Originally Posted by Kuro
After my RJManton Q&A I didn't want to ask any more questions, but since you offered now that the bespoke shoe order is placed I'm thinking of ordering a suit in the fall. Thinking of Poole, or Kilgour. Do you have experience with either? Also, while not Savile Row wondering about Camps or Charvet.
I know Poole and Kilgour come to NYC often, Camps said sometimes when I called and when I asked M. Colban last week he started talking about one client sending his private jet (I take that as a no
I have no experience with either Kilgour or Poole. Kilgour is probably more "fashion"-oriented and does also MTM and intro-bespoke (not sure of the terminology). Poole, I think, are more traditional and only bespoke, as far as I know (in London, at least -- there may be licensing arrangements elsewhere).
My advice would be to not limit yourself to just two names. Many SR firms also travel to the US, and other countries/continents, as well. If it is SR that you want, get a copy of the Savile Row Story, a book by Richard Walker. It is about twenty years old but has a lot of background and gives you most of the info you need on the firms; you just ignore the now-defunct ones, or trace them into the still extant ones. Use the book to populate the SR universe before you begin the selection process
1) Try to define what sort of style you prefer: firm/strict/"military" at one end of the spectrum (Hunstman, Kilgour, Dege, Jones Chalk & Dawson --Meyer & Mortimer --, Welsh & Jefferies, etc...) or soft (Anderson & Sheppard, others, no doubt, but I never researched them as this is not what I wanted -- not sure where Davies would fall; they have "military" component firms, I think). Poole is reputed to fall in the middle; other firms exist, I am sure, that do the same.
2) Check the fora for references/personal experience by the posters. Post questions as you go, if you do not understand everything that is being discussed. Use your own judgement: what I like to wear may be something you would not want to be seen dead in!
. Some firms are overrepresented in the fora. Take everything with a grain of salt.
3) Be mindful of prices (unless you can afford not to care but, even then, you probably want your money's worth): they do not automatically translate into quality (within limits, of course): they depend upon overheads, and the same outworkers may be working for several different firms. Within those limits, there is a low end and an expensive end in the SR universe.
4) If you want to build a long-term relationship with a tailoring firm, check its relative size, its age. If the principal is old, is someone younger ready to take over? Are they completely, or overly, dependent on the US trade; that could be dangerous, given the US$'s fall. The home market (GBP) is probably safest, but small(er).
5) Travel: many, if not all, firms now travel (incl. to the US), even if they may not often appear in the US-dominated fora.
6) Narrow your list based on the above information (price, size, style, travel, do they use fusing or not, etc...). Then make phone calls to your shortlist. Ask the same questions again (things may have changed since the info you use was first reported). Some people may gasp in horror at the idea of receiving a call from someone they have not been properly introduced to!
Once they realize you do mean business and are not wasting their time, they will become more approachable.
7) After weeding out all but two or three of your shortlist, go visit them (best, but you may not have the time to go to London) or meet them on a US trip. Choose the one who gives you the most confidence, with the best comfort level. It is a two-way (for all they know, you may be pathologically indecisive, a bully, or a deadbeat) human relationship: mutual trust is paramount!!!
I apologize for going on like this for ever
Frog in Suit
PS: I did most of the above, about a year ago, to select my current tailors. The time spent was worth it, because I gained information on the way, and I found what I was looking for. Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in The Savile Row Story book, nor in my tailors Jones, Chalk & Dawson (aka Meyer & Mortimer).