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First suit search

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    First suit search

    Hi all, I too am in the process of buying my first suit. I didn't want anything too serious as I'm not going to need it anytime soon, and so I bought the LL Bean Twill navy suit on sale for about $120. I'm aware that it's too large (it's a 36R), but I was wondering if a good tailor could still make it look great. I'm a complete rookie when it comes to suits, and any advice would be great. Shall I keep it? If so, what should I tell the tailor? Included are some pics. Thanks again!


    First, if you need a suit to wear for different events, don't buy a cotton suit. It's way too casual. Buy a suit that is 100% wool in either charcoal or navy. Browse through Dappered to get some good suggestions or do a search on Style Forum. Second, that suit is way too large. A tailor can help in making suits fit you better, but that suit is too large even for a tailor to fix. Most importantly, you want to make sure the suit fits well in the shoulders. Get measured at a department store or tailor if you don't know your measurements.



      Yeah, that's not even close. A tailor is there to tweak a decent fit into a good or great fit. What you've got would require recutting and reconstructing the whole garment.



        Cotton suits are like a convertible that's on sale without the top. On a hot, sunny day, it's perfect, but outside of that, you'll wish you had something more versatile.

        I agree about getting measured. Don't be afraid to get measured a couple times until you're confident with your sizing. Men's Wearhouse or Jos. A. Bank? Not the right place. They added 4 inches to my chest.

        Read up on Antonio's wardrobe intro articles on Here's the best one to start with:

        Try not to do what most of us do - screw up our first couple of suits. It's too expensive to do that!



          A 36R is too large on you? EAT SOMETHING! j/k Seriously, though, your size could limit your options. I wish I had better advice, but getting properly measured is definitely the first step. And I second the advice to go to a real pro. I've had to correct people that didn't know what they're doing, and they're supposed to be the professionals. (The guy at the tux rental place tried to put me in a 44 for my wedding. I'm clearly a 40.)

          ... and if I were you and I could find that twill suit in the right size (at that price), I'd keep it. And then I'd go out and get a more versatile suit, too. :-)

          Also, what's your budget? Is $120 all you can spend on a suit or was it a crime of convenience that your perpetrated against LL Bean? (That's what I call it when I get something for a "steal" that I hadn't planned on getting in the first place... Just because it's cheap.)



            If you ask me, don't buy the suit until you're close to needing it. You look young; assuming that is accurate, you'll probably fill out a little before you ever need a suit. If you buy one that fits now, there's a good chance it'll be too small later when you actually need to wear it.




              That's actually some pretty good advice. Unless you've got job interviews, weddings, or funerals, you don't NEED a suit until you're approaching college graduation.



                I would try the youth/kids section of Brooks Brothers if that really is a 36R. That does not fit at all, and I've heard a good bit of praise for 16-18/Youth Large or Youth XL (whatever sizes BB kids suits are) suits offered by Brooks Brothers.






                    I didn't mean that to be insulting, as I've often considered it myself. I'm on the small end of a 36R, with some still fitting a little too wide in the shoulder, so I understan the pain of finding something smaller. It's strange, as I feel like a fairly normal sized guy, being 5'11" and 145 lbs, but very little fits me well OTR. Even American Apparel XS oxfords are a bit loose, and they cut notoriously, even comically, slim.



                      It looks like you're in college. I'm a recent college grad, I went to a top tier school and even there I would say a suit isn't essential for campus events. If you want something for formal occasions, thrift a nice, 2-button navy/gray wool blazer (okay a 2 button is hard to find, you may have to buy it). Get the right one and it's good for dates and also for presentations, conferences, meetings with wealthy alumni/the school President, etc. If you're applying to jobs/grad schools soon, a suit will definitely be a priority purchase, but that doesn't sound like it's the case. I agree with everybody that a cotton suit is NOT what you want right now if you're just getting one suit.

                      I also suggest you eat some more and hit the gym, hard. See if a friend has the book Starting Strength or just look on the forums for some advice. You don't need to count calories or purchase $200 of supplements, just eat healthy, do 25-30 minutes of cardio each day before you lift weights, and don't do be afraid to ask for help when you're at the gym. You'll put on muscle pretty quickly. In 6 months you'll be happy you held off on buying that suit

                      As a side note/piece of unsolicited advice: If you're in college, I recommend avoiding Styleforum. The internet is full of extremes, and many of the most vocal folks on SF are quite extreme in their interest in fashion/clothing/outlook on these things. Unless you're sure that's you or think that's you or the world you want to live in, don't get caught up in thinking that everybody you interact with can tell who made your suit or shoes or that everybody cares what you wear. They don't. Especially not in college.

                      I like Dappered, even more than Put This On (which I never visit anymore), because the website and this community is a lot more balanced, diverse, and reasonable. I think pretty much everyone here would say to just wear clothes you like, that fit, and that don't make you look like a slob. If you feel like wearing a tie and jacket once a week to class just 'cuz, then do it, but don't let your wardrobe become who you are. I totally advocate that you dress in a way that feels good to you, but your clothes or the act of purchasing clothes should never be your primary source of self-esteem or confidence. That needs to come from the inside and can take time and experience to develop, but it's what makes people happy in life.



                        Thanks all for your advice! I'm well aware that I'm on the small side, so no offense taken there. I'll be returning the suit! As for bulking up, I just got unfortunate genes. I'm about 5'10 and 140 pounds, but both my parents are 5'4. I go to the gym and lift weights for an hour about 4-5 times a week, and I'm fairly defined, just skinny still (if that makes sense). As for the advice regarding getting a suit after college, I'll take that to heart and wait. I've been on Dappered for months now, but just changed my username as I didn't like having my facebook linked to what I typed online. Thank again though, all. And to answer the questions, yes, I'm a freshman in college.



                          @Matt, if you're happy with your current bulk, own it. If you want to bulk up, it can be done. I used to be 6'0 155lb. Now I'm about 190. I'm glad I waited to buy suits, etc until I filled out.

                          "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



                            I don't know about LL Bean suits, but maybe you could just try another brand with a slimmer cut. I'm at 5'6", 120 pounds and can't seem to gain weight. When I was looking for a navy blazer, I had to find a 34S. Let me tell you it is not an easy task.

                            But the other day, I found a 36S cord blazer which fitted quite decently, because the width of the shoulders was about the same.

                            Try to find a suit in your size (in term of fit, don't look at the indicated size) in a store (even if you can't afford the suit) and take the measurements. If you're shopping online, just compare the measurements and you're good to go. You can contact their customer service if the measurements are not provided. Did this with a few stores like J.Crew and they were very cooperative.



                              Man, I wish I could share some weight with you guys