Reviewed: Spier & Mackay suits (off the rack)

Reviewed: Spier & Mackay suits (off the rack)

Me, Spier & Mackay

I’ll start with an admission: Spier & Mackay is the foundation of basically my entire wardrobe. I’m quite lucky that their clothing fits me pretty well off the rack – all I usually need to do is get the sleeves and pants hemmed. Even better for me is the fact that their suits are sold as separates, which means they can swap out the pants for the waist size I need. I wear a 42R jacket, and need a 33 waist pants. Not many places can accommodate a drop 9 size like that off the rack.

The first suit I bought from them was a light grey flannel, in what would later be labeled as their “Model 1” cut. Trendier slim lapels, and a higher buttoning point differentiates from the more recent “Model 2” cut. The fabric was decent, as was the price. As with the rest of my menswear learnings, Style Forum has played a huge part. Rick Khanna, the owner of Spier & Mackay, is active on the forum in his affiliate thread. Through this kind of engagement he’s managed to cultivate a community of supporters and enthusiasts (I consider myself one) by seeking out feedback on¬†existing products, and sharing some of his future product developments with us to make sure he’s making what people are looking for.

Spier & Mackay Suit Styles

Tiers:

  • standard fabrics (Dino Filarte provides the majority I believe)
  • premium fabrics (Guabello provided the upgraded fabric options last year)

Styles:

  • Model 2 – standard
  • Model 2 – unpadded shoulder, patch pockets
  • Neapolitan

I own at least one of each combination. Here are three of the suits, side by side:

From the left: Model 2; Model 2 (unpadded shoulders, patch pockets); Neapolitan V1

NOTE: the leftmost suit was a 44R I had taken in at the waist – this is opening the quarters a bit more than an off the rack would be.

Spier & Mackay - Model 2

This cut is your basic, go-to, classically proportioned cut. Standard flap pockets, barchetta breast pocket (barchetta is apparently Italian for little boat; I read that on the internet and have not fact-checked, but it sounds good to me), and lapels that approach the centre point between collar and shoulder. This was a 44R contemporary size that I had taken in after losing some weight.

Spier & Mackay - Model 2: unpadded and patch pockets

A little more casual leaning in style, with unpadded shoulders and featuring spalla camicia – this is the shirring or bunching of the top of the sleeve head where it attaches to the body of the jacket. The lapels are the standard Model 2 shape and size, and are scale in proportion to jacket size. In this pic, the jacket is sitting a little back on my shoulders, likely due to the rapid wardrobe changes I was making to get these shots done during my kids’ nap. A good tug down on the lapels would correct this.

Spier & Mackay - Neapolitan: version 1

I say v1 as this was one of the first suits available in this new cut. There has been an slightly revised version where the gorge was lowered slightly and the lapels tweaked just a bit. Notice the more open, rounded quarters and the wider lapels that have a very subtle negative belly (this refers to the slightly concave shape – as opposed to straight – that starts at the gorge and forms a fairly consistent curve down the lapel and through the quarters to the bottom of the jacket. This suit is made up of a premium Guabello fabric, which has a great hand and pattern. I’m not sure it’s truly any nicer than their standard fabrics (at least in this case), but I’ve got a sweet mill patch on the inside I can show other #menswear nerds.

Spier & Mackay Suit Fit

Spier & Mackay - Model 2

Aside from the slight sleeve pitch issue that appeared in this picture (but doesn’t show itself any other time) The fit is quite good. The sleeves are a little looser and the arm holes are a big bigger than I’d like, but as far as off the rack options – especially at this price point – I’m happy. You can see this jacket is a touch longer than the 42R sizes that I currently wear.

Spier & Mackay - Model 2: unpadded and patch pockets

Again, for off the rack this fit is pretty decent. However, there is something about the shoulders than doesn’t quite fit as well as the standard Model 2. My supposition is that the shape of the arm hole in conjunction with the lack of padding in the shoulders has created some slight divots at the top of each sleeve head.¬†There is also a little bit of rippling at the right side of my chest (left side on the pic) that may or may not be due to how I was standing. For the picture, the jacket would have benefited from a tug on the lapels to seat it better on my neck/shoulders. It’s extra apparent due to the pattern of the fabric as you can see the horizontal lines of the windowpane aren’t quite parallel to the floor as they approach the button.

Spier & Mackay - Neapolitan: version 1

I find there are a couple of fit issues with this version of the Neapolitan cut for me. The canvas that goes up through the shoulder causes some issues – you can see even more pronounced rippling in the right chest area, and seems to make the collar sit a bit weird on me. I find I have to really give the jacket a tug so that it sits properly. At some point I think I need to take it to my tailor to have the upper back opened up a bit, as this shape causes the lapels to bow slightly, and affects the jacket balance. You might be able to see that the darts don’t lie perfectly perpendicular to the floor which ends up closing the lovely open quarters just a bit. I find the arm holes are noticeably larger on this cut than the other suits I own from Spier & Mackay. It’s not as apparent with my arms down, but in movement it can create some signs of pulling elsewhere in the jacket.

Spier & Mackay Suit Quality

Spier & Mackay’s sweet spot exists squarely in the realm of value. Solid overall construction. Classic, but not boxy cuts. A couple of styles to choose from. They have a great selection of core fabrics, as well as some less conservative patterns and textures. Recently, they’ve added a number of premium fabrics from mills like Vitale Barberis Canonico, Guabello, E. Thomas, and Abraham Moon & Sons. These suits have held up really well for me, some being 3 years old with near weekly wear. One suit had a button thread come loose, but I have no other complaints about quality. The pick stitching is clean and even, the lining is true bemberg, and I haven’t noticed any other construction issues. I don’t attribute the fit issues outlined above with poor construction.

Conclusion

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, these guys make up the majority of my closet. I’m not at a stage where I’m picky enough (affluent enough) to not wear these suits because of the minor fit issues. I do feel like their more recent sport coat offerings do fit me best, and fortunately for me that’s what I wear most frequently. I’ll post a similar review of those. I’ve heard really good things about their MTM services, and at some point will try that to address these things – especially as I really like the aesthetic of the Neapolitan cut, but there are a few fit issues with the v1 that would prevent my from buying that model off the rack again. I’m looking forward to the v3 coming which will be produced with slightly higher arm holes.

I would highly recommend Spier & Mackay. Beyond suits, they have sport coats, shirts (custom and off the rack), knitwear, dress pants, chinos, accessories and outerwear. This year should see them bring a new polo shirt and even some dress shoes! It’s amazing what they’ve been able to accomplish in the last couple of years.

-Colin

 

2 Replies to “Reviewed: Spier & Mackay suits (off the rack)”

  1. Is the neapolitan suit a 42 or 44? It seems to be significantly narrower in the shoulders, which often is a problem area for me.

    1. Hi Michael,

      It’s a 42. Part of the issue with the shoulders on this one for me is the heavier canvassing and the shape of the armhole. The seams land where they should, but with the stiffer structure it kind of holds the armhole in the shape that doesn’t match my arm/shoulder. Hope that makes sense.

      -C

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