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#1
Old 01-31-2013, 09:39 AM
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Dapper men: Jos. A. Banks vs. Men's Wearhouse

I've been going to Jos. A. Banks for a couple of years now for all my business attire needs. I know (especially since I have a friend who works in their corporate HQ) that under the surface, the stuff they sell isn't of the best quality, and they sell on volume. Regardless, they know me by name in the store I patronize and have never turned down a return or exchange for any reason.

However, I've recently gotten frustrated with my pants from them. The seams aren't terribly strong on the inseams or the pockets and has required me going back to them again and again for repairs. They always do it with a smile, but it's getting to be a bit aggravating.

How does Men's Wearhouse stack up against Jos. A. Banks? I've never been in one of their stores, but I always assumed it would look more like a department store and less like a boutique like Jos. A. Banks.

Has anyone shopped at both and can offer a comparison?
#2
Old 01-31-2013, 09:57 AM
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Men's Wearhouse is slightly cheaper, but otherwise the two stores are virtually identical. They're both selling basically the same low to low-mid level stuff.
#3
Old 01-31-2013, 10:04 AM
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Have you considered some of the larger dept stores like Nordstrom, Macy's, Sack's, etc...?

They often have sales that bring down prices to that of J.A.B. Quality tends to be better as well.

J.Crew has been stocking some nice men's suits lately. Banana Republic will have stuff too, but their quality is not always consistant.

Should I mention Hugo Boss or Ralph Lauren?
#4
Old 01-31-2013, 10:13 AM
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Jos. A. Banks has very slim fitting shirts, so beware of that. I usually have to buy them a size up from anywhere else.

They also have very odd pricing. The prices are high, but you never pay full price. It's always some deal like buy two shirts, get three pairs of pants and one shirt free.
#5
Old 01-31-2013, 10:14 AM
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I bought a suit at Jos. A. Banks last summer, and now evidently I own three stores.
#6
Old 01-31-2013, 10:15 AM
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If you like buying online, I suggest LLBean and Duluth Trading Company. Both have good shirts and good return policies. Both are a bit pricey though.
#7
Old 01-31-2013, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Have you considered some of the larger dept stores like Nordstrom, Macy's, Sack's, etc...?

They often have sales that bring down prices to that of J.A.B. Quality tends to be better as well....
This, but their outlets (Nordstrom Rack, Off 5th, Last Call at Neiman Marcus). You can find some excellent deals there. Then it's a matter of finding a good tailor (though I think the Rack will throw alterations in.). If you really know your sizes and are willing to kick a LOT of tires, Goodwill or a local men's consignment shop can be helpful. Getting things tailored to you is the key.

See also these related threads at Ask Andy About Clothes, Style Forum, and Dappered. com. Most of them are quite accepting of Jos. A Bank's better stuff, and the consensus seems to be that it's just fine for someone who doesn't need to wear a suit everyday.
#8
Old 01-31-2013, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Should I mention Hugo Boss or Ralph Lauren?
I think with Hugo Boss and RL you are starting to get into a higher price point ($1000+). Unless you are looking at the Lauren by Ralph Lauren line.
#9
Old 01-31-2013, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
This, but their outlets (Nordstrom Rack, Off 5th, Last Call at Neiman Marcus). You can find some excellent deals there. Then it's a matter of finding a good tailor (though I think the Rack will throw alterations in.). If you really know your sizes and are willing to kick a LOT of tires, Goodwill or a local men's consignment shop can be helpful. Getting things tailored to you is the key.
...
Most of them are quite accepting of Jos. A Bank's better stuff, and the consensus seems to be that it's just fine for someone who doesn't need to wear a suit everyday.
A good tailor can make all the difference, and if you don't mind wearing slightly out of fashion cut of suits or are into the vintage look, hitting consignment stores or Goodwill can be a great way to pick up really high quality fabrics and stitching very cheaply. But it takes a lot of time and the clothing often shows some sign of wear. I've never been impressed with in-house tailors beyond hemming cuffs and always take suits to my tailor for fitting.

