Help me buy some suits
September 7, 2008 10:24 PM   Subscribe

Help me buy some reasonably priced, high quality suits

I've transitioning into a job that requires that I wear a suit almost every day. I own only a few suits. Those suits from a time when I worked at a much higher paying (though lower quality of life job) that didn't require a suit very often. To give you an idea of their quality, one's a Zegna and the other's an Oxxford.

Yeah, I spoiled myself.

But my new salary is such that I can't go out and buy half a dozen $1,500+ suits to get myself started, and I'm going to need a fair stock of them soon. I know I can't approach the quality of an Oxxford without shelling out some major cash, but I don't want to feel like I'm wearing glued together cardboard or pay $800 for something that will fall apart in a few years.

So where should I buy them? I'm looking for well-made suits in the $500-$800 range. I've visited a bunch of stores that carry such suits (Brooks Brothers, Jos A. Bank, Nordstrom, Dillard's, etc.) but I'd like input on which store has the highest quality suits in this price range.

I'm particularly interested in your opinions of Brooks Brothers vis-a-vis Jos A. Bank. From what I could tell (and I'm no suit expert), the nicer Jos A. Bank suits seemed to be of the same quality as the Brooks Brothers suits but far, far cheaper.

If you feel you need more info about the new job to recommend suits, I'm transitioning from private practice legal to government legal.
posted by saslett to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ugh. Sorry for all the typos. This is what happens when you post late at night.
posted by saslett at 10:34 PM on September 7, 2008

posted by miles1972 at 11:46 PM on September 7, 2008

I got all of my suits (10 3-piece suits that I wear 5 days a week) in Shanghai, China. I have been extremely pleased with the results. I paid about RMB 500 (~75 USD for each three-piece (skirt, pants, jacket suit). This could justify the cost of airfare over there, depending on how many you're looking to acquire. Plus, Shanghai rocks and is well worth a visit in and of itself.

The suits are good quality, professional look, and hold up well. The best thing is, they are tailored to fit you and you can tell the tailor precisely what you want. You can also have him/her copy an existing high-end suit. As a woman, this tailor made bit is extremely important as most ladies' suits are ill-fitted or require tons of searching to find one good piece.

I have the business card of the tailor which I can pass on to you (they airmail but I've never tried), but the initial fitting is best done in person. They speak pretty good English, as well. They also make shirts, which I was pleased with but my male coworker had issues with. Just throwing it out there - PM me if you want more details! Caveat: bargaining required.
posted by xiaolongbao at 12:09 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]

I got an Indochino suit and found it to of Men's Wearhouse quality. I don't recommend. Of course, Men's Wearhouse has Ralph Lauren suits for 2 for $600 or something, which I am going to do soon. You should check there. Discount suit places tend to be pigpens, by the way.
posted by parmanparman at 4:44 AM on September 8, 2008

I saw a beautiful woollen suit in a charity shop (op shop here in Australia) for $15, if I wasn't such a fat bastard I would have snapped it up.
posted by mattoxic at 5:14 AM on September 8, 2008

Lord and Taylor during their sales can be excellent. At least for women, I have no idea for men. I've also been really happy with the suits I've gotten at United Colors of Benetton during their sale, but I'm not sure that would be upscale enough for. They've held up really well for me, however.
posted by whoaali at 6:27 AM on September 8, 2008

I was searching for a high-end suit to rent for a wedding (as an alternative to a tux) when I came across this Time magazine article about how there are suit rental places for men opening up. They do generally require a "subscription," and I'm not sure how it works, but you could always look into that as an alternative to buying a whole bunch of fancy suits ...
posted by brina at 6:50 AM on September 8, 2008

There's a discounter called "Burlington Coat Factory" - they have a vast menswear section, usually last year's name-brand styles at a pretty steep discount. When it comes to men's business suits, unless you're buying something flashy, no-one is going to notice if you're wearing last year's style. Or last decade's style. They also have a small selection of big-and-tall styles, and for my wedding, I'm buying, essentially, a $1000 suit for $200. They have on-site tailors that know what they're doing, too.

Not all Burlington Coat Factory locations have this, tho... in my neck of the woods, the one in Fall River is awesome, but the one in Pawtucket isn't.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:59 AM on September 8, 2008

Get made to measure suits from Hong Kong tailors, like Maxwell.
posted by chunking express at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2008

If you are near a major city, the H&M near you might carry their suit lines. They are great, and affordable.
posted by metamush at 8:34 AM on September 8, 2008


Too bad it's just after Labor Day, because I would recommend Haspel.

Haspel will work for you after Memorial Day, 2009.
posted by Zambrano at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2008

They're cotton suits. Only to be worn during the summer.

Nieman Marcus has a an outlet store somewhere where you can get quality suits for lower prices.
posted by Zambrano at 9:37 AM on September 8, 2008

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