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Thread: Brief Comparison Review of JCF, JCrew, Bar III and Spier and Mackay Suits

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    Brief Comparison Review of JCF, JCrew, Bar III and Spier and Mackay Suits

    I figured I'd give a quick review of the four suits I own and hopefully get pictures up when I get the chance.

    When it comes to frugality, I am usually a sale shopper. Being a graduate student with limited funds and the requirement to dress nice, it is not always that simple to get what you want. However, I've seemed to have great success over the past year and would at least like to extend out my thoughts on these four items.

    I am 5'10, 171lbs, 16.5 neck, 35" sleeves, 33" waist, 31" Inseam

    1. JCrew Factory Thompson Worsted Wool in Charcoal (size 40R)
    Price Paid: $218 - Discover Card Cash Back + Sale Timing
    Fit: Of the four suits, this has the widest shoulders by far OTR. It also is the longest, however the chest fits well and it looks more traditional than the other suits. By traditional I mean, classic styling. The sleeves are the longest out of the four suits as well. The pants are slim, but not skinny slim. If you have skinny legs, do not hesitate or consider purchasing the slim pants and not the classic pants. The waist is still trim, however it is not to the point where it is pulling.
    Quality: This is a fused suit. You can tell that the quality of this suit does not really compare to the JCrew or the Spier and Mackay, however, it exceeds that of the Bar III. This suit is 100% wool and 100% acetate lined, meaning it is more breathable than a suit lined with polyester (Bar III). I would say after a few dry cleanings, this suit will see better days. I've worn this on airplanes and travel for meetings and have found that the pants wrinkle rather easily.
    Recommendation: This is a great suit for those looking for more traditional styling, not so much that JCrew heavily tailored look. The quality is good for the price, however when compared to the price of the Spier and Mackay, it is hard to want a second one from JCF. I will not purchase another JCF suit. However, I will recommend it to friends who do not take risks with business wear and do not want to wear a "loud" suit.

    2. Bar III Navy Wool (size 40R)
    Price Paid: $180 - Coupons and Sale
    Fit: This suit fits very well. The shoulder pads are very thick for a suit geared towards younger men giving the shoulders a very stiff look. The sleeves are very long, while the body is very narrow. The sleeves are very high and with the thicker shoulder pads make this look like a cheaper suit. This does not have a significant drop, the back is rather narrow for a not very narrow waist.
    Quality: You can tell instantly that the quality of this suit is poorer than the others. However, at Macys, this is the best pick for an individual in their 20s, as the suit has that tailored slimmer look. The suit is lined in polyester. I gave a presentation in this suit and was uncontrollably sweating, at that moment I vowed to avoid polyester lined suits. I do think that the color of the blue in this suit is near perfect for a navy. It seems to be a worsted wool, not too dark, not too light. Very fashionable and wearable during any season, however, it is likely best suited for winter. When compared to the JCF, it is very similar from a quality stand point, but the JCF wins for the acetate lining.
    Recommendation: Stay away unless you need a suit in a pinch and Macys is the only store near by. For the price, you can find better.

    3. JCrew Cotton Microstripe (size 40R)
    Price Paid: $167 - Sale
    Fit: This is probably the best fitting suit out of the four in terms of measurements. However, it does not lay on the body like the Spier and Mackay. The lapels are almost too thin. They make this suit look very casual in my opinion. The length of the suit I believe to be perfect. A bit shorter than the JCF, a bit longer than the Spier and Mackay. This suit has a decent drop, the back/chest fits me well and the waist fits very well. I believe I have a wider than normal back and chest and an average waist, this drop is right where I want it to be with no tailoring in the waist.
    Quality: This is a 100% cotton, Bemberg lined with polyester sleeves. I am not sure that I like that they used polyester anywhere in the lining considering this is a summer suit. However, it is just the sleeves, I can deal with it and I'm sure there is a reason that I do not know about.
    Recommendation: If you can get a JCrew suit sub $200, it is a good impulse buy. The quality is great and the fit is great. You really will be hard pressed to find a better suit at this price. It is actually the cheapest out of the four.

    4. Spier and Mackay Grey Birdseye 130s Slim (size 40R)
    Price Paid: $256 - Sale
    Fit: If you check the sticky, "how does this fit" thread, you can see that I've posted an OTR picture. This is a very modern fit suit in my opinion. The jacket is short, I would say about 1" too short, however, it is not so short where it looks ridiculous, it just looks stylish. In my line of work, pharmaceuticals, it may be too fashion forward, however I think its pretty cool. The sleeves are a good length, the shoulders are a bit stiff, but not overpadded like the Bar III. This suit lays so nice. I think OTR, this suit looks the most expensive and fits on my torso the best of the four. The notch lapels are a good width, and the drop is good for my measurements. I do not think the suit is pulling too much, but it could be let out a tad. This would be the best OTR suit for me if the jacket was just a hair longer.
    Quality: This is where Spier and Mackay takes the cake. The quality of this suit is amazing for the price. I really commend Spier and Mackay for producing a suit of this quality at the price point they are at. 100% 130s wool, bemberg lined. My only concern is traveling in this suit and being prone to wrinkles. This is half canvassed and you can tell that the construction of this really exceeds that of the other suits. Its heavy enough to lay perfect on the torso, while not feeling too thick.
    Recommendation: Buy this suit. For the price, I wouldn't think of a better suit. I have already recommended this to friends, and my girlfriend thinks this suit is amazing.

