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    Suits - where to go next

    In advance, please excuse the long post, but this is, in part, an exercise for me to write down my thought process and I also figure the more info the better for discussion.

    BACKGROUND
    I have quite a few suits that I've owned and worn a ton over the last 4-5 years, which have served me quite well through my years in NYC (I work in a business setting so wear suits 3-4 days a week, and those days tend to be in the 12+ hour range). Even with a 2nd pair of pants for each, many of the slacks are wearing thin. I've also slimmed down a little (somehow), and am more comfortable with slimmer fits than I was when I had those suits made, to the point where it's starting to be annoying to me when I put them on. I've been wearing more odd slacks / sportcoats in the office lately, but should get back to more formal attire more often as I become a little more senior.

    All that background out of the way, it's high time that I get back into the biz of buying some suits and refreshing that part of my wardrobe. But this thread is not about where to buy new suits, or what cost, etc., but instead my question relates to what suits to buy, in what order, etc.

    STATE OF THE [SUIT] UNION
    My current suit wardrobe is as follows, with some comments:

    CLASSICS
    - Charcoal worsted (older custom that needs the pants taken in a bunch and all the buttons need replacing)
    - Medium grey worsted (same as charcoal, but both pants are somehow holey/beyond repair in the crotch)
    - Navy worsted (same as charcoal re: tailoring and button replacement)
    - Grey/brown nailshead (I think... color is hard to nail (heh, puns) down, but it's in the picture below; Hickey OTR I bought years ago and never had tailored until recently, it isn't perfect but it's wearable and at least the pants fit pretty well thanks to Mid-City Tailoring (aka Chipps / Paul Winston's outfit))

    As noted above, the medium grey is pretty much shot at this point; I could maybe get the pants patched up, but that isn't cheap and they're already living on borrowed time. I got the nailshead tailored so I can use that to tide me over for the near future and as something I can work in on occasion. The charcoal and navy suits I need to check the pants on, but think I can salvage at least 1 pair of slacks for each with relatively low investment re: tailoring/buttons.

    Nailshead (?) Suit:


    SEASONAL (aka Summer)
    - Navy seersucker (OTR Bonobos, great fit for weddings, also use for summer office wear on occasion)
    - Tan linen (OTR Bonobos, probably could have pants taken in, but overall great for weddings, casual wear, summer office wear, although I have yet to use in office)

    Both of these I am a huge fan of, but obviously are not classic suits that I can wear 4 seasons or anything. I rarely wear either in the office, but may start doing so more this summer because, well, why the hell not. These don't factor in directly, but might help frame what I'm looking for.

    I also have some sportcoats in a variety of weights, colors, etc. but nothing that overlaps with 4 season suit patterns really, as I don't think I'll be getting, e.g., a brown or a heathered linen suit anytime soon.

    QUESTION
    I'm going in to get fitted and order some suits this weekend and want to have thought through my approach for refreshing my suit wardrobe. For purposes of this, let's say I want to get 2 suits right now (if these turn out well, I'll likely get more sooner rather than later).

    I think I have to get a replacement medium grey of some sort, it's just too much of a staple for me not to have. Given wear patterns, I imagine it gets nearly as much wear (or more) as my navy does. I don't know whether I want to stick with a classic plain worsted, or whether a small/non-bold pattern would be better.

    The second suit is more up in the air. Assuming I can salvage my navy for a bit (I'll likely replace that in my next tranche of suit purchasing), I could do something with a pattern. I was thinking potentially a windowpane, glen plaid or prince of wales? Probably in navy or grey, since I generally wear those the most and they wouldn't stand out as much if I wind up wearing them a good bit. However, taking into account that, by the end of this year, I'm likely to have replenished to where I have my 3 basics (charcoal/med grey/navy worsted) in newer/better fit styles, I don't want it to be so close to that where it'll seem like it's redundant. I also have seen some gunmetal/steel blue/grey colored suits that I really like, although those seem to be harder to pair with things than more traditional navy/greys... I can't seem to find a good picture of what I'm talking about, unfortunately, but it'd be different enough from navy that I think it could be justified.

    One off thoughts that may or may not come into consideration:
    - I live in NYC and am (if I say so myself) decently fashionable but not trendy -- especially with work-related attire, I don't stray too far outside the lines. No crazy colors, muted tons, etc. other than for some fun/colorful socks and a tie or two at times. I'm unlikely to deviate too far from the mean overall.
    - An overwhelming majority of my shirts are white, blue or combinations of white and blue, with very little added color there. Ties I generally stick with burgundy, navy and lighter blues, with some deviations.
    - Blonde hair, relatively fair skin but do get some color in the summer, in case that factors in.
    - I dislike pinstripes. I don't know why, but I've never been fond of them.
    - Probably not going to do any fall/winter suits at this time, since we'll be hitting mid/late spring then summer when these suits are done. Not to say I need/want to do a summer-only suit.

