T Nation

Special Order Suits

My husband has the hardest time finding a suit to fit his build. He has tried tons of different places and all the suits make him look fat because the waist is so large.

I saw this link over on MWA for a custom tailor in Bangkok and was wondering if anyone has tried them:

http://www.nickscollections.com

If you have tried them, do you have any reviews of the service.
Were you happy with the quality.
How long it took to make a suit.
Any photos of a suit that was made for you.
Or what style is best for an athletic build.

Thanks,
LM

I’ve heard of them, but never tried them, but I know their suits are good, and the quality of their threads are very good as well.

The best style of suit for an athletic build (like your husband) is an Athletic Cut suit. This means the shoulders are broad, and the bottom of the shirt/suit jacket are tapered to fit the waist, which eliminates excess material in the shirt when it’s tucked in, and keeps it from puffing out right above the waistline. It also keeps the suit jacket close to the body, and avoids puffing out as well.

I recommend Joseph Abboud athletic cut suit. You can get them at JC Penney very reasonably priced. I don’t know how close you are to NYC, but there are a lot of suit places close to and on Wall Street, obviously for the businessmen/stockbrokers who work in that area. They often have good suits/selections/prices.

Either way, look for an athletic cut type of suit for your husband, that looks like what he needs.

Hope this helps.

Hi there Chef!

I’ve never tried them specifically but I’ve traveled to Bangkok and Hong Kong a while ago
and got suits made there.

Went to a tailor there, go measured and 24 hours later I got 10 suits, very cheap (in comparison) and great quality!

I think that the site you mention will not disappoint.

Best,

Swiss

Thanks so much for the replies.

The athletic cut suits still don’t fit him that’s why I’m looking into having something custom made. The waist on the athletic suits is still way to big. That’s why I’m looking for any feedback I can get from anyone that has had a suit made or also has had problems with suits and what they’ve done about it.

Thanks so much for the responses so far…
Anyone else, maybe have tried this particular company or know of another that he can send in his measurements and have something made.

Also, styles of suits…I really know nothing about this. What style looks best on an athletic build? I have heard that double breasted is the wrong choice for someone with a large chest.

Any photos of suits that look great on an athletic man would be great to. It’s hard for me to tell on these models they have in the catalogs, they are all so generic looking.

Thanks again!

Try Tom James.

http://www.tomjamesco.com/custsuits/custsuits.asp

they make custom suits and have a variety of base options to start with if you want to go that route. You can pick cloth type, color, texture etc.

The best part about them is you can talk to a rep instead of just sending off measurements to be sure all the little nuances and preferences are covered.

The suits can be expensive, but if he will be wearing one often, they will be well worth the expense.

[quote]Chef Lisa Marie wrote:
The athletic cut suits still don’t fit him that’s why I’m looking into having something custom made. The waist on the athletic suits is still way to big. That’s why I’m looking for any feedback I can get from anyone that has had a suit made or also has had problems with suits and what they’ve done about it.[/quote]

Finding a suit is a total pain in the ass. I feel your pain.

Italian cut suits generally work for athletic builds, as they are cut narrower at the waist but also have a broad shoulder. Years ago, I used to wear Bachrach suits. http://www.bachrach.com/ They often fit nicely off the rack.

As a joke (and to appease my wife), I went into an an Emporio Armani. Shockingly, I was able to find a suit. It was from an outlet mall, so I got it for much less than you’d imagine. Best-looking suit I own. If I had more cash, I would have bought 5. Keep an open mind.

A good tailor can do good work with Brooks Brothers. These are usually overly roomy in the waist (on the jacket and pants); but otherwise the cut is nice and a tailor can take care of the rest. I have a “tailor to the stars” and he charges around $80 for taking in the pants and jacket. So it doesn’t add that much to the cost of a suit.

As a general rule, I don’t wear 3-button suits. I look HUGE in them. I’m a decent-sized guy, but not huge. Your husband looks bigger than I am. He might look like a total lunk head while wearing a 3-button suit. Two-buttons are flattering but don’t give off such an optical illusion of hugeness.

I actually know quite a bit about this, so if you have more questions, let me know. Your best bet, though, is to just spend all day trying on suits to see what styles and colors work. It’s a total pain in the ass, sure, but that’s what it takes to find a good suit.

[quote]texasguy1 wrote:
Try Tom James.

http://www.tomjamesco.com/custsuits/custsuits.asp

they make custom suits and have a variety of base options to start with if you want to go that route. You can pick cloth type, color, texture etc.

The best part about them is you can talk to a rep instead of just sending off measurements to be sure all the little nuances and preferences are covered.

The suits can be expensive, but if he will be wearing one often, they will be well worth the expense. [/quote]

Oh yeah, totally forgot about Tom James. Yeah, the reps are pretty helpful, and even if it is expensive, it’s well worth the price.

Good call TG.

[quote]Chef Lisa Marie wrote:

Also, styles of suits…I really know nothing about this. What style looks best on an athletic build? I have heard that double breasted is the wrong choice for someone with a large chest.

[/quote]

That is correct Chef. David Letterman wears them because he looks good in them, but he’s not very big. A double breasted suit does not look good on a guy with a large chest.

I saw a commercial with David Baker, commissioner of the Arena Football League, wearing a double breasted suit, and it didn’t look good on him at all, and he’s a big guy, so you definitely want to steer clear of them.

As for pictures of people wearing athletic cut suits, pretty much look at any athlete who wears a suit. More than likely, it’s an athletic cut suit.

Here is a pic of Bobby Lashley, WWE wrestler, wearing what looks to be an athletic cut suit. Hope this gives you a better understanding.

Sorry, couldn’t find a pic of Stan McQuay wearing a suit.

Exactly what is the chest/waist differential?

One thing to keep in mind as someone mentioned is the importance of the tailor.

