Advice for buying a Suit, if you’re not Average Sized.

A fellow I know is interested in buying a new suit. So he did what all reasonable people do, he asked for advice. So I’m going to give him some.

Men’s clothes in the last 10 years are suffering the same issues as women’s. There is a proliferation of crap at the bottom of the market, the middle is disappearing and the high end, though reaching down to the middle, is still pricy. What are you to do? Sym’s, and the other discounters are disappearing. My opinion is bite the bullet and crawl up the ladder a bit, especially if you are a big size or getting a little older, or, like me, are both.

Once you’re over 6 foot 3 or 4, you just can’t go unnoticed anymore. You’re not just wearing a suit, you’re wearing a lot of suit, so every problem with the suit will be as big as you are. If you walk up to someone, they don’t see your face, they see your lapels.

This post is not for young bucks starting out. Stop thinking of yourself as a version of who you were 20, 30 or more years ago. A young man wearing an inexpensive suit is just starting out, a mature man wearing a inexpensive suit is … well, it has a series of negative connotations. You are either the poor relative begging for scraps; desperate to not look your age or you’re cheap and miserly. All clothing is a means of communication, you have to be clear in what you are saying in your dress as much as your words. You don’t need to drop 5 figures on a bespoke suit. Dropping a hundred on an el cheapo suit won’t work either.

As for brands and stores, like I said above, unfortunately, more and more you are getting what you pay for. The quality of the sewing  for cheaper clothing from Men’s Warehouse is sad. Of the several pairs of pants that I’ve bought from them none fit right, all of the fabrics are cheap. I have had to have every one repaired. If you’re not near a tailor this can be an issue. I treat the pants like cheap jeans, though they have lasted longer then any pair of regular jeans I have owned, but they look no better. Jo. A. Bank has also slipped in quality. I was saddened last time I went. I hear there is still good stuff at reasonable prices, but I didn’t see it, and how hard are you willing to look.

If you need Extra Long, you are pretty much stuck with Rochester Big and Tall or you have to shop online. Regular Long (is that an oxymoron?) is still available at your usual suspects: Brooks Brothers or Dept. Stores like Macys.

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