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I'm seeking some suit-buying advice, and would appreciate any insights y'all can offer. I've done a lot of reading of the forum archives to get started, and am hoping to get some specific advice from those who've gone before. :D

I'm in DC and have a somewhat modest budget. I do believe in buying quality, but don't think I'm willing to go much above the $300-400 range for suits.

Can anyone share an opinion of Joseph A. Bank as a source for workable, quality suits? I've seen some positive comments about the brand, but also less than favorable ones stating that the jacket linings are fused (though I do have one and they pull away from the fabric?).

J. Press is in the city, too. Are their suits all in the $500+ range? Their website lacks pricing information. I also prefer pleated trousers, since I'm of slender/average build, and from my reading it sounds like they're traditionally plain-fronted?

I think I've read that three suits would be a good start. Does that sound right? A blue and a couple of greys?

How about shirt collars? I always thought button-downs were less formal than point and spread collars and were preferred by academics, for example, but it seems that may not be the case.

For my next shoes I'm looking at Johnston & Murphys in the $160 range. I'd buy Allen-Edmonds for $300ish but would just not be able to cope when the guy standing next to me on the Metro loses his balance and scrapes his heel over the top of my cap toe, gouging the surface. It bothered me enough when it happened to my less expensive Bostonians! I also trudge all around the city on diverse terrain and in various weather conditions, so my shoes get a lot of wear and tear, and I'd rather not lug around spare shoes.

Basic questions, I know, but there's not a ton of recent information available on the Web and there are probably others lurking here looking for answers to the same questions. I have looked at Flusser's older book in the past, but as you know it's more oriented toward the high-end of things.

Your input would be appreciated. :D
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