journey for a suit is at the beginning, very broad stage, I like to start with:

    Stylistically – What person/celebrity/brand/blogger do you think wears/makes good looking suits? What is it about the style of those suits that you like? What is the first thing you notice when you see that person in a suit?

    Physically – This person that you think is dressed well or the models used by the brand you like, are you built similar to them physically? Are you tall and skinny, short and stout, athletic/muscular or some combination thereof? What is your skin color?

    Fabric /Design/Use of Suit – What do you do for a living, are you a Midwestern trial lawyer or a sports agent in California? Will this be a suit for daily work, for special meetings/presentations, for evenings out or for a tropical vacation/wedding etc?

    Once we build a framework from the answers above, we can start to narrow things down. Let’s use Tom Ford since you mentioned his suits. Let’s assume we are talking about Tom Ford’s suits from the ’13-’14 seasons as I have not paid much attention to his more recent stuff, the things I see on the website look rather generic.

    Ford cuts (Zegna makes the suits) a very manly, aggressive suit. I absolutely love his stuff (again, the stuff from a few seasons back). Strong pagoda shoulders, big peak lapels, elegantly loud fabrics, trim cuts. Very FU, very in your face, and very much not appropriate for me and many others. I have a big behind and hips and while not muscular, I have broad (but sloping shoulders) so the cut of suit that I need to make me look good requires it to not be close to my body, for the shoulders to not be too “strong” but to also not be soft and I have short legs for my height so I wear a jacket that is a bit longer than what most people my size wear. When you look at Ford’s suits, they are very trim, very high armholes, short jackets, broad shoulders. The jacket is made to make you look very big up top. I think it’s a terrific cut for slimmer, taller guys. I’ve seen average build people wearing it, and they don’t look as good. So my question to you would be, would that look work for you? And this framework can be used for any brand or tailor, take a look at people wearing the clothing, are they physically like you and the details/cut of the suit that you are admiring, will they work for you?
    Once you figure out a suit cut, then it’s on to the fabrics.

    Back to Ford, you may love the fabrics (also milled by Zegna) he used, I do. But if I was showing up to the El Paso Trial Lawyers Association annual dinner in a yellow shantung silk shawl collared dinner jacket, I’m probably going to stand out like a sore thumb and attract attention that I don’t want. So when you are looking at fabrics, you need to think about what color works for your line of work and your body. Are you looking for a fabric weight that you can wear year round (and what does year round weather consist of in your part of the woods) or something strictly for summer, winter etc. Do you want a fabric that is smooth to the touch/feel or do you want something with texture that will make the suit stand out a bit from the norm? Do you like your suits to stay as new, unwrinkled and sharp looking as possible or do you not mind a little of a more worn in look?


    Now on to the color/design. Are you short and stout? I would suggest staying away from pinstripes/chalkstripes but if you must, I would go with narrow spacing between the stripes. If you go with a solid color, stay away from anything bright, grey/blues/browns are the foundations of any good suit, there are multiple shades of each color and typically the lighter shades are associated with warmer weather (although you can wear things like cream flannel in winter or dark brown hopsack in the summer). These are just some general things to consider.

    Now you are picking a suit style. Double breasted or single breasted, 2 or 3 buttons (3 roll 2), peak lapels or notch, besom or flap pockets? A 2 button single breasted suit is the default business uniform in the US. A 3 roll 2 suit jacket adds a bit of style and Ivy nostalgia. A double breasted suit will make you stand out in certain circles. On a DB, I hate thin (<3.5in) lapels, I think it defeats the purpose of a DB. I also hate flap pockets, I think they detract from the “cleanliness” of a jacket. On the lapel width, your size should determine your lapel width (to an extent). Nothing worse than a large man with thin lapels or a thin man with 1970’s lapels. Your shoulders, are they very sloping (pointing downward?), mine are and I find that I look better with some padding at the end of my jackets shoulders. Peak lapels are generally more formal than Notch lapels. Patch pockets more casual than flap/besom. I live by sportcoats = 2 patch pockets and suit jackets = besom pockets but you have to decide what you like.

    So you have the style of suit you like, the fabric style/color now on to what brand or tailor to use. The great thing about ready to wear is that its…… ready to wear. You can immediately see what the fabric and cut will look like on you. You can try on multiple brands/cuts and figure out what you most like before you spend your first penny. The downside is that you don’t have say on fabric, or style and if the cut doesn’t fit you just right, you have to either settle or get alterations. There are only so many things you can alter on a finished suit. Also, the proportions of the suit may not be right for you. As an example Ford likes oversized flaps on his pockets, the smaller you are the worse that looks.

    The great thing about tailors is the options available. Fabric wise, you can get anything that you could possibly imagine. The right tailor will give you great advice on what fabric will best work for your need/suit, with RTW you are flying blind in that regards. A tailor will get you a suit that fits/works for your body and will be there to make any necessary adjustments down the road. A good tailor should stop you from making a huge mistake (“do you think this yellow/green/purple gunclub fabric would make a nice jacket/ Sure!!”). A store salesman is for the most part just looking to make a sale and push their brand. The bad thing about tailors is that there are more mediocre ones then there are good ones. A lot have pretty bad taste and will give you pretty bad styling/fabric advice. Also, depending on where you are, you may not have much options in terms of tailors.

