Every Man Needs a Good Suit

I recently decided that I needed to get a nice suit. I have some friends that are engaged to be married soon, and I have a job that occasionally requires professional attire. I don’t plan on getting any taller, shorter, fatter or skinnier in the near future, so I figured this is as good a time as any to add a nice suit to my wardrobe.

Up until my recent shopping extravaganza, the only suit I owned was a used suit I bought for $20 at a secondhand store. I never had it tailored and I’m certain people could tell, but I didn’t know any better. It served me well as I interviewed for jobs in college, but now that I’m a working professional and I will soon be attending personal formal events, I decided I need a nice suit.

My clothing budget for the entire year is $200. I actually came in under budget last year at about $150. That’s about enough to buy some underwear and a few button down shirts for work. I knew I would have to break that budget to get a nice suit, but I was prepared to spend a little money as long as I got what I wanted at a good price.

Unfortunately, the only thing I know about finding shopping deals is that Black Friday is a great day to buy electronics. I honestly have no idea when the best clothing sales occur.

Best Buy Camping Segue

Black Friday shopping doesn't always go so well

There are certain periods of your life where you have more time than money, and others whereyou have more money than time. When I was in college, I had a lot more time than I had money, so I camped outside a Best Buy in St. Louis, Missouri in sub freezing temperatures to get in on the Black Friday madness.

I showed up just after Thanksgiving dinner ended and there were already about 40 people ahead of me in line. Let me stress that four layers of clothing and a sleeping bag are not enough when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit with tornado-like winds ripping tears and snot out of your face. I probably got 90 minutes of horrible sleep while I spent the rest of the night cursing myself and this stupid plan to be homeless for a night just to save a few bucks.

I ended up with a $600 laptop for $400 and a $300 XBox 360 with a free Guitar Hero 2 game and guitar controller ($80 value). $280 is huge to a college kid. And what else was I going to do that night? It was definitely worth it.

Two-For-One at Men’s Warehouse

Again, I am not a veteran shopper, but I think I lucked into a pretty good deal over Labor Day weekend. I went to Men’s Warehouse where they had every single item in the store on a two-for-one sale. Buy a suit, get one free. Buy a tie, get one free. This sale had no exceptions; no matter what I bought, I could get another one absolutely free.

I didn’t necessarily need two suits, but this was a great opportunity to get two of them for the price of one, and thus prevent myself from having to buy another suit for basically the rest of my life. (fingers crossed)

The Selections

The manager at Men’s Warehouse said he had been working there for 10 years and had never seen a two-for-one sale on everything in the entire store. I figured this would be a good time to buy not only the suits but also the button down shirts, shoes, belts, ties, and socks.

I wanted to get everything for two reasons. First, the sale sounded pretty good. More importantly, if I didn’t buy it there, I would have had no idea how to complete the outfit later without professional help. I needed that salesman as much as he wanted my money.

Here is what I picked out:

  • A Calvin Klein suit (taupe) and a Pronto Uomo suit (charcoal)
  • Two nice button down shirts (off white and light purple)
  • Two Calvin Klein ties (maroon and a purple pattern)
  • Two pairs of dress shoes (burgundy and brown)
  • Sets of three pairs of socks (matching both suits)
  • A very nice $100 piece of luggage to travel with suits (I got another tie free because I didn’t need two of the same luggage)
  • Tailoring for the suits to fit them perfectly to my body
Proper Fashion Segue

While I was shopping for these suits, I learned a lot about men’s fashion. If you are a clueless guy like me, these tips should be helpful. Please note that I’m passing these tips along from the guy from Men’s Warehouse and take no responsibility for any ridicule you may be subject to as a result of these suggestions if he was wrong.

  • Color of dress socks should match your pants (I always thought they match your shoes)
  • Color of shoes should match your belt (apparently “close” isn’t good enough)
  • A black suit should always have black shoes and a black belt (not a karate black belt)
  • Any non-black suit (including charcoal or dark navy) should have a burgundy or brown shoe/belt combination in a professional setting (I thought black goes with everything)
  • A navy blue or charcoal suit is best for a professional interview, while a more neutral color suit is a bit more casual and better used for a professional lunch meeting (the idea that even after how much I paid for these suits, the taupe one isn’t “good enough” for a job interview makes me want to laugh, cry, and vomit at the same time)
  • Never button the bottom button on a jacket (I’ll just say “oops”)

The Damage

For two designer suits and all the other stuff I listed above, I paid $1,017.43

That is a whole lot of money. Five years of my clothing budget in fact. The suits by themselves had a retail price of $500, so if I had just bought the two suits without any of the other stuff on a normal day without this sale, it would have been over $1,000.

On the other hand, I cried a little bit when I handed over my credit card. This is definitely the largest single purchase I have ever made in my life outside of buying a car.

“I Will Not Get Fat” Segue

If there was ever a possibility that I might “let myself go” and start putting on a few pounds, that small chance has been completely obliterated. There isn’t a single weight loss prevention tool that could possibly work better than “If you gain weight, you won’t fit into the clothes you just bought for over $1,000.”

By that same measure, maybe people could apply this principle to weight loss. If you wanted to shed a few pounds or tone up or something, imagine if you went to the store and found a shirt/dress/outfit/zoot suit that you really liked, and then bought it in the size you’d like to be instead of the size you are now? I guarantee it would work for me.

How Did I Do?

I feel like I did alright here, but I’m such a clothing novice I have no idea. What do you think? Did I overpay or get a good deal? Let me know what you think in the comments below.