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Thread: Suits? even though you don't need them that often

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    Suits? even though you don't need them that often

    I hardly ever 'need' a suit. When I'm in front of customers (tech sales), I'm in a blazer and slacks. Last weekend, I went to a fundraiser with my wife and due to her looking pretty "fancy" I ended up wearing a suit. It was a solid navy Bonobos Foundation suit that I purchased probably 4-5 years ago. It worked well though I wouldn't have minded having something different. *I switched to the suit the day of, so didn't have time to buy something even if I wanted to.

    Long way of getting to thoughts on SuitSupply vs Spier vs Bonobos? In theory, Bonobos wouldn't seem to fit in with the other two, but they do enough sales where you might be able to get something for a decent price. They don't make the Foundation suits anymore, and I'm not really sure what replaced them. I definitely don't think a Jetsetter suit for $750 is worth it. One plus for Bonobos is that you can order as separate meaning you aren't stuck with the standard 6 inch drop from jacket to pants. I need a 40R jacket but no bigger than a 32 inch waist. It looks like you can do the same thing on SuitSupply starting in the $569+ range. Doesn't appear to be that way with Spier. I've never tried anything from them. Their prices seem good in theory, but it's also always better to be able to see something in person.

    What do the other people who rarely need a suit do? If I'm wearing one, I want to look good, but I also realize that spending whatever $$ on a suit is money that I can't spend on something else (that I might wear more often).

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    Is there something wrong with the Bonobos suit you have? If not, just keeping that one seems to make the most sense. If you rarely wear a suit, buying another one is going to make you to wear it even less (assuming you'll then rotate b/w the new one and the Bonobos one).

    I have one navy Napoli suit from SuitSupply. I wear it about 10-15 times a year. I've never felt like I needed another one. If I feel like 'mixing it up' I'll just throw in a different shirt/tie/shoes combo and it changes the whole look.

    If you have your mind set on buying another one and just want advice between the three brands (SuSu, S&M, and Bonobos) do a quick search for previous threads. There are probably close to 20 where that debate has been beat to death.

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    You can order separates from S&M, kinda, but it's a clunky process.

    When you place an order for a suit, include a note in the customer comments that you would like the trousers swapped for a different size (specify the size you want). Every material that S&M sells as a suit, they also sell as trouser separates. So basically, if they have a pair for sale as trouser separates in the size you want, they can swap them out. If they can, they will ship you the suit. If not, customer service will contact you to see how you want to proceed with the order.

    I placed an order for four suits recently, and they were able to make the swap with two of them. So I settled for two suits instead of the four I wanted. Like I said... it's not an elegant system but it can be done. And even though I didn't get the four suits I wanted, I got two suits for $300 a pop, which are higher quality without being dramatically more expensive than, say, Lands' End or J.Crew Factory, and cheaper than Suitsupply for approximately the same quality. In terms of bang for the buck I feel this is the best option if you can be bothered to deal with the unwieldy process.

    On Suitsupply, if you search "separates" you will pull up their options where you can get jacket and trouser sizes a la carte. IIRC there are options cheaper than $569 but maybe I am mistaken.

    It's easy to grab separates from Bonobos but IME their suits are lower quality construction and are quite overpriced unless you get them with a steep discount. It might be worth figuring out your size with Bonobos with some confidence so that you have a shot at a suit that fits right if/when you find stuff in a final sale situation, which is usually the only time I feel their suits/jackets are reasonably priced.
    Ben

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    As LBD mentioned, Bonobos is noticeably more expensive unless you can get your size on sale. You can get a solid S&M suit for < $300 if you time it right, so if you're just looking for a second option to switch up from your one current suit, that seems the most cost-efficient. On the other hand, if you only anticipate buying one suit in the next couple of years, maybe that's an excuse to go for a nicer SS option.

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    Most of my suits are from J Crew. I started in with them when there was that article in the Wall Street Journal several years ago (maybe a decade at this point) on affordable high quality suits. They had some industry insiders look at several brands that were reasonably affordable and J Crew and Suit Supply (who was very new at the time) came out on top for quality at a reasonable price. So I went and tried on a Ludlow and it fit great right off the rack. There was no brick and mortar SS in the DC area at the time so I couldn't try their suits, and I was too risk averse to buy a suit without trying it on first so J Crew won out for me personally and I think for a lot of other people who had brick and mortar access to them but not to SS. That article helped launch J Crew to the top of the menswear mountain there for a while.

    I have one Napoli Fit SS number (they did a few year's later open a store in Georgetown in DC) but the J Crew tailoring pattern seems to suit my frame better than Napoli. I should probably give a couple of the other patterns SS has on offer (Havana, Washington, and I can't remember what all else) to see if those work for me as well as J Crew but it's just really easy to get another J Crew suit. They use really nice fabrics and I know they'll fit well with minimal adjustments. They're more expensive full retail than the Napoli line but if you hit a discount code they drop right in line price-wise. The other SS lines that might suit my frame better are a significant price bump above where the Napoli line sits so you're basically looking at J Crew prices if you jump up to those fits anyway, so my incentive to branch out to the SS line isn't really all that strong. I like the fit/tailoring and fabric of all my J Crew suits better than the one Napoli I have. I have not tried Spier and Mackay because I have 4 year-round suits (3 from J Crew, one from SS) plus one linen summer Un-Suit from J Crew and I really don't need more than that. I usually wear a suit once a week so 4-5 is plenty.
    “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    There is no better single value, hands-down, than Spier for suiting off-the-rack right now.

