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Teach me about suits

Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
So, the time in my life has come where I feel I need a suit. More specifically, one for interviewing in, and with some luck, to only be worn once or twice. I will be making the rounds tomorrow (Saturday) and checking things out and hopefully making a purchase. On to the questions!

1) Is it standard for the place you buy the suit to do required tailoring to make it actually fit you? Is this normally included in the cost of the suit or is it extra? I'm pushing 6'3", I have lifted weights and done various sports on and off for years. I'm built like a tank with a gut. "Standard" cuts of clothes do not fit me. Coats big enough to get my arms through are almost always too broad for my shoulders. Pants which fit my waist are tight around my thighs, with the exception of things like baggy cut levi's silver tabs or the like. My suit WILL need tailored.

2) What is the real difference between suits? For example, there's S&K Menswear. They have full suits for $75-$150. Then there's JoS. A. Bank. They have suits that are $700+. Normally this would be out of the question, but JoS. A. Bank has a sale this weekend - 50% off. On the one hand, I am not thrilled with the idea of paying $300-$400 for something I hope to wear once. On the other hand, perhaps this expensive ones are significantly more comfortable to wear. Perhaps the $100 suits are total shit, more like the crappy, uncomfortable tux you rent for prom. I have no idea.

Jimmy King on

Posts

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    you might want to look into seperates, but depending on the store they might set you up. having odd shape body sucks. typcially if the store has a tailer and you buy it from them , they will do most of it for free, unless its pretty major

    differences in materials and cut essentiall, but that doesn't always come with high end suits

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  • ZsetrekZsetrek Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm not really a suit expert, but:

    A lot of the base price difference comes down to different materials - more expensive suits are going to be made of wool (better grades = more expensive), and cheaper suits are going to be synthetic, with blends in between. Synthetic suits are generally worse. They crease more easily, they're less comfortable to wear (especially in the heat or cold), and they can look shiny and tacky.

    Most places will make minor alterations to a suit (ie, let down the cuffs, etc) for a small additional fee, but it sounds like you're after something a bit more drastic than that. If your town has a tall and big shop, check them out. If you're really stuck, get a quote from a tailor. The general rule with suits is that fit is more important than cut, material, and everything else. So even if you only get a crappy suit as long as it fits well you'll look good.

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    The sweet spot for suits is probably around $400-$500. Anything less than that and I would have to really question why it was less than that. That's not to say you can't get a good suit for $250 or so, but you need to shop carefully and make sure you're buying something that can last for a while. The thing to remember about suits is they should last you many years, so it's ok to spend a little more.

    Any major department store or men's store will do alterations for free. Many stores even offer free alterations for life.

    If you want to get schooled on what you should be looking at when you buy a suit, go to www.esquire.com and search for articles on buying suits.

  • musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Jimmy King wrote: »
    Then there's JoS. A. Bank. They have suits that are $700+. Normally this would be out of the question, but JoS. A. Bank has a sale this weekend - 50% off.

    I bought the suit I got married in here, and got tons of complements on it. Besides the fact it looks like the fucking bomb, it feels awesome too. I got mine for like $350 and it was usually like you're saying $800 or so. When you buy a suit for much less than that you do start to notice it's made from inferior fabric and just doesn't look as nice.

    I own two suits, and you can easily tell which one is nicer and cost more. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars, but I'd check out that sale for sure.

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  • oncelingonceling Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Since we're talking suits, I have a question. Celebrities sometimes wear what seem to be lightweight but beautifully tailored suits that seem a lot "lighter" in terms of bulk and a lot more trendy. Much as I hate to link him, this is pretty much the best example:

    http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photo_StoryLevel/080428/080428-ryan-seacrest-vmed-2p.widec.jpg

    The jacket on this suit above seems a whole lot more trendy/lightweight than say this from the aforementioned JoS A Bank:

    http://www.josbank.com/Images/Catalog/ProductImages/8503e.jpg

    So my question is - where does one buy the celebrity suits? Or are they only for the rich and famous? <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    Last time I was shopping with a male friend for suits, it was all just baggy suits like the latter, nothing super tailored and light. Yes, I know you can get a suit tailored but when you're starting with fabric that looks 8x the thickness and shoulderpads the size of my boobs its obviously not just the tailoring.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Seacrest's suit is what they call an italian cut. Usually, the Mens Warehouse type of suit is a fuller cut (the boxiest cut is "English" and the middle of the road is "American" BTW) because it's very forgiving to a wide variety of builds, particular the Large American. It's a very well fitted suit. He's about the size of a male dress dummy, and he's got an unlimited budget, and his job is looking good, and all he has to do in the suit is stand there, so don't feel to bad if you don't measure up at a given moment.

    The biggest thing about a suit fitting is making sure it fits in the shoulders. There's nothing a tailor can do to change a jacket that doesn't fit in the shoulders.

    Color wise you want something navy or dark grey/charcoal. Don't get a black suit unless you're a john woo protagonist or buying it for funerals.

    You want a 2 or three button suit. 4 buttons are for huge motherfuckers and 1 button is for a tux. You want a single-breasted suit, because you are not an aging greek merchant or a 50's detective.

    Get a wool suit. Don't pop for the super-high threadcount. If they get into what KIND of wool you want, you probably want worsted wool - tweed, flannel and tropical/crepe being your alternatives.

    The pants should drape over the tops of your shoes and almost touch the ground at the heel, when you are standing. Expect them to rise a bit when you sit down and wear some decent socks.

