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Suiting up - the funcrunch files

Aug. 24th, 2013 02:37 pm Suiting up

As much as I hate shopping and would prefer to wear T-shirts every day, I need to get some formal and semi-formal menswear. I solicited opinions on Facebook earlier this summer, and got some useful suggestions, including a tip to avoid Tomboy Tailors, which from their scathing reviews on Yelp looks like a wise choice.

I've realized that another obstacle I face beyond size and cost is that most suits, jackets, and ties are made from animal products, including wool and silk. I have fewer problems with these materials than with leather and fur, but still prefer to avoid them. It's practically impossible to live a life completely free of animal products; as this article points out, suits often have buttons made from animal horns, and many glues are animal-based as well. I'm fine with some compromises (I still eat honey, for example), but I do want to live more consciously and ethically, as ahimsa is now literally my middle name.

So if I want to get a suit that actually fits me and contains no animal products, basically I need to go with something custom-tailored (bespoke?) which can be super-expensive. I don't think I can justify that expense right now considering the only money I'm earning is $17.50 per day while my jury service lasts. I guess I can look for a used suit for now, feeling somewhat less guilty about wearing wool if it's used, and have it tailored. At least I've found a couple of places online to get decent quality silk-free ties...

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Date:August 24th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
One thing I like to follow is http://www.reddit.com/malefashionadvice

I discovered a few days ago that there's another group specifically for lower cost ideas: http://www.reddit.com/r/frugalmalefashion

Hope that helps!
Date:August 25th, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)
Have you looked at Saint Harridan? I believe Xta contributed to some Kickstarter they were running...
Date:August 25th, 2013 12:28 am (UTC)
Yes, I checked them out before Tomboy Tailors actually. But they only have one suit, and it's wool, and above my price range.
Date:August 25th, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
I bought an awesome men's suit at Goodwill several years ago for probably $25-30. Fit me nicely without doing anything but hem the pants (but then my hip-to-waist ratio is not very curvy - I wear men's pants about as comfortably as women's pants). It WAS wool.
Date:August 25th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
I need to find more Goodwill stores; the last one I went to, in the Mission, had virtually nothing in smaller men's sizes. Same with Out of the Closet (which I prefer to support rather than Goodwill).

I also realized that at least for now I can probably get away with a decent jacket and slacks rather than a full suit, and those should be easier to find in non-animal fabrics.

Edited at 2013-08-25 03:13 pm (UTC)
Date:August 25th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, right, you're quite a bit smaller, that's harder. I believe I was a women's size 10 at the time. I'm a 14-16 now, this suit no longer fits but I still have it in my closet. I should probably redonate it. One of the things on my "101 in 1001" list is to go through my closets and drawers and make up a box to take in! A lot of the things I would be taking are things I bought at Goodwill initially.

If you want to check out a bunch of Goodwills in a row, I once hit 5 in an evening after work on my way from Santa Clara to Palo Alto, all on or just-off El Camino. That's how I found my newer two (women's but fairly androgynous) suits a few years ago. You could get a zipcar and probably hit 10 of them. Add in Savers and you've got a full dozen.

Actually, if we can find a Saturday when we're both free I'd be happy to pick you up at the nearest BART or in the city and make a day of it. My calendar is currently showing nothing the next two Saturdays. We could drive down to San Jose and work our way back north.

Edited at 2013-08-25 03:25 pm (UTC)
Date:August 25th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
That is a tempting offer, and I am free next Saturday. I'll hit you up on e-mail...