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Suits For Men

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MOD EDIT: WELCOME TO THE GIANT MERGED TOPIC OF ALL MEN'S SUITS TOPICS! PINNED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE!

 

Hi All,

I wasn't planning on buying a suit until next summer, but I have a 1L job interview coming up at the end of the month and now I need to find something pretty soon. I was wondering where all of those in law school bought their suits. Will I be okay in a Moore's suit (I would prefer not to break the bank, and they have 2 for 1's on right now) or should I invest in a higher quality suit from somewhere like Harry Rosen? Ideally I'd like to keep the suit alone to under $500 (not including shoes/accessories/tailoring). Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Edited by Hegdis
merged multiple threads on suits for men
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I'm in Vancouver and will be here until my interview, that said, where is off the cuff?

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If you're willing to sift through these threads, I believe there are a few good suggestions as to stores you could shop at, as well as many good suggestions as to what type of suit to buy:

 

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14666

 

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... =2&t=63606

 

Generally people do not recommend Moores though, but it's really up to you.

 

I'm not familiar with the Vancouver area though. I'm planning on getting a suit in the next few months.

 

Cheers,

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I got fitted in a Calvin Klein suit at tip top tailor for $450, I took it back and got the exact same suit on http://www.execstyle.com/ for $250

 

You can order 2-3 day shipping for an extra $35 too. Great site.

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Is Moore's really found upon, I would think they would be a popular budget option. Will anyone really care where its from if it fits okay, seeing as right now I can get 2 nice suits for a combined $500 at Moore's. Or is there something I'm not seeing in the difference between a Moore's (Joseph Abboud and Geoffery Beene) and Harry Rosen suit (Boss and Canali)? Keep in mind I just want to look professional, not set the office on fire.

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Moores is just typically seen by people as not stylish for young professionals, but I'm sure you can get a decent looking suit there without anyone "frowning" upon it. As long as you look professional and the suit is well fitted, I doubt employers will be throwing you out because you don't have the latest Gucci or Armani suit.

 

Cheers,

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Honestly, a suit is an investment, for one suit I would buy a suit that is single breast, charcoal, no pleats in the pants... and if you have to spend a bit of money then do so.

 

All of my suits are on the higher end, but that is because I was in court all the time with a previous career (cop)... but I really like Mateo Maas suits, I have three of them. I got them at Churchill Crossings, which has stores in numerous malls in Ontario... so maybe also in BC.

 

I also have a linen Boss suit that I picked up at a local clothier in London (named Channer's - if you live in London, you would probably know it).

 

My opinion is that you can generally spot a cheap suit... spend the extra few hundred bucks and get something that you can wear when you're actually working. Also look for a deal, just because they're a retail store, doesn't mean you can't play stores off of each other... i.e. car shopping.

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The difference you're not seeing is how the suit looks on you. I can't tell the difference between a Prius new on the lot for $23,000 and a used one for $2,500 from a picture on the internet, but I guarantee you that one of those two doesn't bloody work!

 

For example, I bet this suit looked pretty good on the rack, or the internet: Apolo Ohno, but it makes him look squat --- like someone's nefarious sidekick.

 

Buddy over here is swimming in his, especially around the stomach, and it seems as though the employee is pretty okay with that: He looks like a kid in his dad's jacket. You might be asking yourself why, or how we can tell. Simple enough question. When you look at that picture, do you figure he's a lawyer? An executive? Does that fella have anything important to do today? He's a beacon of no. (Sorry, internet guy. Sleep safe beneath your covers of anonymity.) It's a picture, so it's perfect. We have to make that judgment just from the visual, and homeboy flunked out.

 

A quick story, and then a solution. I was at an ethics seminar in 1L, and one of the breakaway groups I was in had two lawyers from a big commercial firm downtown. At first, I thought one of our students had gone up to do some brown-nosing before the session started. Then it started and I figured out the other guy was a lawyer, too. As time went on, their opinions on matters of ethics diverged, and since it's not a logical issue, but a moral one, and one having to do with what the Law Society would expect you to do, I had to decide which one had the better grasp on the subject.

