The Best Suit We've Found for Under US$1,200 (S$1,700)
I'd like to preface this article by declaring that I'm a vain suit-loving, mid-level executive in my very broad company. I have dreams that my wardrobe looks like Patrick Bateman's, and I'm pretty close to achieving that dream. Over the years, I've spent a good chunk of change on suits, from Giorgio to Zegna. But while these are really exquisite pieces, I rarely wear them. And of course the question is, what's the point of having all these suits if you don't wear them regularly?
The ones I do wear the most regularly range around $1,000 to $1,500 and range from Japanese labels to American, French and Italian. I rarely don a full suit since it's not really required: chinos or jeans with a shirt and jacket are more de rigeur for me. Throw in a tie when I'm meeting a client, and if it's a more casual day, it's T-shirt and blazer for me. We recently discovered Suitsupply's La Spalla range, its most expensive series of suits that maxes out at around S$1,700 (depending on alteration needs). The Havana lines might be less pricey, it's true, but here's what we like about La Spalla.
The shoulders on a La Spalla suit are narrow pleated and positioned higher. That gives your shoulder cuff a free range of motion. It's still relatively deconstructed, though not as much as an unlined suit would be, of course. We like the rolled shoulder, that's a lovely formal suiting style (shirring show here is also another elegant option) and it's all stitched by hand.
The La Spalla Light Grey Bird's Eye in a wool-and-silk blend by Vitale Barberis Canonico
All in the details
The collars, buttons, et cetera are all stitched by hand. The suit is fully canvassed, which is important as it conforms better to the body and thus maintains its shape. It also means that the suit can thoroughly be taken apart and restitched, which is ideal if like me, you're not a perfect rack fit.
As a standard, all of Suitsupply's materials are stocked from factories in Biella, the best yarn-making town the world over. Materials make a big difference in the look and feel of a suit. Wool is naturally a great option, from Super 130's by Carlo Barbera (also, Luciano Barbera) to Super 150's from E. Thomas (a little fragile and precious, but feels great) and blends of wool with silk or cashmere (the former for a luxurious sheen, the latter ideal for cooler climates). The company works with names such as Vitale Barberis Canonico, E. Thomas, Lanificio Cerruti... these are names that supply to companies such as Anderson & Sheppard, Liverano and Ripense.
Business formal with a twist
La Spalla, given its choice of materials, is designed for formal business wear. Even then, it's easy to go from a very serious work look to a more casual style. The Light Grey Bird's Eye suit is easily given a more relaxed twist by changing into a T-shirt from a shirt-and-tie, or swopping out the pants for denims. Or add a bit of colour to your outfit by pairing the Blue Check or plain navy jacket with a pair of khakis or chinos, or dress pants of a different colour. But the pinstripe, that we would keep just as it is. It's a classic that should remain untouched.
Check out Suitsupply's collection at the Ion Orchard store on level 3.