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Posted: 7/19/2008 3:21:07 PM EDT
All, I'm in the market for a nice men's black suit; something that is suitable for funerals, weddings, and perhaps going to clubs and other occasions. I can't decide between a three button or two button design. I'm planning on doing the whole shebang when the time comes (suit, different ties, different shirts, new shoes, new belt), and have between $500-$700 to spend. What are some good brands to choose from and what style does everyone recommend? I want to be stylish and well dressed, but not ostentatious and tacky. Thanks for any advice.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:24:45 PM EDT
In that price range I'd look for a Ralph Lauren suit. I have at least one at love the cut and fit.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:31:16 PM EDT
If you have a "Men's Wearhouse" in your area, you should check them out.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:31:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rich219:
In that price range I'd look for a Ralph Lauren suit. I have at least one at love the cut and fit.


yea I have a nice RL one too in 3 button. My most used suit


I have an armani double breasted one that I never use.



Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:34:15 PM EDT
I would suggest Brooks Brothers.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:35:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:41:10 PM EDT
Good suggestions so far: Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and I also like Men's Wearhouse. Just be prepared for the accessory hard sell when you buy from MW.

As far as the style, go with the one you like. The 3-button in very much in style now. Most of my suits are 3-button. The 2-button is a classic, and will never go out of style. If you are looking for a catch-all suit for funerals, weddings, business, and clubbing, I would go with the 3-button.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:41:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:47:16 PM EDT
Im a cheap bastard, and I have grown fond of the George line from Wal-mart. Disposable, nice dress attire. Thin, VERY comfortable and works perfect for me. I have gotten ALOT of compliments on it.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:51:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Reservoir_Dog:
Good suggestions so far: Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and I also like Men's Wearhouse. Just be prepared for the accessory hard sell when you buy from MW.




Oops, I forgot to mention that too...
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:52:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/19/2008 3:55:53 PM EDT by FLAL1A]
2 vs 3 is a matter of body of body type. If you are slim &/or athletic, 3 is OK. If you are not (or if you are athletic but powerlifter-style rather than runner- or swimmer-style) go with 2.

Be sure you check suit length (short, regular, long). As a general rule, you should just be able to curl your fingertips under the coattails at the sides where your arms hang. It has nothing to do with height, but with the relative lengths of your body hip-to-shoulder vs ground-to-hip.

Be sure to get the sleeves hemmed, if necessary. With your arms relaxed, you should show 1/4 to 1/2" of shirt cuff. Also, pants shorter than "full break" (back of pants legs reach at least top of shoe heel) will look goofy. Be sure the pants are marked with the waistband where you will actually wear it. I can't tell you how many guys I see in fairly expensive suits who appear to be awaiting a flood because they wear the pants where they "ought to be" during fitting, but pull them up much higher during normal wear.

In a properly fitted suit, you should be as comfortable as in flannel pajamas & a terrycloth housecoat. That's the whole idea. If you're comfortable, you'll look like a well-dressed man rather than a guy in a suit. One possibility is this: if you're not buying from a topflight haberdasher ($$$), just pay for the suit and take it to a tailor recommended by your lawyer, boss, a well-dressed guy on the street, or the manager of your bank. For $100 - 200, a good tailor can add a zero to the apparent value of a suit.

As to color, consider charcoal (dark gray) or navy blue instead of black. I have a couple of black suits, but only because I wear a suit every day to work. A black suit, if not impeccably built & tailored, is likely to scream "I AM THIS GUY'S ONLY SUIT!"

As to brand, Hickey-Freeman (not a store, just a suitmaker sold at many places) is $800 and up, and looks like a million bucks. A good department store can do you right in the price range you mentioned. Mens' Wearhouse will be at or below your price range, their stuff looks great, their salesmen are knowledgeable, and they will not let you leave looking like a rube. Avoid S&K unless you are accompanied by somebody who really knows suits.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:55:07 PM EDT
I'd recommend a grey suit instead of black. It works equally well at funerals but can also be used for business and weddings.

