Deciding on what suit to get.

gevans

New Member
I have been looking at getting my first well-fitting suit. My current suit is a half canvassed charcoal Hugo Boss which is too large. So I am wanting to upgrade. I have been mulling over what I should do and want some input from the members here.

My first option would be a single solid navy or charcoal suit in a year round wool. My gut instinct is that being 23 and not in a white collar profession and with the continued casualization of society that finding myself in a situation where wearing a sports coat or blazer would not be an acceptable choice if not a better one then a suit is slim to none. Seeing that I would wear it exceedingly infrequently I think the prudent and practical choice would be something cheap such as a used suit of some sort. If I really wanted to splurge a half canvased suit from Suit Supply could be an option.

Now doing a complete 180 shift my thinking for my second option is that I am young therefore I have the time to get the maximum wear out of a suit and that I should invest in quality. In those situations where it might be more socially acceptable to wear a combination I could dress up and wear a suit. The problem then becomes what if an event comes along in the summer such as a funeral. Wearing a year round wool suit would make me melt in the summer here in Kansas. That said cotton or linen seem to me to be too informal for a general purpose suit especially if one is attending a funeral. Tropical wool could be an option but due to its light weight it would not drape well and there is no guarantee that it will wear cooler since it would have a tight weave and in an OTR jacket most likely fully lined. That leaves fresco or something similar as the obvious choice. So if I had a proper summer suit I think it only right I have a winter suit as well. Which for me would mean wool flannel.

My second option would be two suits one in a mid to heavy weight charcoal wool flannel and the other in a mid to heavy weight navy wool fresco. I don’t think it would be too hard to find a decent used charcoal flannel so I am not worrying about that now. What poses a more interesting dilemma is finding a navy fresco suit. Ideally it would be navy, 12-15oz, fully canvassed, and unlined or skeleton lined.

So I have several options;

1. Look on ebay and forums for a 36R used suit. I think it best to dismiss this as being too time consuming to try and hunt down a 36R fresco suit.

2. Go with an OTR option like this Southwick suit from O’Connell’s. https://www.oconnellsclothing.com/Southwick-Suit-Lightweight-Wool-Fresco-Charcoal.html Problem is that I am a 36R though my tailor said a slim fit 38R could also work. O’Connell’s offers neither and is the only place I have seen an OTR fresco suit. So that seems not to be an option.

3. I could go with a MTO option such as this suit from Proper Cloth https://propercloth.com/tailored-clothing/allen-navy-fresco-suit-34.html The issue with this particular suit is that it is half canvassed, fully lined, has surgeons cuffs, and the fabric weight is not state. Though it is still a possibility since I could live with half canvassed and whatever the fabric weight is and a tailor for a couple hundred dollars could sort out the rest.

4. Another option could be to go online MTM with someone like Black Lapel https://blacklapel.com/shop/suits/baltic-blue-fresco-custom-suit I don’t think it is really an option since I have heard of the horror stories and advice against online MTM. Though it is the cheapest option. Especially since Black Lapel is a bespoke tailor so I could pretty much get everything I am looking for.

5. I could go with an Asian bespoke clothier with a traveling tailor such as Hiras since a couple of them make stops in Kansas City. I think this is a good option.

6. Lastly I could get something made up by one of the bespoke tailors in Kansas City. I only found one who listed a base price which is $1250 though I don’t know what the upcharge for fresco would be. I think it is a decent price being it is full canvassed with a good bit of hand work, compared to $1100 for the Southwick suit or $1000 for a full canvassed Suit Supply suit.

Money isn’t an issue I recently sold a couple thousand worth of stuff and I got several hundred in tax returns but I don’t want to spend it frivolously. So I am looking for guidance on what is the smart practical decision to make. Do I go with a basic do everything suit or do I get specific summer and winter suits? If the latter what fabric do I go with? If fresco where do I go to get a fresco suit?

I know it is a long post and I appreciate any advice that is given.
 

JBierly

Elite Member
Thoughtful post. 36R makes it tough from the outset - just not as many options out there (based on trying to find suits for my kids). The only significant comment I would add is that I think you may be overestimating the need for a summer weight suit. Not saying it isn't necessary at all but a tropical weight wool suit works pretty well for me. I typically wear very light suits and can't truthfully say that drape is all that noticeably worse than some of my heavier items. Moreover, even in the summer I am usually indoors or in the car with the air conditioner on. So unless you intend to attend a lot of outdoor funerals in July you may find the need for fresco not as much as you might think. And even with it in July you still will sweat your ass off...
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
I’ll confess I did not read the entire post as it is far too long. Like most research articles, I read the abstract and zero in on the conclusions.

With that said, I read the numbered points and questions. First off, forget you ever heard or even know what canvassed, half canvassed, etc. May be. There’s a lot of crap made in Asia that is labeled as fully canvassed that will fall apart or not wear well. Those terms are used as much as a marketing gimmick as anything else. If the label has to say fully canvassed, then it means it’s trying to cover for other sins by at least proclaiming one virtuous thing in spite of its other failings.

Forget online or a traveling tailor; Too much trouble.

Get yourself to a Brooks Brothers. I’m sure there’s one in KC. Get measured and get a nice suit. Done. Time it right and you can even score a deal. Good luck.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
Gevans, it appears as though you want a fresco (or other highly breathable warm-weather suit) so that if you need to attend a funeral in Kansas in the summer, you won't "melt."

You also mentioned that you're 23.

My advice? Melt.

First, realistically speaking, how often do you really think you'll be going to a summer funeral in Kansas over, say, the next ten years?

Second, please note that, at 23, your body hasn't settled yet. (For some people, that never happens. But that's a matter for a different type of forum.) Your body 7, 8, 9 years from now probably won't fit whatever suit would fit you now. So don't sweat (pun intended) trying to find the Holy Grail of suits. Do that when you're 40 or 45.

For now, just do as SG 67 suggested: get a "nice" suit from Brooks Brothers. On sale. Something in a year-round fabric. It will be good enough. For the next few years.

There may come a time when you'll want to have a few suits, subdivided by seasonal fabrics. You are not at that time of life yet.

Get something at BB, then assess your suit needs a few years down the road and act accordingly.
 

CLTesquire

Super Member
I’d probably just buy a 9 ounce worsted, have it half lined and then you’ll have one year around suit for when you need it. For an infrequently worn suit, Brooks is a good option here.

If you decide to go the fresco route 12-15 ounces will cause you to melt. Southwick has some 9-10 ounce fresco swatches available.

If you can’t find a local southwick dealer have a look online at Epaulet as they are a Southwick dealer.
 
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CLTesquire

Super Member
Correct--but if you're going to get a worm suit, get it now; you just know that as we get closer to Halloween, BB will jack up the prices of all of its animal costumes. You know: supply and demand. So be an early bird--it always gets the, uh....

Ha. My fingers and the iPhone keyboard are not the best. :D
 

JBierly

Elite Member
Second, please note that, at 23, your body hasn't settled yet. (For some people, that never happens. But that's a matter for a different type of forum.) Your body 7, 8, 9 years from now probably won't fit whatever suit would fit you now.

Good advice here. Your body will likely change a lot over the next 5 years. I think I put on about 25 pounds from age 23 to age 29. Mostly muscle but some fat too....
 
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