Bespoke Suit Shopping: Keepin’ It Classy on a Budget

I needed a new navy suit a couple of days ago. Given the time constraints I had to buy in, I bought off-the-rack from Men's Warehouse and had the jacket and paints altered a bit to ensure a good fit. For a suit, a white shirt, a blue shirt, some socks, a belt and eventually a pair of black Joseph Abboud Oxfords, I paid about $900. I really like the suit – the fit is great, the shirts were excellent (Calvin Klein) and I got the shoes 50% off – overall good value.

But if I had more time, I would really have liked to try out a suit from one the reasonable bespoke/made-to-measure clothiers that one keeps reading about. The 3 that I am familiar with and have considered buying from (I think I will in the future) are:

Arden Reed

Have any of you monkeys bought from these clothiers? If so, have you been impressed by the quality of the work? How does the price stack up against buying from conventional retailers such as Men's Warehouse, Jos. A Bank, Macy's, Brooks Brothers and for those who can drop some serious change – Nordstrom, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman (although I'm sure a suit from one of the above can't hold a candle to a Brioni or Zegna)?

I think one of the most common suits an aspiring banker or any individual who wants to work in Finance probably needs is the classic navy suit. So I think a good benchmark for comparative pricing of these tailoring services would be the navy suit. My.Suit sells a navy suit for $495 and you can be measured and tailored in store (NYC). Indochino sells their navy suit for $379 and Arden Reed sells a navy for $397.

I think if any of you have purchased a suit from one of the above (or other such services for that matter, please do tell), good information for prospective monkeys might be (feel to use 1/10 scale points to answer):

  • Quality of tailoring and finishing
  • Fit
  • Quality of materials used
  • Style
  • Price
  • Customer Service (including follow-up and alterations)

Comments (14)

Aug 12, 2012 - 11:16pm

I'm pretty sure Goodman and Barneys carry Zegna. Brioni is great but I would not put Zegna in the same category.

I haven't purchased form any of these sites but I'd like to throw Suit Supply into the convo. Heard some good thing-brother thought the store in Amsterdam was great and they opened a store in Soho recently.

Aug 12, 2012 - 11:43pm

You hear mixed reviews of Indochino, but my own experience with them was great.

Suit fit pretty well, got me through 2 recruiting seasons (summer and full time) with a cleaning or two. I needed it taken in just a little bit but was out of town so I ran out of the 30 or 60 day window for free alterations. Emailed them, they said no problem. My shirt from them fits exceptionally well and is still my favorite despite having others made. All of it is still in great shape after 2 years of very heavy usage.

Liked everything so much I bought a voucher for another suit via a Groupon-like site called Thrillist. Again, I went on vacation in Asia for a month so the voucher was going to expire, but I just emailed them about it and they were happy to extend it for as long as necessary.

Good people overall, never needed to wait more than 24 hours for an email response. That said, there are some other less glowing reviews online, so your mileage may vary.

  • 1
Aug 13, 2012 - 9:56am

I have a suit from Indochino I took advantage of a Gilt City deal a few months back where I got a suit, shirt and tie for $280.

I chose the essential gray suit which normally runs for $379 along with an essential white shirt and a navy tie. With the help of my girlfriend I measured myself and placed the order. Within a few weeks I had the whole package arrive at my door neatly folded and wrinkle free.

The material felt nice and looked good. 100% wool suit and 100% cotton shirt. The suit in my opinion is a great color, especially for summer. It is a nice light grey that really adds some variety to the usualy dark color of suits I own. The craftmanship looked good as well. I am not expert by any means (far from it) but just looking over the suit and shirt I did not notice any flaws or blemishes.

I tried the shirt and suit on and ran into a few problems. The jacket and shirt were small...damn. The jacket was a little tight in the chest and pretty small in the arms. The shirt sleeves were too short and overall length was as well (would come untucked if I lifted my arms over my head). I contacted customer service and received a automated responses saying they were receiving a high number of emails and would get back to me within 72 hours. They actually got back to me the next day and I was able to order a remake of the jacket and shirt with no hassle.

To my surprise the remakes came quickly (2 weeks) and fit perfectly. I was also shocked that they did not require me to send back the original suit jacket and shirt. I figured I would send the originals back and they would then send the remakes, or atleast send the originals once I received the remakes. That wasn't the case and now I have an extra jacket and shirt that don't fit on the floor of my room.

