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  1. #1

    Default My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I know absolutely nothing about suits. Nothing. I've never wore one. What do I need to know when I walk into the department store looking for a suit? How much will a decent suit run? I'm not looking for one for any particular purpose. I just want one in my wardrobe for special occasions.

    Anyways, I have been looking at some Black Pinstripe 3-Piece Suits. I really like the style of a 3-piece suit.
    Once Upon A Time In Nazi Occupied France...A Basterd's Work is Never Done ~ Inglourious Basterds

  2. #2


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    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    (1) I have bought a number of suits in my life. In fact, I wear a suit everyday and have been doing so for a very long time. It is interesting bc a department store may not be the best place to get a suit. You need somewhere with a tailor on site so that the suit fits well. You do not have to get the most expensive suit in the world but, let me tell you, if it fits well and its well tailored then you are good to go. Now,don't get me wrong it truly makes a difference to have good materials so seriously keep an eye out for that, ie you never want a suit that will pick up lint, etc..... I would say shoot over to a Men's Warehouse** or another suit store where you can take your time trying things on and everything will be tailored to your size after you purchase it. For example, you try the suit on and then the SA will bring the tailor over who will then pinch and prin so you know how it will fit; then they take 2-3 days to tailor it and you pick it up.

    Alternatively, you could run into Chanel or Armani and grab a decent suit but that would be a lot of money.

    The best advice I can give you is to truly take your time and buy nothing until you feel good about it; so think about it in terms of buying a scent, try, try, try and do not ever be embarrassed if you walk out of the store with nothing bc this could take multiple visits to different stores.

    (2) A decent suit will run you around $400-500.

    **BTW if you know anything about buying a suit you will realize that Department Stores do not have tailors on site, its a fact. I work next to a Macy's and they do not have tailors, in fact, stores like this advise you to take your suit to a dry cleaners to have work done; weak!
    Last edited by TheAttorney; 11th February 2009 at 02:29 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Well the sky is the limit when it comes to suits, but really it's all about how nicely it fits you. A $6000 suit that doesn't fit properly is worse than a $200 one that does.

    3 piece suits are fairly rare these days from my experience. But what I always look for is the fit in the shoulders and then I start scrutinizing things like.. what is the fabric? (super 120's, 100% wool is my preference for my everyday suit).. is it "fully fused" (glued) or canvassed?

    Depending on the price range you have in mind.. I'd start with Hickey Freeman.. if you want Italian entry level for a great value, look at Canali.. then handmade suits like Brioni, Oxxford and Kiton will run you about $2500-6000.

    Enjoy the hunt!

    Quote Originally Posted by ibarney5 View Post
    I know absolutely nothing about suits. Nothing. I've never wore one. What do I need to know when I walk into the department store looking for a suit? How much will a decent suit run? I'm not looking for one for any particular purpose. I just want one in my wardrobe for special occasions.

    Anyways, I have been looking at some Black Pinstripe 3-Piece Suits. I really like the style of a 3-piece suit.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by ibarney5 View Post
    I know absolutely nothing about suits. Nothing. I've never wore one. What do I need to know when I walk into the department store looking for a suit? How much will a decent suit run? I'm not looking for one for any particular purpose. I just want one in my wardrobe for special occasions.

    Anyways, I have been looking at some Black Pinstripe 3-Piece Suits. I really like the style of a 3-piece suit.
    nice. i dig black pinstripe suits, especially in a 3-piece setup.

    don't ever go to shops like Men's Warehouse.....they just carry rubbish.

    practically any large, nice department store has tailors there to help you measure and customize the fit of your suit. there are some EXTRAVAGANT sales going on right now.....so go take advantage of em! I just picked up a Varvatos blazer a few weeks ago for $120.....deals are to be had! Do you have a Nordstrom's or even Macy's around? that's your best bet.

    it's tough to find good 3-piece suits....but keep your eyes peeled..

