Suit shopping

Hey everyone,

I am trying to buy a new suit, so I am ready for potential interviews. I know the most important part is to get it tailored and that color should be charcoal/navy blue. I found a nice suit online that fits my budget, the website states it is charcoal, but it looks almost black. Is that ok, or should it be more on the grey side?

And what about shoes? I like brown shoes, but is that appropriate?


Comments (28)

Mar 28, 2020 - 9:14pm

If it's navy blue, brown shoes are fine. You can go with other shades of blue too, as long as it's not too bright.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 28, 2020 - 9:16pm

What about the charcoal suit? Black shoes?

Mar 28, 2020 - 9:59pm

Yeah black shoes with charcoal.

I feel a blue suit is more versatile though and have gotten my last three suits in blue.

You might want to go into a suit shop in person over online. Although M Tailor seems like they might have something, but I've never tried them.

Once you find a good tailor, they can just pop out new suits when they have your measurements. You just go back in and look through swatches and you're set. So find and stick with a good tailor.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Mar 28, 2020 - 10:26pm

Also, get good shoes, a good belt and a good tie. A shitty tie is easily recognizable. A decent tie costs $100-200. It better be a good triangle on the knot. Always belt length. You need at least one baller tie / interview tie, so it's worth it.

White shirt - no buttons on the collar. French cuffs optional (sometimes they are fun to rock).

If you prefer a different color shirt than white, it shouldn't be too dark. And don't double stripe (striped tie + striped shirt). Too much activity can be bad. If you want a tie with little animals, offset it with a light solid shirt.

Don't get Gordon Gekko heavy pinstripe suit styles unless you are one closing mofo rolling around in a Rolls Royce Phantom with a driver. You can get pinstripe, but subtle is key. A navy suit with light lines (ie light blue lines) on it can look super crisp.

Light plaid is okay, but heavy plaid is distracting and dated.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 4
Mar 29, 2020 - 6:14pm

A $300 budget is kind of low for a good suit but if you compliment it with a high quality shirt, nice tie and power watch, it might work
  • 1
Most Helpful
Mar 29, 2020 - 8:16pm

Since this is your first suit, I'd recommend the following:

  1. A navy blue suit. It's more universal than a grey suit, and a better starting point from which you can build your wardrobe. Brands like Suit Supply, J.Crew, and Bonobos are going to be a little bit above your price range, but they are all high quality and will last you for years. Better to pony up cash now for a suit that will last a long time in your closet than spend $100 dollars less for something low quality that will last you no time at all - provided you take good care of what you buy in the first place. Make sure that you suit jacket is structured, meaning it has a silk lining in the back, which is the gold-standard for most brands. It makes the jacket warmer and more resilient to wrinkling, and gives it a fuller look. Unstructured suits are for the summer, and unnecessary until your wardrobe gets more developed. Any suit that you get from these brands should be well tailored already, hopefully with no after-market tailoring needing to be done.
  2. I'd go with black shoes and a black belt instead of brown. Black is subtler and goes well with many many more things than brown does. You can wear a nice pair of black shoes with a suit, with simple slacks of many colors, and even with a tuxedo these days. I'd say for shoes, go Allen Edmonds. The price is high, but there is nothing worse than a pair of poorly made shoes. Again, if you treat them well, they'll last you for years. I just re-soled a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes that I've had for 6 years, and they look brand new, and will last me another 6 years. Any company that you end up buying the shoes from should also have an accompanying belt that you should purchase. You can also buy socks from the same company - I wouldn't go anything loud in that department quite yet, just black/dark grey/navy blue will suffice.
  3. Purchase a few white shirts. You can go to a tailor and get yourself measured, and there are a host of websites (I, and my coworkers as well, buy from Charles Tyrwhitt) you can buy basically custom made shirts from. You can go with a bunch of collar styles, doesn't matter if it has buttons or not. Most people do buttonless these days - and if you do end up going buttonless, get a pair of plastic collar stays to keep your collar looking crisp. Charles Tyrwhitt shirts come with metal collar stays, but they're easily lost and it's always nice to have a few back ups.
  4. Ties are the hardest part. They say the most about who you are and are your area for differentiation. Go for something subtle, though. You'll be an analyst, after all. You want 100% silk, and with a simple pattern. I'd recommend going to any mall (once this coronavirus clears up) and taking a walk through Bloomingdales or Neiman Marcus. They tend to have a larger selection of ties of superb quality, and if you look carefully some of them won't break the budget.

More than happy to expand on any of these if anyone has any thoughts. If I had to look back on my first suit, this is what I'd want.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 29, 2020 - 8:24pm

Not OP but what is the correct style to tie your tie?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 29, 2020 - 9:33pm

Thank you for the nice write up. I just found a suit from Jos. A Bank for $250, so I think I will go with that! It is also great to hear about the shoes, I wanted to go cheap, but now that I know they will hold up such a long time, I rather invest some money into them.

Also glad to hear that the tie is up to personal preference. I have a pretty basic maroon tie that I like a lot, I think that should go well with the suit.

Mar 29, 2020 - 11:44pm

That's perfect. Beware, however, that, depending on your measurements, you may want to purchase suit separates. Most suits come in a package where you fit the blazer and only a certain waist size of pants comes with it. JosABank, from what I understand, is like that. I'm a 42R but 32 waist - so if I bought a suit from JosABank with a 42 shoulder width the associated pants are a 36 waist - which cannot be tailored down to a 32. So, I couldn't buy from them. The same goes for high level brands, like Canali, for instance. But, I could go to Jcrew and buy a 42 jacket and a 32 pair of pants for the same suit, separately, which fits me.

Also, regarding shoes: I'd learn how to shine your own shoes. A brush and some shoe polish are maximum $15 off amazon (kiwi polish is the standard), and its as easy as put a light coat on with a paper towel and brush it off with your brush. You can find plenty of good videos on youtube about it. If you brush your shoes once a week you'll eliminate scuffs and keep your shoe leather healthy and hydrated. Make sure that you get a different brush to use for each color! Once you use black shoe polish on a shoe with a brush, you have to only brush black shoes with that brush. If you brush brown shoes, you'll end up making your brown shoes a weird black / brown color!

Mar 30, 2020 - 1:33pm

If I were to start from the ground up, here's what I'd buy:

  1. Solid navy suit from suitsupply or similar brands. $400
  2. 4 solid white and light blue shirts, approx $100 during sales
  3. Black oxfords from Meermin, etc. $175
  4. A couple of nice ties off Ebay. Canali, Ermenegildo Zegna, Drakes, Brioni, or whatever - you can find mint staple ties for as low as $15-$20 there. Buy 4, just make sure they're not stained - so that's $100 in ties.

That's $775 before shipping and taxes, and will you lots of options. Add $400 for another dark grey suit, and $200 for a couple of dress slacks - and you've doubled your options (and bought enough clothes to last you a season in the office if you take care of them well - which means spot cleaning, hanging trousers, taking care of your shoes, and learning how to carefully press clothes).

Apr 5, 2020 - 12:56pm

Match it with the same type of leather for belt and shoes. Keep belt and shoes shined.

For ties, get one that is 1 color, conservative: navy blue

Avoid the power tie, you don't want to be remembered as the guy with the red tie, not in this current day and age.

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