Sunday, July 26, 2009

Groom Guest Blog: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)

*The second installment of JT's suit shopping adventures!
The second leg of the Great Suit-Finding Journey brought us to Orange County, specifically to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, as its selection of designer stores makes it stand out from the usual crop of shopping malls. Because of this, it's one of a very short list of reasons for us to actually go to Orange County. Nonetheless, we were met with significantly more options than we had during the first go-round, making this part of the search far more promising.

First, we hit up Ted Baker, a designer known for designing shirts with bright, garish colors, and stylish, hip suits for gentlemen who prefer a fitted, slimmer look. I tried on four suits there, two of which were eliminated quickly, and two that were immediately selected as finalists for the big purchase.

In particular, a charcoal suit with a unique pattern, almost pinstripe-meets-herringbone. Not sure if that makes sense but the picture might give a better visual.

In any case, it was rather eye-catching, and Candice and I both were impressed with its look.

Next came John Varvatos. JV has a reputation for making a damn fine looking suit, and we did find a selection of sharp looking suits. Unfortunately, they were clearing out inventory and mostly had sizes that were far too big for an understated gentleman such as myself. Nonetheless, I bet they'll have some awesome stuff later on.

Hugo Boss came next, a designer whose selection had been recommended to me from a handful of different parties. I was feeling optimistic about Hugo Boss, and let's be honest, it's a name synonymous with making sharp suits. When we entered the store we certainly found a broad selection of suits, though none of them looked quite right on me. And after taking a look at the price tags, they also proved to be among the more expensive brands. The combination of high price and underwhelming appearance (on myself, though they'd likely look great on someone else) eliminated them from the running.

After Boss, we hit up Nordstrom, another promising source, with a department of skilled salesmen to match. I used to work at Nordstrom and have seen how well trained they can be, so I had a good feeling going in. Immediately, a salesman greeted us, told me he'd find my size without asking, and sure enough, he went straight for 38, which I had previously discovered to be the right fit. He brought out quite a few different looks, some of which were a bit too big, some of which were closer to being just right. This Joseph Aboud seemed promising, but the cut of the pants' legs was far too wide.

It was around here when I discovered just how unusual a suit size I am. As I've said before, I'm a pretty slim guy, but proportionally sound, or so I thought. Apparently American men are supposed to be triangle-shaped, because I began to find discrepancies between the jacket sizes and the pant sizes that I was trying on. After going through the 38s, the salesman suggested I might possibly be a 36 in certain designer cuts, and handed me a fantastic-looking John Varvatos three-piece suit that quickly became my top pick. The jacket and vest fit like a dream, but the pants...and this is where it becomes a crushing disappointment...were a size 29. I'm a skinny guy, but there's no way in hell I could squeeze into a 29. Needless to say, that suit was out.

After Nordstrom, we regrouped and headed to Theory on a whim. Interestingly enough, they had one suit. And that one suit was awesome. Clean look, good fit, a solid choice all around. Granted, it wasn't the cheapest suit, but sometimes you have to weigh whether or not spending a little more for a finer look is worth it. And it was still a good $500 less than Hugo Boss!

Lastly, we went back to Banana Republic, out of the feeling that, perhaps, a different location might bring about a different selection. And sure enough, we did find quite a few different suits that weren't stocked on our prior BR shopping trip. One in particular was a brand new suit—-I was told I was the first one to try it on—-a gray striped number that looked surprisingly good on me.

At the end of the day, we did, in fact, find the right suit, but I'll save that for another post.

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