Over the (almost) 10 years I’ve been writing for Effortless Gent, I’ve gotten to try many different brands.
Suits and sport coats in particular have always been really fun to evaluate. I’m not an expert, per se, but over the years I’ve learned what makes a suit just OK, vs. what makes it great… as well as the features and details you must have, and the ones you’re OK living without.
The problem is, I’ve never had a good suggestion for guys who are suit shopping on a budget. Until now, of course.
Let me introduce you to Spier & Mackay
If you’re big into clothing and menswear like me, it’s likely you’ve already heard of this brand.
But, if you’re like most of my readers who are just starting to develop their own style and buy great clothes, then maybe you haven’t. And if that’s the case, I’m super excited to introduce you to Spier & Mackay.
I first discovered S&M around 2014 or so. I’ve kept my eye on them over the years as they regularly released new pieces and expanded their collection.
Around 2016-2017, I started really loving what they were putting out. Seems they hit their stride and were releasing garment after garment that looked awesome.
I bought my first piece in 2017, a wool and cashmere topcoat in camel. It instantly became my favorite outerwear piece that year, and it’s still my most-worn coat every winter.
I later bought a sport coat in this amazing brown and red guncheck tweed from Abraham Moon… a gorgeous, substantial cloth and well cut (at the time, I didn’t even need to take it to the tailor!)
5 Reasons You Should Shop Spier & Mackay For Your Next Suit (and Sport coat, and Dress Shirt, and…)
Obviously I’m a big fan of the brand, for a number of reasons. But here’s why I would consider S&M a worthwhile consideration if you’re looking for an awesome suit that won’t break the bank.
Reason 1: These are Modern, Updated Versions of Classic Menswear Staples
So what does that mean, exactly?
Basically that every garment is a classic piece you need in your wardrobe, but with fits and silhouettes that make sense for right now.
What’s considered “good fit” and “modern silhouette” changes over time. If you look at popular men’s suiting styles from the 70s vs the 90s, they were very different.
And compare suits from 2009 (peak Mad Men time) to today, just ten years later, and they’re also very different, most notably in the lapel size.
That’s why when you see a guy wearing a cheap suit from the 80s, for example, you know it looks old… and even if you aren’t a menswear expert, you can just tell something is off.
The silhouette and details are outdated, that’s why.
All this to say, suits from Spier & Mackay are classically styled but look modern and updated, with nothing overly-trendy or “of the moment”; these designs were meant to last.
If you go to Macy’s or Men’s Wearhouse, you’re getting a suit that’s made for the masses, and they’re either super trendy / off-trend (e.g. skinny lapels? why?), or they’re boxy and traditional and made from crunchy, crappy fabric.
Spier & Mackay suits, on the other hand, are designed with details that you’d normally find in suits double their price.
Every suit and sport coat features a lightweight half canvas construction made from genuine horsehair sourced directly from Italy. You want a canvassed suit jacket (vs fused) because it fits more comfortably on your body, the jacket’s drape is much more natural, and in general, the garment holds up better over time.
S&M uses Japanese Bemberg lining on the inside of their suits and sport coats, which is considered to be among the best lining available because it’s durable, yet lightweight and breathable at the same time.
They also use genuine bullhorn or nut buttons. You want horn (or nut) buttons over plastic. Plastic looks cheap and tends to break easily. It would be like bringing your Ferrari to Wal-Mart for new tires. Bad idea.
All trousers have a pleated curtain waistband construction (another sign of quality you typically only find in higher-end suits).
Each jacket has a German undercollar, and the way they’re constructed ensures that the collar lays flat on your body and helps to preserve the lapel roll, which is another detail you always want to look for… a gentle roll where your lapel and jacket buttons meet (vs. a smashed, creased, or pressed piece of fabric).
S&M suits feature Sous Bras (typically a high-end suit detail) which is essentially an extra piece of fabric sewn into the underarm. This adds a bit more comfort and helps absorb any sweat so you don’t get stains on your actual suit, which, of course, helps prolong the life of your jacket.
A Quick Aside re: Silhouette
A suit’s silhouette really makes or breaks the whole look.
In my experience, a relaxed silhouette and little to no shoulder padding looks best on most guys.
Spier & Mackay’s suits and sport coats embrace this relaxed, soft shoulder silhouette perfectly.
Their sport coats have a Neopolitan, or “spalla camicia”, shoulder construction (no padding, shirt style shoulders), and suits have a light padding to lend a bit of structure without being too obvious or overpowering.
A suit like this conforms better to your body. It feels more natural, and not like you’re wearing armor. It’s perfect for the smart, sharp, and casual Effortless Gent (e.g. You).
Reason 2: You Get Insane Bang For Your Buck
There are a few garments I highly advise you to not consider based on price alone: underwear, leather shoes, coats, and suits.
Here’s why: Quality construction and fabric matter so much more with these clothes.
For example, if you buy a pack of 3-for-$5 boxer briefs, you’re basically wrapping your package in burlap fabric.
Cheap, thin, rough fabric? On your junk? No bueno. So investing a bit more into better underwear makes a difference.
Same goes with coats. Cheap coats = synthetic fabrics, lack of warmth, questionable durability, and so on.
Naturally, you want to invest a bit more into your suits and sport coats as well.
The thing is, with Spier & Mackay, you’re getting great quality cloth, construction, and fit, but at a relatively inexpensive price… especially when you consider similar suiting from other brands that cost 2x to 3x+ as much.
