or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Oxxford MTM suit questions
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Oxxford MTM suit questions

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Wanted to ask the group a follow up question re: anyone's experience with Oxxford MTM. I stopped by the NY store and spoke to Tashae and Rocco (the visiting tailor/designer). First, is it worth paying for the extra basted fitting? Second, I was not that impressed by the cloth selection, largely Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Smiths, and their house cloth (Italian -- "timeless classics" 270 grams). The LP super 120s would run me about 3500 for a 2 piece suit, the H&K maybe a little less. Their house cloth would run me $2395. There was nothing special among the house cloths, but I don't really want to spend $3500 for LP cloth when I could probably spend a similar amount or slightly more for Lessers cloth at Raphael. What do you think about Oxxford's house cloth? Again, it is the cloth they feature all year around, made in Italy, and weighs 270 grams. They use the house cloth in their basic RTW models featured at the store, also priced at $2395. The cloth seems a little too light in weight and the patterns are not very crisp. Is it worth commissioning a suit with this cloth? Is the cloth hard wearing? Drape well? Any guidance would be appreciated.
post #2 of 30
Quote:
First, is it worth paying for the extra basted fitting?
In the abstract, I would say, always get a basted fitting. However, its true usefullness depends on a couple of factors. If the person fitting you in the shop is not a trained tailor, then the basted fitting is probably a waste of time. I suppose its possible that a non-tailor fitter who can't sew might nonetheless know everything about fitting and alterations and be able to fix anything, but I wouldn't count on it. The other thing that would concern me is: even if the fitter is a tailor, you can be pretty certain that he is not the guy who will do the actual alterations to your suit and your pattern. Something is bound to get lost in the translation. So, with a bespoke suit fitted and made by the same tailor, always get a basted fitting. With MTM, for which you are fitted in one city and the coat is made in another, I'm not sure it's worth it.
post #3 of 30
I own Oxxford MTM suits, but leaving the issue of cloth selection or lack thereof aside, MTM suits, whether from the esteemed Oxxford or any other company for that matter, will almost invariably suffer from strict limitations in the fit and form, and the shortcomings can compromise the overall outcome of the garment. The fit is all that matters and if it is compromised, the cloth Oxxford uses is "immaterial", no pun intended.  I wrote an in-depth analysis, on AA some time ago, of the differences between my Raphael custom suits and my Oxxford MTM suits which highlights some of those limitations between custom and MTM in general. Since most men have the anatomical imperfections I have, it's worth reading. With their MTM program, while Oxxford can make a few nips and tucks here and there to try to achieve a proper fit, it is unlikely to be achieved unless Oxxford patterned their suits after *your* body.  For example, I have a long torso, and Oxxford could not accommodate me with the proper length in the rear of the jacket, so the side vents are always open.  I have a developed chest as a result of working out, and they could not get the chest to drape correctly.  One shoulder is lower/higher than the other, and this could not be accommodated for in the jacket, causing the neck and shoulder lines to be askew.  I also stand ramrod straight, and the bottom of the jacket opens, diminishing the overall appearance of the garment.  What Oxxford basically does is mix and match jackets and trousers from the rack and have the customer try on the various combinations in order to achieve an acceptable fit for the customer. But, $3K+ for merely an acceptable fit is a steep price to pay.  While most people taking a cursory look at my Oxxford suits might be impressed, I know that the fit leaves much to be desired.  It's the difference between having a house "custom made" from the ground up and having an established house retrofitted. The real advantages of Oxxford MTM, as with other MTM programs, is in having a wider choice of cloth and stylistic flexibility, such as having slanted pockets, ticket pocket, side vents vs. center vent, suspender buttons, button fly vs. zipper, etc.  I have nothing but the highest regard for Oxxford's workmanship and standards of quality, however you can only do so much with any MTM program.  It's just not custom and once you've gone custom (with a good tailor), there really is no going back to MTM. Why would anyone want to? As a possible alternative to Oxxford, one might want to investigate the excellent St. Andrews MTM program over at Davide Cenci on Madision Ave., NYC, which offers a good selection of English and Italian cloth.  SA has, too, maintained standards of the highest order, and the silhouette is more flattering, I think, than those offered by Oxxford.     Grayson
post #4 of 30
One more thing: I would never, ever spend $3,500 on Loro Piana cloth.  Lesser + a real bespoke tailor at a comaparable price = much better deal.  Also, I find something fishy about such a huge price gap between the floor price ($2,400) and the next rung up ($3,500).  It says to me either that their house cloth is dreck, or the next rung up is way overpriced for what you get.
