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Ask the Local:

Where can I get a suit?
Local, my best childhood friend is getting married this summer and I need some threads. Where is the best place to buy a suit in Boston?
Will, ND

Dear Will – A good question – and one that I recently faced in preparing for recruiting. Per usual, I’ll give you a range of options from cheap to obscene:

First, the Boston legend is Filene’s Basement. Once truly the basement of Filene’s department store in downtown crossing, the Basement is now a retailing entity in its own right, with 9 outlets selling designer brands above and beyond what can be found upstairs. They are famous for their wedding gown sale – which pits leotard-clad brides-to-be against each other in a fight to the death – but it can also be a good source for men’s designer clothing. Prices in the basement start off cheaper than retail, and then after two weeks get reduced by 25% each week until the item is sold or given up as tacky and donated to charity. You can pick up some great bargains, if you are willing to pick through the messy racks. It’s a major time commitment to go and do the looking, but well worth it if you find something.

Another bargain option is the Wrentham Factory Outlets (//www.chelseagca.com/location/wrentham/wren.html). Wrentham is out on 495 (about 50 minutes from HBS) and has a great Barney’s outlet as well as Brooks Brothers, Hugo Boss and Joseph Abboud. Depending on the season, you can get a suit at the Barney’s for 20-40% off retail. Both Brooks Brothers and Barney’s outlets are neat, well organized, and have good service (especially for outlets). But you have to know what you are looking for and be your own fashion and fit advisor.

If you are short on time, and really want a great suit, guaranteed, go see David Sims in the Man’s Store at Neiman Marcus in Copley Place. This is the retailing experience you go to HBS for – yeah, the suit will cost you $1,200, but it’s like having your own valet. David will spend hours with you finding the right shirts, ties, shoes, anything and everything you need. He’s quick to pick up on your style and will remember your name when you pick up the tailored suit.

Finally, if the sky really is the limit, go to Louis of Boston. You can’t get in the dressing room for less than $2,000, and the styles have a distinctly European flair, but if you want to cut a Hugh Grant figure, it’s worth a peek.
Have fun at the wedding!
The Local

p.s. If you do come up with a bargain at Filene’s Basement or Wrentham, balance out your spending and get it tailored at Benny Ho in Brookline (1405 Beacon St., 617-738-5888). He’s a bit expensive, but you will look better than you thought you could!
p.p.s. Send your questions to jhodgson@mba2002.hbs.edu – you know you have one. C’mon – send it in…

April 17, 2001
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