AMA: I am a mens fashion stylist and the founder of a mens custom suiting business

Ali-Rutis's picture
Rank: Monkey | 51

AMA: I am a men's fashion stylist and have been making men's custom suits, sportcoats, shirts, jackets, etc. for many years. I constantly find myself helping guys build out a wardrobe for work and for outside of work. I can help answer any questions on where to start, or what you should add into your wardrobe next. What pieces you should invest in, versus what pieces you should find on the cheaper side. How to transition a work wardrobe from suits to business casual. What the best cloth is to use for suits vs. sportcoats and blazers. Differences in super count and durability with fabric.

I always tell my clients, if you are not wearing the clothes I get you - I am not doing my job. There are tons of misconceptions out in the men's fashion world in business and I am here to answer any and all questions about custom clothing and ready-to-wear for casual clothing.

Comments (40)

Aug 27, 2019

What color shirts/pants should you wear with a black fleece vest?

    • 1
Aug 27, 2019

My favorite would be Navy slacks, white button down shirt, brown shoes brown belt. Classic, put together and really easy. You can really pair any dress shirt with a black vest.

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Aug 27, 2019

How much would you spend in suits as an IB Intern, and which pieces should be the most expensive ones? Do you think that an intern should wear a vest?

    • 1
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Aug 27, 2019

I'm a PE investor focused on consumer and happen to be super into high-end menswear as well. Any chance you'd be interested in growth capital? If you're doing over $1m a year I'd love to talk investment opps!

Plus we can nerd out about Kiton.

Aug 27, 2019

Would love to chat! What is the best way to get in touch with you?

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Aug 27, 2019

Drop me a DM, even if you're not @ that volume I'm happy to speak as we do early stage growth cap too.

Aug 28, 2019

What makes a Kiton sweater worth 2 grand?

Aug 27, 2019

Just wondering in your opinion, how many suits do you think a man should own? If you can afford only on a certain budget, would you rather get fewer expensive custom tailored suits that fit well or more suits that aren't of quality that fit well? What do you consider business casual for maybe a dinner with friends or clients? Thank you for the response.

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"

Aug 27, 2019

I would highly suggest getting higher quality suits that fit you well. If you have about 3 or 4, you can rotate between them and they will last you much longer than a suit that doesn't fit you well.

Another trick to increasing the longevity of your suit is buying a suit with two pants. You have much more wear and tear on your suit pants than the jacket.

Also keep an eye out for durable fabrics. Make sure you are getting year around suits at a very low super count. (Super 110s or super 120s)

Aug 28, 2019

100% agree on buying 2 pairs of trousers, it's amazing how rare this is as an option for off the peg suits though.

Aug 28, 2019

Where are some trusted & quality places to buy suits in different price ranges? I like SuitSupply...I'd like to get your take on their value.

Aug 27, 2019

I would highly suggest getting custom suits that fit you well. No question that suits are expensive, but I would think of them as an investment. If you invest in a couple nice custom suits, they will last much longer than a cheap off the rack suit that fits okay. I always suggest starting with a solid Navy and solid charcoal, once you are ready to expand from their maybe look into a textured solid if you need to be more conservative at work or step out into a little pattern.

Another trick to increasing the longevity of your suit is buying a suit with two pants. You have much more wear and tear on your suit pants than the jacket. This will double the life span of your suit since you are slowing down the wear and tear of your pants.

Also keep an eye out for durable fabrics. Make sure you are getting year around suits at a very low super count. (Super 110s or super 120s)

As for business casual, I love a nice pair of dark jeans or 5 pocket twills for guys. Another favorite pant for business casual are the Theory's Haydin or Neoteric pants. Depending on the event, I love pairing those with a nice sport coat, sport shirt or Henley. In the fall, I suggest getting a lightweight quarter zip sweater to layer over a sport shirt. Layering is such an easy way to look effortlessly put together.

Aug 27, 2019

Also what kind of dress shoes do you recommend? What is your opinion on black/brown dress shoes and casual shoes such as drivers/loafers/sneakers? I have heard that prestige brand shoes such as Gucci or Prada or is this overhyped even if you can afford it?

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"

Aug 28, 2019

I'm not the OP but you really can't go wrong with Allen Edmonds and Alden....just go directly to one of their stores and have them measure your feet, as most men are wearing the wrong size shoe (as I recently found out).

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Aug 27, 2019

Best ways to combat the unsightly "see through" white dress shirts? Also, what dress shirts would you recommend for men with a 8 inch drop from chest to waist?

Aug 27, 2019

I always wear grey v neck shirts underneath my white shirts and it works well (I'm white so it blends in better)

Sep 5, 2019

Realize that fabric is the #1 component of apparel cost, and cotton fiber drives fabric cost. Brands manage costs by specifying fabrics with thin threads and loose weaves like poplin, and these end up more transparent.

What to do:
1) chose denser weaves like twill, herringbone, Oxford
2) "get what you pay for:" switch to a brand or style that uses heavier fabrics.

