New to this - Looking for advice

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Illusive_man, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Illusive_man

    Illusive_man New in Town

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    Alright, so I'm a 25 year old tech CEO. I'm an entrepreneur, I know how stuff works, I know which people know how stuff work, and I can make that into a machine that generates money somehow.

    I'm not from a rich family, I didn't have anyone to teach me about etiquette, style, fine clothes, presenting yourself in a dignified way. But now I got where I am, and I want (and have) to do these things. So I've been doing some research into suits; And there are a few things that aren't very clear to me.

    1) Brands / tailor made. So there are premium brands (Armani, Cornelliani) - but there's also completely custom made suits. What's the difference here?

    2) So there are a lot of different materials. As far as I know there's wool, linnen, cotton, silk, cashmere and mohair - that's a lot to take in. What should I know about these things? I get warm very easily, so I am essentially looking for something that keeps me as cool as possible. I like it being a bit glossy, but not the cheap polyester type.

    What are the essentials I should know? And please, don't tell me to just look up a faq/guide. The best way I learn is through discourse and communication. For example, right now I'm thinking of looking for a fabric that's a blend of cashmere, silk and linnen; Cashmere/silk so it doesn't crinkle, and linnen so it keeps me as cool as possible. Is that a good idea?

    Sincerely,
    Illusive
     
  2. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    Coventry, UK
    I think there are better people here to give you a more organic answer.

    However, the only thing I would like to note is to avoid blended fabric. In my opinion, a blended fabric will never have the same drape of a pure one, unless we are talking of minimal percentages. That is to say that a wool blend is more likely to be or stiff (if contains synthetic), or very prone to quick wear and wrinkling (linen, silk, cotton won't hold the shape like wool).

    This issue can be worsened if the material is very light; trousers especially, when made in very light fabrics, tend to wear out rather quickly. Not to mention the fact that a lighter fabric won't fall well over your body.

    I would remark that "lighter" doesn't always mean "cooler". The key factor is breathability of material, namely the loosenes of the weave. Tighter the weave, less breathable the garment. Looser weaves are more likely found in wool fabrics, even not so light; you can immediatly recognize a loose weave if light filters through.
    It's pointless to have suits made of superfine cotton-spandex fabric; the polyester fibre will roast you during the day. Instead, a 100% wool fresco will allow your body to breathe and will let air to circulate. I have a Ralph Lauren fresco suit (from the 90s) which I wore on 15th August, in Rome (one of the hottest european cities); I felt like I wasn't wearing the coat.

    Another warming factor is the lining. Again, you can have the finest and the lightest fabric in the world, but when your jacket is lined in polyester you are simply wearing a plastic bag, covered in nice surface cloth.
     
    Dirk Wainscotting likes this.
  3. Illusive_man

    Illusive_man New in Town

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    I personally want to avoid all synthetic fabrics; Money isn't an issue for me (within reason: I'm not spending 10.000 on a suit) so the important thing for me is that I really get what I want/need. So what about minimal blends, like say, 80% wool/10%linnen/10% silk?
     
  4. JackieMatra

    JackieMatra A-List Customer

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    For staying cool, lightweight linen is absolutely unbeatable.
    It has long been the classic hot weather fabric with good reason.
    The reason being that it's an extraordinarily poor insulator.

    Sure, it wrinkles like mad, but that's makes for much of the charm of its appearance.

    It also unwrinkles remarkably easily.
    Just lightly mist it with a little water and hang it up on proper wooden shirt/jacket and trouser hangers until it fairly quickly dries (providing there's reasonable unrefrigerated air circulation in the area), and you'll find it looks as if it has just been pressed (and creased in the case of the trousers).
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  5. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Why buy new, if, as you say, you are still learning, go to a website like Savvy Row, pay a fraction of the cost new, if it turns out that a purchase is not to your liking you can easily sell it on. Savvy Row is a British company but there are some good vintage places on the US side of the pond. Try Monster Vintage.
     
  6. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    There is a great deal to be learned from the threads here.

