Anatomy of a Suitsupply suit


May 21, 2018 by Ville Raivio

Suitsupply is a European men’s clothier, founded in 2000, with a peculiar take on its field. The company distinguishes itself most by offering a great deal. This price-quality maven uses European cloths from renowned mills — such as Vitale Barberis Canonico, Spence Bryson, Ormezza, E. Thomas, Angelico, Carlo Barbera, Ferla — and favours many details as well as slim cuts but sells the clothing at affordable prices. The SS cloth selections from these mills differ in their colours and patterns from most suit companies. Besides the usual understated, dark suitings SS chooses strong checks or unusual colours, like bottle green or very dark red, every season.

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The SS suits cost 299 euros at their lowest and the webstore offers free courier deliveries and returns. All of this is possible thanks to vertical integration. SS manufactures nearly all of its wares in their own factories, most in Portugal or China, and sells them in their own stores. All phases from make to retail are controlled in-house. The company’s advertisements, in which fully clothed men pose with near-nude young women, have been lambasted on both sides of the Atlantic. The debacle has, however, brought the company to greater knowledge. Suitsupply’s American takeover began in earnest in 2011, when Wall Street magazine published an article where menswear experts compared several suits without maker tags. The SS suit received great praise while other, more expensive makers were told off.

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Suitsupply sent a suit from their new made to order-service to Keikari’s perusal. In the MTO-program, the customer can freely choose his cloth and most details, while the cuts are limited to those used in the readymade suits. Thus, the measurements cannot be changed, but if one of the available cuts satisfies, all is well enough. The order should arrive within a month. The best sides in this service are the details and, most of all, the cloth. The example is a three-piece Lazio-cut suit with extra trousers, made from VBC’s dark grey worsted wool, featuring a light windowpane pattern. Comparing the two trousers shows a difference of a few centimetres between them, otherwise the jacket and trousers fit similarly to a Lazio-cut dinner suit already in my wardrobe. The suit has a decorative pick-stitched lapped construction on nearly all seams, a detail that very few makers use in off-the-peg clothing. The cloth feels smooth and pleasant, with a straight drape despite the lighter weight. The buttonholes are straight and clean, the suit has no loose threads around it.

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The buttons are plastic but have a varied colour. The cloth patterns are cleanly matched, only the underside of the collar is a centimetre off. The one downside I find is the very form-fitting cut of the trousers. If one enjoys having a bit of room, let use say, around the crotch, the only way is to choose a size bigger and have it taken in at the waist. The trouser waist is fairly low as well. The Lazio-cut has a thicker shoulder structure, but the SS version feels fairly light on all models. The note-worthy points with this suit are the high gorge, straight and angled lapels, the slim fit, clean finish, and the nicely rounded open quarters. Together these combine into a cut that is far from boring.

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This presentation is easy to end, as most of my jackets and suits are already from Suitsupply. Besides their trousers, jackets, and suits I dare to recommend the collar shirts as these often feature high-grade European fabrics, and the cuts are slim. I have owned and used suits twice the price of what SS asks, and I’ve rarely found a similar combination of cloth, finishing, cut, details, and price. If one finds a suitable cut from the Suitsupply range, the door towards style opens with ease.


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"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
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