T Nation

Suits on a Budget


#1

Just wondering where you guys get your suits..
I'm on a budget and only have one suit, so I'm trying to add some variety with different colors. The only suit I have, I got at Macy's. I'm looking for a better fitted suit for my next one though. A friend of mine, his family, owns a tailoring business but their suits on average go for $850+. What do you guys do? Buy a basic suit and have it tailored? Or is there some other way, I don't know about, to get a suit for a decent price as in under 400 for a broke college kid.


#2

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#3

There's a Hong Kong tailor who visits hotels around the world, measures you up, and sends you a suit. Haven't used him myself.

http://www.raja-fashions.com/make-an-appointment?country_name=United%20States


#4

Believe it or not, try EBAY.


#5

Find a Suit Supply for good but less expensive


#6

Macy's is great for suits; they have some ridiculously good sales as well.

The suit should fit great, when you're thinking of buying it ask the salesman who their best tailor is and if that person is in that day. If not, buy the suit and come back in the next day their tailor is working.

If the suit you bought doesn't fit well, it's most likely because you picked the wrong size or the salesman sold you the wrong size in order to make a sale. Or, that particular suit just doesn't fit your body type.

Even an inexpensive suit can be made to look good if it fits well. Likewise, an $850 suit can look like crap if it doesn't fit well.

Suitsupply is another good choice as is J Crew. If you keep your eyes open, you can find a %25 or %30 sale on their Ludlow suits. I haven't tried on their Crosby suit yet, it's supposed to have more of an athletic fit.

Edit: At the very least, can you hang on another 2.5 weeks until Black Friday sales?

Also: http://dappered.com/2013/05/style-debate-suitsupply-vs-j-crew-ludlow-suiting/

Just beyond your price range, but worth consideration: http://www.brooksbrothers.com/mens/suits/0216,default,sc.html?prefn1=collection&prefv1=Suiting%20Essentials


#7

If you live in a wealthy area it may be worth checking out some thrift stores. You'd be amazed at what the wealthy will toss in a trash bag and put in the donation box. I used to live in Stamford, CT and a friend of mine got a $900 pair of good-as-new dress shoes for like $20 or something like that.

Of course, if you live in Bent Armpit, Nebraska your mileage may vary a bit.


#8

Just thinking aloud here....but if you're buddy's family owns a tailoring business ask if they would be willing to alter a suit you bought elsewhere. That sounds like the best of both worlds.


#9

I was able to get some great Custom made suits while on a trip in Singapore. A lot of the southeast Asian countries produce great suits at a low price. If you have your sizes you can call and have them made for you.

Another say I have been able to get great deals on suits is Banana Republic outlet store . Wait for the sales. I got a great seer sucker suit for $100


#10

From the article: We enlisted two experts for an unscientific, blind review of six suits: Salvatore Giardina, a men's suit designer and professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Salvatore Cesarani, a designer and professor at Parsons The New School for Design.

The testers found striking differences in quality, sometimes out of line with the suit's price. Both testers said the $614 Suitsupply suit matched the $3,625 Armani in quality. Both saw little difference in quality between the two, or at least not enough to justify a $3,000 difference in price. Each is made with soft Italian fabric and showed the maker cared about details like pockets with extra stitching at their edges.


#11

J Crew Factory slim cut suits in charcoal and navy, $286.

Jacket: https://factory.jcrew.com/mens-clothing/suiting/PRDOVR~47226/47226.jsp?color_name=navy&srcCode=FAAFFI00001&siteId=th9ILo5LtqE-94nPBJ.Ejmj4DEfvPHSmcA

Pants: https://factory.jcrew.com/mens-clothing/pants/thompson_suiting_pants/PRDOVR~A0471/A0471.jsp?color_name=navy


#12

I buy cheap and get them tailored. Mens Warehouse will run some at like 2 for $500 so that plus 100 or so for a really good tailoring job on them both and you have two suits for $600. Have done the same thing with sports coats.


#13

Over the last 2 years I've accumulated 5 custom suits from makeyourownjeans.com ... (Actually heard about them from one of the famous "my jeans don't fit" T nation threads, lol)

I was sick of dropping an xtra $100 per suit on alterations and still having them look like shit .... I was skeptical of this company, but can't afford a custom made suit otherwise, so I rolled the dice. You have to take your own measurements (or have a tailor do them for you) per their instructions...Started with one "terry rayon" grey suit - $130.00 + shipping. Fit perfect and looks good. I've done 2 additional orders since ... Four more suits plus 6 dress shirts - all perfect fits.

