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Why would you buy a NEW suit?

Feadog

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Aug 30, 2018
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Hi!

Long time lurker here, since before I owned any quality garments, and I've learned quite a bit by reading this forum, so thanks! Let me also preface this by saying that the point of this thread is not to brag or show off (why would you brag about being a cheapskate?).

For the past 2-3 years I've been on the quest to build a quality wardrobe on a fairly tight budget. Not because I'm particularly poor, but because I like to avoid unnecessary expenses if I can. I'd like to think that I've succeeded quite well, but you can be the judge of that. What I've found is that, for quality RTW, depreciation is absolutely horrendous. I've been able to curate a full (for me) rotation of 8 suits and 4 sports coats, all well fitting quality RTW, barely used, mostly Italian and fully canvassed - with one exception. With the same exception, they've all been bought second hand and I calculate that I've spent less than €2000 in total, including dry cleaning and alterations (by rough estimate, I think full retail should land closer to €30k).

All of these have been bought very lightly used and with modern styling (no old boxy power suits at all). A couple of them were acctually new with tags, never worn. Naturally it's taken quite a bit of sifting to find the keepers, but I've bough with return policies and gradually gotten better at spotting the good ones online. And just to be clear, these are all mainline and 100% genuine. So here's the rundown of my complete suit and sports coat collection that cost me less than €2000.

The Grey 2-piece suits
20240407_205907.jpg

  1. Canali Charcoal Herringbone
  2. Corneliani Dark Grey Glen Check
  3. E. Zegna Light Grey in their crossover fabric (this one has yet to make the trip to the dry cleaner/tailor)

The Blue 2-piece suits
20240407_210516.jpg

  1. E. Zegna Navy "High Performance"
  2. PRL Dark Blue Birdseye Windowpane (acctually the most expensive of the lot)
  3. Canali Mid Blue Hopsack in their Impeccabile-fabric
The "other" ones
20240407_211049.jpg

  1. Corneliani Black 2-piece suit
  2. Corneliani Brown 2-piece suit (looks darker in reality)
  3. Corneliani Tan Gingham Sports Coat

The Sports Coats
20240407_211454.jpg

  1. Brioni Charcoal Plaid (a bit gawdy I know, but a fun piece for parties)
  2. Kiton 100% Cashmere Grey Herringbone
  3. Corneliani Light Grey Windowpane, rayon from bamboo
So, the PRL was my first. It's the only one that was bought new, at 50% discount if memory serves, the only one that isn't fully canvassed. So it's the cheapest one in the collection, but the one I spent the most money on.

So,
A) How do you think I've done?
B) Disregarding the fact that none of this would be possible if no one did, why would you spend anywhere near retail for a quality RTW suit when the depreciation is this bad? I get that some people would be fussed about some stranger having previously worn it, but if it was in great condition to begin with and after a dry cleaning, it's really no different to me than picking up a new garment from a store that people have likely tried on in store. They may have even bought it, worn it a bit and then returned it for all you know, meaning there would be no difference at all, or what do you think?

Best regards,
 
Last edited:

Harwid

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Only new for me. I am very particular with what I buy and I wear clothes for a long time. I want to have the choice of more distinctive fabrics and styles that I love.

Jeff
 

Father Style

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I think it’s mainly an issue of time. I know the companies that fit me well. I don’t have the patience to scour second hand sites or stores. Everyone is different, but that’s just me.

FatherStyle.com
 

stylecounsel1

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Jun 28, 2023
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Congratulations on building a fine wardrobe.

I do not have a huge budget so also look for bargains and have got some nice nwt at low prices. I bought one suit that I would not have normally chosen but because it was available and fit. I later found it suited me much more than I expected and have had many compliments, so in a way the budget restriction can force you to be more open minded to try different designs.

I have got some cheaper quality new items at retail that had the look I liked even though the materials were lower grade than I could have got pre-owned.

I got one suit second hand but it did not fit well and it seems that one persons measurements can vary significantly from anothers so being able to return or try on is a must.

Life is full of compromises whether paying more, wasting more time or not getting exactly what you want.

I think if someone is determined to dress well then it can be done very economically buying second hand and even spending less money than many consumers spend on disposable high street fashion.
 
Last edited:

Feadog

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I think it’s mainly an issue of time. I know the companies that fit me well. I don’t have the patience to scour second hand sites or stores. Everyone is different, but that’s just me.

FatherStyle.com

Yes, this is a valid point. For me it took some time initially but has been going smoother and faster as I've progressed. Most of the stuff I've bought came from one particular online second hand store. After sifting through some sub-par garments and lucking out on a few good ones I learned to interpret their assessments. I was also able to set alerts for particular brands in my size so that also minimized the workload of finding stuff.

Congratulations on building a fine wardrobe.

I do not have a huge budget so also look for bargains and have got some nice nwt at low prices. I bought one suit that I would not have normally chosen but because it was available and fit. I later found it suited me much more than I expected and have had many compliments, so in a way the budget restriction can force you to be more open minded to try different designs.

