Where To Look First for a Suit (Part One)

Far and away, the most common question I get in my inbox is: “Where should I go to buy a suit, given my budget is X?” I usually try to stay away from such questions, as too much depends on the person’s specific needs. Where are you planning to wear the suit? What kind of styles do you like? What kind of climate do you live in? All these make it difficult to recommend something over email.

However, I’ve always thought it’d be helpful to have a list of recommendations for a broader audience. Something that’s painted with big, broad brushes. So, I reached out to some friends to see what they’d suggest, given different budgets, and added a few ideas myself. Of course, you might go to these stores and find nothing works for you, but at least you have a list of where you might want to look first.

For a budget of ~$500 and under

  • Suit Supply: A pretty good first stop. They have a wide range of styles to fit different tastes and body types. Jackets will typically be half-canvassed, and be made from fabrics sourced from respectable mills. Their lookbook styling is a bit fashion forward, but once you actually check out their stuff in person, you can usually find some reasonably classic designs.
  • Land’s End: Not the greatest in terms of construction, but impressive in terms of price. Check out their “tailored fit” and wait for one of their many sales.   

For a budget between ~$500 and ~$1,000

  • Brooks Brothers: Brooks Brothers has 25% off sales pretty regularly, and sometimes you can knock an additional 15% off by opening up a Brooks Brothers credit card (some sales associates won’t let you stack these discounts, but most will). That should bring the price down to under $1,000. Their newest cut, the Milano, is perhaps too trendy to recommend, but they have three good “classic” models. From slimmest to fullest, they go: Fitzgerald, Regent, and Madison. Note, you can sometimes also catch their premium Golden Fleece line on Rue La La for just under $500.
  • J. Crew: Their Ludlow series can be a good starting point for many men. Just watch out for the models with razor-thin lapels, which might look dated in a few years. 
  • Howard Yount: Very respectable half-canvassed suits that are, again, made from nice fabrics. They’re also styled fairly well.
  • Proper Suit: Made-to-measure suits for prices starting at $750. You can see our friend The Silentist review them here. If you go, bring along your best fitting jacket and trousers, so you can say what you like and don’t like.
  • Southwick: Classic American styled suits that start at $1,000 or so. You can find them at O’Connell’s or any number of classic American clothiers. They also have made-to-measure for around $1,200, give or take, depending on the fabric. A good option for someone with truly classic tastes.
  • Lardini: Terrible name, but nice Italian suits. Full retail price is north of $1,000, but you can easily find them on sale. Just check places like Yoox (and ignore Yoox’s terrible styling).
  • Benjamin: Great fabric, full-canvas construction, and nice detailing (e.g. discrete pick stitching). Their cuts are slightly fashion forward, but still office appropriate. Our friend This Fits owns their Classico and Napoli models and likes them a lot.

Come back tomorrow, when we’ll cover suits in the four-digit range.

(Special thanks to La Casuarina, A Bit of Color, This Fits, Ivory Tower Style, Réginald-Jérôme de Mans, and Breathnaigh for their help with this article. Also, credit to Suit Supply and Brooks Brothers for the two images above.)

It’s on Sale: Yoox sample sale
Like a giant online euro-TJ Maxx, Yoox gets last season (or older) merchandise from retailers and clears it out at (allegedly) deep discount. But Yoox doesn’t sell through its entire stock even at its discount price. So a couple of times a year it runs a “sample sale” (these are in no way samples, i.e., the prototype garments brands manufacture and sometimes sell cheap), cutting prices to what I’d consider legitimate clearance levels. The selection is slim and often strange by this point, as what’s left has been passed over many times—at original retail, at sale, at Yoox, and at previous Yoox sales. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some nice pieces at the very bottom of the pile. The current sale is primarily spring/summer weight clothing. Sort through the whole range of designers if you have some time to kill, or see my picks:
Aspesi for Italian, tech-y, military-influenced outerwear
Barena for very slim jackets in generally interesting fabrics
Boglioli for casual Italian tailoring
C.P. Company for tech-fabric Italian sportswear
Glanshirt, part of the Slowear empire of trim Italian clothing
Haversack for exceedingly well-made Japanese eccentricity
Herno for minimal Italian outerwear
Incotex Red, very trim, casual cotton pants
JNCO because it apparently still exists
Lardini for more Italian tailoring
The Luigi Bianchi brands for yet more Italian tailoring
MHL Margaret Howell for austere British casual wear
Oliver Spencer for workwear-inspired British stuff
Piombo for colorful Italian clothing
Ts(s) for quirky Japanese clothing with great fabrics
Woolrich Woolen Mills for U.S. heritagewear
Enter code SAMPLE10 for an additional 10% off.
-Pete

It’s on Sale: Yoox sample sale

Like a giant online euro-TJ Maxx, Yoox gets last season (or older) merchandise from retailers and clears it out at (allegedly) deep discount. But Yoox doesn’t sell through its entire stock even at its discount price. So a couple of times a year it runs a “sample sale” (these are in no way samples, i.e., the prototype garments brands manufacture and sometimes sell cheap), cutting prices to what I’d consider legitimate clearance levels. The selection is slim and often strange by this point, as what’s left has been passed over many times—at original retail, at sale, at Yoox, and at previous Yoox sales. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some nice pieces at the very bottom of the pile. The current sale is primarily spring/summer weight clothing. Sort through the whole range of designers if you have some time to kill, or see my picks:

Aspesi for Italian, tech-y, military-influenced outerwear

Barena for very slim jackets in generally interesting fabrics

Boglioli for casual Italian tailoring

C.P. Company for tech-fabric Italian sportswear

Glanshirt, part of the Slowear empire of trim Italian clothing

Haversack for exceedingly well-made Japanese eccentricity

Herno for minimal Italian outerwear

Incotex Red, very trim, casual cotton pants

JNCO because it apparently still exists

Lardini for more Italian tailoring

The Luigi Bianchi brands for yet more Italian tailoring

MHL Margaret Howell for austere British casual wear

Oliver Spencer for workwear-inspired British stuff

Piombo for colorful Italian clothing

Ts(s) for quirky Japanese clothing with great fabrics

Woolrich Woolen Mills for U.S. heritagewear

Enter code SAMPLE10 for an additional 10% off.

-Pete