Have you thought about buying a custom suit online?
It can be scary to purchase an expensive new suit that you don't even get to try on before buying. To make things worse, there are so many suit makers to choose from. You don't want to waste your money, but you need a suit that fits.
That's why I publish reviews here on TheModestMan.com. I want to help you avoid buying low-quality, over-priced and ill-fitting clothes.
This review is for Arden Reed, an online custom clothier based out of New York City. They sell suits, shirts, pants, blazers and accessories. Co-founder Carlos Solorio – a fellow man of modest height – recently sent me a gift certificate for a free suit of my choice. I went with the Vintage Light Grey Suit, which retails for $467.
In this review, I'll talk about the fit and quality of the suit as well as shipping time and customer service. I also include some photos of the suit so you can see how it looks right out of the box!
Disclaimer: Arden Reed gave me this suit for free. They did not, however, ask me to review it on this blog. This review – and every review on TheModestMan.com – is completely unbiased.
I did not have any problems with my order, so I did not need to contact customer service. That said, Carlos responded to almost all of my emails within 24 hours.
Arden Reed says that all orders ship within four weeks of purchase. They try to exceed this estimate, which was the case with my order. I don't know if this is typical, and some orders probably take longer than others, but my new suit arrived at my doorstep in less than three weeks.
The biggest problem with buying made-to-measure (MTM) clothes online is getting the right measurements. The whole point of buying custom clothing is to get something that fits perfectly, and this can only be done if you start with the right measurements.
Most online suit makers have a self-measurement system that consists of videos, written instructions and/or photos. Arden Reed's measuring process is excellent. They even have a downloadable PDF guide that you can use to store your measurements.
Each measurement is clearly described in a series of short videos, but I highly recommend that you let a friend measure you. Certain measurements are very difficult to get by yourself. You will also need tailor's tape.
If you are worried about messing up your measurements and getting a suit that doesn't fit properly, worry no more! Arden Reed has a Perfect Fit Guarantee, which means you can get your suit altered at a local tailor and they will reimburse you. Or, if major alterations are needed, they will simply make you a new suit.
Most online suit makers have solid guarantees, but this is one of the best I've heard of.
Most guys don't care too much about thread count or where their suit fabric came from. Honestly, I don't care too much about that stuff either. But you do want to make sure that any dress clothes you buy are sturdily constructed from high quality material. Otherwise, they will fall apart after you wear them for a while.
I don't know about you, but if I pay hundreds of dollars for a suit, I want it to last for more than a year!
Arden Reed doesn't have any info about the fabric they use on their website, but founder Mike Abadi discusses the details on this Style Forum thread. For those of you who care about wool-blends and canvassing, definitely check it out. For the rest of you, the bottom line is you don't have to worry about Arden Reed suits falling apart after normal wear.
The best part of a good review is the photos. These photos were taken right after the suit was delivered, so no alterations have been made. However, alterations are definitely needed. Can you tell what they are? Scroll down for the answer…
If you guessed that the pants are too long, you were right! They aren't way too long, just a half inch or so. This would be okay for most guys, but shorter men should make sure that their dress pants are hemmed nice and short so they don't break at all. In other words, there should be little or no crease above the ankle.
Also, there are too many wrinkles in the arms. This likely has to do with something called sleeve pitch. I will be taking this suit to my tailor to address this and any other issues that he identifies, and I will post “after” pics to show you how it fits after tailoring.
Bonus Points: If you noticed that there is no shirt cuff peaking out under the jacket sleeve, good for you! Ideally, your shirt cuffs should be visible under your jacket sleeves at your wrists. The problem here is not the length of the jacket sleeves, it's the length of the shirt sleeves. I'm wearing a new custom shirt whose sleeves are too short. It will have to be remade with longer sleeves.
Extra Bonus Points: Can you tell what's missing from my outfit? It's the belt! These pants fit perfectly on my waist and don't require a belt to hold them up. I will have my tailor remove the belt loops.
This Arden Reed suit doesn't fit very well. It will be easy to hem the pants, but what about the problems with the sleeves and shoulders? These will be expensive and maybe even impossible to fix, even I take the jacket to a skilled tailor.
What do you think about my new suit? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!