 

One of them looked really smart, tanned with a nice haircut and tailored pinstripe suit and the other one was pale in a frizzy half-'fro and burgundy jacket that would slide up and down his arms every time he raised them to talk. And I thought to myself, don't take anything about their appearance to heart. The guy could be one of those geniuses who doesn't notice the state of his clothes. The other guy could be all hot air. I kept listening to them, and eventually came to a kind of compromise position.

 

There's no moral of the story here except that I noticed the guy's terrible suit and couldn't avoid staring at it and thinking about it. Did I judge him? Naw, but I still noticed. And one of the goals of men's fashion is not to stand out, either as terrible or as ostentatiously pretentious. You put it very well: "I just want to look professional, not set the office on fire."

 

Even if I hadn't zeroed in on the suit and what was wrong with that guy's suit, I would at least have had that initial impression of him being a suck-up student well beneath his true position. And somebody let him leave the store like that. Some jackass set the jacket on his shoulders and apparently thought this kid was the reincarnation of MC Hammer, and that was cool with him. Don't trust clerks, especially if they don't work on commission. They just need you out the door. I've been wearing suits my whole life, and never have I had anyone in a store tell me, "hm. That one's not so good, let's try another." They magically get it right the first time, it seems.

 

Now, this does not mean that you have to go break the bank for a big label. You're quite right that there is no visible difference between a bargain brand and a designer brand, especially on the internet. A few differences you can't see:

 

- Cheaper fabrics can become shiny after a few dry cleans.

 

- Cheaper fabrics don't "break" as you move. Watch a Brad Pitt or George Clooney movie and look at how many different places the soft fabrics they wear wrinkle to allow them a full range of motion. A Super 100 jacket (very cheap, International Clothiers type jacket) is going to be heavy enough that if you were to do a bicep curl in it, you could feel the jacket squeezing your arm. This is why people that hate suits say they feel trapped in them; they hate suits, so they buy the cheapest one, and it's basically a beekeeping outfit in terms of mobility. My best suit is the most comfortable vestment I own, hands down. T-shirt and sweatpants have nothing on it, and I'm absolutely not kidding.

 

- Stitch quality. A good suit won't have stray threads, or in most cases, even visible ones.

 

- Most off-the-rack, cheaper men's wear labels are made for Americans. Americans are typically 10% more likely to be obese than their Canadian counterparts, and far more likely to be significantly obese. It's like buying a mattress from an American brand; if you're close to the right BMI, never buy the most expensive one --- they actually use cargo coils for their American market, and odds are you won't depress them enough to get any effect from the mattress. So, even if you're a larger guy, odds are that the suit is 10% too big for you in your size.

 

Anyway, I could go on and on about the differences, and they are manifold. But let's break it down this way. Why are you wearing a suit? If your answer is, "because I have to", then you're probably going to hate shopping for it, and wearing it, and you won't make any good decisions in the process. You probably won't send anything back or try anything different, and you'll cave when the sales associate says you look awesome. Then you're going to be all nervous and self-conscious while wearing it. You'll probably start sweating. (I forgot about that; cheaper suits aren't made of natural fibers, so they don't breathe; they insulate you instead of airing you out.)

 

And now where are we? Sweating and fidgeting in an inflexible suit that's too big. That sucks, and as someone that's given job interviews, it definitely hurts you. Interviewers don't think that it might be the suit overheating and cramping you --- they think, "wow, if this is too much pressure..."

 

You're going to be a lawyer, kiddo. Grownup jobs need grownup clothes. It's only three years until you're asking someone who might lose their children forever to trust you in getting them back. Three years until you are the only thing standing between them and a life sentence for B&E. Until the business their father started and that has fed their family their whole life is placed entirely in your hands on the edge of bankruptcy. Grownups are going to look to you as if they were kids and you were the grownup. And anything you can do to give them confidence and relief in having trusted you is something you should absolutely do.

 

We don't have white lab coats and stethoscopes; the suit is all we've got to project professional competence to those in our care. I would humbly suggest that 'if it fits okay' might not be the proper attitude towards the image your project to those relying on you in what is often the biggest crisis of their lives.

 

So here's what you do.

