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Martin Greenfield - first suit fitting next week

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Before everyone jumps on me and my low post count - I have tried the search function, but I couldn't find a definitive thread with a lot of information on this manufacturer, just bits and pieces here and here... I just set up an appointment for a fitting for my first custom suit from Martin Greenfield Clothiers in NY next week. I'm a first time customer, and this will be my first experience with custom suiting in general, and I would like to hear any advice or tips that would be helpful for my first order with them. I thought I would be turned away when I called for an appointment without any references but they set me up with a date and time right away; did I just get lucky or have they changed their policies? What should I expect? How accommodating are they to requests? Etc. It appears they can cater to a wide variety of styles/customers, etc. but it also appears they are pretty strict when it comes to new clients. I've noticed there are some very highly-regarded posters here with extensive experience with Greenfield (Mr. Seitelman, sorry for calling you out!) and I would really appreciate your advice! Thanks!
post #2 of 46
MG is in an industrial area of East Williamsburg (really Bushwick).

It used to be scary but isn't so much, anymore. So be not afraid.
post #3 of 46
Is it bespoke, or mtm?
post #4 of 46
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post
Is it bespoke, or mtm?
MTM. Also, for what MG looks like on the inside, peep this or this.
post #5 of 46
You should PM angelicboris if he doesn't show up in this thread. I had a suit made by Greenfield a coupl eof yearas ago and may have some specific pieces of advice.
post #6 of 46
I've had numerous items made by Greenfield. All three Greenfields and Dominic (their master tailor) are fantastic. Martin will ask you a few questions about fit, but mostly you should trust his judgment. My hard-won experience is that you should be specific about certain fit issues/desires, but don't push too hard on them, since Martin really does know best.

You will get to pick the fabric, the lining, the interior pockets, etc. If you want high lapel notches, you need to really specify. Their work is great, but on a couple pieces some of my requests weren't made (little details that should have been done as a matter of course). They will work with you on meeting your desires, but don't be too high maintenance (I was, unintentionally--hey it was my wedding suit--but they forgive and forget).

If you have specific questions, PM me. I am also happy to give you some other guidance via PM.

post #7 of 46
There is nothing special that you need to do or know.

1. Bring a list of your requirements, questions, etc. E.g., ticket pocket, pen pocket, pocket for cell phone, etc. It is better to voice your requirements at the order rather than phone them later because there is always the chance the changes will not be made.

2. I would let Martin or his sons make the fit/model decisions. In Martin's words: "When you go the doctor you listen to the doctor. When you come here to buy a suit you should listen to me." If you are looking to collaborate on design, I don't think that this is the place.

3. My recollection is that the factory is a bit of a walk from the subway. It's in a very industrial area on the border of a public housing project.

4. They have the usual selection of quality cloth books (e.g., Loro Piana, Harrison's, Smith's, etc.) with a good emphasis on the English mills. They might have a few end bolts here and there.

5. This is a old-fashioned factory. Emphasis on OLD. They have a separate area to fit customers which is off the offices. It functions as sort of a store within the factory.

6. Bring cash or a check. My recollection is that they did not plastic.

Good luck.
post #8 of 46
Originally Posted by gopherblue View Post
* * * don't push too hard on them, since Martin really does know best. * * *

The best advice.
post #9 of 46
Originally Posted by Mark Seitelman View Post
The best advice.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I owe Mark a huge debt of gratitude, since he lead me to M. Greenfield.

Thanks, Mark!
post #10 of 46
Had a 2 button MTM made by Martin greenfield, the lapel rolls to a non existant 3rd button as if it were a true 3 button suit instead of to the top of a 2 button.