I have got some cheaper quality new items at retail that had the look I liked even though the materials were lower grade than I could have got pre-owned.

I got one suit second hand but it did not fit well and it seems that one persons measurements can vary significantly from anothers so being able to return or try on is a must.

Life is full of compromises whether paying more, wasting more time or not getting exactly what you want.

I think if someone is determined to dress well then it can be done very economically buying second hand and even spending less money than many consumers spend on disposable high street fashion.

Thank you! I agree with everything you wrote!

Particularly the last point is something I've often thought about (and pointed out to my wife when she's commented on the steady stream of packages and my swelling wardrobe). The amount of money I've spent is in line with what it had cost me to buy an equal number of unwearable polyester suits made in some far east sweatshop from H&M. Not only am I able to dress well in fine italian wools instead of plastic, it's also much better for the environment.
 

breakaway01

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Supporting Member
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I still have one suit that I've kept from my days thrifting and eBaying tailored clothing.

Ultimately what stopped me from continuing to look for used clothing was my developing a sense not just of fit but also of style. Which is not to say that you don't have a sense of style.

But personally, I learned that an item of clothing might "fit" me in the sense of having the 'correct' shoulder width, chest measurement, sleeve length, no collar gap, etc -- but at the same time also might not flatter my body as much as another item of clothing that also "fit" me just as well. For example, how the shoulder is constructed, or the lapel width, or how the quarters are shaped.

It became too difficult to find used clothing that met both of these criteria, particularly as I'm a relatively unusual size for my height.

But starting off as you have is a great way to try on different makers and styles for a low price.
 

kindofyoung

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Joined
Jan 30, 2012
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It's funny, what is a great deal and solid foundation for you gives me the same reaction buying RTW at retail does for you @Feadog

As someone on the younger end of this forum and coming from the SW&D side, I've been thrifting for almost 10 years and have tried a lot of different styles over the years. At this point however I've firmly settled into vintage tailoring, usually 70s and 70s adjacent as being "my thing".

All of this is to say that while a lot of people would be happy with one RTW suit for 2000€, and you found 12 pieces for the same amount, I personally have a collection of 30-40 suits and jackets for half that amount.

Granted I'm not quite as particular with the fit as a lot of people on this side of the forum, but if you have the time to spend, doing things on a budget is no hindrance to learning your sartorial preferences.

(I've probably tried on hundreds of jackets and suits over the years :laugh:)
 
Last edited:

volcanotristate

Senior Member
Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
256
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263
I find the most overlooked aspect is button stance. It a subtle thing that can make you look dated. I use Spoo Poker, here on SF, for all my pre owned needs. He gives very detailed size descriptions.
 

yonkle

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2015
Messages
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I too have built a nice wardrobe thrifting I prefer the Ivy style. I have five suits Brooks Golden fleece, Samuelson, Jpress, Paul Stewart. all fully canvased. and 8 sport coats. initial cost was less than tailoring and cleaning. They all fit me well and look great. I'm very fortunate to have a fabulous local alterations tailor. I've also accumulated over 50 ties all top names all in perfect shape including many sevenfolds. average cost $3 it took some patience and a few mistakes but I'm very satisfied with my wardrobe.
Yonkle
 

Suitfry

New Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2024
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hi!

Long time lurker here, since before I owned any quality garments, and I've learned quite a bit by reading this forum, so thanks! Let me also preface this by saying that the point of this thread is not to brag or show off (why would you brag about being a cheapskate?).

For the past 2-3 years I've been on the quest to build a quality wardrobe on a fairly tight budget. Not because I'm particularly poor, but because I like to avoid unnecessary expenses if I can. I'd like to think that I've succeeded quite well, but you can be the judge of that. What I've found is that, for quality RTW, depreciation is absolutely horrendous. I've been able to curate a full (for me) rotation of 8 suits and 4 sports coats, all well fitting quality RTW, barely used, mostly Italian and fully canvassed - with one exception. With the same exception, they've all been bought second hand and I calculate that I've spent less than €2000 in total, including dry cleaning and alterations (by rough estimate, I think full retail should land closer to €30k).

All of these have been bought very lightly used and with modern styling (no old boxy power suits at all). A couple of them were acctually new with tags, never worn. Naturally it's taken quite a bit of sifting to find the keepers, but I've bough with return policies and gradually gotten better at spotting the good ones online. And just to be clear, these are all mainline and 100% genuine. So here's the rundown of my complete suit and sports coat collection that cost me less than €2000.