I wouldn't buy a suit anywhere else - unless I won the lottery.... You will see some bad reviews for them online but my experience has been great. I honestly get compliments on these suits all the time, and when I admit where I got them and how much they cost, people are stunned.

Just be really careful taking and inputting your measurements if you decide to go this route .... The company is in India, with no contact #, so if there is an issue your are pretty much fucked. Shipping is also $50.00 per order, so you are better off getting 2 or 3 items (if you can afford it) to make the shipping cost worthwhile.


#14

Twojarslave's recommendation to go to thrift stores in a wealthy area is an excellent one. I know someone who regularly buys $300 shirts at the Goodwill in Westport, CT for $11 each. Find something that fits relatively well and take it to a good tailor (ideally someone who also makes suits) for alterations.

When buying the suit, make sure that it fits absolutely flat across the shoulders and at the neck. If the store doesn't have a 3-fold mirror, bring someone with you to check this for you. A ripple or gape in this area is the hallmark of a cheap, badly fitting, or badly tailored jacket. To fix a problem like this properly is a time-consuming and expensive job.

A few other suggestions:

Buy quality over quantity every time. A dark grey and dark blue suit with a variety of shirts and ties can go a very long way. The great thing about suits is that no one pays that much attention to what you're wearing (unlike business casual), so no one will notice if you wear the same 2 suits all of the time, but with different shirt/tie combinations. A dark blue suit jacket can also double as a blazer and be worn with dark grey suit pants or a pair of khakis for more casual occasions.

Buy suits made out of 100% wool. Any polyester content will become shiny and look awful. Also try to avoid expensive "Super" fabrics. This is very lightweight wool used in expensive designer brand suits. It's incredibly light and silky, and it feels great when you first put it on. The problems are that it wrinkles easily and, because the cloth has to be woven so tightly, it becomes very hot after a while. A heavier but more porous fabric won't wrinkle as much and will be a lot more comfortable.

Also test the cloth yourself. Pinch it between your thumb and forefinger. Can you feel the cloth between your fingers or do you just feel your thumb? Then roll 2 pieces of the cloth between your thumb and forefinger. If it wrinkles and sits there lifelessly, the suit will never look good on you. If it has a bit of bounce and snaps back into place, then it will likely still look good after being worn all day.

If you'll be wearing the suit for business purposes and job interviews, I would suggest not having the suit jacket too highly fitted at the waist. If you have a broad chest and small waist, you may end up with the hourglass look which is a bit too fashion-forward for business purposes.

Finally, the most important thing is too buy a suit that you'll feel comfortable in. Walk around a bit in it, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you could see yourself wearing this suit regularly. If you're not sure, bring a male friend along to get a second opinion. Don't bring your girlfriend or mother along unless you want to wear the suit to impress women. If the suit looks good on you and you feel comfortable in it, then it will become a part of you and you'll naturally project confidence.

Good luck.


#15

Holy shit, I want a corduroy biker jacket so badly.


#16

This is great! I have been looking at a few of these online tailors, trying to decide if it is worth it. My slow but sure recomp plan is working, and I am starting to pack on shoulder mass to the point where my suit jackets are getting tight, but loose around the gut. I am built pretty broadly anyways, and these "slim fit" suit cuts, just don't cut it.

On measurements, I also heard that self measurements can be a crap shot. If you can't get to a tailor to measure, measure a suit you like to get the right fit from these guys.


#17

I did my own measurements, and erred on the "larger" size by .5" or 1" in certain places that tend to be problematic with other clothes (chest, shoulders, ass) .... I've been nervous every time I got an order and tried stuff on, but they have all fit extremely well ... Don't know if I just got lucky or other customers are being haphazard with their measurements - there are some terrible reviews online associated with this company, but I'm 3 orders in over 2 years and have no complaints ....

To me it's worth the risk to try it once and see if it works out - the shipping sucks, but the prices are extremely low and the way the clothes fit (for me anyway) makes it WELL worth it ... If I recall correctly I had all my orders delivered within 3 weeks of placing my order - so relatively quick turn around for custom made clothes


#18

This.

Do not sleep on Men's Wearhouse. You'll get 2 suits for about the above price when they're running buy one get one free. They'll be designer (Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, etc.). They will fit great.

Sometimes they'll run a sale on a particular brand and you can walk away with a Joseph Aboud suit for $250. I rarely shop anywhere else and I'm fairly proud of my suit collection.


#19

They for sure would. That was my initial plan. Get a suit at Macy's and have them tailor it


#20

Thanks for the help! It's funny you said that. Right now I have a dark grey suit and I was actually looking to buy a nice navy blue suit because I have some really nice brown dress shoes that would go well with it.