    This is my first clothes review ever. I'm sure I missed some points as well as screwed up some terminology. However, I figured some insight is better than no insight. My next suits that I will be purchasing are a SuitSupply and possibly in the market for a peak lapel suit, maybe another Spier and Mackay. But no more suits until I get some MTM shirts.

    Good luck when you go to purchase your next suit. Keep some things in mind as you don't want to feel like you just wasted money when you could have invested it into a nice suit that will last.

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    Very helpful. Thank you.

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    Varsity Member Shade's Avatar
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    Excellent post. Thx!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pharmacy View Post

    4. Spier and Mackay Grey Birdseye 130s Slim (size 40R)
    Price Paid: $256 - Sale
    Fit: If you check the sticky, "how does this fit" thread, you can see that I've posted an OTR picture. This is a very modern fit suit in my opinion. The jacket is short, I would say about 1" too short, however, it is not so short where it looks ridiculous, it just looks stylish. In my line of work, pharmaceuticals, it may be too fashion forward, however I think its pretty cool. The sleeves are a good length, the shoulders are a bit stiff, but not overpadded like the Bar III. This suit lays so nice. I think OTR, this suit looks the most expensive and fits on my torso the best of the four. The notch lapels are a good width, and the drop is good for my measurements. I do not think the suit is pulling too much, but it could be let out a tad. This would be the best OTR suit for me if the jacket was just a hair longer.
    Quality: This is where Spier and Mackay takes the cake. The quality of this suit is amazing for the price. I really commend Spier and Mackay for producing a suit of this quality at the price point they are at. 100% 130s wool, bemberg lined. My only concern is traveling in this suit and being prone to wrinkles. This is half canvassed and you can tell that the construction of this really exceeds that of the other suits. Its heavy enough to lay perfect on the torso, while not feeling too thick.
    Recommendation: Buy this suit. For the price, I wouldn't think of a better suit. I have already recommended this to friends, and my girlfriend thinks this suit is amazing.
    Thanks for the great review! 130's is a fine yarn and is prone to wrinkling a bit more than a 100's or 120's, but that is a characteristic of the cloth. That said, the wrinkles fall out quite easily with an overnight hanging. RE: the length. the slim is approx. 1/2" shorter than the contemporary on this cut. The new slim that is rolling out will be a touch longer. Finally, the shoulders are padded, not heavily as the suit is more of a structured English approach, rather than the almost casual super soft/unstructured look of an Italian suit. That said, although we are still keeping a lightly padded shoulder for Spring, the padding will be even thinner.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpierMackay View Post
    Thanks for the great review! 130's is a fine yarn and is prone to wrinkling a bit more than a 100's or 120's, but that is a characteristic of the cloth. That said, the wrinkles fall out quite easily with an overnight hanging. RE: the length. the slim is approx. 1/2" shorter than the contemporary on this cut. The new slim that is rolling out will be a touch longer. Finally, the shoulders are padded, not heavily as the suit is more of a structured English approach, rather than the almost casual super soft/unstructured look of an Italian suit. That said, although we are still keeping a lightly padded shoulder for Spring, the padding will be even thinner.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Thanks for checking out my review Rick. Your customer service is excellent, I will be going to you for my MTM shirts when I get the chance. Excited to see the S/S collection.

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    Very nice comparison review @pharmacy. I am sure it will be helpful to many readers. I love seeing the line "and my girlfriend thinks this suit is amazing" too. Funny how that is...when the girlfriend/wife likes it, it helps confirm that we got it right.
    Matt Dalton

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    Interesting that you say the JCrew suit has polyester lined sleeves instead of bemberg. I've never heard of this before and it's a pretty disappointing cost cutting move.

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    Would love to give Spier and Mackay a shot, but their OTR sizing (or lack thereof) made it very easy for me to rule them out immediately. As is the case with a lot of companies, they definitely do not cater to very tall, slim men. I get it though. Having very standard sizing is how they get they keep the quality up and the price down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrdave2304 View Post
    Would love to give Spier and Mackay a shot, but their OTR sizing (or lack thereof) made it very easy for me to rule them out immediately. As is the case with a lot of companies, they definitely do not cater to very tall, slim men. I get it though. Having very standard sizing is how they get they keep the quality up and the price down.
    We're working on it. We're still an incredibly small company (Still only 4 employees). We only have so much capital to invest and that investment has to be utilized into inventory that is the quickest to turnover to get us to the next season. We don't even run Short/Tall sizes at the moment. In time, as we grow, we will be rolling out an expand sizes down to 32 and up to 50, and run the short/tall iteration as well.

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpierMackay View Post
    We're working on it. We're still an incredibly small company (Still only 4 employees). We only have so much capital to invest and that investment has to be utilized into inventory that is the quickest to turnover to get us to the next season. We don't even run Short/Tall sizes at the moment. In time, as we grow, we will be rolling out an expand sizes down to 32 and up to 50, and run the short/tall iteration as well.

    Rick
    Yeah, that's my beef. I like the suits/fits, but I need a 38 Short... so... Looking forward to it!

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