If you are wearing suits on a daily basis, you really should consider bespoke tailoring as opposed to buying off the rack. The cost for a second tier (not name brand) bespoke suit is really quite comparable to an off-the-rack suit with good tailoring. (I once "took advantage" of a particularly good sale at Jos. A Bank to get several jackets and have them tailored, but the end cost was almost the same as just having my tailor run up bespoke jackets through their Hong Kong shop.) You will be able to select from a wide range of fabrics that are probably of higher quality than what you will find off-the-rack, and the suit will be made to fit you exactly. Poorly fitting suits not only look bad but will wear poorly where they sag or bag up, whereas a good fitting suit made with high quality fabric can be expected to last for hundreds of wearings. It is also a good idea, if you are really wearing suits on a daily basis, to buy two pairs of pants and a matching jacket, as the pants will frequently wear faster and require cleaning more than the jacket. This is almost never an option with an off-the-rack suit, as they naturaly want you to buy more complete outfits, and will ultimately cost you less.

Stranger
#10
Old 01-31-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
I think with Hugo Boss and RL you are starting to get into a higher price point ($1000+). Unless you are looking at the Lauren by Ralph Lauren line.
OP, I gathered you were talking about trousers, not necessarily as part of a suit? Or do you have to wear full suits regularly?
#11
Old 01-31-2013, 01:28 PM
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Found out yesterday that Ben Bernanke shops at Jos. A Banks. So take that as you will.
#12
Old 01-31-2013, 04:51 PM
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I never get to nitpick, so here's my chance:
it's Bank (no s, unless possessive). Jos. A. Bank.
#13
Old 01-31-2013, 05:13 PM
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If you shop as Jos A Bank, be aware that they have ludricrously high list prices and they constantly have sales so people think they are getting a good deal. Don't buy any major item from them unless it's at least 60% off of the list price, or if you want multiple suits you could go for the frequent "buy 1 get 2 free" (66.6% off). If you're patient you can get things for 70% or even 80% off.

According to some Googling I've done, the fashonistas on the Internet say the problem with Jos A Banks is that the suits are cut big to fit average fat people. They do have "tailored" and "slim" fit lines though.

I got a Signature series suit for $180 and I think the material is good for the price. It is cut boxy and I'll have to get the jacket taken in at the waist for it to fit me well.

Last edited by thirdname; 01-31-2013 at 05:13 PM.
#14
Old 02-01-2013, 09:40 AM
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I just (~3 weeks ago) bought a suit from Jos. A Bank. I tried on their regular cut line which was way too boxy for me; then tried their tailored line (I think), which fit me great but was more of a social, go out to a nice restaurant-type of suit. I was looking for a more conservative, business-meeting suit, so I went with their slim fit, which is the middle line between boxy and "skinny" suit. And like baby bear and the porridge, it was just right. It fit me beautifully. The tag said $795 but I walked out of there with the suit, a tie and a shirt for $325. Pants are at the tailor right now.

I have about 5 suits hanging in my closet and wear one maybe 2-3 times a year, but they're all at least 10-15 years old and it's time to update them. Like someone said upthread, if you wear a suit every day it would probably make sense to go with something a little more high end, but for my purposes JAB is fine.

