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Hello. This is my first post in these forums. Visiting the forums numerous times over the past few months has provided countless tidbits of knowledgeable and honest advice. I must admit that I am not well versed in the fascinating subject of men’s wardrobes, but the posts in this forum have been a great help. Embarrassingly enough, before I began visiting these forums, I did not know the difference or even the meaning of a fused or canvassed suit.

July 9, 2005 will mark my wedding day. Long ago, I promised myself that I would never rent the wardrobe for my wedding; it had to be purchased. So armed with the advice from these forums and other articles found on the web, I began shopping for “the outfitâ€. It should be noted that I do not want to wear a tuxedo; I much prefer a classic black suit. The wedding is an afternoon event, hence I feel a formal black suit is appropriate. Is this thought misguided? Also, I promised myself that my purchase would be based on the quality of fit and appearance of the suit rather than the name on the tags.

I started at Brooks Brothers and found a very nice two-button suit, but not nice enough to hand over my credit card. Next stop was Neiman Marcus, I tried a Canali and an Armani suit; both were three-button double vented basic black suits. Between the two, the Armani had a better overall fit, and I have to admit, it felt and looked very good. Even my fiancée let out an “ohh†when I walked out of the dressing room. I was ready to hand over the Visa, but the price of $1,695 seemed too high (a fact confirmed on this site). So I took the suit’s information down and exchanged business cards with the salesman and headed out to the next store – Saks Fifth Avenue. The suit inventory at Saks was amazingly similar to Neiman Marcus, but Saks did have a Hugo Boss that I tried. The Hugo Boss suit did not compliment my shoulders well at all and was quite forgettable. Next up was a local store that had several high-end labels including Brioni and Oxxford. I tried one of each. Both suits fit and felt great, but for me, the Oxxford felt slightly better. The disappointment came at the price - $2,335. I say disappointment because while a hand-made garment deserves to be highly compensated, I can’t find justification paying that amount for a garment that may be worn once or twice a year. On a side note, I am a software engineer for a major aerospace company. As such, the typical work outfit is jeans and a button-down shirt with sneakers. This is quite ironic to me as every member of my team earns a salary capable of supporting quite a nice wardrobe, but the work place has become so casual that everyone seems to fall into that rut. I digress.

Just over a week after visiting Neiman Marcus, I received a phone call from the salesman that assisted me. He told me that they were going to be marking down a number of items and the Armani that I had tried was included in the sale. The suit was marked down to $895. Since this suit was the best fit/appearance/price combination (when on sale, not retail) of all the suits I had tried to date, I went ahead and purchased it, but I am not available to be fitted for alterations until this weekend. Basically, I can return the suit as it is still unfinished. I have read that while the Armani Collezioni suits are fused they are typically made of high-quality fabric and if properly cared for will last quite some time. What do you guys think? Is $895 a fair price for this suit? Please offer any advice you see appropriate pertaining to the suit.

After the suit, there are the shoes, shirt, necktie, pocket square, and belt.

For the shoes, I tried and really fell in love with the “Leeds†from Allen-Edmunds.
For the necktie, I chose a silver woven natte tie with a subtle basket weave from Charvet.
For the belt, a basic black dress belt with a nickel buckle from Allen-Edmunds.

The two remaining items are the shirt and pocket square. I have a set of simple-square platinum cufflinks that belonged to my grandfather that I would love to wear, thus a French cuff is a must. I have read many great things about Carlo Franco shirts and visited his site. While the 2005 shirts are coming, there are several 2004 shirts on clearance for $80. According to the site, both the herringbone and nailhead patterns are in stock in my size. My question lies in which pattern to select. My gut tells me that the nailhead is the way to go as it will slightly mirror the pattern in the necktie whereas the herringbone could potentially present too many textures and contrast with the necktie. Your thoughts on which pattern to select are greatly appreciated.

As for the pocket square, my thought was to keep it simple with a rich white heavy silk. Is this proper? Any advice?

That sums up my adventures so far. I look forward to reading your comments and thank you for the great education you have provided so far.
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