“It fits like a glove!” Too bad it’s a suit

Last week a client asked me to go on an emergency shopping trip with him. He needed something right away because he’d forgotten about an upcoming event. He recently lost some weight and had nothing in his closet that fit. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to get him the perfect made to measure option, but I was happy to help him pick something that would work in a pinch.

We went to a nice specialty store with off the rack options (OTR). I’m generally careful to let the salespeople in these situations do their job without interference. I really enjoy working with people who understand style and enjoy giving a client a great experience.

Unfortunately, in this case, the sales guy seemed to grab a suit from the rack without even giving it much thought. When my client tried it on, the fit was snug and the color wasn’t particularly flattering. I asked the sales guy what he thought of the fit and it said, “It looks great.” In fact, it was a very fitted garment, but not for my client’s body style, so it didn’t, in fact, fit. When my client asked about the snugness of the trousers and coat, the sales guy assured him this was the latest fashion, and he’d “get used to it.”

I asked him if he had anything in a more classical silhouette, and he argued that people simply aren’t wearing what we were describing if they want to remain “current.”

To be clear, it was a nice suit. It was contemporary, well made and well designed. But it didn’t fit my client’s body style. He wasn’t going to “get used to it.” He was going to wear it to one event and probably toss it in the back of his closet, never to be worn again. That’s a waste of everybody’s time and money.

We ended up in a shop down the street and found a salesman with a selection more appropriate for my client’s sartorial taste. He will hopefully get a lot of wear out of it and feel comfortable and suitably dressed whenever he needs to don it.
I frequently see men walking around in beautiful suits, made of nice fabrics, that unfortunately don’t fit properly. Everybody isn’t made for the same cut. Sales people should know it, but often don’t.

When you shop for a suit, carefully consider the esthetic you’re after and pay attention to the style and cut to see if it delivers. Be wary of sales people selling what they have on the floor rather than what’s best for you or even suits your image and personal style. 

Which, of course, leads to a case for custom over OTR.