Black is too black. Grey is whatever color you put with it.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:56:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By cableguy221:
I would suggest Brooks Brothers.


As would I.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 3:59:39 PM EDT
Hugo Boss 3 button. I have one in black, blue, and grey. They are great suits.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 4:02:58 PM EDT
I 2nd Men's Wearhouse.Twice I've gone in there at the last minute for weddings and walked out presentable.
I'm talking the morning of the weddings,picked up fitted suit at 1pm.
I'm a levis and t-shirt guy.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 4:09:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
If you have a "Men's Wearhouse" in your area, you should check them out.


+ A LOT.

They are great about helping you find nice clothes in the price range you can afford.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 4:15:34 PM EDT
I just picked up a dark grey suit from Joseph A Bank at about $300 because it was on sale. I think it's a great quality piece and it fits me very well.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 6:42:27 PM EDT
Thanks for all the tips. It will probably be a few weeks still before I start buying. I think I'll go with either Men's Warehouse or possibly something at Dillards. You never know though.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 6:45:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tango7:
Joseph A Banks if there's one in your area.


+1, I've got a BB suit and one from JAB, I cannot tell the diff.

Both have been tailored to fit.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 6:50:03 PM EDT
another vote for Brooks Brothers.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 7:22:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tango7:
Joseph A Banks if there's one in your area.


+1 In my recent experiences, way better than Men's Warehouse.... The "Travelers Collection" is pretty awesome. I don't have a Brook's Brothers near/haven't used them.

Somebody said "grey" but I'd highly recommend "charcoal grey" as the "universal" suit... Darker and all-around versatile but not black which is surprisingly limited. (Navy Blue is another option...)

2-button is the way to go for business/general purpose and buy some "real" lace up black leather shoes.

Save for another two weeks and buy the "better" quality shirts and ties... You won't regret it!

B2

BTW, I'm an "old" guy relatively new to the suit/tie culture and look forward to new ideas... I despise shopping and "prissy" bs but I've been very pleased with Jos. A. Bank.



Link Posted: 7/19/2008 7:34:59 PM EDT
I have been happy wit Calvin Klein from Macy's.

Also, don't skimp on alterations. It will make or break the suit. I think I spent about $100 on my last suit in alterations. But, well worth it.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 7:35:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/19/2008 7:37:15 PM EDT by raven]
Hugo Boss. They put the snazzy into nazi
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 7:44:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/19/2008 7:45:13 PM EDT by Desdinova721]
I might get flamed for this but try Goodwill or any other local thriftstore. People give away all kinds of neat stuff. The suit I've been wearing cost me 15$ and fits perfectly. I've got a few more that are really nice, brand new, but need to be tailored. Seriously, you can find some real bargains out there.

This is assuming you do just need one for weddings, funerals, and job interviews.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 7:59:53 PM EDT

Good suits are expensive in retail stores. Experienced shoppers can find deals on $1200 suits for 300-400 on ebay and at outlets, but this takes some expertise.

In your price range fit is much more important than fabric and construction will be similar across the board, you would do fine with a $500 Lauren Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers Brooksease suit.

If you are lucky you might be able to score a Hickey Freeman Collection or Polo Ralph Lauren or a Brooks Brothers 1818 suit from an outlet for $400-600. These are much better suits than those noted above.

Charcoal gray is much more versatile than black. Subtle fine stripes are OK, but if people can see them from 5 feet away, I'd refrain.

Just make sure there isn't a big roll behind your neck, you show some shirt cuff, and the shoulders don't look linebacker huge.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 8:13:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/19/2008 8:18:10 PM EDT by JD_Ruger_fan]
If you want to look great, then I suggest at the minimum you get Jos. A Banks. You can get a good suit from them at $250, which is probably the same you'll spend at MW, but the quality will be better.

I also agree with whoever said to get charcoal gray wool, 2-button suit.

Hopefully this link will work, but now there is a $150 suit.

http://www.josbank.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=17263&pcount=&Product_Id=436426

Really, the most important thing is to get alterations. A good alteration can make a $200 suit look like a $2000 suit and a bad alteration can make a $2000 suit look like a $20 dollar suit. I'd imagine you can get alterations at somewhere like MW/SK for $40.

