I have always been a fan of style and snappy dressing, and sharp suits have always brought a smile to my face. Style is becoming increasingly associated with expensive designer brands, one off bespoke items and celebrity backed companies. I believe that this is fundamentally wrong; as it has created the idea that style is a trait that is only available to the wealthy, whose deep pockets enable them to achieve a great look and turn heads.
The irony is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. I have seen people spend a fortune on designer clothes from flashy brands with multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, but because they haven’t considered what they are buying, or how they are going to wear it, they look terrible. In stark contrast, I have seen people combine Primark essentials with a few choice investment pieces and walk out in an outfit that looks far superior to the designer attire.
Thus, I decided it was time to make a change and embark on a journey with all of you to assist in finding the A-list look for less. We start this journey with Zac Efron appearing in a Neil Barrett three piece suit at the premier of Bad Neighbours. The star glided down the red carpet and looked every bit the Hollywood icon that he is in the fabulous single breasted three piece suit.
If you wanted to adapt this look for yourself using Neil Barrett and the high end clothing lines that Mr Efron usually frequents this look would cost you a significant amount. The suit is estimated to cost around £1,240, plus £280 for the waistcoat, £50 for the skinny black tie, £90 for the white shirt and £300 for the black shoes. That means that the total look excluding underwear and his watch comes just short of £2,000 or $3,400.
However, being able to spend £2,000 on an outfit for a premiere is money that most of us can’t afford to spare. Thus, for those of us who sadly didn’t make millions dancing and singing in High School Musical, I have put together an affordable alternative that with the right touches will give Zac’s tailor made suit a run for its money.
We start with the suit and the waistcoat. Zac’s is made by Neil Barrett who is a world renowned tailor and fashion designer who has catered to many celebrities and has 85% of his suits hand made in Florence Italy. In contrast, the high street brand Next produces a very similar looking suit (see left). Next’s light grey suit jacket is single breasted, with a similar colour and fit, but will only cost you £108 for the jacket, trousers and waistcoat. That means that the next alternative will provide you with a saving of over 90%!
I admit the quality of the material will not be as high and the fit will not be as exact as Zac’s, but as long as you get a jacket that has the right length sleeves and doesn’t pull across the shoulders or back, it will only take up to £100 to have a tailor quickly adjust the areas that aren’t quite perfect for your body! (see our other articles for more information on finding the perfect suit for your body type.)
The next item that you will need is a good pair of black shoes, there are many places you could go to get a comfortable and smart pair of black shoes. We decided on a beautiful pair of Black Wingtip shoes from Marks and Spencer’s Autograph range. They cost £75 and would be the perfect addition to the suit to help accentuate the A-list look while preventing you from breaking the bank!
The last two items, a premium white shirt and a black skinny tie, we would procure from Charles Tyrwhitt, their shirts are made of a high quality material and come in a range of sizes and fits that will allow you to find your perfect shirt. We recommend their White twill traditional luxury shirt (£49.95) as the material is slightly thicker giving it a more luxurious feel and look. This combined with a woven plain black tie (£29.95) would give you the complete look for a fraction of the price.
Extra additions that you should consider such as pocket square, cuff links, watch and socks can also make a difference to the overall look. You can find a white silk pocket square for as little as £10 in many retailers, and combined with a pair of simple silver cufflinks and an understated black leather wristwatch with a silver face, would be the perfect addition to the suit to help give it the final touches that takes your off-the-peg suit in to the world of bespoke looking tailoring.
Cost break down
Zac’s Neil Barrett
Suit – £1240
Waistcoat – £280
Black tie – £50
Premium shirt – £90
Black Leather shoes – £300
Total – £1960
#3PG’s A–list affordable style
Next Suit and waistcoat – £108
Tailoring costs – £100
M&S Autograph shoes – £75
Charles Tyrwhitt Tie – £29.95
Charles Tyrwhitt Shirt – £49.95
White pocket Square – £10
Total – £372.90
That means an amazing total saving of over 80%!
Links to products mentioned please tweet us or comment on what you think and who’s style you would next like us to analyse!
Next Suit and waistcoat – £108 – http://www.next.co.uk/g39310s3
Tailoring costs – £100
M&S Autograph shoes – £75 – http://www.marksandspencer.com/leather-wavy-wingtip-shoes/p/p22275179
Charles Tyrwhitt Tie – £29.95 – http://www.ctshirts.co.uk/men’s-ties/view-all/Woven-plain-black-tie?q=gbpdefault||tw287blk|||||411,||||||||
White pocket Square – £10