I've never shopped at Men's Wearhouse.
#15
Old 02-01-2013, 10:55 AM
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In my experience, Men's Warehouse and Jos. A. Bank are about the same. I bought 2 suits from Macy's in the past half year or so. If you wait until they have a good sale and get a discount with a Macy's card you can get a pretty nice deal. And they do have quality stuff.
#16
Old 02-01-2013, 10:56 AM
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I feel like, Jos. A Bank used to have higher quality, but now it's pretty low rent. I saw an ad for buy 1, get seven free, plus a free phone!
#17
Old 02-01-2013, 04:14 PM
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IMO, both chains are similar-mostly mid-to lower-end quality clothing. Check the seams on a shirt-the sewing should be straight and tight-chances are at these places, these shirts will come from China or India. As others have said, you can do better at a high end store like Nordstroms (on sale)-the quality will be much better, and your clothes will last much longer. There is a huge difference between a Nordtstrom shirt and one from these two chains.
#18
Old 02-01-2013, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
A good tailor can make all the difference, and if you don't mind wearing slightly out of fashion cut of suits or are into the vintage look, hitting consignment stores or Goodwill can be a great way to pick up really high quality fabrics and stitching very cheaply. But it takes a lot of time and the clothing often shows some sign of wear. I've never been impressed with in-house tailors beyond hemming cuffs and always take suits to my tailor for fitting.

If you are wearing suits on a daily basis, you really should consider bespoke tailoring as opposed to buying off the rack. The cost for a second tier (not name brand) bespoke suit is really quite comparable to an off-the-rack suit with good tailoring. (I once "took advantage" of a particularly good sale at Jos. A Bank to get several jackets and have them tailored, but the end cost was almost the same as just having my tailor run up bespoke jackets through their Hong Kong shop.) You will be able to select from a wide range of fabrics that are probably of higher quality than what you will find off-the-rack, and the suit will be made to fit you exactly. Poorly fitting suits not only look bad but will wear poorly where they sag or bag up, whereas a good fitting suit made with high quality fabric can be expected to last for hundreds of wearings. It is also a good idea, if you are really wearing suits on a daily basis, to buy two pairs of pants and a matching jacket, as the pants will frequently wear faster and require cleaning more than the jacket. This is almost never an option with an off-the-rack suit, as they naturaly want you to buy more complete outfits, and will ultimately cost you less.

Stranger
Mostly this. But if you don't want to spend the extra bucks another thing you might want to try is going to a lower end store, like a 3-day Suit Broker. Look for the best ones you can find, which takes a lot of searching, then take them to a good tailor and have them reinforce the stitching and make the necessary alterations for you.

I did this for my day-to-day suits. I bought three suits for $249, spent $200 on alterations and now have three suits to wear daily and not put all those miles on my nice suits.
#19
Old 02-02-2013, 07:02 PM
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I'd like to hear a little more about this bespoke thing. I hate how much time it takes to buy and tailor suits. This might be a good way to fill my closet in one swoop. But I've heard some horror stories re: quality.
#20
Old 02-02-2013, 07:17 PM
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I've never bought bespoke suits, but I think it's more complicated than tailoring off-the-rack ones. I think several appointments are needed for measuring and adjustments and you need to make multiple decisions about collars, labels, fabric, etc. You can of course travel to Hong Kong or Savile Row in London for a bespoke suit. But there are guys who travel around the US and meet customers (typically in a rented space in a hotel) to measure them for suits, which are then mailed directly from Asia.
#21
Old 02-02-2013, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
A good tailor can make all the difference, and if you don't mind wearing slightly out of fashion cut of suits or are into the vintage look, hitting consignment stores or Goodwill can be a great way to pick up really high quality fabrics and stitching very cheaply. But it takes a lot of time and the clothing often shows some sign of wear. I've never been impressed with in-house tailors beyond hemming cuffs and always take suits to my tailor for fitting.

If you are wearing suits on a daily basis, you really should consider bespoke tailoring as opposed to buying off the rack. The cost for a second tier (not name brand) bespoke suit is really quite comparable to an off-the-rack suit with good tailoring. (I once "took advantage" of a particularly good sale at Jos. A Bank to get several jackets and have them tailored, but the end cost was almost the same as just having my tailor run up bespoke jackets through their Hong Kong shop.) You will be able to select from a wide range of fabrics that are probably of higher quality than what you will find off-the-rack, and the suit will be made to fit you exactly. Poorly fitting suits not only look bad but will wear poorly where they sag or bag up, whereas a good fitting suit made with high quality fabric can be expected to last for hundreds of wearings. It is also a good idea, if you are really wearing suits on a daily basis, to buy two pairs of pants and a matching jacket, as the pants will frequently wear faster and require cleaning more than the jacket. This is almost never an option with an off-the-rack suit, as they naturaly want you to buy more complete outfits, and will ultimately cost you less.

