Sunday, October 1, 2017

Men's Suits

 Composer Richard Rodgers - All Original Photographs from Archives
Question for the Community: Are you planning on buying a suit in the next few years, and if so, where?  Which men are still buying suits for work?

At New Haven's Lawn Club

At Turnbull & Asser

New York City Mayor John Lindsay


Bill Ruger, Ruger Firearms

Connecticut State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. 

The Men of the Yale Co-op

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

Richard Nixon


Yale President Kingman Brewster and Governor William Scranton

Igor Sikorsky

Jackie Robinson

The Photographer (Of the Older Photos) in a J. Press Suit

23 comments:

  1. I recently purchased four 3/2 sack suits, from J.Press (Presidential line)... all made in the USA from Southwick, all greatly discounted. I also just purchased three new sport coats from O'Connell's (They have a -15% off sale now)... once again, Southwick 3/2 Sack Douglas model. Shirts from Mercer & Brooks, shoes from Alden. My made in America trifecta! Never fails.

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  2. Does a young John Lindsay not look exactly like John Norton, the star of Grantchester on PBS? I wonder where I was hiding when those genes were handed out.

    MGC

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    1. I noticed that, as well! I love Grantchester with a passion!!

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  3. Same here, just purchased a MTM suit from Brooks for an upcoming wedding, but got the sack 3/2 roll full canvas option. I don't need a suit for work but I'm planning on getting at least another suit to have getting a discount on the second with their sale going on now. Also got a pair of Alden long wing tips and some shirts from mtm as well from Brooks, ties from O'Connells. I would probably get any further suits or sport jackets from either O'Connell's, J.Press or Brooks MTM. I love the 3/2 sack no dart option I think it looks great.

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  4. My son is an attorney in southeast Georgia. He wears a suit everyday. My husband is retired but just bought a suit. Part of Sean Connery's appeal as James Bond was the way he looked in a suit and in a dinner jacket. I think it's not just the way men look when they wear suits that make's them attractive, but the way they feel when wearing a suit.

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    1. Agreed, suits make everyone look attractive, even women. A well made and perfectly fit suit covers a multitude of sins. It's ashamed that no one is wearing them any more. Did Mad Men give them a bad name?

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    2. JVK - I really think it has more to do with the fact that most occasions and jobs don't demand them...in fact...you'd look very out of place in them.

      I wear business casual to work and can get as casual as stylish trainers with my cropped slacks but if I went in the other direction my coworkers would be wondering if I was interviewing for another job.

      I recently attended a wedding and only the father of the groom wore a suit - not even the groom/groomsmen who wore a chambray shirt and khaki pants.

      My husband and I seek out occasions to get dressed up - fancy dinners, trips to the symphony, and so on...but in the circles we move in they are not regularly handed to us unless we go looking for them.

      - ER

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    3. I hear you, ER. Attire is definitely industry related and in most industries, suits are out of place, and for some reason people feel intimidated by them. Save blue collar jobs, suits were the uniform of the working class and I think that’s why America once looked so good - there was no guess work in getting dressed in the morning. JFK was the first president who didn’t wear a top hat for the inauguration and from that time it seems America has consistently become more casual. Enter dress-down-Fridays that employers used an incentive and dressing went off the rails in the workplace. Such confusion still exists but few people realize that dressing down originally meant removing only 1 item that you would normally wear to work such as a tie. It never meant come to work in your weekend attire or sloppy casual, but that is what has happened. I, for one, love dressing in smart casual attire, but I also know there is a time and place for appropriate dress depending on the occasion. Dressing really boils down to a show of respect. I always tell my clients that if they want to command authority, they should dress with a hint of formality and that includes the language they use. It is better to be dressed a notch up than a notch down because you can always remove something if you must.

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  5. The independent tailor I used has closed. Costs rose too much, demand dropped, and he just retired. Many of the local clothiers are shuttering in the face of the BB expansion, Jos A. Banks merger/expansion, and a concurrent decline in demand. Sadly, many of the chain stores seem not to have even one Master Tailor - although all chain stores seem to have at least one (usually less experienced) tailor. So I am not too keen on the chain stores.

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  6. I'm the last man wearing a necktie where I work; virtually never a suit. My former boss, who retired a few months ago, wore a dark blue suit everyday, however. At certain levels in certain places, though, the suit is doing fine, even if the necktie is struggling. Much depends on where your place of business is located, I believe. I work way out in the suburbs, near the airport.

    Oh, by the way, I last bought a new suit when my daughter got married five years ago. But I still buy new dress shirts.

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  7. I have to drive to Houston for a decent suit. At one time, there were all sorts of men's stores in our community, and other than chains selling their cheap clothing, nothing.( and men no longer dress well) Thenagain, my last suit from Brooks was poorly made, I may need to see what is offered in Dallas from now on....

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  8. Never again, after years of working in a suit, well tailored by a regional quality men's store's master tailor, I have reordered my career and life such that other clothes are more appropriate. Meanwhile the clothier has gone out of business due to market changes and retirements. A good sportcoat with slacks is sufficient for church, weddings, and funerals, and business casual dress does not require nasty dry cleaning chemicals.

    I had observed the sociological impact of suits in a varied workplace, wearing a suit established barriers to necessary interactions and cooperation. Suits are perceived in such workplaces as courting favor upward on the hierarchy while imposing a sense of superiority over other levels.

