Suits: Not a Virgin, but its been awhile!

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by Kmb470, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Kmb470

    Kmb470 Member

    Hey Guys,

    I am new to the forum, and fashion forums in general. Let me start off by saying hello, and apologize if I am breaking any rules. I'm pretty active in Tech and Sports forums, and I know how annoying talking out of turn can be. That said, after reading some things on these boards, and countless hours spent on line searching, I have decided to open it up to you guys/gals.

    I just left my job at a Big 4 Consulting firm for a chance to mix things up and try something different. That means, it's time to start interviewing again, and considering I'm no longer a know-nothing college kid on campus, I am probably expected to wear something a bit nicer than the Today's Man suit I bought off the rack for my Junior Prom in 2003 (Embarrassing, I know).

    I buy most of my tech gadgets, office supplies, etc on-line and figured if I got my measurements (Men's Warehouse nearby), found a good tailor (old school South Philly Italian shop), I could get myself a nice suit at a great price. I figured an OTR via Overstock or somewhere similar with a good tailor would suffice. The tailor I spoke with suggested going with a 38 L but I find that to be a hard size to come across, and think going a size up in jacket may be an issue, especially with the pants that match going up.

    I've listed the measurements and details I know about myself below. Living in South Philly, I have access to just about every major store, and outlet of the big companies (JCP, Macy's, Nieman Marcus, Saks, BB, you name it). I would like this whole project to cost less than $500, and knowing a good tailor costs more, I'd like to get a steal on the suit and pay the guy doing the real work!

    Height: 5 ft 11 ins
    Weight: ~150 (Very slender, not much of a behind)
    Shoe: 11.5

    OTR Clothes
    Shirt: 15.5 Neck, 32/33 (Slim Fit) (RL, Express, BR)
    Pant: 30-32 x 30 (Depends on Brand)
    T-Shirt: Medium

    Men's Warehouse Measurements (I feel I may have to get these redone by someone not 60 years old and looking to sell me an overpriced suit with alterations)
    Coat (Recommended a jacket of 38R, Tailor suggested rare 38L)
    Chest: 35
    Overarm: 42
    Sleeve: Blank
    Waist: 32
    Hip: 37
    Outseam: 41
    Neck: 15.5
    Sleeve: 33

    Thanks for the help! (Sorry for the length)
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  2. CuffDaddy

    CuffDaddy Well-Known Member

    Here's the biggest issue you'll have to confront. Suit sizes are not standard. There is no government or trade group that polices or even recommends how large a 38R or 52XL or 42S jacket is. Trousers measured in the Americanmanner will generally be pretty close to the measurement at the waist, but might have many, many inches of difference at the seat, and totally different rises. And lots of manufacturers, particularly the larger ones that are trying to appeal to many different market segments, won't even be consistent from one model to another. And if you're buying "bargains," many of those will be from prior seasons - some manufacturers change their measurements from one year to the next.

    You may think that having the measurements above takes care of the issue. But, first, note how few measurements there really are, compared to how many variables there actually are in the dimensions of a garment. Second, unless you're planning to wear a Star Trek spandex future-suit, you need the clothes to measure larger than your dimensions at some points - but not at all, and by varying amounts.

    Some people learn to be very adept buying online by either becoming very familiar with particular brands and models, or by meticulously measuring garments they already own that fit them well. Others are just trying to get close and hope the alterations tailor can make it work. None of these, IMO, are good options for a relative novice at dressing. You need to try things on. Or prepare to accept a high failure rate, with the concomitant returns/re-sales. You can spend a lot of time trying to save $50 or $100 or $200. Worse, you can spend a lot of money on shipping, alterations, non-returnable goods, and things that you'll hate in 2 years.

    Short version: Don't try to buy online until you know what you are doing. JMHO, of course.
  3. upthewazzu

    upthewazzu Well-Known Member

    You live in Philly and had a great job (presumably with a decent amount of savings), why not pay a little more and get a made-to-measure suit?
  4. Kmb470

    Kmb470 Member

    Hey CuffDaddy,

    Thanks for your response. I definitely realize this is a bit different of a situation then trying to save money on printer ink or a pair of speakers I can read reviews on. I definitely hear you on trying things on, and I think I am gonna head to one of the larger Malls in the area to get an idea of how different brands fit, and if the price is right, maybe grab something right off the rack. As I said, I am not super familiar with suit buying as I am with other things, so some general tips or advice, like you've given, are really the goals of this post.

    I'm not sure if there's some sort of "Must-have" items or a check list when trying on a suit. I'd like to minimize the work the tailor has to do, and at the same time, have some wiggle room for adjustments where necessary. I'm not trying to go so cheap I look like garbage, but saving a few bucks in the processes, would be nice.

    I worry most about 2 areas. The jacket size. I understand why my tailor suggested going with some long as I am almost 6 ft and it leaves room to work with in the sleeves, but with a 38 chest it limits what I can find. Generally Speaking, can a 38R be let out in the arms a bit? Or would buying a 40L compromise the look of the chest and shoulders? Again, I know its not a science, but that's where my head is at.

