This is a review of Vulture Suits and Ethan received a free suit in exchange for doing this review.
I think that double breasted suits are awesome. Since they’re not that common to find while thrifting, I’ve found that the closest I can get to vintage/bespoke style ones are by going MTM and changing some of the customizations to fit my needs! I also don’t want to spend too much, since $300-500 is my usual limit on suits (including tailoring). This is why I was pretty happy that Cecil from Vulture Suits approached me to do a review of their suits. It was a great opportunity for me to test out another MTM DB option!
The world is becoming ever so saturated by online MTM brands. Indochino, Black Lapel, and Oliver Wicks come to mind. They all operate the same way: you measure yourself within 12-20 simple measurements, you pick a fabric, customize your suit, and receive it within 4-5 weeks. Unlike bespoke, there are no multiple fittings to make adjustments, but many tailors do cover alteration charges up to a certain amount.
The main reason I don’t go MTM all the time is because of how picky I am. I like a particular style of lapel, right down to the width and placement of the notch or peak. The issue I’ve had with a lot of online MTM brands is that they have a “house model” which means that you only get to pick from their predetermined/predesigned choices. Most of the time they have a “slim lapel” and a “wide lapel” but even that varies from brand to brand.
The other reason I don’t buy MTM often is due to price point. As you guys know, I love to find crazy deals on suits through thrifting or eBay. Black Lapel and Oliver Wicks seldom have discounts on suits and their prices go form $500-$1k last time I checked. I’ve used Indochino a few times simply because they have promotions every so often which brings the price down around $400 after tax. Definitely affordable, but you have to wait.
Now let’s talk about Vulture Suits. I’m going to be honest in this review, so bear with me!
Vulture Suits is an online MTM brand based in Toronto, Canada. According to their founder Cecil Lau (who reached out to me), they are able to offer an extremely affordable MTM suit with high quality craftsmanship and materials. They wanted to bridge the gap between low-price/low-quality MTM and high-price/high-quality MTM and offer great pieces at great prices. In addition to this, they also tout their relationship with their manufacturer in Shanghai, China. Instead of using a factory, they partner with a master tailor named Mr. Hu who personally tailors and cuts all garments. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry.
Since they are quite new, they don’t have a showroom where you can be fitted in person. This is why they recommend going to a tailor to complete your measurements. The fitting guide on the website has the information in pictures and text instead of video, but the process is largely similar to the measurements taken by other MTM brands. To reassure customers, Cecil told me that he likes to talk to his customers about their measurements and include Mr. Hu on the conversation, to clear up any issues about fit that can arise from self measuring. They will only proceed when everyone has accepted the measurements!
The fabrics are all listed on the website (I’d recommend avoiding the K-Series stuff, since they’re suits made of two fabrics or more) and are largely plain colored ones in 100% worsted super 120s wool. There some plaids and pinstripes as well as herringbone weaves for people looking to stand out. All of the fabrics in the premium series are $359+ which is very affordable. About $40 less than Indochino on sale!
Once you click on your fabric, you start choosing customizations. Unfortunately, there are no visuals or diagrams to show what you are choosing, so I suggest perhaps e-mailing them for examples before finalizing your order. For fit, they have slim or traditional (not sure what that means). In terms of jacket customizations, you can pick the button configuration (2 button, 6×2, 4×2) as well as number of sleeve buttonholes, the lapel style and width of your choosing, pocket type and slant, and vent. I am particularly happy that they allow you to pick the inch or centimeter width of your lapel!
For pants they let you choose whether or not your fastening area (button or clasp, whatever you want to call it) is centered or displaced, the number of back pockets, and the size of pant cuffs. Lastly, you can pick the lining fabric and monogram style. Additionally, you are always welcome to email Vulture Suits for additional customizations. According to their FAQ, half-canvas is their regular option but you can always ask for full-canvas; it will be an extra cost. They also cover up to $50 rebate or 20% credit of your original purchase to be used on your next item.
What stood out to me most was their paged called You See It, We Make It. Essentially, you can send them a picture of a suit that you like and they’ll make it for you. Seemed like an attractive option if you wanted a suit that looked like Liverano but for a $359 price! Obviously the craftsmanship is way different, but its worth a shot if you want the aesthetic!
As I stated at the beginning of this article, Cecil offered me a free suit in exchange for a review. I was a bit hesitant to do the review, since I wasn’t a fan of any of the suit models present on the website. I only accepted after I found their “You See it, We Make it” program. It seemed to be the way for me to get a suit that I could reasonably add to my wardrobe and potentially advocate to my readers.