    If you go to the jos a bank (which I recommend you do - half off from there is a pretty decent "only suit I own" ) they should be able to help you out a little bit with things like vents and pleats and lapels - remember, if it gets confusing, the suit has been around for hundreds of years now with only slight mutation, so a middle of the road conservative pick on any given suit decision should stand you OK.

    "Maybe we're here to eat the sandwich." -- Joe Rogan
  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    The difference between a suit that retails at $100 and one that retails at $300 won't make much of a difference - as you note, no suit you buy is going to both a) fit comfortably and b) look good off the rack with your dimensions. Even a big & tall kinda place is going to be oversized on either your arms, gut or shoulders.

    I think getting a bespoke suit is your best bet - in the long term, if you want a nice suit, you will need to get one custom-patterned for you. They'll fit better and look a LOT better. Getting Jos A. Bank on sale is a good bet - you should never pay full price for a suit that you get off the rack. First, you'll have to spend money on alterations, and two, unless you spend lots, it won't be worth it, for reasons I explain below:


    For longetivity, you should get suit that has the lining and shell stitched together, rather than fused with glue - suits that are fused are harder to tailor, less flexible, and you risk making the lining bubble and run, effectively ruining the suit, if you dry-clean a fused suit. Cheap-mid level suits are more likely to be fused. I don't know if the suits you're looking at will be fused or stitched.

    I like to get my suits made abroad, or by foreign tailors that are visiting - the labor in Hong Kong or Thailand is much cheaper, so you can get a top-quality suit for dirt cheap. I got two suits and two shirts made for $300. I"m 6"2 and broad-shouldered, so like the men's wearhouse stuff i owned in high school were terrible...i think it's really worth it. I can give you the e-mail of my tailor; they do mail order.

    But i'd like to respond more directly to your point:
    1) yes, they will make alterations for you
    2) often the difference in price for a suit is whether the suit is fused or stitch, and you pay a premium for being in style and the label - jos a. bank is a high-end consmer brand.

    A good article about the dangers of fused suits is at:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE4D61038F930A2575AC0A961948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
    http://mfanblog.blogspot.com/ is a fasihon blog that tries to make things accessible, which has been helpful for me.

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  • starlanceriistarlancerii Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    What type of job are you interviewing for? Typically a super expensive suit really is not needed - it'll only impress the interviewers ever so slightly more. A LOT more important is your presentation - how you conduct yourself, confidence, how well you know your shit, and the general aura you exude.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    What type of job are you interviewing for? Typically a super expensive suit really is not needed - it'll only impress the interviewers ever so slightly more. A LOT more important is your presentation - how you conduct yourself, confidence, how well you know your shit, and the general aura you exude.

    BTW, this is true - you could just buy an old suit at a consignment store and have it tailored if you were only going to wear it once in your life.

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  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    To answer the question about the job I'll be interviewing for, they will be software developer/programmer jobs, likely at mostly smaller to mid sized companies. I have no interviews lined up yet, but I'm basically done with my current job and am preparing to move on. I couldn't do that until I had some decent looking clothes that fit.

    With that in mind, I decided to go the half decent slacks and sport coat route. Not the sort of jobs that they usually care too much about your clothes as long as you don't look like a slob. I ended up just getting upper end stuff from S&K rather than doing the JoS A Bank thing. With any luck I'll only wear these once or twice and given the way my weight goes up and down depending on how strict I'm keeping my diet and how hard I'm working out, I'll need new stuff by the time I have to wear them again. This let me get a coat that fit pretty decent plus a couple different pairs of pants and shirts and ties for the cost of just 1 pair of pants and 1 coat from JoS A Bank, that way I wouldn't have to wear the same clothes if I have to do a second interview with the same place.

  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Cheap suits are shit. They don’t fit right. They aren’t 100% wool or linen, so the fabric pills, fades, doesn’t breathe, and needs cleaning more often. People who know what a good suit looks like will look down on you if you show up wearing a cheap suit. Those cotton suits from Banana Republic are super-duper cheap. Just don’t do it.

    Jos. A Banks suits are excellent for what they cost, last forever, and are cut for larger guys. They’re sold at 50% off “retail prices” at least every other weekend, and many employers pay to get their workers an extra discount there. But they’re very conservative, and not appropriate for some events or workplaces (not that less conservative events are appropriate everywhere). If you plan on wearing a suit in cold offices Banks has some killer cashmere blends.

    Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdales, and Lord & Taylor are also great places to get a suit. If you hit a sale and sign up for a store card you can load up for 50-50% off. Barney’s offers great deal on Hugo Boss suits at its outlet stores.

    Little things to remember: Navy blue is NOT in style and probably won’t be any time soon. Don’t get cuffs on a suit if you plan to wear the suit with cowboy boots or shoes that aren’t very dressy. And if you plan on using the pockets remember to ask the tailor to cut them open for you. If you want a really impressive suit and have money to burn get one that has real buttonholes on the sleeves.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 a.k.a. Nubmonger/Antaeus#1352, 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Unlike others, your job isn't dependent upon you showing up to work in a suit every day, or even on a regular basis. I'd recommend getting one good suit and treating it as a long-term purchase (i.e. job interviews (don't expect the first job you get to be your last job), special occasions, etc.). As others have mentioned, look at fabric quality - you don't want something that will fall apart after three trips to the laundromat. Also, keep an eye out for longevity of fashion as well. Yeah, we're guys, but you don't want to be the dude wearing a suit that is obviously out of style just because you chose to go with "edgy" cuts for that one suit you need to buy for the rest of your life. Similarly, go with something that can be altered and not look like crap afterwards. Some suits are specifically made for certain body types, and even if they can be altered, they probably shouldn't. If you plan on, or know you probably will, lose/gain weight over the years, keep that in mind.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
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