May 9, 2017
We’ve all been there. You graduate from college where you enter the working world and need a few suits. Whether that be for your job’s dress code, weddings, or other events, every man needs at least one go-to suit in their closet. After I graduated from Ole Miss, I immediately started working for my family’s business where my dad required sales people to wear a suit and tie everyday. I was blessed that Big Steve offered to buy me a few suits for my graduation present so I wouldn’t be wearing the same suits I wore to fraternity/sorority formals in college that probably still reeked of cheap beer and vodka cranberries.
He took me to a store in the mall where if you buy one suit, they basically pay off of some of your mortgage (If you’re a guy, you know exactly what store I’m referring to). AKA buy one suit, get three suits free. Of course I thought this was a great deal because you can get 4 suits for under $1,000. The “clothier” that fitted me put me in a 42R (not slim). I wore the hell out of those suits and felt like an absolute boss everywhere I went because when you’re fresh out of college and wearing a suit everyday, you feel pretty important (even though I was living at home with my parents).
A few years later and having purchased 8 more suits, 6 sport coats, and a few dozen shirts, I went back to said store to rent a tuxedo for a wedding I was in that Summer. I walked in all confident thinking I was one of their best customers and told the lady working I needed a rental tuxedo in a size 42R. She looked at me and said “Sweetheart, you’re a 38Slim at most.” I replied: “With all do respect, Miss, I’ve been buying a 42R for a few years now, I think I know my size.” Just for clarification, I’ve been blessed with a great metabolism and haven’t gained a pound since I was in high school– So there shouldn’t have been any changes with my sizing. She then grabs a 38Slim off-the-rack and after I slipped it on I thought to myself: “SOB, I am a 38Slim.”
CHEAP SUITS + ALTERATIONS = $$$
After that day, NOTHING fit in my closet and I was reluctant to wear any of the suits I had purchased in the last few years. I decided to take these suits and have them altered to fit closer to my body. This tailor does an extraordinary job and he’s by far the best in town, but it comes with a price. Around $300/suit to be exact. I figured I would budget to take one suit in per month and have them tailored. After paying close to $1,000 for these alterations, I thought I would seek out a cheaper alternative so I returned to the store I originally bought the suits from and they quoted me $120/suit. Well, I certainly received what I paid for. Two suits ruined by their tailor. Apparently altering a 42R to a 38Slim is almost impossible if you don’t have a master tailor doing the work. Some of these suits/sport coats were even “Slim-Fit” or “Tailored-Fit” to begin with but still ill-fitting with my skinny build.
QUALITY > QUANTITY
The “buy one get three free” suit deal seems like a steal, but when you actually think about it, that company is still selling the suits for the same price/suit they would have originally, but because of their marketing tactics, they make guys feel like they’re receiving a great deal. Thus, getting guys to buy four suits instead of one. And again, you get what you pay for with a suit costing less than $600. The fabric feels like cardboard, the pants pockets rip at the seams, and if you’re built on the bigger side, you have to worry about ripping the butt-crack seam or back of your jacket when busting out some dance moves at a wedding (cough cough, Luke Porter). In turn, you’re replacing your suits every 1-2 years because the quality of the suit just doesn’t hold up over time.
I decided to bite the bullet and buy my first custom suit. My brother had told me about his experience with having a custom tailor come by his office to measure him and let you fully customize your suit (I was mainly excited about having my name sewn inside the jacket) so I thought I would give it a whirl. I realized the suit was double and almost triple the cost of all of my previous suits but after paying around $200-$500/suit and pumping in hundreds of dollars in alterations, I realized I would be spending around the same except I would be able to customize the suit to my style preferences.
Yes, spending $900-$1,500 seems steep for a guy only a few years out of college (or at the age of 40 for that matter). But when you think about how many items of clothing you’ve purchased over the years that just sit in your closet because you purchased other items that fit better, it’s time to realize that financially it makes more sense to have quality garments that will last for decades instead of years (that’s if you’re able to stray away from the dad-bod).
Most guys that contact me range from 25-40 years old and all have trouble getting past the idea of spending that much on a suit. And that’s perfectly fine. But it IS an investment. Purchasing sheets with high thread counts is no different than paying for a quality suit. You spend more money but you get what you pay for.
After having bought custom suits/shirts for a few years, I realized this industry was my passion and how there were many areas I would change about the process when working with previous clothiers. I love what I do. To me, I don’t have a job. I have a hobby that I get paid for and count my blessings each and every day that I’m able to wake up and love what I do for a living.