They also seem to have troubles with the vents on single vents. Make sure it's not twisting. Other than that no issues but I was under the impressions his son's are not tailors and studied something non relevant to clothing or factory running.
post #11 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the responses. Here is how my first visit went, sorry for the long story, I felt like writing: At about 9am on Saturday, I took a cab to Bushwick in Brooklyn, a neighborhood which I was not familiar with at all. Some people suggested to arrange for a car to drive me since it might be hard to find a cab back in what was described to me as a sketchy place, but I got in late the night before and hadn’t made the proper plans. My cab driver had no idea how to get there and made me do some tinkering with his malfunctioning GPS device, so I ended up having to call Martin Greenfield Clothiers to ask for driving directions for my cab driver. The guy on the phone didn’t seem to have much patience for this conversation and after the call I still wasn’t confident I’d ever make it to the first custom-suiting experience of my life. I arrived exactly at 10am at the small green awning hanging from an old building which, like most of the other structures on Varet Street, was covered in graffiti on the outside. The neighborhood wasn’t nearly as rough as I had imagined from my referrals, but I still felt kind of lost as I left my cab. Walking through the entrance, I stood at a landing of a thick, oxidized, metal staircase that had a sign attached to make my way to the reception area on the third floor and see the receptionist for help. After following directions, I walked through an unmarked door into a room that can best be described as “old” and definitely contained no receptionist to speak of. I made my way through a small hallway and turned the corner into a room that finally confirmed that I had arrived at a tailor’s workshop. The wood-floored space was covered with rows of racks of tailored clothing in various stages of production and a few work-desks with what appeared to be ancient sewing machines and tons of cloth on top. On the racks I saw suits, tuxedos, outerwear, a row of what looked like a full set of uniforms, all mixed together in a way that was reminiscent of a dry-cleaner’s rack. An older man approached me and nodded his head but kept walking right by me. I didn’t recognize him from the pictures I had seen so I knew it wasn’t Martin Greenfield, but the measuring tape around his neck and his clothing made me fairly certain that it was Dominic, one of the head tailors. I was approached by a second, younger, man who must have noted my confusion and he asked me if he could help. I introduced myself and told him I had a 10am appointment for a fitting. The man offered me a bagel and coffee and then disappeared behind some racks. A few minutes later, I finally saw a familiar face. Wearing a waistcoat and a tie, Martin Greenfield was looking for me from right outside another room filled with clothing racks that would later be described to me as the “the office” and then again as the “changing room.” He came up to me and introduced himself and then asked me if I was interested in purchasing. I panicked for a second and thought maybe I was about to be a victim of the workshop’s policy of not taking new customers without reference and quickly name-dropped a Style Forum member that had graciously allowed me to use his name at the door if I felt it would help. Greenfield smiled and took me to a table where he kept all his cloth samples. He asked me what kind of suit I was thinking of getting at which point I explained to him that this would be my first custom-suiting experience and would like to start with the basics. I handed him a piece of paper with a list of things I had typed up for my first suit and he looked up, smiled, and said to no one in particular “Hey! He brought a list!” I realize now it might not have been the smartest thing to do, but I was assured that Greenfield had been offering a “new” house cut lately that was more along the lines of what I wanted and that they would be fine with some alterations to it. Here is my list: Jacket: 2-buttoned, double-vented, notch lapels about 3 inches wide, pickstitching, buttonhole on left breast lapel, high lapel gorge, soft shoulders, high armholes, waist suppression, 2 flap pockets, 1 ticket pocket, 1 chest pocket. Trousers: flat-front trousers, natural waist rise, no belt loops (button tabs), minimal break with 2” cuffs, extra set of trousers. Greenfield nodded his head with each point and finally admitted that people usually don’t do this sort of thing and prefer to leave it up to him to decide on these issues but that he liked that I knew what I wanted off the bat. As for the cloth, I mentioned that I had been told he had a preference for first-timers: a cashmere/wool blend that was known to be durable and drape very well. He picked up said cloth book and I told him I was looking for solids, either navy or medium gray. He admitted he thought a plain navy was boring and highly recommended a very faint shadow-stripe in the same fabric for the navy and a plain for the medium-gray. I decided on the latter for my suit, to which he responded “OK, he’s getting these two suits!” So I was now getting two suits. I asked how much they were and someone who was later introduced to