Fashion Dictator: Three Stylish Suits That Won't Break The Bank

Each week, Esquire's Fashion Director, Catherine Hayward answers your style conundrums. Tweet your questions to her @chaywardstyle, or email her.

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Dear Fashion Dictator,

I have a wedding and a work party to attend and need a good, versatile suit that won’t break the bank. I’m a very slim 5’7’’.

 - Anup, via email.


It’s a perennial conundrum, this one.

Anyone in the 5’10’’ range will successfully fill out the usual roomier cuts and in the super tall category, there’s always High and Mighty. But at 5’7’’ and below, it’s all too easy to feel your suit is wearing you – too boxy, too loose, too pleated.

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So where to begin? At Esquire Towers, we’re always waxing lyrical about the benefits of Savile Row tailoring but we also know its one big investment. On the other hand, may I suggest you don’t opt for something too cheap. Good cloth really does last and worth the extra investment. So, grab a coffee – and your wallet – and lets take a stroll along the virtual high street where I will show you my 3 current favourites.

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First stop.
Ben Sherman. You’re in safe hands here as they’ve been dressing British men for 50 years and, crucially, all their tailoring is fitted. If you’re up for it, go for the more directional Camden fit – the skinnier of the two available cuts – in a dark blue wool mohair; durable and light with a lustrous sheen so good for formal events.

Skinnier still is the navy wool puppy tooth version which starts at jacket size 34 for £195. Wowsers.

Along to The Kooples now – French for couples – but we won’t hold that against them. It’s a little more rock n roll here – everything is skinny – and jackets usually come with added details like in-built pocket squares or contrast lapels. At £420, they’re pricier – but they’re made from ‘super 100 wool’ which basically means the cloth is pretty good quality – or has a good handle – as they say in the trade. To put it simply, the higher the number, the finer the cloth so not bad for the price.



And finally on to
Austin Reed. Austin Reed? Yup. You heard right, Austin Reed. That classic stalwart of the British high street teamed up with Savile Row tailor Nick Hart to produce the AR Red collection.

Influenced by the jazz scenesters of the 60s and 70s, the AR silhouette echoes the slim fit tailoring of the era. The teal blue super – slim notch lapel jacket with real horn buttons has the ‘short fit’ option and – at £269 – is amazing value for a Savile Row influenced suit. And if you hurry – the online sale is on for another week!

What do you think?

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