    Also, I worry with the pants that by going up a size in Jacket to say 40L, I would receive larger pants, and based on my waste, would you have to butcher them so much the pockets or crotch be weird?

    Thanks again for your post. I realize you're just trying to help and set realistic expectations, and I appreciate it.

    Take care!

    Ps. Hypothetically, where could I purchase one of those Star Trek Spandex future suit? Sounds pretty cool.
  5. Kmb470

    Kmb470 Member

    Haha I have an OK amount saved up. With some past expensive hobbies, student loan payments, and not being 100% sure when the next real check is coming in, I want to be somewhat prudent. I guess you could say I'm looking to learn buying my "Interview Suit" and expanding the collection a bit more when I am earning what I am accustomed to again. (Not trying to sound like a jerk there, sincerely)

    As for MTM, I've read very mixed reviews on them. Have people had good experience with it, and if so, besides Indochino, whats the best way to go that route?
  6. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Well-Known Member

    Check out Franklin Mills outlets in Philly. They have a BB, Saks, and NM Last Call there. Get on the NM Last call mailing list and you'll get a 35% coupon. (They have them all the time) The NM at Franklin Mills always has lots of Hickey Freeman suits for around $600. Use your 35% coupon and spend the rest on tailoring and you have a suit for $500. That particular NM also usually has Oxxford and Isaia if you decide to burst your budget and splurge.
  7. Kmb470

    Kmb470 Member


    Thats where I was planning on heading. I grew up near Neshaminy about 10 minutes from there. I checked out the Frank Mills website, and SAKS, NM, and Polo RL all have some pretty nice sles for the nest week. Have you generally had a good experience there?
  8. upthewazzu

    upthewazzu Well-Known Member

    I was mostly talking about local shops, of which I'm sure Philly has quite a few (although I could be wrong). If you are thinking about going MTM online, I'd steer clear of Indochina based on what I've seen on that other forum. I've heard a lot of good things about Suit Supply, however I have not used them myself. If you're worried about pant size in relation to coat size, look for suit seperates. Generally, pants can be taken in or out at the waist by 2 inches without looking awkward.
  9. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Well-Known Member

    The Brooks Brothers outlet there is pretty small, and isn't one of the big ones that sometimes has Peal & Co shoes. I've had great luck at the NM though. Be sure to bring a 35% coupon although it won't work on "new arrivals." All the Isaia ties will undoubtedly be "new arrivals" but maybe not. Plenty of Hickey Freeman suits, Ike Behar shirts, Magnanni shoes, etc with a sprinkling of some really high end stuff mixed in too. Definitely worth a trip. The Saks, in addition the their own stuff, has Hugo Boss, Joseph Abboud, and maybe some Armani and Burberry too IIRC. It's been a couple of months since I've been there.
  10. DukeGrad

    DukeGrad Well-Known Member

    Hey kid

    You can get by with a 40 long. And with your measurements, may try the 40R.

    My advice, Nordstrum has Hickey Freeman suits. The addison model.
    It is a mainline suit, so full canvas.
    There are ebay types, that carry these, for under 400 bucks. I just got myself another, for that price. 295 is cheap.
    Rather than pay Joe Banks prices, even onsale, may not be good.
    I recommend a nice suit .
    Joe Banks Signature, you can get for 200 and under. But it is not the quality of Hickey.

    I recommend a charcoal or navy pinstripe. Plan a good one, if you can. My sutis, blazers last me YEARS.
    I had my first Norman Hilton and Brooks, after 40 years gave them away.

    I see someone put in Ike Behar, not a favortie of mine. He I think has his shirts done RTW in Florida??
    I recommend looking at shop the finest here for Borelli for about the same as the Ike Behar. Ike Behar, you are not getting the MOP buttons as the Borelli, and Made In Italy.Or any of a slew of British we have here. TM Lewin, Hilditch and Key, Turnbull and Asser.
    HICKEY is your best bet.
    Look at other shirts my friend
    Nice day kid
  11. statboy

    statboy Well-Known Member

    Your chest is a 35? Am I missing something here.....? There's no way a 40 or a 38/39 jacket is going to work.
  12. JackKelly

    JackKelly Well-Known Member

    My experience has been that, if you know your measurements, and you're careful, you can have good fortune buying online. Just make sure you know a good alterations tailor.
  13. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Well-Known Member

    I wasn't necessarily endorsing them, just telling him that's what they have there. I think they are usually discounted to $45 - 35% = around $30 so definitely not in the same league as Borrelli, H&K, or T&A. A pretty good shirt for 30 bucks though. About half my shirts are H&K, but I've gotten them all during their sales in July and Dec when they drop to 50 GBPs each.
  14. Kmb470

    Kmb470 Member

    Found a really well fitting 38R (runs long) Navy pinstripe Hugo Boss at Saks for about $400 after sale and coupon marked down from $1300. Tempted to buy and have tailored, thoughts?
  15. The Rambler