    Your first question, the difference between Armani and custom, is simple. One is off the peg, no matter how pricey. The other is made to fit you. And the range therein is very wide indeed. Just because you're buying a phat brand doesn't mean you're getting what you want. Do you want a slim, high water pants hipster suit? Seek out designers who do that. Want something more acceptable at a stuffy dinner with old money? Ralph Lauren is your guy here, as well as for the stuffy afternoon picnic. There are also plenty of ready-made brands in between, acceptable in any meeting room. The bad thing about any off-the-rack suit is that it is necessarily made to accommodate the widest range of bodies from the 98 pound weakling to the beer can curler. That means it will never fit exactly right, and you'll have to remove the jacket to drive a car or the shoulder pads will rise up to battle your face.
    In terms of custom, that's a deep lake as well. A made-to-meausre suit by our own Matt Deckard is one way to go for classic (vintage) feel and a good fit. There are also custom tailors all over Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, et al who can make up something really great if you're patient and know how to measure your own body carefully. Then there's Magnoli Clothiers, which sources from others as an in-between solution. Absolute custom, called Bespoke, will set you back thousands. The cloth is cut for you, accommodations are made to hide your body's quirks, and the suit will fit only you.

    We can hep you if you're looking for a vintage kind of getup. If you want general advice in a modern suit selection, go hit up styleforum.
     
  7. Dirk Wainscotting

    Dirk Wainscotting A-List Customer

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    Ask yourself how often you want to wear a suit. Anyone not accustomed to wearing suits needs only two of them for a start, if that (depending as well on the climate you live in): Blue/grey or a blue and a lighter suit (cream or beige) for hotter climates. Both solid colours. The rest should be clothes you can mix and match.
    Above all buy things that fit and suit you, not because it has a name or some influential mover-and-shaker happened to be wearing it.

    Good linen does have a soft sheen and mid-weight linen drapes well for jackets rather than looking like crumpled paper as lighter-weight linen can do. It's the number one choice for warm climates. There are other gauzy and breathable cloths, but these (fresco for example) are likely only going to be available if you choose to get suits made. Tropical wool is turning up more and more in RTW suits as people choose lighter suits over heavier.

    You don't have to wear an actual suit to dress better, jackets and trousers can be an easier way of graduating into suits, especially if the people around you are not wearing suits.

    The separation between Armani et al and bespoke suits is broad. There are supposedly better suits from the likes of Zegna, but at the prices they charge it would be foolish to buy a suit for the same money it costs to get one made just for you. For someone wearing suits ever day and with the money to buy a good one, it should be bespoke every time.
     
    brendanm720 likes this.
  8. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Sometimes I stare at at thread knowing what I want to say but somehow can't seem to get there without going round the houses. Then a brilliant one liner comes up and and quotes me verbatim. Well said Dirk.
     
  9. drcube01

    drcube01 New in Town

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    My advice is to buy a cheap, possibly used suit to get used to wearing one. Then you have the experience to know what you want when you decide to shell out more money. You'll find that your idea of different fabrics will change as you get experience wearing them. Nothing beats pure wool for your first suit, and it can be very cool if it's designed that way. You'll also get the experience needed to decide your pants hem and your sleeve lengths. Also, you'll get to see whether you like wider lapels or the skinny modern kind, same with jacket length. There are a lot of decisions to make and experience wearing suits gives you the ability to make those decisions. So start cheap and used, and work up to the "money is no object" garments.
     
    brendanm720 likes this.
  10. Awesomest Guy

    Awesomest Guy Familiar Face

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    Location:
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    What an interesting thread! I'll make sure to keep watch on this one. Also, some friendly tips:

    1: If you can afford it, go bespoke. Find a really good tailor who does everything by hand. Although it obviously wasn't made for me, I've a really stunning bespoke suit, made in the 50s by a local tailor. Everything was hand made. All the stitching. All the cutting. Everything. It'll last me for years, provided I remember to take the sleeves down a bit, now and again.

    2: Start with a basic, boring wardrobe. Don't get that three-piece ginger tweed suit with the double breasted waistcoat and belted back until you're well into the game. A heavy weight suit, conservative and business appropriate, a lighter weight one, for the warmer months, equally conservative. An overcoat, black oxfords, a few white and blue shirts, two dark, subtle ties.

    3: Know how to wear it. Never fasten the bottom button on a single-breasted coat. With a two-button one, always the top. With a three-button, the top button, sometimes (although I personally prefer not to), the middle one, always. Make sure your socks are over-the-calf (or at least don't expose your bare ankles). Avoid square-toed shoes like the plague- you can skimp on anything but the shoes. Speaking of shoes, buy some brown ones down the track. Also, keep the armholes of your jackets nice and high. It'll help with moveability, paradoxically, and also just look nicer.