    If you made it this far, good on you and thank you. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts!
    Last edited by hornsup84; February 25, 2016, 06:45 PM.

    #2
    in some ways i envy you! In the last 2 years, the number of times i've worn a suit is probably barely in the double digits. I have 2 suits (BR navy, express charcoal). If I could start over and actually wore suits frequently...i'd go with suitsupply. also, the new jomers suits (looks like their current drop doesn't suit your style needs though, i'd definitely keep an eye out). And then, I'd also look for j crew ludlows on sale.

    Comment


      #3
      First off, that speedmaster is the shit! About the suits, if you're going to be replacing your basics at a later point anyway, I would say look at things like dark brown, navy windowpane, or a glen plaid in an unusual color. A mid grey birdseye would be nice also if it's not too close to the one you have now.
      Some inspiration via AOS tailoring.

      Good luck!

      Comment


        #4
        I have 3 navy suits, in various configurations; and I bought a blue suit (not electric blue - I cannot stand electric blue suits), and I reach for it first now. It looks really good mixed and matched with a bunch of different things. So, I recommend that.

        Comment


          #5
          A few thoughts:

          If I were making the decision for you, I'd advise replacing the medium gray suit with something as close to that as you can manage (with upgrades to fit, etc.). You've obviously gotten a lot of use out of the original; if it ain't broke...

          For the second suit, I'd advise a navy glen plaid. 1) I just happen to like them; and 2) it's a pattern, but a muted one, which I think makes sense in that slot, given your taste.

          I have that Bonobos navy seersucker and I love it. I've worn it in the office and even to court and it's never seemed out of place (in the summer). And I worked with people who definitely would have commented if they felt it warranted.

          I'm also a huge booster of Mid-City Tailoring. I'm definitely going to miss having that a couple of blocks from work.

          Comment


            #6
            I'm personally a big fan of navy and gray glen plaid/Prince of Wales but only if the checks are small

            Comment


              #7
              Another thought is olive/green or medium blue without a pattern. I like the suggestions you mentioned in terms of pattern, but a windowpane suit can be very fashion forward. Also I find Glen plaid a fascinating pattern, but I am not sure how I would wear such a suit. I also echo [MENTION=3269]Shomas[/MENTION] that a mid gray suit should definitely be on your list. A non worsted fabric could also make things interesting, eg hopsack or wool/silk/linen blend.

              I would get (on top of the charcoal, brown and navy) - and factoring in your dislike for stripes which would be my high' my list:
              1. Mid gray in worsted wool
              2. Blue in lightweight three season flannel
              Followed by:
              3. Olive in linen/wool blend or tropical wool
              4. Mid gray glen plaid in worsted wool
              5. Navy windowpane in wool or wool/cashmere blend

              Comment


                #8
                I'm not crazy about windowpanes unless done on a linen fabric or a chalky windowpane flannel. I like blues personally. If you have navy, another shade of blue could be a nice addition. I also like the suggestion of a subtle check, that looks solid from anything past conversational distance.
                My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSs1xkOEoJdPfZ4KRW575qA

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by thecharlesg View Post
                  I'm not crazy about windowpanes unless done on a linen fabric or a chalky windowpane flannel. I like blues personally. If you have navy, another shade of blue could be a nice addition. I also like the suggestion of a subtle check, that looks solid from anything past conversational distance.
                  I like this suggestion of another blue or possibly a subtle check. You could even throw in some sort of other detail that you don't have on another suit such as 3-2 roll or patch pockets to make it something different but not too far out of the box. I think peak lapels could push it too far and though I have some sport coats with ticket pockets, I would stay away from those on a suit.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the suggestions so far!

                    [MENTION=14949]mmgfarb[/MENTION] - that navy windowpane is really eye catching. The grey is also neat; brown plain I don't think I'd wear enough. Brown glen plaid seems seasonal fall/winter to me, but definitely a looker

                    [MENTION=13026]Evenflow[/MENTION] - I'm a big fan of navy as well, and have a lighter navy blazer that I got last year that is really amazing and gets tons of looks (from me picking outfits and from third parties)

                    [MENTION=3269]Shomas[/MENTION] - appreciate the candor and think I agree with keeping with the medium grey worsted, hard to go wrong with a standard like that. Navy glen plaid is quite an idea as well. Mid City did not disappoint with their initial work for me, I will definitely going there again for any/all my work

                    [MENTION=14501]lfd75[/MENTION] - appreciate the input, I guess I will need to see my options to see how they are in person, but agree scale can make a big difference