Stranger
You really mean "made to measure" instead of "bespoke." A bespoke suit is a one-of-a-kind creation made to fit only you, involves several fittings, and costs at least $3k. Made to measure can cost not much more than off the rack.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking made to measure in the least, and I definitely agree that it's worth it to take a suit to a tailor and get it adjusted to fit, but it's still not bespoke.
#22
Old 02-02-2013, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
IMO, both chains are similar-mostly mid-to lower-end quality clothing. Check the seams on a shirt-the sewing should be straight and tight-chances are at these places, these shirts will come from China or India. As others have said, you can do better at a high end store like Nordstroms (on sale)-the quality will be much better, and your clothes will last much longer. There is a huge difference between a Nordtstrom shirt and one from these two chains.

If you think expensive clothes are not made in China or India you need to check the labels. Maybe super high end stuff is made in the US or Europe, but a lot of pricey stuff is made in Asia.
#23
Old 02-02-2013, 08:36 PM
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They are basically the same thing. You will want to make friends with the old guy or gal who is doing the alterations and let them fuss to get a fit. Ask them. Everyone else is just in sales.

You will pay twice as much for a Nordstrom suit on sale. It is a lot better a suit.
#24
Old 02-02-2013, 10:31 PM
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If you're a guy and have a Nordstrom's Rack within 100 miles, you really shouldn't need to go anywhere else.

First of all, only 10% of the store is set aside for menswear (generous estimate) and 98% of the shoppers are women. It is very easy to tell which items are "Straight to Nordstrom's Rack", as there will be an ample supply in every size available. Luckily I am tall and wear a 48 long coat, and while there are usually only a small ammount of options, they are all different and came straight from the regular Nordstrom's store.

The deals are real and well over 50% off the regular store price, and the shoe department is the best thing ever. I pretty much buy all my business wear there, and all of my shoes/footwear.
#25
Old 02-03-2013, 12:29 AM
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Here's one made to measure US tailor

http://gregchapman.com/index.php
#26
Old 12-12-2013, 11:07 AM
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URL needs a minor fix

Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
Here's one made to measure US tailor

http://gregchapman.com/index.php
Delete the "/index.php" portion to go to the page:

http://gregchapman.com
#27
Old 12-12-2013, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Have you considered some of the larger dept stores like Nordstrom, Macy's, Sack's, etc...?

They often have sales that bring down prices to that of J.A.B. Quality tends to be better as well.

J.Crew has been stocking some nice men's suits lately. Banana Republic will have stuff too, but their quality is not always consistant.

Should I mention Hugo Boss or Ralph Lauren?
This. Broaden your horizons.


...Empty your pocketbook.
#28
Old 12-12-2013, 12:24 PM
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Macy*s and JC Penney's both have wardrobe sales that offer pretty good suits for the money. Sometimes, they even package shirts and ties in the deals.

Burlington, from time to time, can have some decent quality stuff.

My JC Penney's suits from 7 or 8 years ago hardly even look used.

Any where you go, shop carefully, take your time, bring someone else with you who can be a discerning eye for you (as to fit, fashion, quality), and ask if they have any deals available or coming up. Couldn't hurt.
#29
Old 12-12-2013, 12:31 PM
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As for JC Penney's and other dept stores quality for price, I just last year threw away a pair of Stafford cordovan lace up wing tips (shoes) that I got for a job interview right after high school. I'm 50 now. I had them resoled a couple of times, but they kept a hard shine and looked great right up till I ripped the seams. I still have silk ties from Macy*s from the 80s (the style came back twice already!) that still look new, no stretching or fraying.

Not daily wear, mind you, but fairly well used.
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