  5. #5


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    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by everso View Post
    nice. i dig black pinstripe suits, especially in a 3-piece setup.

    don't ever go to shops like Men's Warehouse.....they just carry rubbish.

    practically any large, nice department store has tailors there to help you measure and customize the fit of your suit. there are some EXTRAVAGANT sales going on right now.....so go take advantage of em! I just picked up a Varvatos blazer a few weeks ago for $120.....deals are to be had! Do you have a Nordstrom's or even Macy's around? that's your best bet.

    it's tough to find good 3-piece suits....but keep your eyes peeled..
    Dont mind his immature comments-he has a personal grudge against me-not Men's Warehouse Check it out and do your homework bc, overall, it is an important purchase.
    Last edited by TheAttorney; 11th February 2009 at 02:58 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I've spent a lot of time chatting with sales associates at high-end menswear stores, and my current company is involved with Savile Row tailoring so I've had the good fortune of seeing many men go through the fitting process. It really is incredible how much better a suit looks when it fits properly. That's your number 1 priority, wherever, and whatever price range you buy it.

    For your first suit, the general advice I hear is to start with a navy one. In spite of its name, it's not really as blue as you think it is--it almost looks black. The reason why it's recommended so often as a first suit choice is because it looks warmer and friendlier than a straight black suit, and thus more appropriate for more situations. You'll have many opportunities to wear it. Try on both navy and black and see if you can discern the difference.

    2nd suit is usually a black one, and then from there you can branch of to browns, greys, pinstripes. Of course, there's no rule that says you have to follow this sequence, especially if you know exactly what you want.

    As mentioned already, be aware of the fabric you choose. I tend to favor heavier, thicker fabrics because they usually drape and keep their shape better. I cringe whenever I see trousers that are too flimsy, and cling in all the wrong places.

    Most of all though, enjoy the experience! Buying your first suit is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
    Last edited by gaiger; 11th February 2009 at 06:41 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I agree with gaiger, starting with navy - this is common practice, as navy is more versatile than black by far as was mentioned.

    Also agreed with everso insofar as finding bargains - fantastic labels at places like Marshalls, etc. I bought a Canali "Super 120's" wool pinstripe suit (navy 2 piece, 2 button) for $350 with tax in Houston, TX this past summer there, retail tag of $1799 still on it!

    Quote Originally Posted by gaiger View Post
    I've spent a lot of time chatting with sales associates at high-end menswear stores, and my current company is involved with Savile Row tailoring so I've had the good fortune of seeing many men go through the fitting process. It really is incredible how much better a suit looks when it fits properly. That's your number 1 priority, wherever, and whatever price range you buy it.

    For your first suit, the general advice I hear is to start with a navy one. In spite of its name, it's not really as blue as you think it is--it almost looks black. The reason why it's recommended so often as a first suit choice is because it looks warmer and friendlier than a straight black suit, and thus more appropriate for more situations. You'll have many opportunities to wear it. Try on both navy and black and see if you can discern the difference.

    2nd suit is usually a black one, and then from there you can branch of to browns, greys, pinstripes. Of course, there's no rule that says you have to follow this sequence, especially if you know exactly what you want.

    As mentioned already, be aware of the fabric you choose. I tend to favor heavier, thicker fabrics because they usually drape and keep their shape better. I cringe whenever I see trousers that are too flimsy, and cling in all the wrong places.

    Most of all though, enjoy the experience! Buying your first suit is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonydg View Post
    I bought a Canali "Super 120's" wool pinstripe suit (navy 2 piece, 2 button) for $350 with tax in Houston, TX this past summer there, retail tag of $1799 still on it!

    WOW! that's a great deal. I've been on the lookout for some KITON suits, but haven't had any luck.....yet! I'd settle for Canali as well!

    also, i agree with Gaiger's advice about the '1st suit'...it should be universally wearable...you can't go wrong with a navy suit!

  9. #9

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    ^^ Glad to hear some voices of agreement! Thanks very much guys.

    The other advice that comes to mind is not to be discouraged by suits that look plain. Especially when there are so many cuts, variations, styles and fabrics to choose from, it's easy to veer towards something that stands out and looks distinctive from everything else.

