Wearing a suit doesn’t mean having to put on a tie. It also doesn’t mean going to work. A friend of mine who wears a uniform to work everyday always says to me, “Man, I’d love to have a great fitting suit, but I’d never have a chance to wear it.” I think it’s fairly common for guys to think of suits strictly in terms of workwear or formalwear. But a suit—and especially a khaki cotton suit—can easily break out of that mold. Here’s a more casual approach to wearing a khaki suit.
There are a lot of choices for men looking for a khaki cotton suit. When I was shopping for one I considered a few options, including a Ludlow from J.Crew and the Brooks Brothers poplin suits. I was looking for a classic khaki color, however, and the current collections at J.Crew, Brooks Brothers, or elsewhere weren’t quite hitting the mark for me. I ended up going choosing Brooks Brothers because a fabric swatch from their Suiting Essentials book was exactly the color I wanted.
If you’re not familiar with Suiting Essentials, it is a program that’s a definite step up from off the rack but not quite made to measure. I suppose I’d call it Custom Off the Rack. Without going into too much detail, you choose your fabric, a few basic options like the jacket lining, for example, and the Brooks Brothers style and fit you prefer. It’s a chance to get a more customized, better fitting suit for basically the same price as one you’d buy off the rack in the store. Compared to the cotton suits available from other brands, you can really feel the difference here. I am extremely happy with the quality of this suit and would definitely recommend trying this program to anybody interested in an entry level custom suiting option.
Just a quick word on the brand. I think Brooks Brothers gets a bit of a bad rap among a lot of younger men these days. To the point where the brand is written off and not even considered as an option. Brooks Brothers is what their fathers and grandfathers wore and has a more conservative fit off the rack than what a lot of guys are looking for right now. I wouldn’t disagree with either of those sentiments, especially when it comes to fit. And a great look is definitely all about great fit.
Having said that, my suit is a Fitzgerald fit. Since I prefer a slim fit I thought I’d be more of a Milano man but the Fitzgerald jacket fits absolutely perfectly and had more of the cut I was looking for. No alterations required. The pants, however, did need a little bit of work. For my style, they were too wide in the leg all the way around. I get all of my pants hemmed and most of them tapered so I’ve come to know fairly specifically what I’m looking for in terms of the width at the thigh, knee, and leg opening. At that point, it was just a matter of giving the tailor my measurements. (If you order through Brooks Brothers hemming is free though tapering ran me about $25.)
Bonus tip: If you don’t know what specific measurements you like, just bring a pair of pants that fit the way you want and have your tailor measure them so he or she knows what to do. I don’t know why you’d buy off the rack at Brooks Brothers—unless, of course, you need something in a pinch—when you can get a more custom garment for pretty much the same price.
So why go through that trouble? Honestly, if you really want your clothes to fit well, visiting an accomplished tailor is essential. Otherwise, unless you are extremely fortunate to find a brand that nails your fit, you’re going to be playing with the hand you’ve been dealt.
This Look: Khaki poplin suit by Brooks Brothers (Suiting Essentials) – Navy gingham shirt by Express – Brown leather plaque belt by J.Crew – Yellow pocket round by Quinntessential Gentleman Handmade (similar here) – Brown suede penny loafers by To Boot New York – Sunglasses by Ray-Ban (Clubmaster)
He Spoke Style
Photography by Rob McIver Photo.