What many athletic types don’t realize is that european cut (v-taper, fitted) is actually not really in style anymore. American cut is what’s “in” at the moment, which is a more boxy jacket (or as you said, makes you look fat at the waist).

Though it may be knee-jerk reaction to blame this on fat Americans, its not just fat people wearing suits this way.

Bottom line is, many tailors today are just fitting jackets baggier…so you have to be very clear what you want which can be difficult due to language barriers in some cases.

Guy I work with was a competitive bodybuilder…he buys his suits at Men’s Wearhouse…he pays TWICE as much in tailoring for complete reconstruction but he looks good. If he can be fitted, anyone can.

May want to try Lands End. They actually have a program that is almost Semi-Custom. They will tailor a suit to your specifications. They will go beyond athletic cuts so that is an option.

While not a custom suit they are reasonable and good quality.

You’ve come to the right place!

I live in NYC and I’ve been getting custom-made suits for years, and have tried a LOT of places. Most of the Hong Kong/Bangkok places are usually run by Indians, who take your measurements and do the sales end of things here in NY, then send your measurements to Hong Kong (or Thailand) for the suit to be made.

This looks to be exactly that, except this particular guy travels around on “tour” doing the sales/measurement part of things, as opposed to having one strorefront, if I’m not mistaken.

As far as custom-made clothing, yes it’s a relatively good deal relative to a place that would make it onsite here in the U.S. You can probably get one made at one of these places, if you choose a reasonably good fabric (not super-cheap and not their highest-end stuff) for $700-800.

I only glanced quickly at his (Nick’s) price list, but I’m pretty sure that if you choose the cheaper stuff than that, the fabrics will probably be pretty crappy quality.

I used these Hong Kong-type custom tailors for years and finally got fed up. Yes, once they get it right – ONCE they get it right – they can make something that technically fits you perfectly, and that you might like and be happy with.

BUT, and keeping in mind that my physique ain’t too easy to fit, as is the case with anyone that has some muscle on them (hence the need for custom suits), it would often take a LOOOOT of tweaking and refinements after the fact to get it right in the end. Which is fine – any custom-made suit is going to require that, especially the first time, until the get your individual fit down pat.

However, these Hong Kong/Thailand/Indian guys have 2 major problems in general, especially when someone’s fit is a little more complicated (like mine):

1.) Lack of customer service and really, proactively TRYING to make it right and fix what should be wrong, rather than be done with it and washing their hands of it.

This might be a cultural thing, or it might be that most of these operations tend to be a little shyster-ish, but rather than doing what a good old-fashioned Italian tailor would do, which is to notice the things that don’t look perfect – even point out to you things that YOU DIDN’T NOTICE that don’t look perfect to his trained eye, and fix them, these guys will typically try to say (when you point out something that needs adjusting that might not be so easy for them to adjust), "Oh, it just needs pressing.

You just need to press it and it will look perfect," when the suit is obviously PULLING in a certain place and not lying right. A good, true tailor would take enough pride in his/her work to latch onto that problem and fix it without being strong-armed.

2.) Lack of eye for style/lines/fashion, for lack of a better term. Like I said, these guys can usually make you a suit that “technically” looks perfect, once they perfect your fit with a few tweakings. It will eventually (usually) lie just right, not pull anywhere, fit in the shoulders, be the right length, etc., etc.

But will it have the overall “look” to it that an Armani or Canali or Zegna suit will have? No. You look at someone in one of those (Italian designer) suits that fits them right and they just have something to the overall shape of them and the way they hang on the body that you can’t put your finger on, but it’s a STYLE thing that these guys don’t seem to be able to duplicate.

However, these brands don’t make fully custom suits (they’ll do made-to-measure, which is "semi-"custom but not fully custom, and thus has its limitations. It didn’t work for me, and I tried it with both Armani and Zegna).

Unfortunately, the solution that I found is much more expensive, but I found a place that gets it EXACTLY right, in terms of fit, customer service/communication and style. Giliberto Designs www.gilibertodesigns.com . It will run you (ouch) about $2,200 bucks for a nice fabric, however.

If you’re not ready to shell out that kind of money, by all means I would suggest trying one of the Hong Kong/Bangkok places. I don’t know how Nick’s compares to the rest, but these places are the next best thing to good ole’ Italian-tailored (i.e. Giliberto’s) suitmakers for someone that needs a truly custom suit and can’t buy off the rack or buy made-to-measure.

Like I said, they might just get it right for him, and he might end up liking the end product. I had a couple of these places that I used for years, and though I didn’t love the styling of the end result as much as I do Giliberto’s products, I did LIKE them once they got them right. (That often took decades in my case, but hopefully he’ll have more luck).

I would probably go with a place that has an actual, physical storefront here in New York, however, as opposed to a nomad like Nick appears to be. You can try Mohan’s, La Rukico or Bhambi’s (Bhambi’s being a little more expensive than the other two). Hope that helps.

By the way, I saw in your profile that you’re in New York and just assumed that meant New York City. If you live many hours from the City, then visiting the stores I mentioned obviously won’t be all that possible. :frowning:

To add to tailor suggestions of others, my favorite suit was bought standard off of the shelf and then tailored.

I found a hole in the wall shop run and solely operated by an old chinese lady in houston who came highly recommended and went to see her.

I was a little worried when she took zero measurements and literally pulled the suit tight in specific areas, then held the pinched cloth in place with a pin.

After she pinned up all she needed she told me she’d have it ready in a week.

I left a little angry at the recommendation but when i got it back it fit like a glove, no seams were visible and it is the most comfortable suit i have.

A good tailor can make a cheap suit look as good or better than a $3,000 custom. Shape wise at least. Fabric is a different story, but you can find good wool suits for a few hundred to have tailored.