                    [MENTION=12115]doomx[/MENTION] - thanks for the in depth thoughts, not sure olive/green is for me, but agree it could be real neat in linen/tropical. Doing the grey in non-worsted is also an interesting idea

                    [MENTION=14255]thecharlesg[/MENTION] - appreciate the input, a subtle navy check or something would be a good way to introduce variation without going crazy

                    [MENTION=4069]JBarwick[/MENTION] - interesting idea with going with a 3-2 roll or patch pockets; I agree that peak lapels are a bit too much for my work environment and personal style. I did some slanted pockets and other more style-forward items on one of my last suits and realized that overall I just preferred a more traditional styling for the most part. Maybe the boring office is rubbing off on me

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I don't know your budget but assume it's pretty good seeing the Speedmaster. Definitely get a mid-grey since you used the one you had up. I recommend that you get one with some texture as nothing looks as drab and flat as a plain worsted mid-grey. Also since you're going to wear these a lot, get something like a s100s or s110s high twist fabric from a really good mill. It will probably feel better that a 140s from a sub-par mill and should last a long time. There are tons of threads on SF and AAAC about conservative business dress and I personally would talk to Paul Winston about it. He's always been very helpful and affable to me in private conversation as well as on AAAC and has literally decades of experience.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by winghus View Post
                        I don't know your budget but assume it's pretty good seeing the Speedmaster. Definitely get a mid-grey since you used the one you had up. I recommend that you get one with some texture as nothing looks as drab and flat as a plain worsted mid-grey. Also since you're going to wear these a lot, get something like a s100s or s110s high twist fabric from a really good mill. It will probably feel better that a 140s from a sub-par mill and should last a long time. There are tons of threads on SF and AAAC about conservative business dress and I personally would talk to Paul Winston about it. He's always been very helpful and affable to me in private conversation as well as on AAAC and has literally decades of experience.
                        Thanks -- and sorry for the conspicuous "look at this watch!" pic, it was for a WIWT over on WUS, but it was all I have saved in the suit I referenced. My medium grey had a bit of texture to it, so agree you need something going on vs. a flat grey for it to look good. PW is a good thought, while I'm not going to him for these suits, he's definitely an option if I don't wind up liking what I get this turn around.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by hornsup84 View Post
                          Thanks -- and sorry for the conspicuous "look at this watch!" pic, it was for a WIWT over on WUS, but it was all I have saved in the suit I referenced. My medium grey had a bit of texture to it, so agree you need something going on vs. a flat grey for it to look good. PW is a good thought, while I'm not going to him for these suits, he's definitely an option if I don't wind up liking what I get this turn around.
                          Re: adding some texture, maybe sharkskin? I just picked up a medium-to-dark-but-not-charcoal gray sharkskin suit a few months back, and it's been a really versatile addition to the rotation. Nice visual interest at close range, but conservative enough that it works for more formal events.
                          “There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, 'Do trousers matter?'"
                          "The mood will pass, sir.”

                          Comment


                            #14
                            SuitSupply has a number of worsted wool options that have little bits of white in it (often as a charcoal). It's a minor touch that seems to add a lot more depth to the fabric than a flat worsted colour, so could be something to look for. I'm also a fan of blue/navy where two very close shades of blue have been used, giving a slight texture look to the suit (without requiring a herringbone or glen plaid pattern).

                            There are times when I strongly consider just owning 2-3 versions of a similar charcoal/navy colour. I like the look with a light blue or white shirt, so at that point you are just rotating for wear to allow the suit to rest. Think presidents who almost always wear the same looking suit, but likely coming from a substantial closet.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              [MENTION=7232]Sideswipe[/MENTION] - Definitely open to some texture, will need to see what my options are on Sat; sharkskin reminds me on shiny, which I prefer matte looks, but know you can find ones that are less shiny

                              [MENTION=11567]TKNumber3[/MENTION] - My current charcoal is somewhat like that, where it isn't a flat color but has some texture despite being predominately charcoal, and I'm a big fan of plain but not plain. That two-blue fabric sounds amazing. I have owned herringbone suits in the past, but don't think they're really my style at this point in time. You also make a fair point in terms of having a 'second' of the basic colors that isn't too unique, and a point I'll likely be considering for next trip to the tailor if these turn out well.

                              I was able to inspect my charcoal and navy suits last night and they're in good shape fabric wise (no thinning or holes, etc.), just need some new buttons and some re-working of the pants, which I might try to have done this weekend. So I'll have the charcoal (2 pants), navy (2 pants) and grey/brown nailshead (still a ?), plus a new medium grey plain-ish worsted (will likely get 2 pants) and I think a glen plaid, check or a texture/weave, depending on how my options look in either blue or grey. I also may look at some lighter-than-navy blues. So nothing intense, but something a little different. Again, appreciate everyone's input and will keep you posted on what I figure out!

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