    Probably the most important thing about deciding to use a tailor is that you need to approach it as building a long term relationship rather than a one-time buy. The likelihood that the first suit/jacket that you get made is not 100% to your liking is very high, either cut/fabric wise or just stylistically. You will see examples here from the most expensive to the cheapest tailors where people are not 100% happy or where something is wrong. There is no tailor in the world that does not have (ex) customers that did not like the work done for them. It’s a human process which means there will be human mistakes from tailor and customer.

    So when you look at things you like and you realize that you like strong shouldered suits (Huntsman/Tom Ford) or that you prefer less sharp cuts (Kiton/Southern Italian tailors) or something in between (Oxxford/American tailors), you need to take into consideration your needs as I expressed above. Some people love the process of picking fabrics and going through the month’s long process of getting something made. Some people need to see exactly how something will fit right away and don’t have the time or inclination for waiting around months for a suit. And depending on your social circle/desires, a Tom Ford suit will carry a lot more cache then a Steven Hitchcock suit, regardless of which is better made, uses better fabrics (BTW, TF suits are pretty well made and details like the Milanese buttonhole are not easily replicated by your typical run of the mill tailor) etc.

    Everyone has a favorite tailor or a tailor that they would like to work with but again, what works for one person may not work for you. I won’t get into the distinction between tailors/cutters/salespeople, mtm/custom/bespoke as I think those should be things that you begin to consider once all the other things I discussed have been figured out. I would also advise that on your journey you give very little consideration to “handmade” as most RTW that is “handmade” is not and most tailors that do “handmade” do a mediocre job of it anyway. Whatever tailor/RTW brand you choose, the amount of handwork in the garment should be your last consideration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016


  11. Bill H

    Bill H Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much, Edmorel; I really enjoyed going down the rabbit hole. And I have to admit, I think I would enjoy the process of having a suit made. Your message was extremely helpful; the one point that stands out are the risks associated with the custom route, which were not immediately obvious to me previously. Within my limited experience I think ready to wear can fit me fairly well depending on the brand (I was actually a low level professional fit model about 10 years ago) and I am not sure the potential upside of custom would outweigh the disappointment of spending what is for me a good amount of coin to wind up with something I don't love (although I get what you are saying about it being a long-term several suit process). I don't know though and I would like to hear your overall thoughts on what to actually do (RTW or custom? What brand or tailor) at the end of this message.

    To cut through the BS, about a year or two back I had a great girl I was trying to marry who basically told me to F off and I found myself North of 35 and single with no prospects. Feeling a bit lost I recently started to pay attention to my dress, and I still can't believe it, but it has actually been making a big difference. To be frank, I am looking for a suit primarily for this reason. I will be working as a college professor (probably in Aus) and would also like to be able to wear the suit to work on occasion. I am no prize, but my greatest feature is my physical shape. I am not after a crazy suit, but rather something that compliments my build. This is the strategy I have been using for the other parts of my wardrobe and intuitively what I think has been working for me.

    I think if I was going to custom build a suit I would go with much of the TF model I sent the link to, but probably with a softer shoulder. I tried a Isaia Gregory on this weekend and I thought it fit great through the shoulder (my shoulders are super straight across, no slope). I will put specifics below, but for the TF pic I sent you, I recognize that the design isn't anything special, I just feel like it will fit my build well (although it could just be good mannequin work). I imagine putting a suit like this in a standout fabric like a mohair or a silk blend (but could certainly use advice).

    For specifics,

    I want a short jacket (within reason), a slim fit, double vent, standout fabric for sure,
    Most likely want notch lapels (about the width of the TF I sent), and patch pockets
    Leaning towards a soft shoulder but I may not know enough to make an informed decision on this

    My build:
    5'9"
    160
    Most of my suits are 46C or 48C
    My shoulders have no slope
    shoulders are a touch narrow (usually 17" shoulder fits well)
    chest is a touch large
    Lean, but with not much of a classic V
    Legs are proportionally a little bigger
    I am medium skin white guy with brown hair and eyes

    If you think RTW is the way to go, I would love to hear your thoughts on who to look at, if you think custom, I would love to hear your thoughts on who to go with. Regardless, thank you once more for the tremendous help.

    Bill

    PS- I recognize that I don't know much so I am willing to listen to feedback pertaining to what I am looking for as well.
     


  12. comrade

    comrade Distinguished Member

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    For a decent selection of High-end RTW suits in NYC, which go on sale seasonally,
    check out:

    Paul Stuart, Berdorff Goodman, Saks.
    Barney's has become more of a freak show
    than a vendor of adult tailored clothing
    To lesser extent so has Saks and Bergdorf.,
    A little shop that sells elegant high-end Italian
    tailoring is Davide Cenci on Madison and 79th.
    My only quarrel with them is their shoulders are too
    buit-up for me
    Brooks Bros- You might like their best line. Too
    generic for me.Otherwise the store is not worth it
    anymore.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016


  13. mr monty

    mr monty Distinguished Member

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  14. Bill H

    Bill H Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the thoughts men. Comrade, with the exception of post-Christmas, is there a way of knowing when a sale will occur at a Saks or Bergdorf (I am on the Saks mailing list)? Also, next time I am in town I will have to check Davide Cenci; thank you for the recommendation. Mr Monty, thank you for the WBC recommendation; I have been there maybe 15 years ago, but will definitely stop by next time I am in NYC. Thank you both once more.
     


  15. comrade

    comrade Distinguished Member

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    Sales seem to occur earlier and earlier. So it is possible that there may be a "pre-sale" for customers
    on the store's list or even items on sale before Christmas proper. Call the stores. They'll tell you.
    Men's tailored clothing is very competitive since so few men wear it regularly these days.
     


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