“Not for the uninitiated.”
That’s what the tag on the inside lining of a Combat Gent suit reads.
But what does that actually mean? It sounds good, and it looks just fine on the inside of the jacket, but what does that really mean? It’s a little foggy. And that lack of clarity, while still looking/sounding better than average, pretty much sums up Combat Gent Suiting.
The Fabric & Details
In the past few months Combat Gentlemen has been everywhere. They got on TechCrunch. They were on the Men’s Journal site. There’s even a lengthy discussion on Threads where one of the founders and CEO jumped in. But details seemed to be a little hard to come by. Stuff like “Super 140s wool”, “the finest materials” and the word “damn” (especially the word “damn”) are all over the Combat Gent website. The brand squawks quite a bit. But in reality, they’re good. Not all that… uh… “damn” mind-blowing.
The Modern Fit’s Fabric. 40% poly and odd labels. Surprise.
Two suits were ordered for testing: A navy shadow stripe (they call it pinstripe) Modern Fit as well as a solid navy Slim Fit. First to arrive was the shadow stripe. You immediately notice that it sure doesn’t feel like crazy-high-quality wool out of the box. That’s because it’s not. This Modern Fit suit is 60% wool, and 40% polyester. Now, they never said on the product page that this one uses Super 140s wool, but they do make mention of that on the general suit page. And there’s no mention, apparently anywhere, that this thing is 40% poly. The fabric is decent for sure, but knowing the high percentage or polyester ahead of time is something that needs to be disclosed.
The Modern Fit shadow stripe also came with a strange “Super 120’s” & “Renoir” label attached to the sleeve with plastic thread. Super 120’s what? Wool? To be blended with 40% polyester? Doesn’t say on that tag. Starting to feel a little mislead here. And when it came to removing that tag, tiny, but still noticeable holes were left in the sleeve.
The Slim Fit: 100% wool, but not luxurious. Inexpensive feeling buttons on both fits.
The next to arrive was the slim fit, solid navy option. This one had a tag on the interior that said “100% Wool”. But Super 140s? Really?The higher the number on a wool rating, the finer the fibers used to create the fabric. And once you get north of 120, it becomes outrageously soft. If you’ve ever handled super 140s wool, you know it’s so soft that it feels downright delicate. The wool on the Combat Gent suit feels like good, durable, above average department-store suiting fabric. Like something you’d get on an Alfani Red from Macy’s. But not like something you’d feel on a Suitsupply with Super 120s or higher. It’s good, not luxurious.
Despite boasting about “Bullhorn Buttons”, they’re one of the cheaper looking details of the suit. Pretty lifeless, and they feel like plastic (no matter what they’re made of). And that’s not a problem on a $160 suit, as long as you’re not singing the praises of that detail pre-purchase.
Wearing the Modern Fit, holding the Slim fit. Rough gig.
The Construction & Layout
Construction feels well above average for a $160 suit. It wears and drapes pretty well, and they claim they’ve got a half canvas in there. The chest piece does feel substantial without being thick and weighty, and you’re not fighting against it as you walk along. Shoulder pads are there, but not huge. Lining appears to be a 65% poly / 35% rayon blend. At least, that’s what it says on the tag of the Modern Fit suit. There’s no mention of the lining material inside the Slim Fit. Button stance seems medium to maybe a touch high. Drop on the Slim Fit jacket is a little bit shorter, while the Modern Fit is more traditional. 2.5″ Ludlow-like slim notch lapels on the slim fit, with 3″ notch lapels on the more generous Modern Fit. Both jackets have side vents in the back. Looks like both are made in China.
The Slim: This is a true slim. A 38R fits noticeably tighter compared to, say, a Suitsupply Napoli or J. Crew Factory Thompson. These have hacking pockets as well, and the slant along with the super trim fit gives it a bit of an angular look. Not everyone is going to be okay with that. And the pants. Whoa. No vanity sizing in the waist. I was able to get the 32 on, and it was comfortable, but I won’t be eating a huge meal in these things, that’s for sure.
Left: Slim. Too slim. Right: Modern. Would be good with some tailoring.
The Modern: A little more room all over. Most would need to have the waist suppressed a touch, but it’s not a box. Traditional pockets here, and a 3″ lapel. Pants are a little more generous in the waist and through the leg.
The Bottom Line
These are solid suits for the price, and they sit above many of the options you’ll find at Macy’s that’ll usually cost you more (Alfani Red for instance). But the problem is with how their language and descriptions strut. Lots of talk, but not nearly as much substance to back that talk up. “Super 140s wool” BUT… it’s 60% wool and 40% poly. “Bullhorn buttons”… BUT they sure look and feel like regular ol’ plastic. “We leave no stone un-turned” BUT… the plastic T-threads that attached the tag to the Modern Fit suit left tiny holes in the sleeve. There’s a lot of “buts” there. And it’s awfully odd that on the 60% wool / 40% Modern Fit suit there was a tag that said “Super 120s”, yet on the supposed Super 140s all wool suit, there was no such labeling to be found.
Combat is right. They’re decent, but you’ll be left fighting to figure out just what the heck you got for your $160.