Buying a suit can be difficult. From the seasoned suit wearer, to the newbie getting ready for a job interview, suit shopping is an intimidating process for most guys regardless of your experience level. You don’t know where to start, where to go, what fit will look best, what to spend; but what you do know is that you want to look damn good.
We’ve all been there – Dashing to the department store, browsing through racks of suit, not sure of what exactly we are looking for, then enduring the drawn out process of trying a handful on, settling for one, doing a fitting and dealing with final alterations. Here’s the good news; That was the old way – times have changed. You’re a grown-ass man now and you know what you want, but the everyday bustle has you short on time. And that’s exactly why it’s time to re-think the rack when it comes to suit shopping.
I was recently invited by the team at Joseph Abboud and Men’s Wearhouse to experience a secret that many guys aren’t familiar with, yet should know. Buying a suit isn’t a point, grab and buy process. You deserve a standout suit, and you are making an investment. We’re talking about buying a suit like a man. Gentlemen, welcome to the world of custom suits.
Joseph Abboud is a brand known for exceptional quality in menswear, and it’s their attention to details, quality and top-notch materials that has made them a leader in the professional attire world. What I most admire about Joseph Abboud is that each collection they launch keeps up with the latest trends, yet maintains a timeless and classic aesthetic to each of their pieces.
After scheduling a personal design appointment through my local Men’s Wearhouse, I entered the store not knowing what to expect. I had never had any bespoke clothing made for me, and past suit shopping experiences led me to a maze of clothing racks and an overwhelming urge to turn around and run. But to my surprise, this process was different – I was greeted by Deanna, an experienced personal stylist who put me at ease and initiated the process with great skill and exceptional advice.
Here’s what I learned.
Know What You (Kind Of) Want
Are you looking for a classic suit for your everyday work wear? For a job interview? For that annual fundraiser event? I wasn’t 100% sure what I needed when I walked in the door. Maybe like 72%. Ok maybe 60%. I was looking for a suit to wear to a friend’s summer wedding, yet still be versatile enough for me to wear to business events. I also wanted something that went beyond the typical navy suit; something with a little punch of pattern and color, where I could dress down the jacket with a pair of jeans or wear the pants with a sweater. Each piece of the suit needed to be able to function on its own.
Study The Fabric
After explaining to the Deanna what I needed the suit for, she helped guide me through the stack of beautiful fabric samples. From thick wool flannels to lightweight linens. I ended up selecting a wool and silk blend in a light blue plaid. It was really one of those moments where when you saw it, you knew it was the one.
It’s In The Details
Notch, peak or shawl lapels. Besom or flap pockets. Full break or no break pants. If you’re not familiar with these design terms, you don’t need to stress. Your team at the Men’s Wearhouse will walk you through each of these design details, explain the differences and even recommend what you should go with. Basically you’re finally getting the celebrity treatment that you deserve.
For me, this was when the fun began! There were so many options, right down to the color of stitching around the cuff buttons. And while I was not up to date with the latest suit design lingo, Deanna was and helped guide me through all the choices and options to really make the suit my own.
After The Hard Work, The Real Magic Happens
After about an hour of selecting the design and details (typical average time for this is around 1.5 hours), I did a quick fitting, then Deanna took some measurements, and I was on my way.
My selections and measurements were then sent away to the Joseph Abboud landmark factory located in New Bedford, Massachusetts. That’s right – While most of the fabrics are imported from Europe, the suits are custom made by artisans right here in the good old USA, and that’s important to me: It’s a testament to the values of the Joseph Abboud brand.
After a quick four weeks, Men’s Wearhouse called that my suit had arrived and I was ready to visit the store for my fitting with a tailor. This is basically the icing on the cake, as the suit itself was beautiful and nearly ready-to-be worn, but the last alterations really cleaned up the lines and brought the whole look together down to the details.
I’m going to be honest – I don’t consider myself a suit person. Even though my corporate suit days seem long gone, I still am required to dig into my closet and pull one out for various functions and events that require a more business oriented attire. I’ve struggled with this process because it never ceases to make me feel a little uncomfortable and intimidated, feeling like my suits are out of style or don’t fit me properly, and I always feel like others are judging my appearance, when the fact of the matter is I’m my worst judge.
There is something to be said about owning a custom suit that’s hard to explain, and Joseph Abboud has restored my suit wearing swagger. I put my custom suit on and I gain the confidence I’ve been lacking. And best of all, I played a key role in the design process which gives it the personality that matches mine.
As for shopping off the rack again? I’ll pass.
To get your Joseph Abboud custom suit rolling, find your closest Men’s Wearhouse by visiting www.menswearhouse.com.
Editors note: Thank you to Joseph Abboud & Men’s Wearhouse for sponsoring this story. Photography by: Patrick Lipsker & Matt Vielle. A special thanks to: Parc City Boot Co. (Monk Strap Shoes), General Knot & Co. (Navy Silk Tie), Style By Orion (Socks), Anson (Belt).