 

1. Find a store that sells good quality clothes as cheaply as possible. Designer labels are crap, you're right. As long as the suit is well made and of a good material, fitting it to your body is all that is necessary. Make no mistake, however: Moore's is not selling two nice suits for a combined $500. They are selling two suits for a combined $500. I still have a Moore's suit in my closet. I put on any other suit, and I look like a litigator, yo. I put that one on, and I look like I just got turned down for a dance at my junior prom. I swear to God, it's night and day. You couldn't pay me to wear that one anymore. I look fat and amateur, when my well-made suits prove that I really don't. Never underestimate the power of the confidence a good suit can give you. I just walk taller in a proper suit. I swagger. I don't mean to, but it happens. And apparently it's attractive. When I got my first suit made, it came back off within an hour. (Think beyond the interview. ;))

 

I'm afraid I've never been to B.C., so I can't tell you where to go, but sometimes places like Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen have outlet (or 'last-chance') stores. You're looking for quality in the fabric, primarily --- the fact that they're out of style and in the bargain bin don't matter. In Toronto, there are discount shops like Tom's where you can buy a good quality suit that is out of style or that has been otherwise purchased as overstock, etc. This would be perfect. The fabric should ideally be at least Super 120 (measure of yarns per square inch), which means it should be soft and somewhat thin. It also must be 100% wool. You'll thank me the minute it gets hot outside, and you'll be sending me chocolates when it's still fine after five dry cleans.

 

DO ask yourself the question men always seem to forget when they're suit shopping: "Would I want to wear this?" If it's heavy, coarse, shiny and constricting, and you're not looking forward to wearing it, THEN SAY NO FOR GOD'S SAKE WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE. Ahem. Sorry. Remember: people have to wear these every day. If it's uncomfortable, then you know there has to be a product out there that isn't. There's obviously an enormous market for it.

 

2. Get it in navy. If you're wearing a tailored, dark navy suit, no one will be able to tell if it was $200 or $2,000 --- as long as the fabric doesn't clump up and make you sweat. Avoid pinstripes for right now; you do have to pay extra to make sure those look good, and there's no need for them yet.

 

3. Once you've got a 100% wool suit, preferably Super 120 (yarns per square inch) or above, go get it tailored. Find a reputable tailor --- not a "Stitch-it" or some mall brand; this is the part where you can't cheap out. You've only spent about $200-$300 so far, the extra $40 between a chump and a champ isn't going to kill you, and this is the critical part of the process. It's when the suit stops being a suit for a man your height and becomes a suit for you.

 

4. Blow $100 on a made-to-measure shirt. You're fooling everyone so far. The suit follows your body like a glove, and the fine detail --- the iffy stitching, the slightly-too-wide shoulders --- are almost invisible because you're wearing a dark, solid colour. People think you look damn good, which you do. Since the rest of you is a dark navy, everyone's eyes are going to be attracted to the light shirt and tie you're wearing. Here, impressing people costs much, much less than impressing them with a really fine suit, so do it. Get a clean, sharp, made-to-measure white shirt --- do it today! Ask when it can be ready! These things can take a week or two! --- or failing that, a really great shirt with a silk tie. (The tie does not have to be as impressive as the shirt. Sounds weird, but trust me. Even the $20 ties at Wal-Mart are pure silk, but a well-made shirt made of real Sea Island or Egyptian cotton will even make straight men want to touch it. It's got texture, and it looks luxurious and professional as all hell.)

 

5. Voila. $400 - $500 later, you have one killer suit instead of two suits that will marginally pass as business attire. You've only got one job interview, so that works out. You'll be able to afford another by the time your next interview rolls around. (Not that you'll need it. First, you can wear the same suit again, and second, these folks hired you because you came in confident.)

 

6. Now that you have a law job, you can start looking into the wonders of the import economy. You'll see an ad in a fashion magazine for made-to-measure suits, all inclusive, chosen from a huge range of fabrics, built just for you, for only a little more than this whole process cost. You call. You buy. You have a tailor. Your hard days are over.

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Honestly, a suit is an investment, for one suit I would buy a suit that is single breast, charcoal, no pleats in the pants... and if you have to spend a bit of money then do so.

 

Also critical advice. Single breast, no pleats. I would suggest navy instead of charcoal just because it moves more easily between formal and informal functions depending on the shirt and tie, but there is no controversy over the fact that your first two suits have to be charcoal and navy. If you manage to find a better deal on charcoal than on navy this time out, go with Rye and pick it up.