    The Rambler Well-Known Member

    KMB, fellow Philadelphian: just make sure that whatever you choose fits well in the chest and shoulder: that's the one region that can't be easily altered by a tailor. Look at a lot of pictures, so you'll know a good fit there when you see it. Accept no vertical folds of material between the arm and lapel; avoid anything where the upper arm dimples right under the shoulder; try to get a jacket that doesn't gap away from your shirt around the neck. Stuff like that. Then pick a suit that looks good to you. If it's for an interview, something conserative.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  16. Gc2892

    Gc2892 Suspended

    Not to get into the whole best suit for under $500 again but, if you can get a mainline HF for under $400 at nordstroms, neiman marcus, saks, etc, would you choose that over a Baroni from WOH at relatively the same price? Also at that same price is JAB Sig gold and the Brooks Brothers suiting essentials line. If you had to choose one, which would you choose and why?

    Also to the OP, not to get off topic but I will be going into audit after I get out of school. What is the dress code at the Big 4? I know you dress to the client site you are at but I've read that a suit is hardly ever worn. I have also heard that a suit is worn 3-4 times a week..not sure what to believe/prepare for.
  17. Kmb470

    Kmb470 Member

    I took the plunge! Thanks everyone!

    Hey where in Philly are you from? I currently live in the Passyunk Square section of South Philly (the nice part) near Pats and Geno's.

    Yours, along with everyone Else's advice was much appreciated and of great use. I started of in Saks and after looking in NM, BB, Polo RL, and Banana Republic, nothing came close to the fit, look, and feel of the Navy Blue Pinstripe Hugo Boss I found and bought at Saks. With an Original price tag of $1250 and a final price of $390 after sale and coupon, I couldn't resist. I tried a Hickey Freeman, and while I really liked it, it didn't have the same look or feel the Hugo Boss did, it cost more, and I didn't love the color.

    Its funny you should mention the tailor, because after I started with the basic measurements at a Mens Wearhouse, I wanted to find and meet a good tailor so that we were on the same page before I bought the suit he was to work on. Living in South Philly, a really Italian area , I figured there would be someone decent. I really lucked out, because the 2 I went to meet after doing some digging online and hearing on another forum they were good, ended up being 2 of the most well know. I guy I ultimately chose credited himself and the other guy being the only 2 good ones in that part of the city.

    As for who I chose, you guys would probably have liked it more than me. I ended up meeting with a guy today who owns a small, off the path shop on Broad St. Little did I know, this guy has been making bespoke suits (which we quickly established was miles outside of my price range) for local and not so local celebrities, athletes, execs, Front office people, and more Hall of Fame'rs than he could name, many of which adorned the walls with personally signed pictures. As I said, I couldn't afford his normal work, but you could tell the guy loves his craft and people because we got to talking and hit it off right away. He walked me around the tiny shop telling stories, showing me the littlest details of a suit, and why his handmade, hand sewn suits are of the highest quality, and are the reason locals chose him over Boyd s and other high end boutiques. He didn't say that, but he didn't have to. The pieces around his humble shop were amazing. He even looked at the racks of things people left for something he could give me, he was that welcoming.

    He ended up re-measuring me, head to toe, armed me with what I could buy that he could work with (100% Wool, 38 or 39 regular or long but nothing else, a few brands, some of the construction tips you all have mentioned, and that he would advise against some regular tailor, but that I absolutely had to promise I wouldn't let the place I bought it do the alterations). He told me when I picked a suit with all those criteria, to bring it back in and he would work with me (and my not standard budget) to "construct" me a suit that I could be proud of. Just talking to him was a real treat, and gave me a much greater appreciate for fashion like many of you seem to have. Now I want to make enough to have him make me a suit and shirts from scratch (Which he claims takes almost a week of time and multiple fittings from early stages to post production adjustments)

    I know that was long, but I figured some of you may appreciate it and I wanted to share my experience. I have attached some pictures of what I ended up buying, the camera on my phone sucks, but it should give you an idea. Its a really sharp looking dark blue.


    Nice, congrats man. Consulting, Im tech, is a great field. The general rule is at or one step above the client. I've always gotten away with standard business casual. Nice shows, slacks, and button up should do the trick. You have to take a pulse of the environment. If you're working at a client site at a utility company dressed like a GQ ad or like youre going into a board meeting, it can send the wrong message to the client. I've always found working with clients and treating them like equals goes a lot further than acting like your an iBanker in a movie. Like any business, know your customer and meet them at their level. If you have any other questions or want any advice, just PM me.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  18. Jovan

    Jovan Honors Member

    35" chest and 32" waist... that's going to be tough. I worry that having the coat of a 38 taken in at the waist/chest is going to make the lapels bow out.
  19. Flanderian

    Flanderian Well-Known Member

    "Not a Virgin, but its been awhile!"

    Make sure to tell the salesman to treat you gently. :icon_saint7kg:
  20. Showsomecuff

    Showsomecuff Active Member

    It has been a while? your tag says mid 20s. When did you lose your v card? I got my first suit at 22.

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