Style

"I look like somebody's third choice for a prom date."

Can You Buy a Decent Suit for Less Than $40?

Last summer I was invited to a wedding as a plus one. I had been seeing the girl who invited me for a few months, but we hadn’t had the “What are we?” conversation yet. Still, I was stoked to meet her family, eat a free meal, and inevitably dance the macarena with somebody’s aunt. It was only when I received the invitation did I start to feel worried. The celebration was apparently going to be at a castle and the dress code was black tie. I don’t have tuxedo. Obviously, this was a problem.

“You’re being neurotic,” my girl said. “Any suit will be fine. Listen, I’ve got to go to work. Don’t be weird about this.”

For the next few days I was weird about it. I frantically looked up tuxedos online, comparing/contrasting styles and shipping times. Google’s algorithm (or whatever it is) took note of all my online clothes shopping and soon all my sponsored ads seemed to be from one company: Alain Dupetit.1

Alain Dupetit promised a “high end” tux for $79 plus shipping. After seeing the ad at least two dozen times, I gave in to a strange combination of desperation/curiosity and clicked. Their tux looked…good? Comparable to any pictures I’d seen from Zara or Topshop. Reviews for the tux online were also surprisingly good. People said nice things about the fit and the fabric. All of the sudden I was seriously considering wearing a $79 tux to a wedding to meet my girlfriend’s family.

Ultimately I decided that wearing a cheap outfit to an event that cost more than my post-secondary education wasn’t going to cut it. I rented (a size too large) and felt okay about it. At the wedding, the groomsmen dressed in navy sport jackets with kilts. All the other dudes were in normal suits. One guy wore jeans with a polo. Apparently I was the only person classy enough to understand what “black tie” meant.

At the reception, I drank too much and discreetly threw up in a planter beside the Castle’s water fountain.

While the tux fiasco came and went, my fascination with Alain Dupetit’s inexpensive suits stuck around. While their suits were cheap at only $49, they would only be a good deal if they were wearable. There was really only one way to find out. Just after Christmas, Dupetit had the suits on sale. I got myself a two piece for $38, plus shipping. The following review is a public service. It’s meant to inform those considering buying one of Alain Dupetit’s garments. Please know that this one was almost worth the price.

The Unboxing

The suit took about a week and a half to arrive. It came in a long brown box that the post carrier happily smashed into my tiny mailbox. The suit I ordered was classic black in 42 regular. The suit that arrived was classic black in 42 long.

The Fit

I am 5’11. On a good day, if I’ve eaten all my vitamins and am thinking a lot of positive thoughts, I can pass for six foot. But under no circumstances am I a person who requires a long suit jacket. My hope was that I’d be able to pull off the long jacket as the kind of avant garde fashion statement Jaden Smith would make. I tried on the suit. The bottom of the jacket came down to my thighs. The pants sat above my hips. I looked like I was wearing my dad’s suit in a junior high school production of Guys and Dolls.

The Fabric

The fabric of my $38 suit felt sleek and had a subtle shine to it. Walking around my apartment, my thighs made a swooshing sound, not unlike track pants. I figured if I ever wore this thing in public my swooshing would precede me. People would hear it and brace for disappointment.

Conclusion

Quality-wise this suit is comparable to the suit I purchased for prom. With the proper sizing, and a few quick adjustments by a tailor, the thing could work. Though, finding a tailor who would fix it for less than what I paid for it might be a challenge. In all likelihood, the adjustments would end up costing more than the suit itself.

Addendum

During the shoot my photographer Jiv—a handsome, jovial dude who is both much taller than I am and decidedly not a suit guy—tried on the jacket. The dark jacket against his bright T-shirt made him look like he was about to solve crimes in Miami. When I told Jiv the cost of the suit, he went on to the Alain Dupetit site and ordered two.

References   [ + ]

1. It’s possible that this Alain Dupetit is a real person. If so, his name, when translated into English, means “From Little.” Get it? Because his suits are cheap.