General Question

Ela's avatar

What do I need to know when buying a man's suit?

Asked by Ela (6496points) May 6th, 2012

The suit is for my son. Are there certain things I need to look for or questions I should be sure to ask?
How inexpensively can the purchase of a suit be? What must I absolutely not overlook or skimp on?
Are The Men’s Warehouse and J.C. Penny reputable stores?

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21 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Determine if he’s a short, med. or long fit for the suit jacket. There’s A LOT of inconsistency in the cut of clothes, even with expensive stores so don’t let that be your determining factor.

Get him fitted and measured wearing trim fitting clothes rather than sagged pants or shorts.

A suit jacket can be altered a bit in the body and of course sleeves but the shoulders have to already be right and if the also the length because of the pre placement of pockets.

The modern look for guys is the tailored/athletic fit shirt that tucks in smooth rather than billowing around the waist and bagging under the arms but a lot of guys don’t like the feel of that closeness. Same with trousers, flat fronts are popular but with many suits will be more expensive with them than going with pleats and cuffs.

Men’s Warehouse has been a hit and miss for us so we opt to stick with Jos A Bank which seems to have constant 50–70% sales; we’ve gotten a few great suits for about $275., all said and done. Don’t be intimidated by the in store prices which are a lot different than the online site offerings. We go in and try what hubby likes, find the size, write down the item numbers and then order online. Any alterations or adjustments we’ve ever needed have been done at no cost by going into a physical store later.

Ela's avatar

He informed me yesterday he needed it for the 10th so I’m feeling a bit frazzled with not having much notice and knowing so little with no one close by to ask. Thank you so much @Neizvestnaya

john65pennington's avatar

Never buy a man’s suit, without your son being present for a fitting.

Most suits are made in China and I would avoid those, if possible. Read the inside label to be sure.

gailcalled's avatar

If this is going to be his “suit” for a long time and if he has reached his full growth, you might want to invest in a real store that has a tailor on the premises.

I bought my 18-year-old son a blue blazer for his high school graduation. We had it tailored for broad shoulders,flat stomach and narrow waist and hips. He wore it for years (possibly decades) after. I bought it at an upscale department store; are there any still left?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Ela. There’s time. Go get him fitted asap and if need be, a store will order in quickly what you need if they don’t have it on hand. Ask for price matching to online sales for the same items. Ask, ask, ask.

bkcunningham's avatar

Men’s Warehouse is reputable and will help you with all of the questions you may have, @Ela. Someone will fit the suit to your son and they have a tailor onsite for any alterations.

Ela's avatar

@gailcalled He’s 15, 6’1” 210 and built like a brick shit house (excuse my language but this kid has always been so solid). I hope he has reached his full growth but I can’t remember if boys go through another spurt in their teens or not…

What color is usually best? I’m hoping this suit will last a few years but money is an issue. I will ask his father to pay for half but since he pays child support, he usually doesn’t help with anything else. So I get to add the anxiety of asking to my pot here : )

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Ela- Where do and your son live as far as climate and what types of functions he’ll be using the suit again for? What is his coloring? A dark taupe in a lightweight woven texture is versatile for many but if he’ll be going to more formal events like job interviews, funerals, weddings, etc. in the suit than a darker charcoal will be good.

Ela's avatar

@john65pennington – thanks : ) I’ll be taking him out this afternoon.
@Neizvestnaya – The suit is for a band concert (he’s a percussionist). Hot and humid summers, cold and windy winters but I think he will do best in something lightweight if that’s possible. I don’t know what he’ll think about charcoal (he considers black Goth) : /

gailcalled's avatar

Can he wear a blazer and nice pants? A kid that age might get more mileage from a blazer than a suit.

Grey flannel pants in the cold weather and khaki’s in the warm.

A dark navy suit is also safe, in a lightweight serge.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Ela, since he just told you about needing the suit, you might want to double check with him to see if they were told specific colors.

gailcalled's avatar

I remember the haberdashery of 15-year-old-boys when they appeared onstage for various performances, andI have to laugh. Their best outfits were a pretty motley collection of clothing. Can your son borrow something for the evening?

Ela's avatar

@bkcunningham – Thanks. I will be sure to do that : )
@gailcalled – I don’t have anyone to ask and his dad is pretty much dwarfed by him.

I will have to ask him about a blazer and slacks when I pick him up. He just told me he needed a suit on his way out the door to his father’s. Honestly, I’m somewhat dreading having to do this because of the cost but mainly because he doesn’t really like me very much at this time in his life. But I have to take him because his father won’t. He’s busy.
So… I thought if I could learn as much as I could then maybe I won’t embarrass him by having to ask tons of questions there.

Ela's avatar

I just called him. He doesn’t need a suit. Apparently they (the school) want him to dress up. He wants a blazer and slacks. His dad could take him tomorrow. He said he wants me to take him. which I will though I don’t quite understand why he would want me to over his dad…

CWOTUS's avatar

Mens Wearhouse is reputable, and they have excellent advice in the stores I’ve been to. They will take your son in hand to get the appropriate measurements and trial fit. They’ll consult with you on cost, fabric, expected use of the garment, options for everything.

I walked into the local MW last fall for a fitting, got the same great advice I’m recommending here, and came back two days later for the final fitting and takeaway.

JLeslie's avatar

The “drop” is the difference between the shoulders and the waist, in case a salesperson throws that word at you. Meaning if he is 42 jacket, most suits will have a 6 inch drop, so the waist of the paints are 42–6=36. the most you can take in a trouser at the waist is 2 inches. There are suits with 7 inch drops, but they are tough to find, especially at moderate stores. Most suits carried by the average retailer have jackets made for average to fat men, so if he has a trim waist, the suit jacket might be large across the mid section. It can be taken in a little.

Calvin Klein sells suit separates, and can be a great option for young men, and you can get the jacket and pant in the exact size you need without alterations, except the hem on the pant. I’m pretty sure they still sell the separates at Macy’s, although I haven’t been shopping for men’s tailored clothing there in a few years.

Do not buy a jacket that is tight under the arm or tight around the upper arm.

You said he needs a suit, and then said he wants a blazer and slacks, so which is it?

Edit: just noticed I read that wrong, you said he doesn’t need a suit. Ok, here is my advice, buy him what he would use at most wedding he might attend in the future.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I 2nd @JLeslie on the Calvin Klein separates, forgot about those.

Ela's avatar

@JLeslie Yea, he originally told me he needed a suit but when I had the chance to talk to him, he then said a blazer.

Thanks to all for the helpful replies. I really appreciate it : )

JLeslie's avatar

@Ela Well, if he already has slacks, the blazer alone will be less expensive than a suit. He doesn’t by chance wear the same size as his dad does he? Might I suggest calling the school and making sure they don’t require a specific color? Many times blazer is used to mean navy blue blazer.

@john65pennington Actually quite a lot of tailored clothing is made in Mexico. I worked for Gruppo GFT, they make many different brands and a lot of their suits are contructed in MX, and also Italy of course.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: Re; wearing a jacke of his dad’s or a friend, !@Ela already wrote ”*I don’t have anyone to ask and his dad is pretty much dwarfed by him.**

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