me as one of his sons said “$1,400 for the suit, $375 for the extra trousers.” The fitting started with Dominic joining us and Martin telling him that I had brought a list, which I’m pretty sure Dominic didn’t care for and didn’t look at once. They agreed that I was to have the “new model” and brought out a ready-made version of it to try on me. Martin picked and prodded, put it back on the rack, and brought out his tape. He started with the chest measurement. “Should be about 39” right?” I asked. He quickly responded that it’s always the guys who work out that know exactly what their chest measurements are cause they’re always double-checking it in the gym. He grabbed me around the bicep and jokingly said I was doing OK, he thought. The upper-body measurements I remember were chest, shoulders (point-to-point), biceps, both arm lengths (he pointed out that my right arm hung lower than my left and that my right shoulder was turned inward a bit more than the left as well) diagonally across the body, waist, half-half waist, and length of torso. Most of the measurements he could call out before applying the tape and he was always spot-on just eyeballing. Dominic wrote down all the measurements and brought the completed jacket off the rack and had me put it on again. I asked about the shoulders (Martin said he had already thought of that) and the armhole, which Martin said he’d bring up a quarter inch, just eyeballing again. He quickly announced that the jacket had to be lengthened 3/4 of an inch and then took it off me. That was that. On to the trousers: I had to go change in the aforementioned door-less room that Martin called his office/dressing room. The walls were covered with newspaper articles on Greenfield and the various celebrities and politicians that he has dressed over the years. Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, etc. etc. I later found out President Obama had just been fitted a few weeks before and would soon start breaking in his own Greenfield suits as well. Martin had me put on a ready-made size 34, even though I wear a 32, because he thought it would look better on my heavy-set legs. He was right. I stepped onto the riser for my measurements and Martin saw my cordovan longwings and quipped to Dominic “Well he certainly doesn’t need shoes!” He took my waist measurements again, my seat, and a basic outseam necessary for the first fitting. Dominic, still ignoring my list, which made me feel a little nervous, asked if I wanted pleats. “No sir,” I said. “OK, so no pleats. Low rise?” Yikes. At this point I realized why so many people had said that these tailors can be “difficult” to deal with and that I had to “impose” my wishes somewhat. In no way are they unfriendly or not trying to listen to the customer. It’s just a reality that they’ve been doing this for 60+ years and they’re not very impressed by the 24-year old with his list of requirements for his very first suit. They’re going to do what looks right to them based on experience and what they’re looking at right in front of them, not based on what you think will look right because you read it on Styleforum. It’s also a reality that both Martin and Dominic are older gentlemen who may miss certain things in conversation/exchanges here and there simply because they may have lost a step in certain ways. It all makes sense, even though it can be a tough pill to swallow when you’re spending $1,750 on each custom suit and you feel you should have full control in a day when “the customer is ALWAYS right” is a law most retailers live and die by. After the fitting, Martin and I chatted for a bit. Where I was in town from (Miami), where I was originally from (Curacao, a small island in the Caribbean); Martin said he’d vacationed there for two weeks some years ago and had loved it and was excited to know his suits would be worn there again soon. At this point, a good amount of people started coming in for the 10:30 appointments so Martin said goodbye to me and told me they’d call me in five weeks. I walked over to pay (no plastic, cheques or cash only) and was given a hand-written carbon-copy receipt and I was on my way. I’m definitely happy with how things went my first time around. Martin was a real gentleman and a class act and made things much easier for me as I was admittedly pretty nervous and awkward. It probably helped that they didn’t ask for my opinion on everything on my list as they clearly know best and I didn’t want to mess things up, though I see how some people could have certain issues at that stage of the process. I know next time I’ll be more comfortable and will have a better idea of how to voice my wishes and manage the fitting process. And hopefully again better the time after that and the time after that, etc. For now, I’ll wait anxiously to see them again in six weeks.
post #12 of 46
Great write up - thank you.
post #13 of 46
great post!

Please post pics when you have your suit!
post #14 of 46
Wow!!!! that was long and not easy to read through all of it. Could you not summarize? I hate wasting more than twenty minutes just reading a post.
post #15 of 46
Originally Posted by Hans Cater View Post
Wow!!!! that was long and not easy to read through all of it. Could you not summarize?

I hate wasting more than twenty minutes just reading a post.

Is he being sarcastic?
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