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you Marc and Manton for your excellent advice. I agree with everything you say. Basted fitting -- not worth it if one person marks the suit and a factory completes it. I think the premium charged for the basted fitting is $300. Tashae, the (criminal) salesperson, even suggested to avoid it and, believe me, in my experience working with him, he will suck you for every last dime. House cloths -- I saw some of the house cloths made up as RTW suits in the store. They were fine, but certainly nothing special or substantial. They probably cost Oxxford next to nothing, given the bulk they order. LP Super 120s. I completely agree that there is no way I would pay $3500 or even $3000 for a suit made of LP cloth. I have wasted enough money to date on LP cloth before I knew any better. They are basically charging $1100 for the LP cloth vs. the crap house cloth. THat is >$250 a yard which is a complete rip off. Oxxford is probably paying about $30 per yard for the LP cloth. THey were also charging $3500 and up for a 2 piece suit made of H&S cloth. Since H&S is a sister company, they are also probably getting sweet deals on that cloth. I don't have a problem paying for great workmanship and tailoring, but I do have a problem paying a huge markup for the cloth. Especially since I am sitting on unused LP Super 120s cloth for which I paid $50 per yard. Tailoring Process. This is where things get really confusing. Rocco, the visiting tailor, told me he would take my measurements and personally cut the cloth and make me a pattern. That was a surprise to me since I thought they would basically modify stock sizes. After all, isn't that what MTM is? I have no idea if he is telling the truth. I will ask again today. Thank you again.
post #6 of 30
I know that Louis Boston had a "bespoke" program. I spoke with people at the Oxxford factory and people at the Oxxford store about the Oxxford Store's program. They told me that it the Oxxford Store program is not typical MTM in the sense that they actually make a unique personal pattern from blank paper, but that fittings, if desired, would be at additional cost. Of course the Oxxford Store people I spoke with(Tashae and someone else) told me that the clothing ordered through the Oxxford Store is cut by a man with tailor shears while Oxxford clothing ordered through other places is cut by machine, so I'm hesitant to believe anything. Couple all this with Oxxford's cut, which is not particularly flattering...
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Rocco, the visiting tailor, told me he would take my measurements and personally cut the cloth and make me a pattern.  That was a surprise to me since I thought they would basically modify stock sizes.  After all, isn't that what MTM is?
Yes, the acid test of bespoke is whether a pattern is drawn de novo for you or not.  If it is, the garment is "bespoke."  However, there are other factors that affect value.  A pattern can be drawn specifically for you, but the suit is sewn in another city by a tailor who never sees you.  This might work reasonably well if the person who draws your pattern (the cutter) also fits you.  If not, though the suit is "bespoke" by the strictest definition of the word, it will almost certainly not fit as well as a bespoke suit sewn or at least overseen by the cutter himself. For a first suit, a basted fitting is important because only a genius or a very lucky tailor gets the pattern exactly right on the first draw.  Lots of great and small issues can be corrected at a basted fitting, and the pattern changed, before any "permanent" (i.e., expensive, time-consuming, silk) stitches are sewn.  With a bespoke tailor, this all happens in one shop, or else the fittings are done on the road but the work still happens in one shop, and the fitter either does or oversees all of it himself.  Theoretically, nothing gets garbled in communication because the same brain is doing all of the intellectual work. The question for you is: will any of this happen?  The distance factor is an obstacle, but not insurmountable.  So long as there is continuity between the people cutting, fitting and making for you, you will likely get a good product.  But I suspect that this is not what will happen.  If nothing else, Oxxford is too big of an operation.  Also, if they really made a bespoke product, they would advertise it is as such.  After all, lots of companies sell MTM garments under the rubric of "bespoke"; you have to be pretty self-deprecating and have poor business sense to do the reverse.
