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: Brooks Brothers Navy Suit

Rue La La is having a sale on a bunch of Brooks Brothers stock. Included is a Brooks Brothers navy suit, which you see above. It’s not labeled as such in the description, but I’m pretty sure this is part of the Golden Fleece line - their premium line - which is usually made with more handwork and higher-end materials. It’s also made with a full canvas, which you can see labeled in one of the close up photos of the jacket’s interior. The retail on these is $1,900, but available on Rue La La for $499. 

The cut here is the Fitzgerald, which is the slimmer of their two traditional models (the other being the Madison). I tried on the Fitzgerald about six years ago, and thought it was a pretty nice fit without being skinny. You may want to stop by a local Brooks Brothers to try one on if you’d like to be sure. Rue La La also accepts returns. 

It’s On Sale: Bill’s Khakis Shetland Sweaters

Bill’s Khakis’ Shetland sweaters are on sale today at Rue La La for $130. These are excellently made, and go well with almost any kind of trouser you can think of (khakis, corduroys, jeans, wool flannel). Combine them with boots and a waxed cotton Barbour on rainy days, or just tassel loafers when it’s sunny and you’re lounging. 

Note, the sleeves on these run long, even when accounting for the folding back of the cuff. I’ve brought mine to a knit alterations tailor, however, and had them shorted with no problem. I think the job ran something like $15. 

If you need an invite to Rue La La, you can use ours

Four Worthwhile Sales

Four sales worth mentioning: 

  • Ralph Lauren is having their “Giving in Style” sale from September 27th until October 8th. 25% off non-Purple Label merchandise with the code RLGIVING12. 
  • Allen Edmonds’ Shoe Bank (where they sell factory seconds) is having a 15-30% off sale from now until  October 8th. Select styles, including their Strand, are now available for between $150 and $200. You can order from them by calling their store at (262) 785-6666. Just make sure you take a look at their main website first, so you can figure out what styles you’re interested in, and then ask their Shoe Bank store if it’s available in your size.
  • Amazon is also having a sale on Allen Edmonds dress shoes. Save an additional $50 on orders over $200 with code 2012FALL (select styles only). 
  • Finally, Rue La La has a bunch of Brooks Brothers merchandise discounted about 40-50% today. Shetland sweaters available for about $60; suits for about $500. 

To get more sales announcements, sign up for our Inside Track. Along with an additional eBay Roundup, I send out a list of good sales each and every week. 

Rue La La Sale: Bill’s Khakis

Bill’s Khakis is on sale at Rue La La today. Pants start around $60 and Shetland sweaters at $130. If you want a slim fit pair of pants, look for models that are labeled “Model 3.” The quality of Bill’s Khaki’s stuff is superb; I highly recommend them.