After looking through the site, I decided on the premium brown fabric, since I’ve always wanted a brown DB suit; Ethan Newton helped inspire that one for me. In terms of jacket customization, I asked for a traditional cut suit (since I could always alter fit later), 6×2 configuration, jetted pockets, and pickstiching. For the trousers, I asked for a single pleat, displaced closure, 8″ leg opening, and 2″ cuffs. Here’s where I decided to push them a bit.
Since I like vintage-meets-modern designs, I was intrigued by the cut on this W.W Chan double breasted jacket. Worn by Alan See of The Armoury, it is a wonderful garment that looks like something straight from the 1930’s. Why makes it look that way? At first glance it may look normal, but once you compare it a modern DB, you’ll instantly see the difference. Still stumped? Here’s the answer: the wide set button stance and the wide (but horiztonal) peak lapels are what give it some vintage character. Like I said before, I am very picky when it comes to DBs are having details like this are what make or break a DB for me.
I shared the following pictures of Mr. See with Cecil, and they said that they would be able to copy the suit “apart from the buttons”. I assumed that this meant that the buttons may be different, so I pushed them to start the order. I also asked for side-tab adjusters instead of belt loops, half lining, and for full-canvassing. Unfortunately they weren’t able to do full canvassing, but Cecil said he was going to look into the adjusters for me; half-lining wasn’t an issue.
Completing the measurements wasn’t an issue, as I had my trusty friend Spencer do it for me. There were a few measurements that I wasn’t used to (front of chest, etc) but they were all apart of the process to ensure accurate measurements are taken. I do wish that they used videos to explain the measuring process instead of simple sentences.
Cecil was a little taken aback by my measurements, especially since I wear high rise trousers. As a result, they inquired about the crotch (which relates to the rise of the pant), waist,and length measurement. I appreciated the concern for my measurements as this level of customer service is mentioned as their strongsuit. In the end, we agreed on adjusting the crotch measurement slightly at the request of Mr. Hu, the Vulture Suits master tailor.
They also asked about the length measurement, which I put as 29.5″, half an inch longer than my Indochino suit. Cecil said that my Indochino suit was perfect (length hits where my thumb meets my hand) but I always felt it was slightly too short. We made no changes to the length and moved on.
Receiving the Suit
After four weeks, I received my suit. I was disappointed with the presentation as this was the box that contained my suit (which was simply wrapped in plastic).
Like almost every suit brand, Vulture Suits included a complimentary garment bag. It was brown, like the suit I ordered, but I’m not sure if this was intentional! It’s nice to have more garment bags, considering the amount of suits and jackets that I own.
I noticed that there was some issue with the pick stitching on the right lapel. There was a loose thread on the pick stitching, which had either been ignored or unnoticed by the tailors.
As you can see, the buttons look nice, though I would’ve liked horn or something a bit more substantial than plastic. It was a nice color for the suit though!
Adding on to the nitpicks, I noticed that the fabric allowance in the back was left uneven. You can see how it curves and widens slightly through the back. As I’ve stated before, half-lining is a showing of quality, since it allows the tailors to have clean edges isnce they are exposed. Even though no one will see this but me, its unfortunate that it wasn’t done cleanly.
As you can see they added suspender buttons (per my request) and even added the rubberized waistband insert. This insert is an ingenious way to ensure that your shirts don’t come untucked; they stay in due to the friction generated by the insert. Great touch Vulture suits. However, I’ll have to take back my kudos due to these next to images.
They forgot to add the full set of suspender buttons! A correct pair of trousers with suspender buttons should have six total: two at the back and two on each front side. The tailors at Vulture Suits only gave me four total: two in the back, one on each side. Cecil said that there must have been a miscommunication between them and the tailor shop in Shanghai and apologized for the issue.
Overall, it was a pretty okay suit despite the quality control issues. There was no doubt that there would be issues on a suit that costs less than anything you will find at the mall (bar H&M). However, I wasn’t too upset since it didn’t break the visual aesthetic of my suit. Hell, half the suits I thrift or buy vintage have torn lining or holes in the pockets! No one has to deal with that except for me (and I’m okay with it).
I will say that the material (stated as 120s wool) did feel a bit stiff for my taste, almost like a sharskin than a straight worsted wool. It wasn’t as fine and luxurious as my navy Indochino DB, but it felt okay. The color of the fabric was also lighter than expected, but Cecil assured me that this suit was made out of the fabric I requested and said that the website picture reflects indoor light rather than sunlight. However, he did say that it could be misleading and stated that he would adjust the images to reflect the true color of the fabric.