The Grey 2-piece suits
View attachment 2162955
  1. Canali Charcoal Herringbone
  2. Corneliani Dark Grey Glen Check
  3. E. Zegna Light Grey in their crossover fabric (this one has yet to make the trip to the dry cleaner/tailor)

The Blue 2-piece suits
View attachment 2162957

  1. E. Zegna Navy "High Performance"
  2. PRL Dark Blue Birdseye Windowpane (acctually the most expensive of the lot)
  3. Canali Mid Blue Hopsack in their Impeccabile-fabric
The "other" ones
View attachment 2162959

  1. Corneliani Black 2-piece suit
  2. Corneliani Brown 2-piece suit (looks darker in reality)
  3. Corneliani Tan Gingham Sports Coat

The Sports Coats
View attachment 2162961

  1. Brioni Charcoal Plaid (a bit gawdy I know, but a fun piece for parties)
  2. Kiton 100% Cashmere Grey Herringbone
  3. Corneliani Light Grey Windowpane, rayon from bamboo
So, the PRL was my first. It's the only one that was bought new, at 50% discount if memory serves, the only one that isn't fully canvassed. So it's the cheapest one in the collection, but the one I spent the most money on.

So,
A) How do you think I've done?
B) Disregarding the fact that none of this would be possible if no one did, why would you spend anywhere near retail for a quality RTW suit when the depreciation is this bad? I get that some people would be fussed about some stranger having previously worn it, but if it was in great condition to begin with and after a dry cleaning, it's really no different to me than picking up a new garment from a store that people have likely tried on in store. They may have even bought it, worn it a bit and then returned it for all you know, meaning there would be no difference at all, or what do you think?

Best regards,
You have done well! And yes, I have bought new suits and, more often, pre-owned suits. The money spent to tailor the pre-owned suits is well spent considering that I've bought second hand suits for $300 that were $2000 new. BIG WARNING: don't suffer the terrible surprise that ruined four of my best suits: clothing moths! When you buy used suits, even if they have been, the seller tells you, "cleaned", do take them to a reputable dry cleaner and have them cleaned and then wrapped, air tight, in plastic. Next, quarantine them from the rest of your wardrobe for several months. During that period, wear your suit but store it at the end of each day in that air tight garment bag. Also: Look for tiny openings in the bag because most suit bags are NOT air tight. Seal the gaps with packaging tape.

I know this sounds really obsessive and probably unnecessary. Trust me, it's worthwhile. I lost thousands of dollars in suits to moths. Also take note: suits don't have to be "dirty" to attract moths. I had a beautiful flannel suit, never worn, new, in a garment bag, with lavender sachets inside, and moths got in through tiny openings above the zipper and laid their eggs. The hatched larvae burrowed into the fabric and ate literally a tennis ball size hole in the trousers and made a long trench inside the lapel of the jacket. I was devastated when I saw this. I threw the whole thing away. It was disgusting.

I lived moth-free in my house for over twenty years until I started buying pre-owned clothing! Some garment I purchased, from someone else, obviously had moth eggs embedded in it. And that's how this horror story began. Now the moths are permanently in my house. Unless I vacate everything and clean and have every item in my closet removed, I'm stuck with them. All my clothing is in plastic now. I have moth traps up but they don't kill the females. Slowly the population has dropped but the risk is ever present.
 
Last edited:

Feadog

New Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
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5
You have done well! And yes, I have bought new suits and, more often, pre-owned suits. The money spent to tailor the pre-owned suits is well spent considering that I've bought second hand suits for $300 that were $2000 new. BIG WARNING: don't suffer the terrible surprise that ruined four of my best suits: clothing moths! When you buy used suits, even if they have been, the seller tells you, "cleaned", do take them to a reputable dry cleaner and have them cleaned and then wrapped, air tight, in plastic. Next, quarantine them from the rest of your wardrobe for several months. During that period, wear your suit but store it at the end of each day in that air tight garment bag. Also: Look for tiny openings in the bag because most suit bags are NOT air tight. Seal the gaps with packaging tape.

I know this sounds really obsessive and probably unnecessary. Trust me, it's worthwhile. I lost thousands of dollars in suits to moths. Also take note: suits don't have to be "dirty" to attract moths. I had a beautiful flannel suit, never worn, new, in a garment bag, with lavender sachets inside, and moths got in through tiny openings above the zipper and laid their eggs. The hatched larvae burrowed into the fabric and ate literally a tennis ball size hole in the trousers and made a long trench inside the lapel of the jacket. I was devastated when I saw this. I threw the whole thing away. It was disgusting.

I lived moth-free in my house for over twenty years until I started buying pre-owned clothing! Some garment I purchased, from someone else, obviously had moth eggs embedded in it. And that's how this horror story began. Now the moths are permanently in my house. Unless I vacate everything and clean and have every item in my closet removed, I'm stuck with them. All my clothing is in plastic now. I have moth traps up but they don't kill the females. Slowly the population has dropped but the risk is ever present.

Sorry to hear that! Sounds like a pain, and got me slightly worried. I put all new purchases in the freezer for 72 hours before they go to the wardrobe. I have all suits in garment bags on cedar hangers. Maybe my routine isn't enough
 

alex_

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2024
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The brand of suit doesn't matter much to me, as you can see they have almost no resale value compared to the original cost. That's because a suit is a very personal thing. It needs to be your style and ideal fit to really make you feel confident.
 

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