    Others may disagree, but there is so much you can do with shirt and tie choices that you almost want the suit to be a simple backdrop.

    Don't get me wrong, show-stopping suits are great too. I'm just saying not to forget about the power inherent in a plain suit as well.

    If you absolutely can't stand the idea of a "boring" suit, one of the remedies is choosing a wow-factor color or pattern for the INNER lining. Seeing it will make you happy when you put it on and take it off, and other people catch glimpses of it when you reach for your pen.
    Last edited by gaiger; 11th February 2009 at 09:13 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I agree with Everso, for some bizarre reason, I have noticed some insane sales in the men's dept. I bought two great suits from Dillards for a ridiculous price, along with a hugo boss velvet blazer, and two pairs of trousers for well under $1K. I actually felt bad leaving the store. Look around and you'll find some incredible deals. For a first time buyer, I'd suggest not getting caught up (too much) with the name brands; if it looks good, it looks good.

    TNMA
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  11. #11

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Oh I've never seen Kiton suits discounted unless the markdown is paltry!

    I think Kiton and Brioni are on par for quality with Brioni being a bit.. a BIT less pricey. Now that said, Filene's Basement at one point had Brioni suits for $499 plus whatever the scratch coupon was for their Thanksgiving Day sale. Mine happened to be 25% off.. I love finding those kinds of bargains, but it's not an everyday thing.

    But Canali is a great suit especially for the value.. they're handmade, fully canvassed, and they often use Loro Piana fabrics. I'm fortunate enough to fit into a Canali 13,000 model off the rack.

    Another thing to note is that Polo Ralph Lauren suits that are MADE IN ITALY are actually made by Corneliani, a wonderful Italian line. Marshalls seems to have plenty of these around - they're slim fitting for the size.

    Quote Originally Posted by everso View Post
    WOW! that's a great deal. I've been on the lookout for some KITON suits, but haven't had any luck.....yet! I'd settle for Canali as well!

    also, i agree with Gaiger's advice about the '1st suit'...it should be universally wearable...you can't go wrong with a navy suit!

  12. #12

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    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonydg View Post
    Oh I've never seen Kiton suits discounted unless the markdown is paltry!

    I think Kiton and Brioni are on par for quality with Brioni being a bit.. a BIT less pricey. Now that said, Filene's Basement at one point had Brioni suits for $499 plus whatever the scratch coupon was for their Thanksgiving Day sale. Mine happened to be 25% off.. I love finding those kinds of bargains, but it's not an everyday thing.

    But Canali is a great suit especially for the value.. they're handmade, fully canvassed, and they often use Loro Piana fabrics. I'm fortunate enough to fit into a Canali 13,000 model off the rack.

    Another thing to note is that Polo Ralph Lauren suits that are MADE IN ITALY are actually made by Corneliani, a wonderful Italian line. Marshalls seems to have plenty of these around - they're slim fitting for the size.

    Filene's Basement....you've just reminded me! some of the FB shops are closing (for good!) and they have 60-70% their entire "Vault" section.

    I saw Hugo Boss suits for $150 last time......after being $700 regular price....it was crrrrraaaazy. they weren't my size though. Now that you mention it, they did have a bunch of Brioni suits too....however i don't think i liked any-----they are a bit more suit
    able for older gentlemen i think.....a bit more traditional.

  13. #13

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    No way! Closing for good!!?

    I'd love to be able to go get some of those items before they closed. Hell, someone could even turn quite a profit on eBay by buying it up and re-selling it to someone in Europe!

    Agreed with Brioni @ Filenes - the ones that seem to find their way to FB are pretty traditional and not an everyday kind of suit. I did, however, pick up one heavier weight midnight blue Brioni in Chicago's FB. The thing is indestructable and its construction is irrefutably one of the best.

    I'd go with a Hickey Freeman over Hugo Boss - though HF has a few different lines out, one made in China that is quite a dud. But it's all in the fit - Boss is known for their "athletic" fits.