Then, I would recommend about $100 on some good shoes. Something like Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds, etc.. If you want a timeless look, shy away from anything trendy like square toes.

http://www.shoes.com/Shopping/ProductDetails.aspx?p=EC1102619&pg=5069564

Note the above is MSRP, you can actually get them much cheaper, but note the style. Also, a good pair of dress shoes will last you a loooong time.

For a shirt, I'd recommend anything in a forward point, NOT button down. A salesperson will be able to easily find you a good shirt once they take your measurements.

Brooks Brothers is nice, but I don't think their quality justifies the humongous expense, even though they make great suits.

MW is also ok, but they are also overpriced for their quality.

Link Posted: 7/19/2008 8:50:53 PM EDT
Brooks Brothers or Jos A Banks would be fine.

Consider getting a midnight-blue suit instead of a black one, it is more versatile, since black suits aren't really appropriate for much besides funerals.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 8:54:45 PM EDT
Thick as thieves, made to measure suits for just over 500.
The man does excellent work, and will do pretty much anything you want.
http://www.thickasthievesla.com/index.html
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:19:48 PM EDT
Thanks for the continued ideas. I might go with a grey or navy suit now, but only time will tell.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:23:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wubbman:
I can't decide between a three button or two button design.

I personally prefer three.

If you go to a decent suit store, the people there will help you out. Walk in, start selecting things you like and you don't like and put them on a huge pile. Then start purging what doesn't cut it and what doesn't help your budget too much. They will help suggest what styles you like once they start seeing your choices.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:25:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By triburst1:
Hugo Boss 3 button. I have one in black, blue, and grey. They are great suits.


I learned in Batman that 3 button suits are "so 90s"...
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:30:16 PM EDT
Well, if you plan on shopping at Macy's, go for a Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, or Hugo Boss 2 button. I like the look of 3 button better for professional occasions, but the 2 button is a better all around suit. It can still be used in a professional setting, but is casual enough to wear to a club. The 3 button isn't exactly a 'club' or 'out on the town' suit.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:34:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wubbman:
All, I'm in the market for a nice men's black suit; something that is suitable for funerals, weddings, and perhaps going to clubs and other occasions. I can't decide between a three button or two button design. I'm planning on doing the whole shebang when the time comes (suit, different ties, different shirts, new shoes, new belt), and have between $500-$700 to spend. What are some good brands to choose from and what style does everyone recommend? I want to be stylish and well dressed, but not ostentatious and tacky. Thanks for any advice.


I just went through the EXACT same thing. I needed a suit for functions and leisure, not really for work, so I wanted something a bit more stylish. I also had $500-700 to spend.

I ended up with a black three button Jones New York from Men's Warehouse. I cannot express how happy I am with both the suit and the service from MW. I ended up with three shirts, four ties and accessories for all, costing $750 in the end, but I have a color combo for anything.

I would highly recommend the three button jacket as it looks more stylish and modern. The pants are flat front and no cuff, also a more modern stylish look, but not ghey. It was exactly what I had in mind, and it sounds like you are looking for the same thing.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:35:22 PM EDT
Got a suit from Carson Pirie Scott a few years ago. Don't know jack about suits. The guy who helped me was from Finland so I figured he knew a thing or two about dressing nice. Ended up with a very nice suit, shirt and tie for under $200 (He gave me the employee discount)
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:38:25 PM EDT

As to color, consider charcoal (dark gray) or navy blue instead of black.


That was my first thought also.

AFARR
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:41:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By triburst1:
Hugo Boss 3 button. I have one in black, blue, and grey. They are great suits.



...and don't skimp on the shoes. It won't matter what kind of suit you buy if you're wearing it with a pair Docs or Skechers.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:45:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By triburst1:
Hugo Boss 3 button. I have one in black, blue, and grey. They are great suits.