This particular suit is made with a navy wool cloth from Guabello and, at the time of publishing, is $448.
Once you dial in on your fit, you can confidently order a suit from S&M every time. And best of all the peeps at S&M are really helpful if you’re unsure what to order; just hit them up on email and they’ll walk you through it.
The value is apparent in every other garment they carry as well: Sport coats from $300 (and plenty more on sale as of right now), trousers from $88, and dress shirts from $45.
Plus they have all kinds of accessories (pocket squares, ties) and casual clothing options as well… same great prices.
You can find more details about their garments on this page.
Like I said earlier, when it comes to certain garments, I don’t suggest shopping solely based on price, but lucky for us, Spier & Mackay’s price-to-value ratio is off the charts (meaning you get a lot for your money!)
Reason 3: Incredible Fabric Selection For The Price
When shopping for suits, you may notice price can vary widely, even under one brand name. One of the biggest factors in pricing a suit is the fabric.
So if you find a brand new suit for $149, you can bet the construction is questionable, sure, but also that the cloth they used is subpar. Like, extremely subpar.
Spier & Mackay uses Italian and English cloth from well-known mills like:
- VBC (Vitale Barberis Canonico)
- Guabello (my suit in these photos is made from Guabello cloth)
- Hardy Minnis
If you’re unfamiliar with these names, that’s fine… just do a bit of Googling and read up on these different mills and you’ll see they’re among the best.
The fact that S&M makes suits that are well cut, classically styled, and perfectly fitting… and use premium cloth, all for under $500 (sometimes under $400) is another reason I wholeheartedly recommend them.
Reason 4: Suit fit is on point
Let’s chat a bit more about fit.
For reference, here are some of my measurements and sizes:
- I’m 5’9” (175cm), around 168 lbs (76 kg)
- At J.Crew, I typically wear a 31w or 32w in pants, and Medium in most shirts, midlayers, and outerwear
- At SuitSupply, I wear a 40s in the Havana cut, which fits me almost perfectly off the rack
I’d compare Spier & Mackay’s Contemporary Fit suiting to SuitSupply’s Havana cut. They’re very close, so if you know your size in SuitSupply, you can confidently order from S&M.
The Contemporary trouser cut is slightly wider and less tapered, but nothing a tailor couldn’t alter for you if you wanted a more aggressive taper.
I don’t have much firsthand experience with the Slim models. I’m not particularly slim—my back and chest are a bit wider, and my legs are bigger than the typical guy my height and weight—but I still wasn’t completely sure which model to go with at first (some brands’ “slim” fits are another brand’s “traditional” fit and so on)
After checking their measurement and sizing charts and reconfirming with the peeps at Spier & Mackay, the Contemporary fit turned out to be perfect.
So if you have a more athletic body type (wider back and chest, narrower waist, and / or more muscular legs), go with Contemporary and have your tailor alter them as needed.
If you’re on the slimmer side, go for the Slim fit.
You can see in my photos that I opted for a more traditional and classic straight leg. I usually ask for a tapered leg as it feels more modern, but wanted to keep this more classic. To me, it fits well with the suit’s details in general, and I could always taper them in the future (which, I might… who knows)
This jacket features lapels on the wider side, which I love (4.25” for the size 40). Wider lapels look more masculine and help visually accentuate that V-taper, so always opt for wide over skinny lapels.
Great button stance (not too high, not too low), high armholes (great for movement and further complements the slim, modern silhouette), and the soft shoulders all make this suit a no-brainer pickup.
Reason 5: You can buy your whole wardrobe from Spier & Mackay
If you’re a fan of smart, sharp style—which I have to assume you are, since you’re an Effortless Gent reader—you can buy practically everything you need from Spier & Mackay.
Yes, you have your suits, sport coats, trousers, dress shirts, and ties. But you also have your more casual pieces like sweaters, polos, sweatshirts, and T-shirts.
You can even find shoes and accessories like pocket squares, scarves, and sunglasses. You basically have no excuse to not look sharp anymore 😉
I also have an oxford cloth button down, linen dress shirt, and button-down polo shirt from Spier & Mackay, all in my regular rotation. The same quality and care goes into every garment, and again, the price is unbeatable.
Add Spier & Mackay to your list of must-shop stores every season
There are a handful of brands I check out every season, just to see what they’ve released and what I could pick up to refresh my wardrobe.
I stick to the Lean Wardrobe philosophy so I don’t buy unnecessary items, but sometimes you just need a few new pieces to add to your wardrobe to freshen things up and have new options.
Spier & Mackay is one of those brands for me. I look forward to seeing what they put out and it always takes a lot of willpower to not buy everything.
Anyway if you haven’t already shopped this brand, I hope you enjoyed this somewhat detailed dive into why I love them so much, and why I think you should buy your next suit or sport coat (or dress shirt, or chinos, or anything, really) from Spier & Mackay.
And in the interest of transparency, you should know that Spier & Mackay is an Effortless Gent partner (#sponsored), but it’s also a brand I’ve been wanting to work with for the past two or three years, and I’ve finally managed got them on board 🙂
I purchased my own products from them before they knew of me or Effortless Gent (this camel overcoat, this sport coat) and I’ve been a big fan of the brand since I discovered them back in 2014 as I mentioned earlier.
So rest assured all opinions are my own and know that’s how we approach all our sponsored content.
Thanks to S&M for being a partner, and thanks to you, dear reader, for supporting the brands that help make EG possible!
What’s your favorite piece from Spier & Mackay?
Take a look at their collection here and let me know!