    Quote Originally Posted by everso View Post
    Filene's Basement....you've just reminded me! some of the FB shops are closing (for good!) and they have 60-70% their entire "Vault" section.

    I saw Hugo Boss suits for $150 last time......after being $700 regular price....it was crrrrraaaazy. they weren't my size though. Now that you mention it, they did have a bunch of Brioni suits too....however i don't think i liked any-----they are a bit more suit
    able for older gentlemen i think.....a bit more traditional.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    If you REALLY want to get into suits, check out askandyaboutclothes.com

    Those guys are to suits what we are to fragrances...

    If you go over there, be prepared to be convinced that anything less than a $1000 suit is dog poop!

    I can't really add anything that hasn't been said. My first suit was just a few years ago and was a 3 button Calvin Klein in dark charcoal with flat front pants. Happy with that and my next few choices, especially an $800 Hugo Boss that I snatched up on sale for $200, however, I'm going to get a really nice one for my next. The perfect dark charcoal with subtle pinstripe, and I'll have it custom-tailored by one of the really nice brands; whatever I can afford. Dunhill would be tits.

    And I agree, the fit is almost more important than the suiting itself. Don't be afraid to spend the extra few bucks to have a suit custom-fit to every detail of your physique! (Geez, that sounds like something Patrick Bateman would say!)
    Last edited by Scentronic; 12th February 2009 at 02:37 PM.
    Lately I've been wearing:
    Windsor, Bois de Santal, Original Santal, Elixir, Douro, Endymion, Reflection, Arcus, Marwah

  15. #15

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I'll second that - spectacular forum.

    Dunhill is made by Zegna the last time I checked, BTW. And Zegna suits are the cat's meow.

    My next suit is going to be either a Zegna or a linen Canali for the summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scentronic View Post
    If you REALLY want to get into suits, check out askandyaboutclothes.com

    Those guys are to suits what we are to fragrances...

    If you go over there, be prepared to be convinced that anything less than a $1000 suit is dog poop!

    I can't really add anything that hasn't been said. My first suit was just a few years ago and was a 3 button Calvin Klein in dark charcoal with flat front pants. Happy with that and my next few choices, especially an $800 Hugo Boss that I snatched up on sale for $200, however, I'm going to get a really nice one for my next. The perfect dark charcoal with subtle pinstripe, and I'll have it custom-tailored by one of the really nice brands; whatever I can afford. Dunhill would be tits.

    And I agree, the fit is almost more important than the suiting itself. Don't be afraid to spend the extra few bucks to have a suit custom-fit to every detail of your physique! (Geez, that sounds like something Patrick Bateman would say!)

  16. #16

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Well I think most of what I wanted to say has already been said: The most important thing is that it fits you nicely, and that you don't make the usual mistake of getting one that is 1 size larger than what you actually are. I am by no means a suit expert since I only got 2, but for my second one I really did my homework, so I would just like to add:
    1. A two-button will make you look slimmer.
    2. A slim fit suit is the way to go. Seen the new Bond movie and how his suits fit around the waist? That look should be your goal.
    3. Most will tell you that you should spend on great looking shoes and a great looking tie, and that's 100% true. But you should also note that the shirt you wear with your suit really makes a huge difference. Get a nice shirt (that also fits perfectly) and it will make your suit look much better.
    Looking for a sample of Gucci Envy Me.

  17. #17

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scentronic View Post
    If you go over there, be prepared to be convinced that anything less than a $1000 suit is dog poop!
    So there are crazier people.
    Looking for a sample of Gucci Envy Me.

  18. #18

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    If you're just getting into suits, forget spending a huge sum of money on it. You can get a decent one around $300, just look around for some sales. Unless you hang around power-ceo's who can identify the make of your suit and actually cares about it, don't bother buying suits like Zegna. It cost too much and you would be just burning money, particularly if you don't know how often you would be wearing it. Don't get me wrong, their suits are top quality and looks great, but I've seen way cheaper suits that looks good too.