+1 Hugo Boss suits are pretty sweet.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 1:05:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wubbman:
All, I'm in the market for a nice men's black suit; something that is suitable for funerals, weddings, and perhaps going to clubs and other occasions. I can't decide between a three button or two button design. I'm planning on doing the whole shebang when the time comes (suit, different ties, different shirts, new shoes, new belt), and have between $500-$700 to spend. What are some good brands to choose from and what style does everyone recommend? I want to be stylish and well dressed, but not ostentatious and tacky. Thanks for any advice.


I asked this same question back in February. I had never bought a suit and didn't know jack about them but had the same expectations and plan and budget you have. I had a deadline of a wedding in March. I wish my search-fu was better but I can't find the thread. It was AWESOME! I got tons of information from members and finally landed in a Jos A Banks. All you have to do is catch a Banks having one of their many sales and pick up the expensive suit for cheap!!!

People on here helped me with everything from the details of the shoes thru to the pocket square.

Some prime points they taught me in case your just starting out like me;
. Dark gray or dark blue on the suit, black is for waiting tables or parking cars.
. double breasted is out of style.
. Stick with a white shirt unless you know what your doing (you might go with some colored shirts too since you mentioned clubs but white is AOK to get started)
. Tailor fit NEVER off the rack on the jacket, NEVER NEVER NEVER off the rack on your trousers!!! If you carry have that tailored in as well.
. slick leather soled shoes and scuff the soles on concrete.
. shiny shoes and break them in 10 times before any special event. Spend $50 - $75 for now and later when you build more $$$ get a really nice pair for $$$. (Find that old thread from February for some discussion on shoes)
. get a tie clip if your going to be eating a lot.
. Cuff links for non button sleeves, skip them for button sleeves.
. Silk lined wool jacket, wrinkle free shirts. If you can find my old thread on here it has much info on what brands have what suits out of what materials. It's an awesome thread.
. Lint brush. I found mine cheaper at Banks than at Wallmart and the Banks brush has twice as much tape!!! (you would think lint brush is no brainer but I was the only one there at the wedding with one! It was awesome to be that guy;)
. There was a ton of advise on how to be in the suit too. Stuff like not buttoning the bottom button ever and unbuttoning all the buttons when sitting down.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 1:10:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SNorman:

Originally Posted By triburst1:
Hugo Boss 3 button. I have one in black, blue, and grey. They are great suits.


+1 Hugo Boss suits are pretty sweet.


SNorman, your avitar almost put me in an ambulance!!! I laughed so hard I passed out! STOP! hammer time.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 1:49:49 PM EDT

I think people are being a little too harsh on black suits. They're not for everybody, but they're not automatically awful. Particularly if you choose colored shirts rather than stark white.

If I had to have just one suit, I would prefer that it be either medium/dark grey or navy blue.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 2:27:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 2:29:50 PM EDT by LazarusLong]
Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers make nice suits. Also, a black suit can look spiffy depending on everything that goes with it, but something like charcoal is more versatile
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 2:59:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 3:02:04 PM EDT by Whiskey_Moodz]
I wear suits all the time and went out on a limb when I found this suit. I really recommend this one I wore these suit for my wedding two years ago..

Men's Usa

Another poster was correct black is too black unless you want to stand out. That is usually how I roll.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:16:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
As to color, consider charcoal (dark gray) or navy blue instead of black. I have a couple of black suits, but only because I wear a suit every day to work. A black suit, if not impeccably built & tailored, is likely to scream "I AM THIS GUY'S ONLY SUIT!"


What's your opinion that black suits are only suitable for funerals or weddings? Can a black suit be appropriate at a business meeting?

RF
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:17:56 PM EDT
Cool thing about a suit is you'll have it the rest of your life. Buy the best quality you can afford and the most conservative. I wore a suit last night to Ms. Arkansas that I bought from Dillards six or seven years ago. Ties change but a good conservative suit will be in your closet when they're wheelng you out.

Same same for good rifles and good tools.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:18:16 PM EDT
Just one suit, in your state. Go to Jos A Banks and get a 2 button.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:18:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
If you have a "Men's Wearhouse" in your area, you should check them out.