As you can see the suit fits okay out of the box. No tailoring was done yet; I simply brought the suit to Spencer’s house to have a second opinion on the fit. It’s not bad by any means, but there is something “extra” lacking. It could be due to the fact that I requested a “traditional” fit instead of the “slim” fit.
One issue that is apparent is the lapels and button placement. If you compare the Vulture lapels to the WW Chan lapels in the example I gave them, you’ll notice that my lapels aren’t horizontal or straight. Instead, they peak slightly upward and have a slight belly. The lapels are still gorgeous to my eyes, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
While the lapels were okay, the button placement was an immediate no-go. It is much too narrow in order to pass for a classically tailored garment. Modern bespoke tailors know to keep things spaced out to have the “old school vibe” of the DB. The buttons were only 4″ apart; I would have preferred 5″ or 6″ with the latter being what I measured on my 1940’s jackets. The narrow button placement result in there being “too much fabric” which makes the jacket look too large and roomy. It also looked slightly long.
Other than that, the jacket fit reasonably, probably needing a slight taper in the body to get it just right. Note that there is a figure present, so taking it in too much would have been detrimental to the smooth lines of a well-tailored garment. Having the dreaded “X” at the fastening point is a nope. The shoulders are also padded (I should have asked for natural shoulders) but they fit right on the money.
Sleeves fit well, though there are some pitch issues in the upper arm/armhole. You can clearly see this when you look at it from behind. I’ve honestly never corrected pitch issues, so please leave your insight below!
I’m not sure if its the awkward way I’m standing, but the shoulders look slightly weird, especially on the right one. Remember that MTM has no fittings and doesn’t contain a personalized pattern; if this were bespoke, these issues wouldn’t exist in the final product.
The pants are exquisite. The pleats are shallow (unlike the ones I had saved by my tailor) but my thighs (read: massive) have room to breathe. There is a slight taper to the bottom, which measured out to 8″ as I had requested. My only beef is that the pants are slightly too long! That’s an easy fix at the tailor though.
After talking with Spencer, we agreed that adjustments would have to be made. We (as well as Cecil) debated a bit on the fit of the jacket, since there was something “off” about it. The combination of longer length, narrow button stance, and slight excess in the waist/hips/chest was something that we needed to correct. Cecil suggested sending the jacket back to the company to fix the issues, but that would mean an extra month or so for it to come back to me. In the end I decided to take it to my tailor to figure out the adjustments.
Even though I got this suit for free in exchange for this review, I wanted to make sure that the final result would be something that I would wear. Ruben, the master tailor behind the crazy suits I’ve purchased here and here, suggested that I get the pants hemmed very slightly and move the button placement on the suit over by half an inch on all buttons. This would result in a full 5″ distance between the buttons; it’s not 6″ like the 1940s, but that would be enough. After doing the buttons, we would then look at the proportions of the jacket and determine if we need to do anything further like take in the jacket or get it shortened. Luckily, as you will see, those extra adjustments were not necessary.
You can really see what a simple hem and button movement can do! The suit looks great now, with a slimmer body thanks to the 1″ total movement of buttons, which accomplished the goal of taking in the chest/waist. The buttons also take up more room on the jacket, so the jacket doesn’t appear to be too wide. I finally have a great brown DB that will find much love in my wardrobe. After all, brown is one of my favorite colors.
Since the DB is a classic garment that gives off old school vibes, I decided to add some Ethan 1930’s styling to it. To make it look 1930’s inspired, I wore a pink stripe spearpoint collar, 1930’s blue dot tie, collar bar, and the “exploding pocket square”. It may not be a period suit, but the design and styling come together in a great way that exude the Golden Era well. It’s perfect for those of you who want to go to Dapper Day!
After looking at these pictures, it still looks like the length is slightly too long (maybe by 1/2″) but I haven’t made up my mind to get it shortened. It still looks good to me! Fortunately, the bottom button lines up with the pocket line, so it won’t mess with the proportions of the jacket if I had it altered further.
With a hem of half-an-inch (or shorter?), the pants go from passable to perfect. Note that while they touch the shoe ever so slightly the pants remain straight, with the sharp crease providing a long vertical line. The rise is still perfect, sitting slightly above my belly button, which lets me look slimmer and elongates my legs. High rise trousers are an old school detail, but its had a resurgence in recent years.
Anyway, these pants may not be Ambrosi, but they look amazing. Who would’ve thought that Italian style trousers could be at the reach of us mortals?