    4: Don't be too fashionable! If slim lapels suit you, fine, but don't do it because it's on trend. You don't have to wear vintage, although that can be quite fun, but make sure to keep your look classic. I quite enjoy wearing good quality hats, as, I suspect, do many others on this forum.

    5: Dress for your environment. Adapt fabric weights to the local climes. Also, if your social or work groups are quite relaxed and informal, you'll probably only need one conservative suit. Opt for sports jackets and blazers for day-to-day attire if this is the case.

    6: Gradually increase your range. Develop your formal wardrobe, e.g, black tie, morning dress, etc, as well as your casual weekend attire. Make sure it's all equally high-quality.

    7: If you want, buy accessories second-hand. I love collecting ties. Most of the ones I own cost me about $2 AUD each, and they're all fantastic. Pure silks, wools, knits, etc. Cufflinks, fountain pens, scarves and hats are all, in my opinion, optimally sourced from second-hand places, like Ebay, or the starving college students favourite, the charity shop (or op-shop, as we call them down in the great southern land).

    8: Enjoy yourself. Once you've established the basics, dress with flair and individuality. Get that ginger tweed suit I mentioned. Buy a pair of white suede loafers with contrasting tassels in green velvet. Actually, that sounds awful. Don't. Get some spectators instead.

    I'll also recommend some websites. Gentleman's Gazette, Black Tie Guide and Style Forum are all excellent. Parisian Gentleman has a bit of a french bias but makes for a fantastic read. Ivy Style is a good blog for those more interested in the classic American look (button-downs, sack suits, loafers). In terms of physical books, I can whole-heartedly recommend Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion, authored by Bernhard Roetzal. It has a bit of a bias towards the old-school British look but is nonetheless very informative.
     
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  11. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

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    If you are starting to build a wardrobe, I'd recommend you steer clear of niche fabrics like linen. These days there are countless worsted wools in lighter fabric weights. You'll find that such worsteds are not held in high regard here, because they usually don't drape or breathe or take a beating like the heavy wools vintage suits are cut from. But, if you are determined to have something in a lighter weight, a modern worsted wool suit will serve you better in more settings than a linen or cotton one. As has been intimated above (and I say this out of my own experience of bad clothes-buying decisions early on), you really want to start with meat-and-potatoes tailored clothes, workhorses. Get a dark gray wool suit, and a navy one. Branch out from there.
     
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  12. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

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    Italian living in Spain
    Where are you based? You said you get hot quick but that can happen even in cold climes if you are a big guy (for example). If you want to saty cool choose linen, no two wasy about it IMO.
    if you chose this forum this means you should nto be chooing any style suit (Arma ni, Corneliani)but you are looking for a distinct style which is 'away form the numbers'?
    Lastly, make sure the coat (jacket) is canvassed and not glued: the inner canvas (that which gives structure ot the jacket chest, shoulder area) is stitched and not glued. This will allow the body to breath properly (because it it loose from the outer fabric and the inner lining) and also drapes better as it moves freely and independently.
     
  13. Dirk Wainscotting

    Dirk Wainscotting A-List Customer

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    I don't think a coat with a floating canvas has that much effect on cooling at all. In some ways you could argue that the 'open' layers would retain heat better. It has a layer of wadding in the chest in both cases anyway. I also don't think it has a noticeably better effect upon "drape" either.

    Mind you I'm talking about the very high-end fusibles now being used by the top-end makers, not the volume rubbish. Personally I would choose a floating canvas, but they are really only found in the more expensive suits. This can only reasonably be recommended for those with bottomless pockets (i.e. those with plenty cash).
     
  14. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

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    Full retail prices are prohibitive, but ebay levels the field a bit. You can get coats from the best RTW firms with full canvassing, for a fraction of retail, though still not inexpensively, exactly.
     
  15. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

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    you'd be surprised at how many mid - high level brands now make half - canvassed coats (the full canvassed would be besopke and yes, much higher prices), for as little as 300euro for Italian made (hardly pennyless pockets). Yes, the half canvassed because of the glue-less construction (no matter how high end and modern, it's still glue you are getting into your fabric and that does not make the body breath), and the air and perspiration moving in between the 3 separate layers, it is only normal that it will be more brethable, especially in hot climes and for someone who sweats easily as he. The only advantage of new technology glue is that it won't bubble as easily when dry cleaned as older glues used to. Top end makers that use glue will often cost you more than 300euro for a coat, often closer to 1000 if there is a brand name involved.
     