These will be warmer, but less transparent
https://www.theadultman.com/fashion-and-style/popl...
For 8" drop: most US brands design for the average American who is borderline obese. For guys who are in better shape, here's a review of Athletic Fit shirts. https://www.wardrobeessentialist.com/post/athletic...

Aug 27, 2019

Would be helpful if you can elaborate on your responses with pictures. Thanks

Aug 27, 2019

Best off the rack suit/style for stocky guys? (6'5 240)

    • 1
Aug 28, 2019

What are your thoughts on chelsea boots for daily wear?

Which ones would you recommend (& color)?

Aug 28, 2019

Not OP but I adore chelseas I think they can fit for almost any occasion dressed up or down. At on point I had 3 black pairs, 1 suede, 1 leather and another more dressy. If you wear a lot of navy I would go with black its very versatile but you could also go with a dark brown too.

Aug 28, 2019

Can you get away with Patagonia vest and a khaki pants for a client (fundraising/ deal pitching) meeting? Assuming that client is the business owner/CEO rather than institutional investors/LPs.

Aug 28, 2019

That has got to depend on the client. You walk into a meeting with some of these techies wearing a full three-piece suit and you'll probably get the stink eye...

Aug 28, 2019

If I get a bespoke suit how many should I get?

In the future, I would want my core suits to be bespoke (navy, grey)

Currently applying to medical school.

Aug 28, 2019

What's your opinion on Tan from Queer Eye? How good he is at his job?

Aug 28, 2019

Tuning in - asking for the gf

    • 1
Aug 28, 2019

I'm looking to build a smart casual wardrobe. I'm need to meet people outside of work settings and i cant constantly wear my suits. Any advice for someone with an asian lanky - semi athletic type body? I'm also around 5'7 so on the shortish side. Any templates/ advice on selecting a wardrobe?

Aug 28, 2019

Do you ever look... you know.. at their penis?

    • 1
Aug 29, 2019

I love to roll my sleeves up, in fact the only time I have my sleeves down is if I'm wearing a sport/suit jacket. Is there a way to incorporate sweaters in this routine or should I just stick with sweater vests (if those are still acceptable to wear)?

Aug 29, 2019

If you had $1.5k to spend on 3-4 suits where would you recommend going shopping? I know you like custom suits, where does one find a place that makes these that has a good reputation and doesn't break the bank?

Aug 30, 2019

I've seen Brooks Brothers running specials on $500 suits you could get a few of those.

Jcrew's Ludlow is another option.

I personally buy suits on eBay after getting my sizing right for the brand, you can even buy new with tag stuff for a big discount versus in store sales.

Sep 1, 2019

I have very broad shoulders and a very slim waist. I've found that dress shirts don't look great on me as there's so much loose fabric around the waist. Should I invest in some custom dress shirts to fix this? If so do you have any brand recommendations?

Sep 3, 2019

Not the OP, but a few of my friends have just take it to their local tailor and get it trimmed down. cheaper than going full custom, still looks good.

    • 2
Sep 3, 2019

OP, keep me honest here, hope I don't misspeak...

At the end of the day... just make sure your suits have had a date with your tailor (just my opinion, but 5 people every man needs in his life... tailor, barber, butcher, financial advisor, bartender). Even off the rack suits can look great once the trousers have been tapered, neck roll taken out of the jacket, etc.

For the guys looking a bit on the budget side, here's my $0.02:

Shirts: Charles Tyrwhitt.. they dart the slim fits and have just about any neck/sleeve combo you can come up with. Primary go to is the non iron twill

Suits: CT mentioned above, or a traveler suit from Banana Republic or JCrew. I spend years of my life on planes so the synthetic blend lets wrinkles fall out so you don't look like shit walking straight into a meeting. YOU MUST GET THESE PROFESSIONALLY ALTERED. And get suits that compliment you and look modern. No pleats, no cuff hems... and go double vents in the jacket if you have a big ass like me... just trust me.

Tailor: I use a guy down in FiDi.. I'd give you his name but then I'd have to kill you. Point here, as everyone has mentioned... drop the extra $150+ to get the pants tapered, silk liner put in to reduce a crotch blowout. Get the jacket sleeves tapered and, if necessary, the shoulders taken up and set to your posture.

Patterns: as a rule, keep it to 2 patterns total unless you really know what you're doing. So between the suit, shirt, tie, pocket square.. 2 patterns max, all the rest solid, you choose which two. Just for the love of god don't match your tie and pocket silk... it's not a box set from kohls.

Even a $300-500 suit with proper tailoring and patterning can look like a million bucks. Not sure if this is all common knowledge but thought I'd chime in.

Sep 10, 2019

Do you go break or no break on your suit pants?

Sep 10, 2019

I personally go no break.. something that sits just below the top of the shoe leather. Clean, tapered straight lines.

Sep 3, 2019
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"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"

Sep 10, 2019