I 2nd this.

It will depend on your salesman, but I've had great service there. They will try and sell you up, but the good ones will only ask once and won't pressure you.

If you join their "Perfect Fit" club, you'll get a lot of coupons and stuff from them. I spent $600 there and I've gotten $125 worth of gift certificates since then (with no minimum)!

RF
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 4:01:28 PM EDT
There's a fair amount of good advice here. I highly recommend getting a copy of "Dress for Success" for some tips on buying a suit. Some suggestions:
- Don't buy one $600 suit. If you can get by with just one suit, the people you hang around with won't know the difference between a $600 suit and a $300 suit. If it fits, and you wear good shoes, good tie, good shirt that fits, you'll look like a million in a $2-300 suit.
- quality suits are always altered to fit you. Normally, they mark up the suit when you first buy it and do their thing. When you come back in a week or so, try it on again, because there may need to be more adjustments.
- Look at TV anchors, Jon Stewart, Dave Letterman, etc. and notice how a suit is supposed to fit. The style might be wrong, but the fit is good.
- See if you can see how successful lawyers and executives in your town dress. That's the style you want. (Probably 2 button grey.)
- Brooks Brothers is higher end than Joe Banks, which is higher than nice department stores like Dillards and Men's Warehouse. Then there's Target, WalMart, Kmart which I recommend against. If you know what you're doing, you can get lucky and find a really nice $600 suit at Value City that only costs $1-200. But you could also leave looking like a pimp with a bad budget. I don't think MW, Banks, or BB would be capable of letting you leave looking bad.
- Find the really nice mens clothing store in your town. This is the one that makes BB look like a discounter. Look at their stuff. Notice that style, the colors, how the fabric feels. It's quality. Try to find stuff like that at Joe Banks or MW.
- wear nice clothes when shopping. Dress shoes and a dress shirt are mandatory, because they affect how your suit should fit and be altered. Also, you don't want to look like a rube who's buying his first and only suit.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 4:19:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LivinInTheWoods:
. get a tie clip if your going to be eating a lot.



I have not seen a tie clip except on an old man for at least 10 years.

Everything else you wrote was spot on.

I will give one other tip.

Make sure you try the suit on (both jacket AND pants) with dress shoes after tailoring has been done BEFORE leaving with the suit. I failed to try on the pants of my suit and wound up running to J.A.Banks between the communion and reception a couple of months ago. Had to wait in the dressing room while the tailor lady rehemmed the pants in which the break was way too short.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 4:25:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JH225:

Originally Posted By LivinInTheWoods:
. get a tie clip if your going to be eating a lot.



I have not seen a tie clip except on an old man for at least 10 years.

Everything else you wrote was spot on.

I will give one other tip.

Make sure you try the suit on (both jacket AND pants) with dress shoes after tailoring has been done BEFORE leaving with the suit. I failed to try on the pants of my suit and wound up running to J.A.Banks between the communion and reception a couple of months ago. Had to wait in the dressing room while the tailor lady rehemmed the pants in which the break was way too short.


You didn't say it, but I'm sure you meant to also say to try it on with a dress belt and dress shirt. Also include any crap you're going to have in your pockets like wallet, keys, gun.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 4:29:30 PM EDT
Black has been out of favor as a man's only suit since Lincoln (he was shot while wearing a black suit), at least get pinstripe.

Kharn
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 4:59:00 PM EDT
Wow, I got a much better response than I was anticipating! I haven't ruled out black yet, but I will definately look harder at grey. At this point, I think I will go with a two button for now. There is no BB in my area (closest one is 100 miles away in ATL), but there is a Men's Warehouse and a Dillards (don't know about Jos. A Bank). I'll look for other places before I buy. Thanks so much for the ideas. Any other advice is most welcome.

Also, I do plan on carrying whenever I wear the suit (except when there is a possibility of drinking), but how do I go about planning that in without making a scene. I posted a thread in the Carry Issues forum about a near miss with a suit salesman at Dillards yesterday. What are some ways to break it to people? Thanks again.
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