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.)

MyHabit Comes Into Its Own
In the wake of the quick growth of the flash sale site Gilt, many competitors sprang up. Gilt had secured relationships with many great companies, and generally had a good sense of what brands to align themselves with, so the first year or so was rough for these other guys. There was a lot of Nautica sales, in other words.
Recently, though, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s offering, MyHabit, has started to offer some great discounts on great brands. Today, for example, they’re offering E. Tautz, Luciano Barbera, Pringle and Jil Sander. Of course, they’re also (literally) offering Nautica, so the range of quality is broad, but it’s absolutely worth taking note. In the same time period, Gilt’s strength has weakened - their discounts feel smaller, their brand quality less consistent, the proportion of their offerings that are re-listings increased dramatically.
Many of the items on MyHabit are on significant discount - in a sale called “The Gentleman’s Essentials,” they’ve got Incotex trousers for $49, and many of the Luciano Barbera items were as much as 80 or 90% off. Nothing to sneeze at.
If you haven’t tried MyHabit, it might be worth signing up to get their sale announcements. I’ve been grateful to The Silentist and This Fits for their posts about good sales, but I think I’ll pay more attention to my inbox going forward. Do the same, and you might catch a great brand at great prices.
(A quick note: when we link to these sites, we usually use referral links when we remember because hey, why not, but frankly the benefit for us is pretty marginal and doesn’t affect our editorial decisions.)

MyHabit Comes Into Its Own

In the wake of the quick growth of the flash sale site Gilt, many competitors sprang up. Gilt had secured relationships with many great companies, and generally had a good sense of what brands to align themselves with, so the first year or so was rough for these other guys. There was a lot of Nautica sales, in other words.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s offering, MyHabit, has started to offer some great discounts on great brands. Today, for example, they’re offering E. Tautz, Luciano Barbera, Pringle and Jil Sander. Of course, they’re also (literally) offering Nautica, so the range of quality is broad, but it’s absolutely worth taking note. In the same time period, Gilt’s strength has weakened - their discounts feel smaller, their brand quality less consistent, the proportion of their offerings that are re-listings increased dramatically.

Many of the items on MyHabit are on significant discount - in a sale called “The Gentleman’s Essentials,” they’ve got Incotex trousers for $49, and many of the Luciano Barbera items were as much as 80 or 90% off. Nothing to sneeze at.

If you haven’t tried MyHabit, it might be worth signing up to get their sale announcements. I’ve been grateful to The Silentist and This Fits for their posts about good sales, but I think I’ll pay more attention to my inbox going forward. Do the same, and you might catch a great brand at great prices.

(A quick note: when we link to these sites, we usually use referral links when we remember because hey, why not, but frankly the benefit for us is pretty marginal and doesn’t affect our editorial decisions.)

$165 suit doesn’t get much better than this. Good work, Aliotsy!
thisfits:

Trust me to ruin the most amazing and otherworldy lighting I’ve ever seen in my backyard with a robot pose and a funny expression.*
Suit is a Lands’ End Tailored Fit Cotton-Linen Blend (jacket, trousers). I’ve kinda waffled on keeping it—it’s got an excellent open weave and perfect off-the-rack shoulder fit and jacket length, but the armholes seem rather low.
A string of 100+° F days convinced me that it’s a handy thing to have around for Sundays when I wear suits. And it’s hard to argue with the price ($165 shipped, with promo code DEVOTION, PIN 5580). So I’m keeping it.
* No Photoshop here, other than a bit of curve adjustment around my torso to bring out the jacket’s details.

$165 suit doesn’t get much better than this. Good work, Aliotsy!

thisfits:

Trust me to ruin the most amazing and otherworldy lighting I’ve ever seen in my backyard with a robot pose and a funny expression.*

Suit is a Lands’ End Tailored Fit Cotton-Linen Blend (jacket, trousers). I’ve kinda waffled on keeping it—it’s got an excellent open weave and perfect off-the-rack shoulder fit and jacket length, but the armholes seem rather low.

A string of 100+° F days convinced me that it’s a handy thing to have around for Sundays when I wear suits. And it’s hard to argue with the price ($165 shipped, with promo code DEVOTION, PIN 5580). So I’m keeping it.

* No Photoshop here, other than a bit of curve adjustment around my torso to bring out the jacket’s details.

thisfits:

Would you guys be willing to gut check me on something?

This is the jacket from a suit I recently purchased. Thoughts on fit? You can disregard the sleeves, as they’re unfinished.

For what it’s worth, the camera is at a low angle, about belly button level.

I think this jacket is a good lesson on fit. I am hardly the world’s top expert on the subject, and certainly it is a matter of taste, but I think there is some valuable information I can offer.

The sleeves look like they’re about the right length. Your jacket sleeves should end at your wrist joint, and your shirt about a quarter to a half inch below that.

The shoulders are tough to see from this angle. They may be slightly wide, as you can see a little bit of buckling around the armpits, but they look about right.

The length of this coat is short. There are two basic shortcuts to arrive at the “proper” length for a coat. The first is that the jacket should cover your rear. The second is that your relaxed hands should roughly be able to “cup” the end of the coat. In other words, with your arms relaxed it should reach around the second knuckle. The current fashion is for a slightly short coat, but unless you’re very thin, this can throw the proportions off and make you look heavier than you are. I see heavier (not even actually heavy, just not very skinny) guys on blogs wearing short coats and looking less than good all the time - the guys who pull it off well tend to have very straight, flat bodies.

The greatest problem with this coat, though, is the buttoning point. The buttoning point of a jacket anchors it, and it should be just a bit above the waist. Imagine the front of the jacket as an “X” converging on the center button - that should be right around the belly button, or perhaps an inch or two above.  The buttoning point on this jacket is around the sternum, nearly to the armpit, which makes for a very unusual profile.

This profile is of course relatively fashionable at the moment - it reflects the influence of Thom Browne, whose coats are often even more exaggerated than this. I’m not against it on principle, but as we see here, it can be tough for a man who isn’t very thin to pull off. I’d imagine that with a little tailoring and after losing the negative effects of a low camera angle, our friend from This Fits (who, it should be noted, looks like a perfectly fit guy) will be fine, but it will never be a flattering suit.

Step two isn’t necessary, but the rest will change your life.  Check out our eBay Shopping Guide for more.

thisfits:

How to make eBay RSS Feeds

I saw this question asked over at HTTGAP, so I figured I’d whip up a quick tutorial. This assumes you already know what RSS is … if you don’t, this video is a good introduction.

Step 1

Do an eBay search as you normally would.

Step 2

On the results page, set “Sort by:” to “Time: newly listed”. This may not matter, but I think it ensures your RSS feed is updated the instant someone lists what you want on eBay.

Step 3

Scroll to the bottom of the results page, and look for the orange “RSS” button.

Step 4

Click the button to add the feed to your reader. Now, whenever what you’re interested in is listed on eBay, you’ll get an RSS update.

That’s it. Hope this helps.

“About three years ago I started using del.icio.us to bookmark inspiring looks that I liked from The Sartorialist. I was a terrible dresser, but was improving with help from forum posts and articles on the Internet. This past fall, an incident at work and the rise of Put This On underscored the importance of dressing well and accelerated my interest in classic men’s style. I credit Jesse at PTO for doing more for me in a few months than years of reading random articles. If you ever read this: thanks.”

This Fits: 500th Post: A Retrospective

Thanks to This Fits and all of our supporters, especially those who share what we’re doing with others, and those who create something new themselves! 

Episode three is coming very soon.