Q&A: I am a mens fashion stylist and the founder of a mens custom suiting business

Q&A: 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.

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Comments (40)

Aug 27, 2019 - 9:08pm

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 - 8:26pm

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?

Aug 27, 2019 - 8:27pm

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.

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Aug 27, 2019 - 9:12pm

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

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Aug 27, 2019 - 9:26pm

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 27, 2019 - 8:30pm

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.

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Aug 27, 2019 - 8:59pm

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)

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Aug 28, 2019 - 3:42am

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

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Aug 27, 2019 - 9:04pm

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.

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Aug 27, 2019 - 9:11pm

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?

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Aug 28, 2019 - 3:41am

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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Sep 5, 2019 - 5:48pm

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

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-fit-dress-shirts

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Aug 27, 2019 - 11:42pm

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

Aug 28, 2019 - 11:42am

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)

Interested in health tech, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Aug 28, 2019 - 4:02pm

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 29, 2019 - 10:18am

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)?

Sep 3, 2019 - 7:35pm

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 3, 2019 - 7:42pm
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