Why are suits so baggy?
July 26, 2007 4:31 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find a thin-fitting suit?

I'm about 5 10" and 140 lbs; I find it's impossible to find suits that fit. I am completely swamped in American suits. The ones I find in stores (which rarely even have size 38', let alone smaller) tend to have enormous shoulders and super baggy pants.

I understand European suits have a much better cut, but I have no idea where to buy them without going to Europe.

This thread was helpful, but I need similar advice for suits specifically because I'll have to wear them exclusively at my new job.

posted by BigPicnic to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
An expensive option is Lorenzo at 2812 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007 · 202-965-6149.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:38 AM on July 26, 2007

Short of getting a bespoke suit (or using one of the much-touted Hong Kong- or Indian-based travelling tailors), your best bet is to go to a European high-end men's clothier. Christian Dior and Armani both make some very nice, trim suits, as does Yves St. Laurent. They'll run anywhere from $1000 to $2500, depending on the style, materials and manufacturer.
posted by saladin at 4:40 AM on July 26, 2007

I had a similar problem and and got a great suit at Ted Baker for about £350 ($700) in London. According to their site they do have stockists in the States.

They also (at least in the UK) do alterations for a very reasonable price. It cost me £8 ($16) to have the jacket made a little slimmer and although it wasn't much of an alteration, it made all the difference. For some reason they don't publicise this service much, and I only found out about it because the assistant suggested it.

It's also worth learning a bit about suits and tailoring, and for this, there's no better place than the English Cut blog, which is written, in a very informal and readable way, by a Savile Row tailor. His guide to "If you can't afford bespoke" is excellent.
posted by Sifter at 4:50 AM on July 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

Thanks. That's quite helpful long term; though prior to starting the aforementioned job, I won't have tons of money. Any passable lower-end alternatives?
posted by BigPicnic at 4:51 AM on July 26, 2007

Re: Sifter- Thanks, that sounds promising. And thanks for the links.
posted by BigPicnic at 4:55 AM on July 26, 2007

A good tailor can slim down a suit quite a bit before the lines become awkward- maybe ask your tailor which suit manufacturers he or she would recommend for your size?
posted by bobot at 5:02 AM on July 26, 2007

Though I'm certainly not 140 lbs, I've found Brooks Brothers suits to be slim fitting and extremely comfortable. I may be missing the mark, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to promote my favorite suit.
posted by stuboo at 5:08 AM on July 26, 2007

If you just need some reasonably priced slim-cut suits, I've had good luck at H&M. They're not the nicest suits in the world, but they look pretty good and are definitely cut with smaller people in mind.
posted by dseaton at 5:20 AM on July 26, 2007

My boyfriend is 6'3", 140 lbs. H&M does have some slimmer cut items that fit him. He also had some success with Theory, which has more of a European cut. You can find Theory at Saks and they also have their own stores. I also suggest (like others have) that finding a good tailor can do wonders - even if you get a suit that's inexpensive, having a tailor take it in for a custom fit can make it look much nicer.
posted by bedhead at 5:32 AM on July 26, 2007

Try Zara, a Spanish chain. Better quality than H+M and still not bank breaking prices. I like their stuff a lot.
posted by merocet at 5:45 AM on July 26, 2007

Try Filene's Basement and Loehmann's

Loehmann's and Filene's Basement will have European and designer suits at bargain prices. Before you go to Loehmann's, call and make sure the store has a men's department, not all have one.
posted by necessitas at 6:24 AM on July 26, 2007

Get a bespoke suit. If that's a bit too pricey, get one made to measure. Maxwell Tailors from Hong Kong is a good option for Made to Measure stuff, as it's fairly cheap. I've bought shirts from them, and they are quite good. The turn around time from purchase to when you are holding the clothes in your hand may be the only issue.
posted by chunking express at 6:27 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thick as Thieves does a very slim made-to-measure suit. It was started by a guy on a webforum I read who got tired of not being able to find the kind of suits he wanted to wear, who noticed that a lot of other people had the same problem. They have features you'd expect on higher-end suits like working ("surgeon's") cuffs and a full canvas instead of a fused lining.

I believe the price is around $500 for a suit, which is ridiculously low considering the quality and made-to-measureness.

You can read feedback and discussion on his suits on that very same forum in this thread.

I don't have any of his suits, but I'm not really the shape for them yet. If I had your build I'd have already ordered from them.
posted by mendel at 6:31 AM on July 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

I am also 5'10", 140lbs, and I have the same problem. I will be following this with great interest.
posted by boreddusty at 6:31 AM on July 26, 2007

My 6'1', 140 lb. ex had luck at Express Men. He has fairly broad shoulders, though, so that might still be a problem. The one he went into had a helpful salesman, so you might be able to find someone at your local branch to help you.
posted by CiaoMela at 6:32 AM on July 26, 2007

Seconding the European stores like Zara and H&M sell the European style suits that are reasonably priced. I bought one at a (non-US) Zara for $300 that has served me very well (6'3", 150lbs).

There are also suits in American stores that would fit better, and the code word is "athletic cut" -- if you're looking in a conventional clothier, this is what to ask about. My experience has been more limited selection in style, colors, and sizes, though.
posted by camcgee at 7:54 AM on July 26, 2007

I am basically the same build as you (6', +/- 150 lbs), and I have found that (gasp!) Banana Republic has suits that fit me.

They're not as fancy as the bespoke suits that people are pushing above but they're a hell of a lot cheaper; and they're a lot nicer, higher-quality and less "fashion-y" than what you'd find at H&M.
posted by dersins at 8:54 AM on July 26, 2007

Seconding Brooks Brothers. I've found the guys at Tyson's Corner are more precise with measurements than Downtown DC, but both are good and attentive. Avoid Chevy Chase if you want service at all as opposed to judgemental glares from rude sales people.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:08 AM on July 26, 2007

My experience with Brooks Brothers is that their suits are explicitly NOT cut for people with a slim build. Everything there was super baggy on me last time I was there, even the size 38 jacket.

Which made me sad, because I really, really wanted a seersucker suit.

posted by dersins at 10:14 AM on July 26, 2007

Brooks Brothers is the home of the sack suit; they're pretty much singlehandedly responsible for shaping the American idea of how a suit should fit (loose and straight). That's the last place in the world I'd go for a slimmer-fitting suit.

(A sack suit has no front darts, which is where much of the waist suppression comes from.)
posted by mendel at 10:59 AM on July 26, 2007

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