Corbin suits were originally created by a bombardier and navigator in 1947. Having previously worked in his family’s small trouser factory, a business education was all the training Howard Corbin needed to found his own clothing line. By the time he had completed his Masters in Business Administration at Columbia University, his factory was already producing a line of clothing that would shortly afterwards be associated with the “Ivy League Look.”
Corbin is most famous for popularizing khaki trousers as a business casual menswear. Historically khaki’s were only worn in the military, so he probably picked up the idea while serving. Khaki trousers made by Corbin became an extremely popular middle ground between jeans and formal wear for men.
A suit made by Corbin is a great luxury option for today’s economical buyer. The original Corbin suits were made in the United States and have since been outsourced to Latin America, in Chile, they remain a quality option for those looking for a reliable, ready to wear piece.
Many menswear purists claim that suits made by Corbin today differ from the suits of 40 years ago. These people often prefer to search for vintage models. Newer suits made in Chile are fused and are tainted with the company’s controversial history for many buyers.
These buyers regard the newer, offshore made models to be inferior to the originals produced and designed by Howard Corbin himself. Since his son David Corbin took over the company, it has filed for bankruptcy and many female seamstresses have complained of poor treatment. The company also defaulted on at least $2 million in employees medical bills that it quietly stopped paying before David Corbin resigned and the company was bought by IAG.
Corbin Suits Style
Corbin suits have a comfortable but not baggy fit. The Imperial and Pinnacle collections are the most popular and ubiquitous. Search for some of the many vintage models from these collections and pick up a vintage three piece in a retro plaid print, or go for more modern and simple three button models with notable details like notched lapels and pleated pants.
For winter suits, look for super 100’s to super 150’s in wool models. To conform more closely to the “Ivy League” look for which Corbin is so well-known, try a poplin or seersucker suit for keeping cool in the summer.
Corbin suits mostly come in classic colors, but makes plaid models for the bolder types. These suits are also a great summer choice: think about trying out a nice tan model in the aforementioned poplin or seersucker materials for a fresh summer style.
Prices start at around $700 and can go well over $1,000, depending on what materials and cuts you choose. However, searching on eBay or other sites selling vintage and discount models may yield more luck. Spend enough time on Ebay and you may even find an original Corbin suit for a lower price than a newer model.
An especially nice addition to your summer suits and more luxurious models, Corbin suits are comfortable and reliable. However, I wouldn’t recommend them for a day at the office, and would suggest looking for a summer suit or perhaps a fall/winter plaid model for special occasions.