Currently, I’m a junior in college and am preparing to begin my summer internship, which will require me to wear a suit to the office. Consequently, I am in the market for 2-3 new suits for this summer and I would love to get your opinion.
I know that you now prefer to purchase custom-made suits, but as of now, it appears as though I will be unable to purchase roughly 3 bespoke suits. I’m planning on purchasing my suits from Brooks Brothers and I was hoping to get your feedback on the style, colors, and other subtleties that you would recommend. As of now, I have a Brooks Brothers dark-grey, pinstripe suit.
In regard to the cut, Brooks Brothers offers: Madison, Fitzgerald, Regent, & Milano. I am about 6’1″ and weigh roughly 180 lbs. Have you ever purchased a suit from BB or do you have a preference on the various styles offered by BB? Also, if you were purchasing three suits to wear to work, what colors do you believe to be are “necessities”? Lastly, do you have any other recommendations when purchasing a suit? Such as, pleated vs. flat-front? Or 2 button jackets?
First, let’s discuss color. You mentioned you have a charcoal pinstripe suit; this is a good basic suit. You mentioned you are to acquire three more suits. I would recommend a solid navy, solid charcoal (or anywhere in the medium to dark grey range) and a navy pinstripe (in that order of importance). This will give you a solid foundation with which to pair shirts, ties and shoes with. They are also regarded as the most basic of suitings (especially the solids). You can wear a solid navy suit 3 days a week and as long as you pair it with different shirts and collars you should be able to get away with it with no problem.
Regarding the number of buttons, pleats, cuffs and the like I would say the following. Choose what you feel most comfortable in. But I would highly recommend a 2 button jacket over a 3 button, unless of course it is a 3 roll 2. They are badass. I would also opt for side vents (Ivy style traditionalists would likely scoff at this if paired with a 3 roll 2, as they swear by the hook center vent), but side vents are superior in every aspect I can think of. If you are going with a slimmer cut jacket I would opt for flat front trousers, the cuff is up to you, just make sure its at least 1.5″. Hacking and ticket pockets are purely preferential as a working button holes on the sleeves, but if possible do try to get the working button holes.
Now, lets address the issue of maker and fit, which, somewhat go hand in hand. And as I have noted before, fit is paramount. Now, it sounds as though you have a good frame with which to work, at 6-1 180lbs. From what I know many suits are modeled off of a 6 foot mans frame. Now, you could go the Brooks Brothers route. Off the top of my head I do not remember which line is the most slim fitting, but I am guessing that the slimmest of them would suit you best, given your height and weight. Now, that said, whichever you choose try to get one with side vents, not a center vent. But if the best fitting suit comes with a center vent I suppose you can settle. And of course, take the jacket and pants to a competent tailor. I have used 2 different Brooks Brothers tailors with mixed results. But I will say that they do do all of their suit alterations at a central location, presumably this will help with quality control; at least I would hope… Currently, for a decent Brooks Brothers suit you will be paying around $1,000 per suit, plus alterations. Spend your money that way if you want, but as you know I feel rather strongly about made to measure. And as such, I would strongly advise against acquiring your suits from Brooks Brothers (although they do have some solid socks, shoes, sweaters, ties and casual wear) and highly advise going the made to measure route.
The fit you will attain from a made to measure suit will ALWAYS be better than an off the rack suit, keyword always; that is if the mtm suit is done properly. At this point in time I would recommend either Indochino or My.Suit. However, MyTailor will be on tour in the states soon, I hear they do good things as well but have no personal experience with them. Basic suits from each of the three companies come in at or under $600, which includes alterations. Indochino’s basic suits come in just shy of $400. Although the construction may not always be on par with Brooks Brothers the value received I believe is greater. Let’s think in terms of economics, you can safely acquire 5 suits from one of these made to measure shops or 3 from Brooks Brothers. I would choose 5 of the made to measures every time, I would even choose 3 of the made to measure suits over 3 Brooks Brothers suits.