I wore the suit to a wedding this past week and received numerous compliments on it. Everyone loved the color, style and the fit. For $280 it is the best suit I have ever owned, not lets see how long it will actually last.

My only complaint would be their customer service. They were very polite, helpful and responsive (always within 24 hours) but you would also receive an email from a different person. You could never stay in touch with one rep who you had emailed and would also go through [email protected] which got a little annoying. They also have no phone number for any type of quick questions you may want to ask, must always go through email.

All in all I would buy from them again, the price is just hard to beat (especially if another coupon pops up). I am curious to see how long this suit will last and am really hoping it doesn't fall apart within a year or two. As said above there have been mixed reviews online so who knows what you may get or what will happen my next order

Aug 13, 2012 - 10:30am

I haven't used the services you listed but did get a bunch of shirts and two suits from J.Hilburn which is the same type of service. The shirts are excellent, varying prices based on the material used, a decent shirt runs about $120 I believe.

The two suits I got are excellent, charcoal and navy. The jackets fitted me perfectly with no alterations required. The first set of pants were a very loose fit, despite ordering the tailored fit. I would say if you want a typical tailored fit, go with the "sport" style pant. I ordered this on the second pair of pants and didn't require any alterations. Material and finish are excellent, I'm told they get their fabrics from the same mills as Zegna. This may/probably is a marketing gimmick but the material is excellent either way. The biggest "con" I'd say is the price, as they run more than Indochino (~$200 for a pair of pants and ~$600 for a jacket) however, you get what you pay for and I think the suits are worth the cost, if you're in the market at that price point.

Aug 13, 2012 - 11:47am

I too have used J.Hilburn. Can't say much about their pants and suits, but their shirts are great. The only problem I've had is the seams aren't exactly on an even line with the way the fabric runs. Other than that, they're pretty good for bespoke shirts without breaking the bank.

Aug 13, 2012 - 1:37pm

I'd throw Black Lapel and Suit Supply into your list. I've heard good things about Black Lapel; they seem to nail the first fit more often than indochino (which can often be a miss depending on the measurements you give).

Suit Supply and Thick as Thieves are widely regarded as the king of "budget" M2M suits though. Half canvassed with high quality materials, those are probably the two most popular/best regarded by serious menswear guys.

I would say Suit Supply is better for a business since it has more traditional characteristics, however there's some flexibility in the styling with Thick as Thieves.

Aug 13, 2012 - 5:50pm

Right virtuu-I referenced Suit Supply before.

Not trying to nitpick OP-but the places you are referring to are actually Made to Measure and not Bespoke. You want to try and be accurate when describing what you want otherwise salespeople may assume you want something you do not (and something pricier).

The distinction between bespoke and M2M has become blurred through the last centuries with innovations in machine sewing and other unimportant reasons. This is what you should concentrate on-both now and as your taste become more refined and your budget more substantial:

"That said, the differing qualities of machine and hand sewing are for another essay. For now, suffice it to say that if you're trying to classify a suit as made to measure or bespoke, ask if a paper pattern is made before the cloth is cut. If the answer is yes, the jacket is bespoke and you can focus on the quality of construction knowing that the fit should be as good as it gets."…

Aug 13, 2012 - 3:34pm

I've bought a few bespoke/made to order suits and shirts from BlackLapel (
They are very well priced (suits start at $550ish and shirts $90). I made an appt with a local tailor, got my measurements which Black Lapel reimbursed me for, and sent them to the site. Picke dmy fabric etc and in about 3 weeks had a great custom suit that have made me want to never go back to an off the rack place again.

Aug 14, 2012 - 9:03am

I have a local boutique I go to where I get my Hugo Boss suits almost 70% off sometimes. These are suits that sell for $1k and I time the sales. I have the guy who I buy from give me a heads up about the sales a day before, he puts a few items away for me, and then during the crazy of a sale, I come in, get fitted. The suit is tailored perfectly, is well priced, plus the boutique repairs my suits for free (buttons, wear and tear, etc). I even get a wooden hanger and a very high quality garment bag with my purchase.

I haven't tried M2M online and I don't think I ever could. I would need to see my suit in front of me and make sure it was perfect before buying.

Lastly- I own a Brioni belt. Not a budget belt, but it is amazing.

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