If you love classic menswear, you must have seen the Suitsupply or other online Made-to-Measure (MTM) companies such as Black Lapel. Without question, competition in this industry is tremendous. However, do both these brands provide unique solutions to men’s wardrobes? And, when comparing Black Lapel vs. Suitsupply, which one is better?
Black Lapel Vs. Suitsupply
What is Black Lapel?
Black Lapel is a New York-based Made-to-Measure (MTM) clothing brand that sells custom suits, formal wear, vests, shirts, blazers, coats, and accessories ranging from ties and pocket squares to scarves and bags.
Though Black Lapel didn’t come up with the digital suit experience, the co-founders Derek Tian and Warren Liao have helped pioneer and shape the online budget-friendly custom tailoring industry. Since its official launch in 2011, the firm has been providing “luxury suits designed by you” starting from $499.
Each Black Lapel suit jacket and pant is handmade, ensuring you look your best. Besides, the brand usually prides itself on affordability as well as knocking off the middleman “to bring you high-end fabrics from renowned mills throughout the world without the exorbitant markups.” Furthermore, ordering a suit from Black Lapel is done online, which is extremely convenient in today’s world.
Why Would You Buy a Black Lapel suit?
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The waistcoat is of good length and does not reveal the dress shirt. I went to Black Lapel stores to buy from there, and the suit fits well. The jacket also fits well. The trousers, similarly, fit neatly on the hips, and the front pleats do not stretch over the thigh.
Similarly, the buttoning point was at a convenient height below the solar plexus. And though the arm holes felt a bit high, they did not restrict movement. However, there was some rippling down the triceps, but it was not prevalent.
2. Ordering Process
Ordering on the Black Lapel website is quick and consists of two stages: customization and measurement. The customizing process includes useful pop-up details of how the various options affect the appearance and wearing of the suit.
You will receive detailed, attentive responses within 24 hours after sending your inquiries. Besides, the customer support is precise in their replies and gives guidance as it fits.
The Black Lapel suit is made of supper 110, 8.1-ounce Merino wool which feels nice to the touch and comfortable to wear. The polyester grosgrain facing is also extremely elegant, and the entire craft is professional.
The pants feature an anti-slip rubberized waistband, and the jacket came with extra front and sleeve buttons, which is quite thoughtful given how hard it would be to acquire new grosgrain buttons. Besides, I love the placement of the boutonniere holder behind the lapel’s buttonhole.
The price of a Black Lapel suit starts at $529, which includes half-canvas construction, full lining, and satin facing. Full canvas is an extra $200, grosgrain facing is $20, and partial lining is $30. Besides, the matching waistcoat costs $109. Conversely, shipping is free across the world.
I recently ordered a black suit for work that included the waistcoat and the grosgrain option, and its total cost was $658. This is much less than the cost of locally tailored clothing.
The suits are exceptional products from a brand whose name relates to formal wear’s high standards. Besides, the drawbacks are outweighed by the excellent fit, appearance, and wearability.
Shopping from Black Lapel is quite easy, whether online or at stores in the United States. As for me, I have purchased suits directly from their store and online.
Why Wouldn’t You Buy a Black Lapel Suit?
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1. Ordering Process
Though the customer support is outstanding, the customization procedure didn’t represent how the customer’s options would appear in the context of the outfit being ordered—besides a free-form area for special requests like full-canvas construction, grosgrain facing, and partial lining.
2. Alterations upsell
The Black Lapel’s policy is to either pay $75 for alterations (for clients who can’t visit the store) or recreate the item if the alterations would cost more than that. That means you will add the $75 to the initial cost of the suit.
I thought the jacket sleeves needed to be reduced by half an inch. For the trousers, they fit considerably well. The alteration took about two weeks; for me, this is quite a long period.
3. Wrinkle resistance
I noticed that the suit fabric has poor wrinkle resistance. After sitting for a few minutes, there were creases in the pants (crotch and back of knees). And, when I did the usual wrinkle test, which involves squeezing a handful of cloth and then releasing it, the fabric got wrinkled.
Though this may be due to the year-round weight, I did the same test on a similar weight, but the much finer fabric of my other two MTM suits (8 oz super 130s and 9.1 oz super 120s) resulted in no visible creases.
What is Suitsupply?
Suitsupply was launched in 2000 by Fokke De Jong. However, its first brick-and-mortar store opened in 2007. The company has become popular for provocative marketing campaigns, essentially “sex sells.” However, the company has also received a lot of criticism for its sexist representation of women in its commercials.
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Apart from suits, the clothing brand also has separates like sports jackets, blazers, overcoats, knitwear, trousers, vests, and a few more items. However, as the name Suit supply suggests, suiting is at the company’s heart.
Suitsupply’s motto is “Don’t fit in; discover your own ideal fit.” The custom suit range they sell is built on a foundation of classic yet more modern shape with a shorter jacket, some more Southern European or Italian details, and often vibrant fabrics.
Why Would You Buy a Suitsupply Suit?
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Suitsupply collaborates with well-known European mills such as VBC, Angelico, Ormezza, Carlo Barbera, and E. Thomas. The mills usually manufacture top-notch fabrics.
Suitsupply has been able to capture the current state of menswear over the past ten years or so. The suits’ style, as mentioned earlier, is quite classic, which makes them highly wearable. Another general style aspect of Suitsupply that contributes to its versatility and attractiveness is that its jackets have soft shoulders, making them a little more casual and hence a lot more wearable.
I’m 5′ 9, and the suit Jacket length fits me relatively well with no weird posture issues or excessively broad shoulders. Though Suitsupply’s fit can be an issue at times, generally, the cut of the clothing is quite pleasing and modern while remaining timeless.
Suitsupply is easy to shop online or at one of their 35 brick-and-mortar locations in the United States. I’ve purchased items directly from the showroom as well as online. But I found that online shopping and the return process were quite easy.
5. Fairly priced
You can get a suit for as low as $399, and the more quality fabric, the more the price. The jackets are normally between $399 and $599, which is a relatively reasonable price considering the fabric, fit, and quality.
Why Wouldn’t You Buy a Suitsupply Suit?
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1. Alterations upsell
If you buy a bespoke suit directly from the Suitsupply store at $499, you might spend anywhere between $750 and $800. You put on the suit, stand in front of the mirror, and then the stylist comes offering suggestions. Some suggestions are basic, while others are necessary, such as letting the waist out or drawing it in.
The stylist might start tapering the pants, narrowing your double-breasted suit jacket sleeve, shortening the jacket, or getting into last-minute detail regarding additional fabric on the jacket’s sides. But, of course, the changes will cost you extra.
As mentioned earlier, some buyers complain about the pants not being of true size while others have no problem with them. Personally, the suit I bought for my birthday fit me well.
3. Poor Fit Recommendations
Some buyers complain that the stylists often make poor fit recommendations. This is because they tend to care more about a specific trend than the people they’re styling. For example, they can taper your pant leg, which I think it’s a bit too far. I believe they should consider the person they’re styling more than the trend.
Now that you understand the differences between Black Lapel and Suitsupply, the decision of which is the best clothing brand between the two will depend on your personal preference. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each brand to help you make the decision. We have also included my buying experience with the two brands.
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