    When you walk in, ask a sales attendant to help you pick out a suit. They will get a rough measurement of you and help you get a suit that's roughly in the ballpark for your size. You can then take that suit and go to a tailor and get it fit to you perfectly. This is where spending your money becomes an investment.

    Some things to consider:
    2 button suits gives a more relaxed modern look, while the 3 button serves a more classic and formal cut.
    Slim fit is the way to go... at least for the jackets. Makes you look thinner and accentuates your figure. This does not mean get a tight suit, just one that fits snugly.
    If you are a cuff-links guys, make sure that you get the arms tailored to show at least a little sleeve.

  19. #19

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    You may first want to consider if you want a 1-button,2-button or 3. Go to askmen.com they have a few threads about those. This is kind of important when buying a suit since you want it to suit your needs.
    Perfume noob

  20. #20

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I'll chime in and suggest H&M. The quality of their clothes is decent, the price is great, but the cut is amazing. Their suits fit nice and slim. And their blazers are around 60$. You cant get a better fitting suit for such a low price IMO.

  21. #21

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    If I were going to purchase a suit I would get an Armani suit on ebay. They are really cheap!! You can't beat an Armani suit. You should go to a store that has them to try them on for size and make sure you are getting something from the same year/season so the size will be the same, or roughtly. I mean dont' get a suit from the 80s expecting it to be like one made now, for size.

  22. #22

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    there are many kind of suits like the one button, 3 buttons, etc.., each has its own features. what occasion do you intend to wear a particular suit?

    London tailor

  23. #23

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    If you're just going to own only one suit, get it in charcoal with two buttons. No pleated pants either!
    Last edited by Big Punisher; 29th June 2009 at 02:43 AM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I echo no pleats. (The 19th century called them "pegtops" and they flattered no-one!)

    Ditto for no cuffs and double-breasted unless you can pull it off.

    Darker colours tend to flatter most people and are a safe bet.

    Most of all, the CUT should be perfect. No buckling anywhere in the seams.
    Last edited by Primrose; 29th June 2009 at 09:31 PM. Reason: typo
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  25. #25

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Suit is an investment, so there are plenty of factors to comtemplate. My advice for you is choose a suit that has two buttons because it conveys height and slims the waist; has a peaked lapel, it is a great visual element of a suit; for the fabric buy a wool suit.

  26. #26

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Well, seeing as how moiisha just dug this one up from the grave, I'm curious how this all turned out almost a year later...

    I don't even really know where to start with the OP other then look at some magazines for idea of styles and fit on anything and everything until you understand what a proper fit looks like.
    I suggest checking out Ask Andy and also StyleForum, do some reading around and then yes, you'll understand what goes into a good suit and shoes, what a proper fit looks like and how to know if you're getting a good deal.
    Last edited by Master-Classter; 27th December 2009 at 07:50 AM.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Well, I always make sure my shirt has a good collar on it and the colour of the tie contrast well with the shirt and the jacket. Here for example a grey jacket blazer would not go well with this shirt and tie.


  28. #28

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus1980 View Post
    Well, I always make sure my shirt has a good collar on it and the colour of the tie contrast well with the shirt and the jacket. Here for example a grey jacket blazer would not go well with this shirt and tie.
    As the tie knot is the first thing one sees, and is at eye-level, the knot should be perfect! Nice pinstripes. Thanks for sharing.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    I was disappointed at first the jacket was a pinstripe when it arrived but quickly liked it afters . I actually attempted to make the tie like it is, the tie looks the same width both sides and the knot is a nice size, but the width wasn't intentional as I was only thinking about the knot .

  30. #30

    Default Re: My first suit purchase, need some advice?

    Well everyone, finally after all this time I bought one...Men's Warehouse...buying me and my brother a suit...him just a Pronto black two piece(little under $200) and me a Pronto black three piece(little over $200)...I liked how they fit and looked...the jacket was comfy...I don't know much about suits so I am ignorant to the awesome quality that I could of had lol but I think I will be happy with it...I am getting married this year so I took the opportunity not to just rent me a Tux, but to buy me a suit...so I will finally have one.
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