Most of us have three requirements when looking for an afforable suit: Minimal shoulder padding, a nice off the rack contour at the sides, and higher armholes. Suitsupply delivers on all three of those requirements, but you’ll pay for it.
Plenty took notice when Suitsupply was featured in the Wall Street Journal almost a year ago. A $614 Suitsupply suit held it’s own against a $3600 Armani, and they do offer less expensive basic suits starting at $399. That’s right around the $379 price point of a basic Indochino, the custom suit outfit which has produced both love and hatred amongst customers.
But is Suitsupply better? That depends. First, this is what you can expect if you’re willing to spend $469 on a suit from their middle “blue” line:
- The Shoulder Pads/Contour/High Armholes: It nails the trifecta. The shoulders are lightly padded and move real smooth with the high armholes. The contour off the rack (or in this case, out of the box) is awfully good. A 38R on my frame would need maybe some slight alterations at the upper waist.
- The Wide Variety of Patterns & Fabrics: Wools, cottons, even velvet if you want it. And patterns like this loud but not completely obnoxious plaid are available on their middle line.
- The Shipping: These are ready to go once your order goes in. Ordered on a Thursday, and it showed up the following Wednesday well packed in a huge box shaped like a coffin. Nice.
- Overall Quality: The super 120s fabric is lightweight for sure, but there’s nothing flimsy about this suit. Some ultra cheap department store brands feel like they’re barely held together. This one feels like it could take a beating and come back for more. Plus, there’s that oft discussed usage of a canvas instead of fusing to keep the front of the jacket attached to the lining: “Our canvases are made out of cotton enforced with horsehair and camelhair, ensuring strength, durability and flexibility at the same time.”
- The Details: Extra details like the interior taping/piping are nice. The buttons are terrific. That makes a big deal to some of us. Also, the functioning buttons on the sleeves are a nice touch, and a 38R fits like a 38R. No awkwardly long sleeves to leave tailoring headaches.
- The Extra Cost: It’ll be worth it to some, but $469 isn’t $300. And you’re on the hook for extra tailoring. At the very least you’re going to have to have the pants hemmed, so if you need the jacket brought in you’re looking at spending at least $450 for the cheapest option. It jumps to over $500 for the suit shown here.
- The Lack of Lapel Options: All of their suits in their closest fitting contemporary line come with peak lapels. It’d be nice to see some notch lapels worked in there too, but their other fits do come with notch lapels and the Napoli fit, which is the fit of the suit reviewed here, seems fit reasonably close.
- The Confusing Fits: Their Washington fit appears to be the closest fitting, and as already mentioned, only comes with peak lapels. The Napoli fit seems to come in second. Then the London, Lazio, and Copenhagen? Maybe?
- The Lack of options in their $399 line: They currently carry just four suits at their lowest price point. None of them come in a solid color. Unless you count the light beige almost white number.
- This line in their “about our suits” section: “We avoid using fused constructions…” Wait. Avoid?
The Bottom Line
There’s a hole in the affordable suit market, and as good as they are, Suitsupply doesn’t seem to fill it. You won’t find a basic navy or grey suit through Suitsupply for under $400. Meanwhile, Alfani red has low armholes, Hilfiger Trim Fit has strong shoulders, Indochino can be wildly unpredictable when it comes to fit, and J. Crew is too expensive.
If you’ve got $500 to spend, you fit well into normal sizes, and you appreciate the consistency a 38R, 40S, or 42L can bring, then Suitsupply has to be high on your list. If you don’t have that kind of money, have had bad luck with Indochino, and have struck out with the lower cost department store brands… then unfortunately you’ll still be looking.