post #8 of 30
uriahheep citation: ...is not typical MTM in the sense that they actually make a unique personal pattern from blank paper, ...[quote] I agree. This sentiment was conveyed by an Oxxford VP during a recent trunk show at SAKS in IL. The VP mentioned "individual patterns" of each customer existed. Moreover, as I listened attentively, he added "Oxxford is fully custom and can do whatever you want" unlike the imposed constraints of most MTM programs. Being a tyro to the process, but knowing precisely want I desire; I have tested Oxxford's capacity in modifying both Crest and Ratcliff models.
post #9 of 30
Just to play devil's advocate, I'd be crestfallen were Oxxford actually offering cheap cloth, only because my impression of Oxxford has been that historically they never cut any corners in workmanship and materials.   Even their bone buttons are made in a way that does not endanger the animals from which the materials are obtained.  Oxxford, say it ain't so. Grayson
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Even their bone buttons are made in a way that does not endanger the animals from which the materials are obtained.
Horn buttons are generally a byproduct of cattle breeding. Dehorning is not that difficult to do without harming the animal. Farmers often prefer to remove the horns for obvious reasons. There's another route: it's also pretty difficult to harm a dead animal when removing its horns.
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
I never ended up going back to Oxxford today to ask my follow up questions. In the end, I decided to pass on the MTM Oxxford idea. The search for the perfect bespoke suit continues. At some point in the future, I am going to try to pin the Oxxford guys down on what exactly their process is. Are they really making and cutting specific paper patterns or are they just modifying stock sizes (true MTM)? If it turns out to be the latter, then I will really be disillusioned. I just can't imagine that they are creating and cutting paper patterns, but yet calling the process MTM. I have to get to the bottom of this. Also, I did not find that visiting tailor/designer to be that helpful when I spoke with him. I asked him specifically for his recommendations for style for me (eg, SB with peak or notch lapels, 2 or 3 buttons and some other details). All he could come up with is that he will do whatever I want. Great...thanks for coming in from Chicago. He was basically useless, as useless as the salesman, who frankly knew surprisingly little about the Oxxford product. Marc, as for the cloths...I am not implying that Oxxford is using cheap cloths. I merely said that the basic house cloth (super 110s, 270 grams, made in Italy by some unnamed mill) was nothing special. The cloth had no life, no special hand, not crisp at all in pattern, color or anything else. In comparison, the LP Super 120s actually looked good. That statement alone should put the house cloth in perspective. Moreover, I was shocked at how meager the selection was. There was the LP Super 120s book and then several H&S books, but not the good H&S books that I had seen at Darren's old shop on Stafford Street. When pressed for more English cloth selections, the salesman showed me a Smith's book, which was a breath or fresh air, but I was not going to spend $3800 for a MTM Oxxford made of Smiths. When I asked to see some Lessers, neither the salesman nor Rocco (the oddlot visiting tailor/designer) had heard of H. Lesser cloth. I saw no Moxon, Harrison, J&J Minnis, Scabal, nothing. No thanks. By contrast, even Brooks Brothers has a MUCH better selection of cloths for its MTM suit program.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Are they really making and cutting specific paper patterns or are they just modifying stock sizes (true MTM)?
I'm quite sure it's the letter. Aside from a few people who call it custom, most salespeople have referred to it as Oxxford MTM, with some even specifying that "Oxxford alters its patterns to fit your physique." Have any of them been to the Oxxford factory? Some said that they have, but overall I don't think that that many of them have visited. Oxxford is somewhat old-fashioned, but they probably use stock-size pre-cut canvas.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Horn buttons are generally a byproduct of cattle breeding. Dehorning is not that difficult to do without harming the animal. Farmers often prefer to remove the horns for obvious reasons.
Oxxford's buttons are obtained from water buffalo, which I don't believe are members of the cattle family. From Oxxford's Website... Every seam is stitched with pure silk thread, specifically color-matched to the outer fabric. Our distinctive buttons, made from the horns of African Water Buffalos, are highly polished and color-matched. (The horns are collected without harming the buffalo.) Grayson
post #14 of 30
I believe the old Jack Simpson service offered individual patterns, but it was crazy expensive: somthing like $5,000 to start. And the silhouette was really not flattering. I have heard from Louis, Boston devotees that Oxxford does individual patterns for customers out of that store, but I haven't been to Louis in four years.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
I had heard a few months ago from my Oxxford salesman that Oxxford booted Jack Simpson, in part because of the failed Oxxford Crest line. Don't know if this all is true.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Oxxford MTM suit questions