This may be San Francisco, where everyone's been eagerly awaiting the day sweatpants became fashionable (and they did), and where the tech industry's traditional uniform has always been jeans and a t-shirt, but all grown men should own at least one suit. And if you work in law, real estate, sales, or finance, you probably own several and possibly have to wear one every weekday. With that in mind, gentlemen, please examine this list closely of your best bets for suiting up in the style of Barney Stinson, either on the cheap or in high, baller style.
Beckett & Robb
One of the most reasonable options in town for a bespoke, custom-fitted suit is this place in Embarcadero Center. The five-year-old, Utah-based Beckett & Robb uses fine Italian and British fabrics to create stylish men's suits that are more colorful and unique than you might find at, say, Macy's or Banana Republic. And custom suits start at a fraction of what you'll pay elsewhere: around $700. There is about a month-long turnaround, however.
One Embarcadero Center
The store may remind you of a preppy villain from an 80s movie, but for basic, stylish menswear on a budget, especially suits and tuxedos, you kind of can't beat J. Crew. Italian wool suits are going to run you around $800, and they will fit you in the tight, slim-legged way that is currently in style though you may need to spring for tailoring to get the fit perfect, and these suits, arguably, look best on relatively slim guys. They've got pretty options in gray heather wool, tweed, and pinstripes, all with two-button jackets. And the bonus here, besides price, is the huge array of shirt and tie options at hand as well.
Westfield Centre, 845 Market Street
Courtesy of Artful Gentleman
Founded in 2011 by local couturier Jake Wall, Artful Gentleman is arguably the best place to get yourself a modern, bespoke, custom fitted suit, especially of the three-piece variety. "When it comes to style," Wall says, "I’ll be giving you something you never knew you wanted." A suit from here will run you north of $2,000, so this is obviously not the place to go if you're on a budget and/or not going to wear the thing more than once. But the man makes a goddamn pretty suit. Make an appointment here.
1687 Market Street
The impressive facade of the Macy's Men's Store: Kevin Y/Yelp
Macy's Men's Store
Sometimes, especially when you're in a rush or on a budget, the simple consistency of a Macy's Men's Store is your best bet. Big chains mean big sales, and a recent visit proves that, with a $650 Calvin Klein going for $324, and a sweet Lauren by Ralph Lauren that was $800 going for $356. There's an impressive selection, a willingness to order if what you want isn't in stock, and fast and efficient tailoring, making a Macy's suit buy an especially easy experience. Staffers Charles and Carol at the downtown store get especially high marks from those in the know.
120 Stockton St, between O'Farrell and Geary Streets
Unionmade's wares gracefully walk that line between "basic" and "fashionable" (sometimes too much fashion is a bad thing with a suit, we can all agree). At publication time, their selection is slim: A single suit called the "Harrison," offered in a multiplicity of materials (priced from $748 to $909). Perfect for the man who's inclined to get a little spoiled for choice.
493 Sanchez Street at 18th Street
Just three of the zillion suits Brooks Brothers offers.
There's a reason Brooks Brothers is the oldest men's clothing chain in the US: consistency and service. You know what you're getting long before you step in the door — something that's a little bit preppy, a little bit straight-laced, and the suit you'll be able to hang on to the longest without looking like a sad sack fashion victim. San Francisco's flagship got a makeover in 2013, giving them room to carry the company's full line of goods, which includes a dazzling array of suits. SF regulars know to turn to Rodney and Mary for friendly help with fit and style, and say they're just as good working with seasoned suit-buyers and first timers. Though a single suit can run you $1200 plus, they're almost always offering a twofer that's somewhere between $1650 and $1800, perfect for all you aspiring Patrick Batemen.
240 Post Street, between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue
Courtesy of John Varvatos
OK, so, Varvatos is more of a jacket place, but it's a great jacket place that also has a suit department, and you could also just find a jacket you love and some matching pants that basically amount to a suit. Yes, suits here will run you about as much as a custom suit would at Artful Gentleman: somewhere in the neighborhood of two grand. But if you have the money to spend, you will leave Varvatos looking very cool, and probably wearing a cool new pair of shoes too.
152 Geary Street
Courtesy of Ted Baker
A suit from Ted Baker is not the kind of thing you want to buy for a funeral, or for an especially conservative business meeting. But men who are fans of color and really colorful lining flock to this London-born shop for cool, mid-range-priced suits starting at around $1,000, including vests. You'll find some nice basic blue and dark-colored suits as well as some louder patterned things, and Ted Baker clothing always comes with cute little hidden touches like bright ribbon lining a cuff, or some crazy fabric underneath the color, if you care for that sort of thing.
80 Grant Avenue, near Geary
Stuff is not always cheap at this consignment shop. Case in point: this Thom Browne cotton suit, currently available for $860.
Fashionistas on a budget already know about Sui Generis, which now has a men's and a women's shop on Market Street in the Castro. The consignment boutique is going to offer you some limited options in the suit realm, because it's consignment, but depending on the day you could score a vintage Ralph Lauren flannel suit in heather gray for just a few hundred bucks. They specialize in designer labels, and that stuff does not come that cheap even if it's been lightly used but it is a lot cheaper than it would have been retail. The service people here are great at yanking something from the rack that they know will look good on you, and it's the kind of place you're going to want to stalk a little bit in order not to miss that amazing find that shows up out of some random rich gay man's closet.
Courtesy of J. Crew
Courtesy of Hugo Boss
Do you want to look like this guy? Of course you do. Depending on the fabric, a three-piece suit at Hugo Boss will start around $800 and could run you two grand if you go for virgin wool. These are your more conservative, standard suits for the well off businessman, with more options for body types besides the lean and skinny who can pull off the slim, sixties-ish J. Crew number that some of us can't. But nonetheless the brand boasts plenty of attractive, non-standard options, like this striped, pale gray cashmere suit that'd be perfect aboard any yacht.
Westfield Centre, 845 Market Street