UK male needs a new work wardrobe
August 28, 2010 7:58 AM   Subscribe

UK male needs a new work wardrobe. I think I want suits that I'll wear mostly without a tie. So maybe two suits (two pairs of trousers for each), and 8 shirts? I would like them to fit well and be good quality, but I have no clue beyond that or confidence in measuring and choosing. Where can I go (London or just north of), that will measure, advise and sell to me?

My workplace is currently very casual (mostly jeans + tshirts) so I want to be the best dressed. However I don't want to wear a tie everyday so think a suit and shirt will suffice.

When I've wore shirts in the past they have never fitted well so this time I'd like to do it properly. However I really am clueless here and hopefully you can point me to somewhere that will not only sell me the clothing but is willing to spend the time to advise/style me.

I've seen many places will send your measurements off for clothes tailored abroad however I want to get this done in the next few weeks so don't have time. I want good quality (don't care about brand), not the cheapest, but don't want to spend more than I have to either.

Recommendations with rough price guides would also be helpful, thanks.
posted by JonB to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You probably know that it's a tradition round here to recommend Put This On, which has a bunch of useful advice (though US-centric) for men who want to smarten up their wardrobe. After that, though, I don't know about specific places in and around London where you can look--I'll be following this thread for other answers.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 8:40 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of Slaters, but the closest to you is Cheltenham and I don't know if that's too far. But they'll advise you on the best choice, make alterations if necessary and make sure you don't leave with a suit that you're not happy with.

Price: Invest about £200 per suit if you want a good quality suit that will last you. For shirts, it's up to you. I spend about £25-£60 depending on the shirt. I try and get a new suit every 4/5 months on average.

A good tailor will also give you your measurements for future reference. I also recommend taking the shoes you plan to wear as this will help get your leg measurements right and you can see how your trousers will sit.
posted by Nugget at 8:54 AM on August 28, 2010

Best answer: TM Lewin is pretty ubiquitous.
posted by djgh at 9:10 AM on August 28, 2010

Best answer: One thing to think about, if you wish to have 2 pairs of pants for each suit, is wear. One of the keys to ensuring the longevity of a suit is to wear and clean the separate elements evenly. That is; wear the trousers only when you wear the jacket, and only launder them together. This will ensure even wear throughout, and will keep the signs of cleaning even.

You might want to consider 2 good suits, and a couple of odd blazers, sport coats and trousers. Paired with a nice shirt, those can give you a lot of mileage.

Also, have a look at (especially the forums) for some ideas.
posted by broadway bill at 9:52 AM on August 28, 2010

I use a week's wages as a starting point for what to spend on a suit. I would not spend less than £200, unless you happen to see something on sale that fits really well off the rack, which very occasionally happens (although not often at this time of year).

Given that, where to suggest depends entirely on your budget. If you're looking for a £200 suit, then it's certainly going to be off the rack. Try high street shops: M&S, etc. H&M do surprisingly good linen suits, although don't expect them to last forever (it's linen).

If you're thinking more like £500 then try Paul Smith and Reiss, both of whom will talk you through choices if you go in on a quiet weekday morning and say you want two suits and eight shirts. Above £500 and made to measure (and serious advice from staff) starts being an option, although as you say, that will slow down your efforts to dress differently to your colleagues.
posted by caek at 10:11 AM on August 28, 2010

Check Jaeger's website for some surprisingly good deals on suits and shirts. If you go in to a store, they can help you find your size and provide some advice. I think that there is sale stock available in store; alternately, get advice in store and then buy online. Their online customer service is great - things are delivered quickly and returns are free.
posted by lumiere at 12:08 PM on August 28, 2010

Best answer: You have several options. Lately, I have realised that unless you are a particular shape off the peg suits just dont look that good. I find that suits worn without tie need to fit better than ones with tie to give the same level of elegance. Last but not lease suits which dont hang comfortably on you will make you feel tired after a few hours of wearing them.

I would like to suggest that you consider one of the new breed of tailored suits which are not as expensive as you might think:

1. top end is Sartoriani (not the top end of hand made suit but the top end of affordable suites, in sale you can get something for under GBP 500 - do remember that they are staffed by ladies who are trained to upsell, so dont go for any frills just the standard suit fabrics which are on sale). Dont use them if you want something soon (they take 8 weeks) or really cheap. I dont really give a damn if these are 'bespoke' or not but they are very elegant and comfortable.

2. Next in line, cheaper and faster is SuitSupply where you will be able to pick something off the peg which they will alter for you while you wait (they do all the alteration the suit needs not just the usual). The shop assistants are very helpful and will give you advice.

3. A suit that fits: : Falls between the two options and is reasonably priced.

For shirts I would go to TM Lewin and buy when there is a sale on.

Hope this helps
posted by london302 at 2:06 PM on August 28, 2010

Response by poster: SuitSupply sounds good - I could get something quickly that would still fit well as altered by them. Are they any other similar places to consider? I'd want a high level of help in choosing and recognising if a good fit.

Jaeger has some online reduced shirts that look good, thanks lumiere. TM Lewin seems to have 4 for £100 at the moment so I'll investigate them also.

I could get one altered suit now and order another from somewhere like Sartoriana or A suit that fits. What would be the difference between the two? Any other recommendations?
posted by JonB at 4:37 AM on August 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all for advice.

I read lots of Ask Andy About Clothes and Styleforum. I went to Bicester Village and purchased 4 shirts (Charles Tyrwhitt - very helpful assistant), 3 suits (Ted Baker, Cerruti, and Zegna - all from Savoy Taylors Guild who were also very helpful) and 1 pair of shoes (Church's). I've also ordered 4 shirts online from TM Lewin. The suits all fit well, but I think I may be tempted by a made-to-measure at some point in future.

I think I'm all set! Cheers.
posted by JonB at 8:29 AM on August 30, 2010

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