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So, buying my first ever suit, amy advice?(17 posts)

So, buying my first ever suit, amy advice?chopper
Sep 24, 2003 12:28 PM
I'm buying my first suit soon - its about time I got one for weddings, interviews, etc. I'm new to this so any advice is appreciated. What's the scoop on Men's Wherehouse, I hear there adds all the time. Are they really that good? As I'm a cyclist I have a thin build, I'm 6'3 180lbs and have a very thin torso and long arms. Any suggestions on brands that fit the taller thinner person. I'm also going to check out Nordstrom as I hear they're pretty good. FYI, can spend about $600-700.

re: So, buying my first ever suit, amy advice?No_sprint
Sep 24, 2003 1:28 PM
Not sure about Mens Warehouse. I've never walked into one. You'll likely take a *long*, any decent salesperson should be able to fit you nicely. Suits come in mens short, reg, long. You'll find different styles and brands in places like Nordstrom and Macy's. You'll find some high zoot stuff at both. Nordie will carry a much more classic and traditional range than Macy's. You'll find stuff like Armani at Macy's. I've got many including Boss, Alfani, Ralph Lauren, etc. I'd suggest a timeless somewhat classic style if you're only going to have one. Something like a grey flannel.
I know about thismoneyman
Sep 24, 2003 1:33 PM
$600-$700 will get you a very nice suit.

Men's Wearhouse is OK, but I have found their salespeople to be pushy at times. They do, however, have very nice clothes. If you go to Nordstroms, you will get much less suit than you can at Men's Wearhouse.

Find a good salesman. See how he is dressed. Are his shoes shined? Tie knotted neatly? Shirt pressed? If he pays attention to his detail, he will pay attention to your detail.

Buy 100% wool. Wool lasts forever, wears well, presses well, and never goes out of style. Stay with classic lines - pinstripes, light plaids, blue or grey will go a long way. Two or three buttons on the coat, buttons on the sleeves. Make sure the coat is fully lined. For that price, the pants should be lined as well. A little rubber strip around the inside of the waist is a nice touch, as it keeps the shirt tucked in. Get buttons for braces just in case you decide to wear them. Don't ever wear clip-on suspenders with a nice suit.

Don't forget the accessories - black wingtips always work. Black socks. White broadcloth shirts with button down collars are always appropriate. Go with button cuffs for utitlity. Short sleeves should NOT be worn under any circumstances! Belts should be able to go through the third hole. Avoid "theme" ties, i.e., cartoon characters or sports teams.

It's much better to be a little over-dressed than a little under-dressed. My suggestions may sound very conservative, but you'll never have to apologize for your appearance.

Good luck.

re: So, buying my first ever suit, amy advice?filtersweep
Sep 24, 2003 1:35 PM
Men's Wearhouse is OK- I purchased a suit there after being unable to receive any intelligent help from a major retailer similar to Nordstom. I had a no BS experience, unlike buying a car or furniture...

No matter what, buy a suit well before you need it- it will take a few weeks to alter it to fit you- no one just buys a suit off the rack- the pants likely won't even be cuffed. I believe Wearhouse offers free lifetime alterations if you suddenly expand around the equator or grow taller, or you eventually need a "guest room" for your a$$...

I'd get a light wool in black with maybe some subtle color tossed in (ie. not entirely solid black).
I used to sell men's suits in a college townColnagoFE
Sep 24, 2003 1:42 PM
Men's Wearhouse is probably OK...heck anywhere that has a decent selection and some knoledgeable staff should work. At 6'3" you should still fit into a long--guessing 42-43 long from your height and weight. You are likely skinny so the pants will be somewhat of a problem. A 42 suit has a 36" waist pant generally. Many manufacturers make what they call a "athletic" cut or a 8-10" drop from the coat to pant. You'll probably need the 10" I'm guessing and those can be a bit harder to find. Of course a good tailor can work with a trouser that is too big, but that's assuming they have a decent tailor who knows what to do and that they don't charge too much extra for alterations. For $600 you should get the standard "interview" suit which should be dark blue or grey and relatively conservative styling. Dress it up or down with ties and shirts. Don't forget some dress shoes as well. Penny Loafers aren't gonna cut it. Get some dressier shoes. You can wear it to pretty much any occasion. This suit will be fine if you only are going to wear the suit once in a blue moon, but if you plan on wearing it often you really should consider getting a few suits (and also a navy blue sportcoat--essential) to rotate and spending more on quality fabrics that won't look awful after the first few times you clean and press them.
Wait, if you can . . .ms
Sep 24, 2003 1:49 PM
Places like Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom, etc. usually put suits on sale in December/January (end of "winter' suit season) and June/July (end of "summer" suit season). If you can wait until one of the sale periods, you may be able to get more for your $$$.

