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Suit Alterations for Off the Rack Suits Recommendations?

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[OP]
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Nov 23, 2010
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Toronto

Suit Alterations for Off the Rack Suits Recommendations?

Im looking at getting some suits for myself and my groomsman and am running into a bit of a snag.

I tend to be able to fit in off the rack suits pretty nicely, but co ordinating my groomsman so far has been a real pain.

Each one of them (naturally) are a different size/shape. I have one groomsman that goes in a suit jacket size as small as 36R and the biggest being 42R

We obviously will need some suit alterations to get us all to fit into the same style of suit in our respective sizes, but I was wondering what would the best approach be?

For example, should I try to get maybe a larger suit size and then "alter down"? Some groomsman have larger legs then the standard OTR suit and while the jacket fits, the pants are tight on the legs. I was thinking maybe buying a larger suit then "shrinking it" through alterations. So the pants would be looser, but the jacket may be a smidge loose.

Or alternatively, if I bought a proper fitting jacket and the pants are tight, can tailors "let it out" or "alter up"? I understand that it depends on the amount of material that is available in the pants, but just generally speaking was curious if its better to alter "up" or "down" in sizing?

I figure if theres more material, its easier to "shrink it". If theres no existing material, then it would be impossible to add material that doesnt exist

Is it better to buy a proper fitting jacket, with tighter pants and then hope to be able to alter the pants to fit? Or is it better to buy a looser pair of pants and then shrinking the jacket down?

Just trying to figure out the most ideal scenario in terms of difficulty/cost and time....

Also if anyone has any tailor recommendations in the GTA area that would be greatly appreciated as well.
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Aug 17, 2008
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If you aren't going to have them do something like each get a - for example, navy suit - that they can choose on their own, it seems to me it would make much more sense to rent - then you can get all the same suits, and alterations are done for you.
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Jun 29, 2008
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I think you should go to Suit Supply or Spier & Mackay with your groomsmen. They can do alterations in house. Get your groomsmen in suits and actually see how much alterations will need to be done. If you're going in a group, I'd suggest calling them and giving them a heads up so they can get extra help in. Both parties will have a better experience that way.
[OP]
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natalka wrote: If you aren't going to have them do something like each get a - for example, navy suit - that they can choose on their own, it seems to me it would make much more sense to rent - then you can get all the same suits, and alterations are done for you.
I was thinking of going that route at first, I asked each one of my groomsman what suits do they have in black - you would figure everyone has a nice black suit right?

Nope!

One guy darkest suit he has is grey, and to be honest there are so many variations in shades for black, blue or grey that it just would not match. Hence the suits need to match.

Renting is my last option, as all my groomsman said that they need new suits anyways. I am purchasing these for them as a gift to them as well, or at least subsidizing a sizable portion of it. I would feel bad to ask them to purchase a suit that they may or may not like.

Hence I dont mind spending money on them, and they get a suit out of it. Otherwise if i let them choose a suit, everyone would have a different shade....

But then my issue is also budget. I have seen some suit sales where the suits are in the 300-400 range while renting is in the 200-300 range. In terms of value, if this is the case then I rather purchase, but now I am running into the issue of sizing......
[OP]
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thericyip wrote: I think you should go to Suit Supply or Spier & Mackay with your groomsmen. They can do alterations in house. Get your groomsmen in suits and actually see how much alterations will need to be done. If you're going in a group, I'd suggest calling them and giving them a heads up so they can get extra help in. Both parties will have a better experience that way.
Thanks so much for the suggestions

Would you have any idea what their prices start at for either of these places for a suit?
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Oct 15, 2008
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chillychin wrote: ...you would figure everyone has a nice black suit right?
Hopefully not. Black is not a suit colour that most people need. Navy/charcoal, light grey and/or summer fabric, then maybe, and only maybe black.
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Nov 23, 2008
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Toronto
chillychin wrote: Thanks so much for the suggestions

Would you have any idea what their prices start at for either of these places for a suit?
I've never been to SuitSupply, but for Spier & Mackay, their OTR suits are around $470. That price doesn't include alterations though AFAIK.

S&M's website is http://www.spierandmackay.com/
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Jun 29, 2008
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I've bought suits from both Spier and Mackay and Suit Supply, as well as MTM suits. Both are well made with great materials. Prices are around the same depending on the fabric and colour. I needed a black suit for an occasion and I went with S&M because the cheapest Suit Supply black suit was $839 plus tax. My S&M black suit was $468 plus tax.

Though one thing I noticed was that the stitching on my Suit Supply Purple Line dark grey suit ($529 plus tax) was better than the S&M black suit. Now if Suit Supply had a purple line black suit, I would have paid the extra $41.