    Suitsupply is close behind them, *IF* you have the legs to pull off their trousers. I still *KINDA* do, but increasing my leg sled weight the last few weeks has me needing alteration to increase volume the little bit one can (they don't leave a lot of room for thigh opening to increase and i'm not huge on the horizontal lines that tell the story of "his pants are a bit too snug").

    Spier allows to get a better fitting trouser off the bat, and short of going MTM or bespoke, is really the best option out there for *MOST* fellas.

    I tend to go with Spier for more foundational stuff, and Suitsupply for the more...adventurous side.

    Already started populating the fund for next year's London trip (we're making Tomorrowland an annual thing now, may as well) as it will involve a stop at Poole. Still undecided whether I want navy or gray (neither option being "banker dark" of course, lighter than that but still dark enough to work for "most" thangs) but navy's edging ahead as it's intended for war.
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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    I have a bunch of suits that I rarely wear anymore since I started working at home. I miss that. I gave some away, but still have about eight.

    I will share my experiences of the last few years:

    I paid over $700 for my Suit Supply suit--which is the most I've ever spent. It looks like a suit that costs twice that. So, a very good value I suppose. But the purchase was to please my wife for purposes of going out to fancy stuff with her. She thinks I look like George Cloony when I wear it, but I think it's cut way too tightly for my taste. Oh well--I guess that adds to the value.

    I have two Brooks Brothers suits (Regent 1818) that I purchased in the mid $400 range on 50% off sale. I like the fit better, but they are clearly not the quality of Suit Supply (BTW--I hate that name--it sounds low-rent). The fabric is exactly the same, but the Suit Supply suit is constructed better. But they cost less, so a good value on sale. I would NOT pay full price of $900 plus.

    I have a Banana Republic suit that I got on sale for about $250--it is very nice. Fabric is not nearly as nice as either BB or SS, but construction seems at least equal to BB--maybe a tad bit better even. So, another good value, I think.

    I have a Boss by Hugo Boss suit that was about $500 on sale--it's okay, but not worth the $$$. Not a good value.

    I got a Joseph Bank suit on after Xmas sale in 2019 for $89. It needed extensive tailoring--about $150--but it looks great. A good value all in for $240.

    A few more not worth pontificating on--a BB summer weight cloud suit I got for under $400 recently, but hasn't been to the tailor yet; a few from cheap cheap sales at Macy's--good values if you want a suit for under $200 on sale and you need separates.

    A friend of mine, in his 30's, loves Hugo Boss suits (not the down market "boss by hugo boss"), gets his in Beverly Hills and pays full price. He is an anomaly, because he is a high level creative gamer--he's like the chief developer or something of a pretty famous game. In an industry known for t-shirts, hoodies, and jeans--this guy always looks sharp; even when he's joining our fried chicken club for lunch (yes, I belong to a fried chicken club in Los Angeles--PM if you're interested).

    Finally, a couple of the partners at my old law firm loved their Hickey Freeman suits. And I remember they looked pretty good. I don't think they are a good value at regular price, but I think Nordstrom puts them on sale a couple of times a year.

    Bottom line: If you want to spend $700 to $1,000, I don't think you'll do better than Suit Supply as long as you get the right fit and don't let an attractive blond sales person join forces with your wife to get a suit that is cut smaller than you like.

    If you want to spend a little less, Brooks Brothers on sale is a good second choice in my opinion. Disclaimer: I have no experience with S&M
    WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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    To answer your underlying question it comes down to what’s your budget for clothing and how often would you enjoy wearing a suit where it isn’t required but you want to.

    I get the feeling many here have very loose budgets for clothing as it’s more of a hobby/ pleasure category so if something strikes their boat and is within their range they get rather than worrying about price per wear etc.

    That’s a question only you can answer. I wear suits as often as 4x a week but sometimes lately down to 1-2. I look for value since they can wear out and I’m looking for the staples most of the time for mtgs. I love S&M for that reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by armedferret View Post
    There is no better single value, hands-down, than Spier for suiting off-the-rack right now.

    Suitsupply is close behind them, *IF* you have the legs to pull off their trousers. I still *KINDA* do, but increasing my leg sled weight the last few weeks has me needing alteration to increase volume the little bit one can (they don't leave a lot of room for thigh opening to increase and i'm not huge on the horizontal lines that tell the story of "his pants are a bit too snug").

    Spier allows to get a better fitting trouser off the bat, and short of going MTM or bespoke, is really the best option out there for *MOST* fellas.
    If your experience with Suit Supply is primarily with their Napoli cut, I'd suggest checking out the Lazio. I can't wear the trousers that come with Napoli, but find the Spier and Mackay Contemporary and the Lazio are quite similar.

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