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Gents: an article from Boston Globe. This author should've headed the advice of the Andover Shop, Boston branch, which receives a few mentions:

SUITING UP WHAT A GUY NEEDS TO KNOW WHEN HE BUYS THAT FIRST SUIT.
Boston Globe, The (MA)
September 9, 2001
Author: CHRISTOPHER MUTHER
Estimated printed pages: 4

IN MY LIFETIME,I've bought two suits - though I feel compunction even using the word ``suit'' to describe these macabre ensembles.
Suit number one was a beige corduroy number with a matching vest, from Anderson-Little, purchased for the sophomore dinner dance when I was 14. I can still picture my mother smoothing the stiff fabric against my shoulders, trying to convince me - at my most gawky, unwieldy age - that I looked handsome. As if a few yards of industrial-strength corduroy could undo the cruel joke known as adolescence. I fell for her compliments, but only temporarily. After the dance, the suit disappeared to the nether regions of my closet, never to be seen again.

Suit number two was my pick. Just out of high school, I had an excuse to buy an outfit - my sister's wedding. I marched into my favorite store, Chess King, and found the jacket and pants that would scream to all the wedding guests that I was the most stylish member of the family: a royal-blue linen bolero jacket with enormous shoulder pads and matching pants with more pleats than the average kilt. In hindsight, it's the kind of outfit that even Vanilla Ice would have had the good sense to ship off to Goodwill. Shortly after the wedding, that's exactly what I did. I now wish I could do the same with the wedding photos.
Since then, like many men just north of 30, I've had few occasions to wear suits. Having spent my adult life working from home and in scruffy newsrooms, I've never put much thought into clothing. In many ways, my situation is similar to that of my dot-com contemporaries, many of whom sneaked into office jobs without so much as donning a tie for the interview. We're essentially a generation of slobs.
But lately I've been living in fear of the next wedding, funeral, or other occasion that requires more than my business-casual best. Despite lingering worries of another Anderson-Little-style debacle, I decided to address my fears and start suit shopping.
Evidently, I'm not the only one. After bottoming out in the 1990s, suit sales are slowly rising. In fashionable London, The Guardian reports, sales are back to their mid-1980s heights. There's more to the increase than the evaporation of casual dress codes thanks to the dot-com bust. Suit makers are updating styles in an attempt to hook younger customers. These feature modern, three-button jackets and sleek, flat-front pants. At least that's the kind of suit I picture myself wearing. When a friend tells me he has found a suit matching that description at Brooks Brothers, I head to the Newbury Street store.
What I quickly learn is that suit shopping isn't like popping into the Gap for a pair of jeans. Normally I bristle when a salesperson comes within 10 feet. At Brooks Brothers, I am completely dependent on Jim Bishop, a 30-year-plus veteran of suit sales. He spends nearly an hour with me, asking questions and showing me all the options. I tell him I need a basic suit to get me through weddings and funerals, and he points me in the direction of the Brooks Ease line. These are all-purpose, two-button suits in gray or navy stretch wool, a wrinkle-resistant fabric preferred by travelers; they retail for around $450.
When I mention my friend's three-button suit suggestion, he shows me Brooks Brothers' latest line, called SB3. It has a narrower lapel, softer shoulders, a slimmer silhouette, and no vent (the slit usually found in the back of the jacket). The jacket feels comfortable, but I'm left with a lingering apprehension that in three years, people will sneer at me and say, "That suit is so 2001."
Instead of committing to the SB3, I try a more conservative route: the Andover Shop on Clarendon Street. This is the store where the Brahmins and bankers and professors get outfitted year after year. My consultants here, Robin Eldridge and David Marson, pooh-pooh my idea of a black three-button suit, dismissing it on grounds of style and color as a "fashion suit" and likely to look dated in a few seasons. Instead, they suggest a two-button suit in charcoal or navy. They describe this as "the uniform."
I run my hand over a swatch of smooth wool that feels more like silk. A suit custom-made of this material would retail for around $3,000. The suits that I'm shown - off the rack - are cut fuller than the Brooks Brothers SB3 and cost between $600 and $700. The pants are pleated and the lapel is longer, since it's a two-button jacket. This suit could carry me through pretty much any occasion. If I never gain another pound, I could slip it on in 20 years and probably still look classically fashionable.
Despite the stylistic differences in their recommendations, Eldridge confirms a few points made by Bishop at Brooks Brothers. The best bet for a first suit, especially if it's your one and only, is a solid color, something that can work at either a job interview or a wedding. Stay conservative with the suit; let the shirt and tie do the talking.
Still no closer to a decision, I try Louis Boston, whose Web site declares, "In case you haven't noticed, suits are back." I try not to let my $600 budget or the parking lot full of Porsches and Jaguars dissuade me from my mission. I simply pretend my car isn't the Honda Civic with a gouge as long as my leg and walk inside.
Before hitting the sales floor, I meet with Debra Pearlstein Greenberg, Louis president and CEO, for an interview over iced cappuccino and Pellegrino at Cafe Louis. She makes a strong argument for the revival of the suit. Once a rite of passage, an occasion for bonding between father and son, suit buying is now a lost art, she says. Casual offices and Abercrombie & Fitch have polished off a slice of the American heritage.
When prompted, I reiterate my suit occasions - weddings, funerals - but because I'm at Louis, I toss in parties as well, feeling that the handsome Italian shoppers here probably wear suits to their parties. I've never been invited to a party that called for a suit, but maybe if I had one in my wardrobe, word would get out and the invitations would soon follow.
But Greenberg dashes those hopes: A single suit that can work for occasions so diverse probably does not exist, she says. But she takes me to the store and starts showing me some options. I try on a suit by a British designer, and I fall in love. It's everything I've been warned against at the Andover Shop: three-button jacket with no vent, flat-front pants, black. The fit is slim. It's the kind of suit that makes my skinny frame look svelte.
I'm not sure if it's the suit, the posh surroundings, or my increasing desperation, but I can feel my credit card starting to twitch in my wallet. I want this suit, badly. The problem? Although it's one of the lower-priced suits in the store, it's $950 - beyond my range.
If money were no object, that suit would by now be hanging in my closet, condescending to my other clothes. And it's still a contender, though I'm looking for something closer to my budget. But at least I've learned my lesson. My friends can rest assured I'll never show up at another wedding looking like a matador.
 
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