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Fashion expert: Jos. A. Bank suits better than paper towels

Men's Wearhouse-Jos A Bank

This undated file photo shows a JoS. A. Bank store at the Shops at Midtown Miami in Miami. (AP Photo/JoS. A. Bank, File)

In case you missed it, NBC’s Saturday Night Live pulled no punches in its latest episode, running a spoof commercial for Jos. A. Bank suits as an affordable alternative to paper towels.

The commercial cites the Maryland clothier’s “innovative buy-one-get-three- free pricing” and suggests using Jos. A. Bank suits for a number of household purposes, such as soaking up food spills, pet messes and bacon grease. It even suggests using a suit as kindling because “it’s so flammable.”

The claims were so intriguing that they warranted checking in with an expert on men’s suits, Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD Group.

Cohen said he went into Jos. A. Bank about one month ago during the chain’s last buy-one-get-three-free deal for some undercover reconnaissance.

“Is it really that bad? The answer is no,” said Cohen. “It’s better than the paper towel or the old rag I use to clean my car.”

In fact, he said, those with an eye for fabrics and materials quality might prefer Jos. A. Bank suits to those of Men’s Wearhouse, the competitor company with which Bank has recently agreed to merge.

However, he added, without hefty store promotions, the suits are overpriced.

While loyal Jos. A. Bank may not have the same fashion merit as the high-end, designer competitors, Cohen says, it’s all about confidence.

At a recent conference, among many experts in the men’s suiting business, he did his own fashion experiment. He wore a $3,000 designer suit one day, and a $250 Target special the next. Until he spilled the beans, Cohen said, no one seemed to notice the difference.

“If you can carry a suit well it doesn’t matter if it’s a $200 suit or a $2,000 suit,” he said.

So if your closet is filled with Jos. A. Bank suits, don’t go cleaning the kitchen just yet.

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