When Suitsupply’s first Canadian store opened in February, my friend Chris sent me an invite to the launch party. With apologies to Chris for my corrections, in parentheses, here’s what he wrote:
“Not sure if you guys have heard of this brand from NYC (actually, they’re based in Amsterdam). Rated best (cheap) suit in NY by GQ and they cost $400-700 . . . beat out Armani’s $3,500 suit, which came in second (Actually, that ranking appeared in The Wall Street Journal and the two suits tied for first, but I’d say a $3,000+ price difference is enough of an edge to give the win to Suitsupply).”
Ordinarily I’d mute this email conversation and move on. But later that year I had plans to get married. The allure of a well-made suit for well below a grand proved too tempting.
Suitsupply’s only Canadian store sits in Toronto, tucked into the tony enclave that is Yorkville. The company was founded in Amsterdam, where it has made suit shopping a pleasure since 2000. A few years ago, the company set up shop in Big Apple but has since spread to Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and elsewhere. In Canada, Montreal is the next expansion location.
How can they sell quality suits for less than a grand? All signs point to squeezing out the fabric middleman, purchasing from Asia and Portugal and passing along the savings.
Beware all those craving a cheap bespoke suit. Suitsupply doesn’t offer those. Instead they have an on-site tailor ready to nip and tuck until the suit is yours alone.
At the opening party, I slipped into the Lazio Light Blue Plain ($599), a slim blue suit with a classic silhouette. The salesman said it fit well off the rack and would only need minor tailoring. I promised to return, but when I did the Lazio was out of stock. At these prices, you need to act quit.
That’s when I found the Napoli Blue Check ($499). What you get is a subtle check pattern and a fit inspired by traditional Neapolitan tailoring. My research informs me that Neapolitan tailoring opts for lightweight jackets that have less structure than other suits, especially the bespoke pieces crafted in London’s Savile Row.
Service at Suitsupply was great. The salespeople were attentive and young—if not in age than in style. I had some minor tailoring done and picked up my suit a few days later. They’ll give you a sense of how long it might take but you can wager less than three days. My salesperson also told me to stop by closer to my wedding day for any last-minute tailoring. It helped. I discovered that I needed to hike up my pants a little for them to sit right and I negotiated some breathing room for my boys and my butt.
Weddings are all about the bride, I know. And I admit that my wife looked gorgeous in her custom-made gown. But I had plenty of guys ask where I went suit shopping. A few weeks after the wedding I had one thing left to do. I emailed my in-law Matt and told him where to find Suitsupply.
Pierre Hamilton is a freelance writer from Toronto, where some of his best friends describe him as an acquired taste. He enjoys bourbon and scotch, but craves craft beer, overproof Jamaican rum and great non-fiction. He has a very limited style knowledge but knows what he likes. He also produces a monthly music podcast called Sound Considerations. Follow him, but not too closely, on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of the author.