    It is notable that today suits are mainly required in banking and finance, the law, and upper-most corporate levels, and some university settings. To wear a suit in today's workplace projects a sense of one's importance and separation that could well impede effectiveness at the job.

    My social obligations are consistently more casual than was the case a quarter century ago.

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  9. Not planning on buying another suit ever, I have three to last the yest of my life. If I were planning on a new suit however, it would be a southwick 3/2 sack from J Press.

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  10. I am in banking and suits are still alive and well. There are those that forgo ties (I'm not one of them), but at a minimum a sport coat and dress slacks are necessary. - PC

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    1. Good for you, Anon@2:44! According to etiquette, in the world of business professionalism, the most professional dress is summed up in three words: suit and tie, period. (Women have a bit more variability in that they can wear a dress and jacket, as long as it's matching fabric.) Anything beyond a suit is already considered in the casual realm. If you're going to dress the most professionally, in a suit, then for heaven's sake, don't forget the tie!

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  11. I can relate to all these pics. I was a Southwick Douglas cut all my life. But I have since outgrown them, but they do occupy space in my closet. I no longer buy suits I get by on my navy blazer/rep tie and khakis.
    But I had to attend a funeral last month and I tell you I did feel a little uncomfortable. Even though the majority did not even wear a tie. Including the corpse.
    Maybe you can skate when you get older.

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  12. I just bought a Southwick Douglas sport coat at the O'Connell's sale (the only store left in America that stocks a 43XL). I still suit up at least four days a week - some Fridays I slum it in a sport coat. I just ordered a grey flannel Southwick Douglas to replace a 20+ year old BB suit from the good old days - I'll never again by a BB suit. I still wear J. Press suits from the days they stocked XLs, which they not longer do. My fear is that now that BB owns Southwick, they will ruin it as they have ruined themselves.

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  13. I wear suits to court and when meeting new clients. Several years ago, I took a gamble and had three suits and some shirts made by a Hong Kong tailor, Raja Fashions. They have tailors who visit major US cities several times per year. I got my measurements taken by one of the tailors who visited Los Angeles. When I ordered the suits, I wasn't sure whether they would be of good quality. Would the suits be stiff, shiny, and reminiscent of 70's disco apparel?

    About four weeks later, the suits and shirts arrived in the mail. The quality was outstanding. Much, much better than midrange Brooks Brothers. I have five suits from Raja Fashions, and I wear each of them once or twice per week, and they still look great 13 years later. It is almost time for them to be replaced, because the pants are starting to look a little translucent, but they'll still look perfectly fine for another year or so.

    The shirts from Raja Fashions, OTOH, are of mediocre quality. they fit very well, but they don't last very long. J. Press off-the-rack shirts last longer (and look better.) Brooks Brothers' off the rack shirts look better and last about as long as the Raja Fashions shirts. I've kept ordering shirts from Raja Fashions because I can simply e-mail my order to them, and because I'm too lazy have my measurements taken elsewhere. But you could probably do better at one of those custom shirt places like Ascot Chang.

    The HK tailors are well worth the money, they only cost a little more than BB or J Press but the quality of the custom made clothes is much, much better. They look much better too, even if you get a lot of alterations it's hard to get the shoulders and sleeves of off-the-rack suits to fit perfectly. The custom suits fit perfectly every time.

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    1. My father had all his suits and shirts made at Ascot Chang in Hong Kong in the days before email. He would telegram or telex an order for pick up when he was going to be traveling through Hong Kong. Still have some kicking around to this day.

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  14. Samuelsohn from a local men's store, hands down. Full canvas and one of the best soft shoulders and values in the business. Mine are darted, but the fabric and construction are so nice that I don't mind. They can do a 3/2 sack by special order, but I'm such an easy off the rack fit and the fabrics stocked by my local store are so great that I don't mess with it. I still own all the basic ivy style gear, but I've drifted toward more adventurous patterns like the ones sold at H.Stockton of Atlanta and Harrison Limited of Birmingham, etc. I'll never stray from Alden, however.

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  15. Where I currently live (the western mountains) suits are pretty much limited to lawyers, politicians, bankers and stock brokers. It’s unusual to see anyone else in a suit.

    I still have a closet full of Brooks Brothers Made-To-Measure suits that I bought back in Chicago twenty-five years ago: five winter weight Prince-of-Wales, and navy pinstripes, and five summer weight suits in similar patterns. Those were the days, my friend. They are rarely worn nowadays, but I may brag here by saying they do still fit me. Yes, I must confess the trousers (two pair per suit) have been let out an inch – not bad for a quarter century of battling inevitable girth.

    I have only purchased two suits in the past twelve years – a Brooks Brothers blue seersucker to replace the beat-up one I’d had since graduate school, and a deluxe Saville Row navy blue beaded-stripe suit by John Cooper which I certainly didn’t need, but had to have anyway. Why? Just one of those irrational things we’re all subject to now and then I suppose.

    Just for fun, I occasionally wear my suits with Alden Cordovans (tied or tasseled), and Polo Purple Label Ties. Strangers compliment on the street, and I guess wonder what the Ambassador to France is doing strolling around their town on a workday. Once I visited an elementary school, and the children innocently asked me: “Sir, are you the Governor?” No, no, no.

    I am hoping against odds that suits make a comeback – they’re such an important part of civilization, and a way for a man to look his very best.

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