  16. Dirk Wainscotting

    Dirk Wainscotting A-List Customer

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    Canvassing a coat properly, in the way the aficionados want it, is not a process that lends itself to cost-cutting (unless it is being made by slave labour).
    I don't want to harp on about this, so I will just say that there are now many aspects of bespoke work that have been latched onto by consumers and volume-makers alike and the former is not always getting what he thinks he is getting. This goes from the MTM shirt which promises a fit that can't possibly be achieved without a fitting. The price is often way out of kilter with what is being offered.

    Let's say you get a higher-end RTW or an MTM coat that promises a 'real canvas'. They certainly don't have some guy sitting there filling it full of hand padding stitches, it's done with an automated pad-stitcher putting in rows of zig-zags and a sort of blind-stitch. It's not being hand-attached. So it's worth asking if it makes much sense paying a premium for the idea of 'canvassed' when a very-high quality fusible performs almost as well, just as good or better, depending on the quality?

    I realise this will divide people. I am a maker, so I know what I prefer, but I'm not ready to rubbish the best of the cheaper options. The best factories have the right equipment for proper, good quality fusing. In low-volume hand-manufacture (i.e. bespoke), the canvas makes sense.
     
  17. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

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    I never said anything about hand made, I totally agree that is indeed a labour intensive process and is usually only seen on bespoke or very high end. Machine stitiching is a good compromise as you get the half canvass (cannot be done in full canvass which is only obtained by hand) pros with a decent price, without the use of glue (high end or low end, it is glue in the end :) ). Glue is used by high end makers to sell an avarage product at the highest possible profit or mid-lower end labels that are happy to offer the very same avarge product at a better price. I too am a maker so defenitely know the details, although the fact that full or half canvassed is better than glue isn't an industry secret or anything like that, it's just common knowledge. Now if we were to talk about hand stitched button holes or mother of pearl buttons then I can agree that there are no real benefits other than esthetics, but the canvass and the shoulders paddings are the most important bit on a jacket, along with the fabric choice that is. Which reminds me of another suggestion: always and only use natural fabrics and no synthetics.
     
  18. Dirk Wainscotting

    Dirk Wainscotting A-List Customer

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    I'm afraid you've ignored the central issue: that most of these machine-made canvases are barely better than a well-fused coat. The word 'canvas' is now like catnip to the Styleforum crew. Mentioning 'glue' gives the false impression that it is stiff or liable to fall apart in a week, but this is simply not true.

    The point is that no-one here, or arriving here for advice, should be told they must either get canvassed coats or they doing it all wrong. Every coat in the 'golden era', even the cheaper ones, had sewn canvases because there was no other way of doing it. The lower-end coats from that era (and there are many) are not particularly well made on the inside. If other materials had been available they would have used them, as tailors did in the mid-fifties when things like 'vilene' started being used.

    I wouldn't overlook hand-stitched buttonholes even on a lower-end coat. They look and perform better.
     
  19. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    Location:
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    I don't understand why people still equate "Italian made" with "well made" or even "good taste". Have you ever been in an Italian clothing retail store? The cheap-average pieces are terrible, having all the same shape, the same boring colours, the same lifeless lapels.
     
  20. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

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    376
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    If you are going to tell some one that is asking for advice on a well made coat, that glue is the same as stitched, then go ahead. I won't BS him. Fused means you are gluing the canvass on the outer fabric, whilst stiching you are allowing for some breathing space inbetween 3 individual, unfused layers of fabric. It is nature that air passes through 3 individual pieces easier and better when it's stiches keeping them together, allowing them to move indipendently from one another (and in the process giving a better drape and fit on the chest), instead of dealing with something that has been glued. I never said he is doing it wrong, but if he wants a better result (assuming of course it is a well made product), stitching is the better choice. Fusing today has indeed progressed to higher levels, but it will never match a canvassed coat. That said of course there are canvassed garments that are made terribly, that goes without saying. Not everything that is canvassed means it's good, but everything that is glued is indeed 'cutting the corners' - it's a fact. That is why tailoring has never used fusing , but relies on stitching (hand work); the machines just recreate this (which is of course 'cutting corners' it's self (campared to hand work). I'll leave you with the last word, I gave my 2 penth :)
     

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