Hi all,

I have what I expect to be quite a common plan, and hopefully this thread should assist many 'first timers' looking to set themselves up with a good base suit!

So, I already have a plain black suit (jacket and trousers, standard off the hanger, Zara's (UK) more 'premium' label); it fits me well, however it's black. Time has passed and now I realise that actually I need to get myself a non-black alternative. I'm thinking along the lines of a slimmer cut, block colour mid or navy blue, burgundy, dark green or grey. I'm also thinking I'd like a three-piece - I very much appreciate the sharp look of a suit with matching (horseshoe?) waistcoat (see Thom Sweeney style).

It needs to be suitable for weddings, interviews and any other occasions where my gut says a black suit isn't appropriate. (Suggestions on what I need to look for to cover these types of event would be GREATLY appreciated i.e. design aspects to look out for).

My budget depends on how much I will have to spend to achieve this. To put in context, I was happy with the fit of the black suit in Zara and was happy to pay the c. 200 to get it. I'm quite tall and have quite a broad chest and I was originally looking at spending around the 150 area but just felt that this particular one suited my profile. Therefore I'd like to keep to an absolute max of 300/350 all in (jacket, waistcoat, trousers, alterations). It has taken a while to save this budget so need to get the most from it.

And this is where I currently find myself. I'm not actually sure where to start my search.

I never expected to afford a tailor made suit so yes I anticipate having to alter an off the hanger model. But this is where I'm stuck. Do I look for another 200 suit that fits as best as possible and spend the extra 100/150 on alterations, or spend as much on the suit as possible and possibly forgo alterations due to budget?

I've never been into a tailor to date, and having only recently moved to Manchester I'd be going into somewhere blind so would like to be prepared.

Any advice will be appreciated on how I should move forward and which retailers to try (UK); on the up side I've got until mid August for my first outing where I will require this but I want to get this sorted sooner than later.

Thanks for reading this and thanks for any posts.

Allan