TaipeiMort wrote:1) Go to the nearest Brooks Brothers outlet near you. Buy two 346-stretch suits for $549, one navy, one charcoal. These suits are much better quality than Jos A Bank for the same price, and especially better than Mens Wearhouse-- they just aren't double canvassed, so they wont last 15 years. Get measured for a dress shirt, don't buy one there.
346 generally will be better than anything at Mens Wearhouse and lots of department store stuff.
However, 346 suits may well suit an individual's body better than the JAB suits, but they slot in somewhere just below the JAB Signature line in terms of quality (both 346 and Signature fit slightly differently and are of slightly different quality across their lines; many Signature suits will be better than any 346 and vice versa, but there are some Signature suits that will beat any 346 out there), only for substantially more money at the constant JAB "first and only time ever" sales. JAB Sig Gold and Platinum will both generally be substantially better than 346.
If you're really going for basic, decent, and cheap, I'd recommend getting yourself measured at a menswear store (BB, BB Outlet, JAB, or even Mens Wearhouse if that's all you can find) or the menswear section of a higher end department store (Nordstrom, Saks, etc.; nothing below Dillards). Sign up for the Sierra Trading Post email list and wait for a good coupon. Compare the coupon deal on Lauren suits on STP in your size with what Overstock has on Abboud suits. Buy a solid navy suit for $160 or less (sometimes the "charcoal" suits on STP and Overstock are actually heather or medium gray; navy is always navy). If it's not crazy unsuited to your body when it arrives, get it tailored by a good tailor and I'd be very surprised if you didn't look better than at least half your classmates at OCI.
If you want to go better than that, JAB Signature is the next step up around $200 during a good sale (or Sig Gold above that). Higher than that, go to an actual BB store during one of their big sales (the next one is probably sometime around Thanksgiving) or start to learn enough to where you'll know what you're doing elsewhere.
TaipeiMort wrote:2) Take your Brooks Brothers suits to a normal BB store, they will have a tailor option that is high quality and inexpensive-- they wont overcharge like most places because they figured that you have purchased one of the more expensive suits and have rolled it into the price. My tailor was shocked that I paid "500 per suit," actually I paid 250 per suit (but didn't have the heart to tell him).
If they've rolled it into their price, it'll be free (like basic finishing is on all top-line BB OTR suits). If you're paying the in-house guy anything at all, you could likely find similar quality anyplace for a pretty similar price. I'm always very leery of in-house tailoring.
TaipeiMort wrote:3) Find a Van Huesen outlet, or go online to a van heusen store (or amazon works too). Buy white or light blue dress shirts, no patterns or stripes, for around $21 each, using the measurements BB gave you. If you are really skinny or fat, buy the regular oxford shirts, they will make you look bigger, or conversely hide your curves. If you are in the middle (slightly overweight or buff), buy the fitted shirts because they will fit correctly. Either pointed or fashion spread collar should work, don't buy normal spread collars-- they are not conservative enough.
Rather, go to TJ Maxx or Marshalls and pick up a PVH shirt for like $14. Tommy Hilfiger, Geoffrey Beene, Chaps, Calvin Klein, Izod, Van Heusen, Arrow, and Kenneth Cole shirts are all made by the same company (PVH) and will all be found regularly at TJ Maxx/Marshalls (which are effectively identical and are another same company deal) for cheaper than they can be found at their respective outlet stores.
That said, Van Heusen is primarily the brand PVH uses for JC Penney, which (because JCP is relatively crummy itself) means that they're relatively crappy compared to PVH's Nordstrom or Dillard's/Macy's brands (Hilfiger and Beene, respectively). Look first for Hilfiger or Beene shirts, then go on to Van Heusen. If you want to go outside the PVH bubble, look for Nautica, which is comparable to Beene.
As to fit, Mort is right on when he says that normal/buff/slightly-to-moderately overweight folks should go fitted on all the PVH brands. Skinny people should do the same, contrary to what he says (nothing looks more stupid than a billowy-ass shirt on a skinny dude). Go point or medium-spread collar.
TaipeiMort wrote:4) Go to the Nordstrom Rack and either buy Allen Edmonds Cap Toe Park Avenue or Fifth Avenue black shoes for around $205 on discount from $330, or if you want cheaper, buy Cole Haan cap toe, non square toe, black, lace ups for around $100. Also, while you are at the rack, buy cheap dress socks that match your suit pants or shoes, and buy a black belt.
I've never actually seen an A-E black captoe in stock at any of the three Racks I've frequented over the last four-or-so years in my size (11.5, so not an uncommon size), so this isn't particularly reliable advice in my experience on A-E.
If you're going cheap and simple, go Bostonian black cap-toe (under $50 at the Rack; under $80 virtually anywhere on sale - they will only probably last through law school, but that's all you really need right now) or look for a sale on Johnston & Murphy Meltons or Cole Haan cap-toes if you can't find them at the Rack. A-E shoes are way overkill if all you're wearing is a 346 suit (much less a $150 Lauren) and a $15 Tie Bar tie.
5) Go to http://www.thetiebar.com
. Buy "traditional" (non-skinny) red or blue or mixture silk ties that are striped or dotted for $15 each.
Good advice. Darker-blue or darker-red Sweet Tooth, Pindot, and Biz styles are solid picks.
NoleinNY wrote:$549?? For TWO Brooks Brothers suits? Or did you mean $549 EACH? If the former, I am hauling ass to the Camarillo Outlet Mall this weekend.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that's because it is. Hell, a 346 suit isn't entirely wool.
346 isn't sold in actual BB stores, only the outlets (indeed, many of the outlets will never see a single item of BB clothing found in an actual BB store; it's really pretty shady). It's a little bit like when Chrysler was owned by Daimler. Yeah, the same corporate overlord made both the Mercedes S-Series sedans and the Dodge Caravan, but that didn't make the Caravan a Mercedes. Don't be that guy who would say, "OMG! You mean they're made by the same company? And I could buy four Caravans for the price of one S-Class? If so, I'm hauling ass out to the Camarillo Dodge Auto-Mall this weekend!"
None of this is to say that 346 suits are terrible or anything, just that they're not really Brooks Brothers suits. They're a base-model Dodge Caravan with a wildly inflated sticker price, having nothing at all to do with the named partner's S600. Further, also similar to the Caravan, while they'll perform their function admirably, they're neither the cheapest nor the best option at their price point.
Anyway, not that anyone cares overmuch, but I'm back from the bar exam and moving 1500 miles to Phoenix.
Did the Nordstrom Last Chance thing for the first time today (all the shit returned to all the Nordstroms throughout the nation that can't be re-shelved (missing tags, worn, etc.) ends up in the basement of a mostly-abandoned mall here in Phoenix). It's like the Black Friday sale rush at the doors every day (a lot of people apparently make a living reselling the stuff on eBay), complete with someone reading the throngs of middle-aged women lined up at the gates a list of rules before opening the doors (the big one is "no aggressive shopping," enforced by a bunch of baton-wielding security guards beating on old ladies - place is legit).
The ties were all crap (apparently, if you vomit blood on your tie and then give it to a pack of wild dogs who tear it to pieces, Nordstrom will still accept it back as a return, and then try to get $4.95 for it). However, I found a brand new $1700 list charcoal Hickey Freeman that it appears someone marked for tailoring but then gave up on (a bunch of tailor's chalk marks all over it, but otherwise flawless and untouched other than all the sleeve tags being removed). Price? $99.95!!! I was thinking that the hundreds of old ladies were nuts rushing in every day to dig through the nightly dump of big piles of returned purses, but for 94% off top-quality flawless suits, I think I have a new favorite store.