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: Deep discounts on Southwick & Barneys

For today only at Haberdash, blazers from Southwick are 50% off. I’ve seen these in person and they look absolutely fantastic — including this Harris Tweed plaid one above, down to $449 (from $898). 

Also, Barneys has added more items to their clearance sale and prices are up to 60% off now. Much like the Mr Porter sale, there’s a bunch of items, but too many to list. I’d recommend looking by designer. Noteworthy brands include Thom Browne, Ovadia & Sons, Gant Rugger, Nigel Cabourn, E. Tautz, Church’s, Piombo, Ralph Lauren and many more. I’ve put together a link of designers I like here

-Kiyoshi

Southwick Made-to-Measure at Costco?
A StyleForum member named rezzo posted this interesting story recently…

While at Costco I checked out the Southwick display they have set up.   Southwick is having a MTM event for suits, SC, pants and shirts.  The  measuring is done via a body scan where you stand in this booth in your  underwear for about 10 seconds.  Then you get a print out with about  every possible measurement you can imagine (except what’s covered by the  underwear).   They had a relatively small choice of fabrics (about 20-25). There was  about 5 fabrics from and Asian mill which cost $449 and all the rest was  an Italian mill for $549 - he told me the name but I can’t remember it  other than he mentioned it was an old family owned mill. The salesman,  who was extremely knowledgeable about the construction told me that they  had a full floating canvass and they were half machine, half handmade -  his example of handmade was that the sleeves are attached by hand. I ended up ordering a plain navy worsted, 3 button w/ side vents and ff  cuffed pants from the Italian fabric.  There were the standard type of  choices (buttons, side or center vent and so on) but you could get as  specific as you want - anything you could think of they would write it  down in the notes area.  I asked for horn buttons and they said ok.   They would also make the jacket with working sleeve buttons but I opted  not to do that because I would rather make sure they feel the right  length and then just pay to get them done locally.  For $549 I thought  I’d give it a shot.  Delivery is in about 6 weeks, I’ll let you know how  it turns out.  Southwick also keeps the measurements on file so if it  works out I’ll add a charcoal as well.  I don’t remember the other  prices except the MTM pants were $135 - a bit more for flannel.  They  were also doing MTM shirts.

That’s a very reasonable price point for a fully canvassed made-to-measure suit. I’m unconvinced that body scanners are better than… you know… a tape measure, but this is a very promising possibility for folks who have a hard time with off the rack suiting, can’t afford the $1000+ cost of most in-store made to measure, and don’t want to mess with Mickey Mouse online operations.
Has anyone used this service? Any comment as to the results? Pictures? Email us - contact@putthison.com.

Southwick Made-to-Measure at Costco?

A StyleForum member named rezzo posted this interesting story recently…

While at Costco I checked out the Southwick display they have set up. Southwick is having a MTM event for suits, SC, pants and shirts. The measuring is done via a body scan where you stand in this booth in your underwear for about 10 seconds. Then you get a print out with about every possible measurement you can imagine (except what’s covered by the underwear).

They had a relatively small choice of fabrics (about 20-25). There was about 5 fabrics from and Asian mill which cost $449 and all the rest was an Italian mill for $549 - he told me the name but I can’t remember it other than he mentioned it was an old family owned mill. The salesman, who was extremely knowledgeable about the construction told me that they had a full floating canvass and they were half machine, half handmade - his example of handmade was that the sleeves are attached by hand.

I ended up ordering a plain navy worsted, 3 button w/ side vents and ff cuffed pants from the Italian fabric. There were the standard type of choices (buttons, side or center vent and so on) but you could get as specific as you want - anything you could think of they would write it down in the notes area. I asked for horn buttons and they said ok. They would also make the jacket with working sleeve buttons but I opted not to do that because I would rather make sure they feel the right length and then just pay to get them done locally. For $549 I thought I’d give it a shot. Delivery is in about 6 weeks, I’ll let you know how it turns out. Southwick also keeps the measurements on file so if it works out I’ll add a charcoal as well. I don’t remember the other prices except the MTM pants were $135 - a bit more for flannel. They were also doing MTM shirts.

That’s a very reasonable price point for a fully canvassed made-to-measure suit. I’m unconvinced that body scanners are better than… you know… a tape measure, but this is a very promising possibility for folks who have a hard time with off the rack suiting, can’t afford the $1000+ cost of most in-store made to measure, and don’t want to mess with Mickey Mouse online operations.

Has anyone used this service? Any comment as to the results? Pictures? Email us - contact@putthison.com.