TLDR; price range is about the same, even after alterations. I personally noticed better stitching from Suit Supply. My suits from both places fit me well and I have no regrets going to either.
[OP]
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thericyip wrote: I've bought suits from both Spier and Mackay and Suit Supply, as well as MTM suits. Both are well made with great materials. Prices are around the same depending on the fabric and colour. I needed a black suit for an occasion and I went with S&M because the cheapest Suit Supply black suit was $839 plus tax. My S&M black suit was $468 plus tax.

Though one thing I noticed was that the stitching on my Suit Supply Purple Line dark grey suit ($529 plus tax) was better than the S&M black suit. Now if Suit Supply had a purple line black suit, I would have paid the extra $41.

TLDR; price range is about the same, even after alterations. I personally noticed better stitching from Suit Supply. My suits from both places fit me well and I have no regrets going to either.
Hmmmm so from the sounds of it a MTM suit would be in the neighbourhood of about $500 or so starting price.

Here is my conundrum

While renting would be the most cost effective option ($200-$300), I could find a sale for a nice OTR suit for about $300-$400.

Lets say I throw in "basic" alterations on an OTR suit - would I then end up in the same neighbourhood of about $500 for an OTR suit + alterations? The same as for a base level MTM suit?
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My husband had alterations by Magic Tailor downtown. When Barney's outlet closed in Buffalo he got a lot of great suits but needed some altering like shortening the jacket etc and they did a great job.
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Mar 31, 2008
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How many groomsmen do you have? I only had 3 who were all very small.

But what I did, and I think this is your best bet, is to order online. I went to overstock.com and ordered off their US site and pricing. I had it shipped to one of those boxes. Fortunately, it was my co-worker's box and she went and got it as they were going anyways. I got it for about $100 all in (back when it was at par). No tax or shipping was charged. When I did the Canadian option, the site automatically included a 20% premium of USD and some other delivery and import charge. Came up to almost $200 CAD I believe.

I just got their blazer and pants size, and chose a slim fitting suit. Fortunately, it fit. The only thing they had to do was hem the pants shorter. I got ties from another website ($15 each), and Vest from Ebay ($20 or so). Only thing I forgot for them was a hankerchief. If I were you, I'd go that route. I paid for theirs too. And they really liked the suit.
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Nov 6, 2010
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chillychin wrote: Hmmmm so from the sounds of it a MTM suit would be in the neighbourhood of about $500 or so starting price.

Here is my conundrum

While renting would be the most cost effective option ($200-$300), I could find a sale for a nice OTR suit for about $300-$400.

Lets say I throw in "basic" alterations on an OTR suit - would I then end up in the same neighbourhood of about $500 for an OTR suit + alterations? The same as for a base level MTM suit?
In my experience, a "good" MTM suit will likely start around the $700 mark. Depending on what needs to be done, alterations can run you under $100 like they can run almost to $200, so you'd have to check what needs to be done. Hemming pants for example is typically very easy, but something like taking in at the waist, or shortening sleeves (especially with working button holes) may be more laborious.

Also you have to take into account timeline. A good MTM suit will usually have a turnaround of 4-6 weeks, and this may be lengthened if the initial fitting brings out a lot of adjustments to be made. However, an OTR suit with some alterations can be done within 2 weeks if the tailor isn't too busy.
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Jun 29, 2008
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Yeah MTM is above $700. It really is not a huge difference from OTR with alterations, about $150-$200 depending how many alterations. I've had alterations done at both SS and S&M, done within the week.

So to summarize,

Try to limit alterations. Don't eff with the suit too much. Chest and jacket length should be left alone. Square back, jacket sleeve length, and pant hemming is easiest.

MTM for $700, 4-6 week process with alterations
Suit Supply for $500, 1 week process with alterations
Spier & Mackay for $500, 1 week process with alterations
*Get a cheap suit from The Bay H&M, Zara, etc and make any necessary alterations. Could be had for $400 or cheaper. Won't last as long and quality isn't great but no one will notice as long as it fits well.
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cooper83 wrote: Hopefully not. Black is not a suit colour that most people need. Navy/charcoal, light grey and/or summer fabric, then maybe, and only maybe black.
I have been thinking the same thing.
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Blanche123 wrote: I have been thinking the same thing.
If it's your first proper suit, get dark grey. Proper for any occasion and it'll pass for black at a funeral. Can't wear navy or light grey to a funeral. Second suit can be navy or light grey. Then you move on from there.
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Jul 23, 2012
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MISSISSAUGA
Just an FYI to the OP. We have a suit sale running now. 2 suits for $799. Any suit beyond that would be at the discounted price.
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Oct 8, 2005
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MTM for $700? No clue where you guys shop.

I just came back from HR Outlet and found a RLBL blazer for $800.

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