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Nice post, I'll definitely give it another read when I'll be ready to shop for a suit!

 

Cheers,

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One of them looked really smart, tanned with a nice haircut and tailored pinstripe suit and the other one was pale in a frizzy half-'fro

 

Racist.

 

Seriously, though, these threads always depress me because I absolutely can't find an inexpensive suit that looks good on me. Part of the problem is that I'm really scrawny and need like a 38S, which is hard to find, but I've been everywhere from the cheap Moore's/Tip Top places to Harry Rosen and the only suits I would consider wearing are at least $700. And I need new shoes and shirts too. Sigh.

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Also, on somebody's recommendation I checked out places like Zara and Le Chateau. Yeah, their suits fit a bit better, but they also appear to be made of black vinyl. Plus my gay brother-in-law made fun of me.

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Hey Comic,

 

Assuming you're in Calgary, try the Bay downtown. Decent selection there, and you can find a good deal on suits (you can talk them down 30% on just about anything, and alterations are about 50$ for the whole thing if the fit isn't spot on in the arms/pants.)

 

Also, if you're looking for a more affordable made-to-measure suit, try Umberto's Tailoring on 6th ave and 2nd st. I think he does a custom two piece (you choose the fabric) for 700. You will look like a baller in it. He also does incredible alterations.

 

O'Connor's on 14th ave and 1st street has a sale on Aug 12th. They're a bit like the local independent version of harry rosen, but very good, and very helpful staff.

 

Failing that, stay away from Tip Top/Moore's

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You're quite the dandy. Can you remind me why we're against pleats?

 

I like how your name sounds like what you do in threads.

 

Racist.

 

Seriously, though, these threads always depress me because I absolutely can't find an inexpensive suit that looks good on me. Part of the problem is that I'm really scrawny and need like a 38S, which is hard to find, but I've been everywhere from the cheap Moore's/Tip Top places to Harry Rosen and the only suits I would consider wearing are at least $700. And I need new shoes and shirts too. Sigh.

 

I hear you. Cost is always the breaking point. I can go on about what I'd like to wear all day, but I'm kind of in the same boat. Friggin' law school, cramping my style. I'm in dire need of another suit, and the Toronto winters have brought me down to one pair of dress shoes (and I can't find a decent deal on good shoes anywhere in this city). I have no idea why this city has to use salt on its sidewalks instead of sand like everyone else.

 

Now, I can't vouch for these folks personally, but they're doing some good business and getting some media attention: http://www.indochino.com/category/Suits.html

 

If you're a size that's difficult to fit, this might be the right way to go. Can't make any guarantees about quality, but in general, southeast Asia is the last bastion of affordably priced made-to-measure menswear. I lucked into an arrangement through a friend in the weirdest possible way and wound up with a Thai tailor who is absolutely amazing. Pick out quality fabric, get yourself measured properly by a professional, and you never know --- this might work out for you! Good luck!

 

(It was the pale-with-burgundy that really stuck out, by the way. I only remembered it because he looked almost jaundiced.)

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lightsout, thanks for the tips! Especially about the O'Connor's sale. If I can't find something there I might just suck it up and get the Umberto MTM. I spent about an hour in the downtown Bay last week and the only suit I liked was (you guessed it) $700.

 

Uriel, thanks for the link. If I end up getting one of those I'll let the board know how it turned out. And I'll stay away from the burgundy ;).

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Great advice Uriel, I really appreciate it. Introduce yourself to the best dressed UofT 1L in Sept and I`ll buy you as beer.

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Just as a suggestion to anybody from the GTA-Hamilton area, it might be worth the drive south of the border if you're looking for a good suit at a reasonable price. Niagara Fashion Outlets (Niagara Falls, NY) and Walden Galleria Mall (Buffalo, NY) have many stores to choose from and there are some serious sales going on at this time. An added benefit (at least when it comes to buying a suit) is if you're a weird shape like tall with short arms or short but not stubby as there are bargain basement prices on weird sizes at places like Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein (I'm talking under $300US). And if you're smooth at the border, you won't have to pay any duties on the goods on your way back. If you're not smooth, then just put the damn suit on when you're coming back and say you were at a business meeting with a client (and hope they don't ask you to get out of the car so they can see your unhemmed pants/running shoes combo).

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