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  1. #1
    Col's Avatar
    Col

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    Suit Frustration

    Little bit of a rant here if you don't mind.

    I've spent a good portion of the past couple of months browsing high street suits within the 150ish range. Now, I do accept that for good quality materials that would contribute to a long-lasting suit, I would benefit from increasing my price range, however my priority was simply finding a couple of suits that fit me straight off the rack without adjustments for a couple of job interviews/weddings. I don't think this is too much to ask for, though it seems I couldn't be more wrong.

    Firstly, I'll give you some basic insight into my apparently non-conventional measurements - 32 inch waist, 32 inch inside leg, 38 inch chest, 44 inch shoulders, athletic/slim build.

    This was the most recent acquisition, which arrived from Burton today: Burgundy Slim Fit Suit with Waistcoat - Suits - Burton

    As you can see the description states slim-fit...I beg to differ. Firstly, although the waist of the trousers were pretty much perfect, they seemed very loose in the leg. Also, despite the length being fine when standing, when I sat down in them the cuff rode about halfway up my calf! That can't be right? And the jacket, well the chest was fine but there was way too much loose fabric around the shoulders, excess room round my abdomen and the sleeves were so baggy they may have been cut directly from a wizards robe. If this is slim-fit then I'd hate to try on one of their regular fitting suits.

    I won't go into as extensive details with the previous purchases (which were promptly returned) but here's a brief summary of my experience of other shops:
    River Island (slim-fit) - good shoulder-fit, good chest, loose abdomen, loose sleeves, good waist, loose leg.
    TopMan (slim-fit) - had to size up the jacket, which then seemed too long, trousers seemed ok but then clung to my knee/calf area when rising from a seated positon.
    TopMan (skinny-fit) - far too restricting in most places, particularly the groinal region.
    Marks & Spencer - I tried on every fit they had; all were appalling.
    H&M - in the end I purchased an emergency cheap suit from here for an interview I had but was constantly conscious that the 40in jacket I was wearing looked like it had belonged to a larger male relative, yet when trying the 38in jacket it pulled around it's mid-section when buttoned.

    I've tried others and have today purchased an Asos suit but I'm really perturbed at how difficult it is to find a decent fitting budget suit off the rack. Am I being naive? I don't think so but I wonder if men that aren't willing to fork out for suits are forced to settle for imperfections. Also, why is there such inconsistency in high-street sizing. When I try on a 38in slim-fit jacket in River Island, why shouldn't I expect a slim-fit Burton jacket to fit the same? Why is a 32in waist (regardless of style) much tighter in TopMan than it is in H&M? An inch is a universal measurement after all.

    Of course, sizing inconsistencies extend beyond suits but I feel the importance of the fit is far more paramount than that of other garments. Similarly, a poor fitting suit is more noticeable than, say, chinos that are slightly too loose around the waist.

    I appreciate I haven't exactly exhausted every option available but the difficulties I've encountered thus far have been incredibly time-consuming. Do others experience similar frustrations? Are the alternatives simply spend more or visit a tailor?
    "Only great minds can afford simple style." (Stendhal)

  2. #2
    William Colman's Avatar

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    To be brutally honest, Burton are probably one of the worst places to go for suits, personally I haven't even touched one of their suits but their modelling online is absolutely diabolical, I have never seen worse fitting suits and I'm not entirely sure that they've just given the models the size up any more.

    Sizing inconsistencies tend to arise from cheap materials being made into cheap clothes for a tiny amount of money on a mass scale and with regards to cheap suiting, on terrible original patterns. It just won't ever be as good. If you've ever wondered why all these young guys that go to University graduations or Sixth form balls etc look so bloody awful, its because they've bought a cheap suit. It is just something we have to deal with sadly.

    Part of your problem is perhaps that you are looking for an off the peg suit that fits you even reasonably everywhere. Unless you are very lucky, that just isn't going to happen, no one is a brands idea of a standard size.

    My suggestion, going on the what you've said above, is to go for the Topman slim fit, the jacket shouldn't come up any higher than the bottom of the trouser zip and it should completely cover your arse; I know Topman jackets tend to be slightly shorter than most but it's still worth bearing in mind. The trouser legs riding up when you stand up is just a factor of them being a slim fitting trouser, you leg expands when you sit, all you have to do is push them back down, they might even slide down of their own accord.

    Your only other option is tailoring I'm afraid, find the suit that fits the best and get it altered, basic alterations (tapering, trouser length, jacket waist, sleeve length) shouldn't cost more than 40.

    It's frustrating but it's just a fact of life. If you intended to buy two suits at the 150 each mark stump up another 85 and you can have This suit:

    Youngs Ink Sb 1 Button Peak - REISS
    Which I can assure you looks a lot better in real life, with the trouser alterations included. If you do have a local Reiss you could also check out their mixer suits, which are essentially separate blazers and trousers with slightly more casual detailing or colouring which come to about 345 - 350.

    Its another alternative to consider, they will last a lot longer and look a lot, lot better.

  3. #3
    Brown's Avatar

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    If you can get to a House of Fraser, that would be my first port of call for you (and there is currently a sale on). The Peter Werth and Howick ranges should have plenty within your budget. But you have to be in store, trying these things on - NOT shopping online with asos / Burtons. I've never bought a suit that didn't need SOME degree of tailoring, whether that's taking the trousers up, or taking the waist in on the jacket.

  4. #4

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    Austin Reed also have a sale on, with some 100% wool suits for around 200, limited sizes now though. They have a range of fits from traditional to slim. Never bought one of there suits myself, but have been very tempted.

    I recently took a risk and bought a second hand Reiss suit on eBay for a job interview. I spent the same again on alterations and am quite happy with it.

  5. #5
    Tom

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    House of Fraser sale as above, or Debenhams sale (one of the many), or TK Maxx. Job done!

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