I you know people who wear suits regularly, ask them where they shop. Selection and quality of suits at a store is important, but the most important thing is finding a store that does good alterations. Even if you have perfect proportions (that is perfect in the eyes of suitmakers) you probably will need some alterations in your suit.

If you are only going to have one suit, I would get the most conservative suit that you like (i.e., two buttons, dark blue or gray, solid or subtle pattern). You want the suit to look good. But, you don't want the suit to be so distintive that people will remember it and know that you only have one suit. You also want a suit that will last for several seasons -- you don't want a suit that will look out of style in a year or two. I probably would stay from vertical stripes if I were you -- it will accentuate your thin build (not a bad thing, but you do not want to look like a sting bean).

When you look at suits (and especially when you buy one and are being fitted for alterations), wear the type of shoes, belt and shirt that you will wear with the suit -- if you try on a suit when you are wearing a polo shirt and sneakers, it will look different than when you are wearing it with leather shoes and a dress shirt. If you do not own good dress shoes and a dress shirt, take part of your budget and get them. Wear a tie when you try on suits.

Finally, when the pants are being fitted, you will be asked: "Cuffs or not?" I say yes, but that is a personal preference.
What's the latest on cuffs?ColnagoFE
Sep 24, 2003 2:01 PM
I've always liked them, but are they still "in style"? I've been out of the dress clothes game for quite a few years. I remember hearing the history of the cuff was that it provided the wearer someplace to flick his cigar ashes without having to put them on the floor. whether this is true or not I have no idea, but it sounds plasible as the origin of buttons on the sleeves of suit coats came from Royal Navy's officers desire to rid their seamen's habit of wiping their runny noses on their sleeves.
Cuffs are necessary...TJeanloz
Sep 24, 2003 2:13 PM
I don't believe either of your anecdotes regarding origin are correct though. Buttons on jackets serve the same purpose as buttons on shirt sleeves - to appropriately close the sleeve. It is now rather uncommon for suits to have functional buttons, but most traditional, nice suits will have operational buttons.

I have no idea why cuffs came about, but I would suspect it has to do with massing more fabric at the bottom to alter pants as they inevitably wear out.
makes for a good's more on the button thingColnagoFE
Sep 24, 2003 2:24 PM

guess I never had a suit good enough to have functional buttons but a google search found this tidbit:

"Well made (more expensive) suits will have real buttons and button holes for your wrist cuffs. These are called "doctors cuffs," because doctors used to unbutton these cuffs to roll up their sleeves to deliver babies in the subways. For those MBA's with a "roll up your sleeves" demeanor, buy a custom made suit with real buttoned cuffs."
If you think back though,TJeanloz
Sep 24, 2003 2:47 PM
Not that I'm old enough to remember, but way back, men's shirtsleeve cuffs were far more ornate than they are today (all frilly and whatnot), and the jacket had to close, rather tightly, around the cuff to keep it in place. Hence the buttons.

It's not really important. But if you see somebody with functional buttons, and if you are impressed by such things, you should be impressed. If you're trying to impress people, especially with a blazer, the thing to do is to leave the last button unbuttoned, which sort of shows off the fact that it is a functioning button.
Don't think cuffs are necessarySpecialTater
Sep 25, 2003 8:21 AM
on flat-front (non-pleated) pants w/ suit. The question remains, are pleated pants necessary? Personally hate 'em.
Agreed, but pleats are necessaryTJeanloz
Sep 25, 2003 9:20 AM
A flat front pant is too trendy for me. But if you are going flat-front, cuffs would look stupid.
Cuffs weight makes pants hang better (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 25, 2003 9:41 AM
Guy rule #7: Always cuff the suitpants. nm128
Sep 25, 2003 8:05 AM
Except on a tuxedomoneyman
Sep 25, 2003 9:20 AM
Not good at all.

Tuxedo is not a suit, it has its own set of rules (nm)TJeanloz
Sep 25, 2003 9:59 AM
Though, with certain tux pants, a cuff would work.
Consider separatespitt83
Sep 25, 2003 5:19 AM
If you're like me, you have a build unlike the average Joe. Most department stores will sell "separates". Even the Haggar outlet store sells suits this way. Makes a good fit so much easier.

The other advice re: wool is spot on. Wool is definately the fabric of choice.

Don't know where you're located, but my only trip to Minneapolis and Mall of America found me making an impulse buy on a suit at Nordstroms Outlet. They hemmed the pants while I waited (Kudos for good service here!) I got a retail $1200 italian suit for $350 which is definately still a fine looking garment.