Brown DB suit by Vulture Suits, Custom Spearpoint Shirt by Natty Shirts, 1930’s tie (thrifted), Vintage Florsheims (thrifted)
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that much from Vulture Suits even though I was getting a free suit for the review. They are a new company and as a result, there aren’t many reviews about them other than Brock at the Modest Man. I will admit that I’m one of the most sensitive shoppers around, but I am still very aware of quality. Even though I would be getting the suit for free in exchange for this review, I wanted to make sure that it would be something I could show to my readers. Before receiving the suit, I was unsure that they would be able to give me a high quality suit at a $360~ price. Additionally, I wasn’t confident that they would be able to provide me with the details that I wanted.
While the suit didn’t fit exactly the way I wanted, it was pretty good and passable. I was slightly disappointed with the lapels and button placement, but Cecil did say that details like this vary from brand to brand. I was going to cite the “You See it, We Make it” policy, but I liked the lapels anyway (even though they weren’t exactly horizontal) and I didn’t want to make a fuss.. As we can see in the final product, the button placement issue was fixed right away with a quick trip to Ruben. The length is still slightly concerning, but it isn’t something I’m going to get fixed soon. The final product, after the minimal alterations, looks fantastic! It is something that I could wear more than once and has found a great home in my wardrobe. It wasn’t the fast-fashion, DB suit that I initially imagined.
My main detractions is the quality of the suit and the construction. I will maintain that the fabric isn’t as luxurious as I wanted it to be.As I stated earlier, it felt very stiff like sharkskin even though it was mentioned at being super 120s worsted wool It also was odd for me to find the label of the wool inside the suit as I had never seen that before on any MTM or vintage suit (even ones that I have thrifted). With that said, the retail price of this suit is $360~ while my Indochino one was about $800. I’m not sure of the logistics behind the price of online MTM but it was clear that there is a difference in fabric quality. The Vulture Suit trousers drape well, but the jacket was a bit rigid. Perhaps it’ll soften up with more wear and time!
While they got all the main details down, the quality control issues are definitely an issue. The pickstitching wasn’t great at all (it was like they did it only on one side of the lapel) with loose threads and the fabric allowances in the back weren’t cut evenly. This will need some addressing since they advertise that they want to bridge the gap between quality and price. Obviously it isn’t bespoke, because if it were, this issues would definitely be unacceptable. I will commend them for the half-lining; I haven’t seen an online MTM that can do this yet!
Overall, I am pleased with the result after alterations even though they were very minimal (hemming and button movement). It should be a testament to the fact that the little details matter. I know most dressers out there don’t have access to a good tailor, so this is something to keep in mind if you are planning to buy from any MTM, since alterations will always be needed. For the price, Vulture Suits are great value! $360~ for a MTM suit is quite the steal, since it’s even cheaper than Indochino when it’s on sale! No other MTM compares to this price, which definitely gives Vulture Suits the edge. They don’t have many fabrics available other than the standard colors and herringbone weaves, but I’m sure that as their fabric selection will grow as they do.
If you’re looking for an affordable custom suit, I’d say go with Vulture Suits. The price and the level of communication that Cecil has is something unparalleled in the online MTM business. I suggest using their “You See It, We Make It” tab if you want something specific and don’t trust their house models! As you can see from this review, they didn’t replicate the look entirely, but they came pretty close. If you you’re like me and want details that aren’t on the “house model” (especially regarding DBs since they aren’t what you normally see), Vulture is the way to go. I haven’t seen anyone do a “suit replication” for such an affordable price. Doing this review makes me wonder how they would do if I were to give them a single-breasted example!
I’ll close with a simple pro/con list. Even though I am pleased with my suit (after the alterations), the decision is up to you! Not everyone will measure themselves correctly (which could be why it didn’t fit me perfectly off the bat) and not everyone will be happy with the quality control issues that were present on my suit. I’m probably biased since I’ve thrifted and bought second hand for approximately 80% of my wardrobe, so I’m honestly okay with a few flaws here and there. They still get my recommendation, but for the price of $360~ (which is still pricey for a suit in general) I’d hope that Vulture Suits improves their construction of their garments so there aren’t any small issues or mistakes like there were on mine. Let me know what you think by commenting below!
Extremely affordable online MTM that starts at $360~
High levels of communication with associates
“You see it, we make it” program
Fit was slightly off (as was expected)
lapels/button placement was not accurate to the example
Quality Control issues (suspender buttons, pickstiching, fabric allowance)
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W. and Spencer O.
Please note that Ethan received a free suit in exchange for this review.