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Going Bespoke, Part I

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Today was the official start of my bespoke indulgence here in Boston (indulgence being the operative word.). The last couple of weeks was spent picking the fabric, and after some consultation with my tailor -- and even more consultation with Mr. Grayson -- I decided upon a 10 oz. H. Lessor cloth in a dark blue glen plaid with light blue overpane. The fabric really is gorgeous, with a hard finish and much more pop than an ordinary staid navy. The base color has a brightness to it that really sets it apart, though it is still plenty dark enough for both the conservative office setting and for evening wear. Today I officially put down the deposit and the fabric was ordered. I was also asked to wear a suit so that some initial measurements could be taken; in particular, he asked me to wear what I consider my best fitting suit pants (which meant wearing one of my least favorite suit coats, ironically. I told him that I was not wanting a stylistic copy of the coat I was wearing). What really surprised me was how few measurements were initially taken. He took: shoulders; chest; waist 1" above the navel; waist 1" below the navel; measurement completely around the chest and upper arms; base of neck down; hips with feet slightly apart; hips with heels touching; sleeve from shoulder seam down; sleeve from botton of armhole down; outseam; inseam; pants at the knee; and pants at the bottom. I also saw that he took a measurement referred to as "blade" but I don't know what that was. I thought he'd take a more exacting armscye measurement and perhaps a wrist measurement. I know he cuts a high armhole, so he might just extrapolate from the measurements he took. A few initial styling details were noted -- side vents, two button, with approximately a 3 1/2" lapel. I noted that I wanted my gorge to be slightly higher than the suit coat I was wearing, and he agreed that that would look nice. He also told me that if I wanted to have the pants I was wearing copied, I could drop the pants off to him after the fabric comes in. I may take him up on that offer, but am still debating whether the shallow double reverse pleats on the pants is the way to go (since I don't wear braces, I'm thinking that forward pleats may be a bad idea). I asked whether I could bring in a picture of a lapel shape that I really like and he said that would be fine but that with regards to the precise notch shape I should put some trust in his own judgment. For example, I told him that I really like the lapel shape on the HF Hand Tailored that he is working on. He said that he liked the lapel shape as well but preferred a slightly different shaped collar. He told me that these are things we can keep discussing even up through the second fitting. So, we'll see what happens in the next several weeks. I'll probably give him some pictures of my idealized lapel shape next week. In terms of shoulders, he prefers very lightly padded shoulders, though a bit "higher" than an American natural shoulder (I was wearing an Aquascutum suit made by H. Freeman, BTW). He's from Milan, if that's any indication of what he likes stylistically. (What is the typical Milan cut, BTW?). His very casual air is so reassuring when you have alterations done and when he is showing you his works in progress. It's a different story when you actually plunk down the money though. You almost want someone who is obsessive compulsive at that point. When I left he said not to worry -- that I won't leave his store with my suit unless I think it is 100% perfect. I'm hoping it will be (if it is, those couple of nights sleeping on the couch will be worth it...).
post #2 of 18
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My main rule is that I spend on clothes only when (1) I objectively need an item of clothing, or (2) when I come into "found" money such as Ebay profits, birthday gifts, or bonuses at work.
How did you convince your wife that you "objectively needed" a bespoke suit?  Or are the funds for the suit coming from eBay profits?
post #3 of 18
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What really surprised me was how few measurements were initially taken.  He took:  shoulders; chest; waist 1" above the navel; waist 1" below the navel; measurement completely around the chest and upper arms; base of neck down; hips with feet slightly apart; hips with heels touching; sleeve from shoulder seam down; sleeve from botton of armhole down; outseam; inseam; pants at the knee; and pants at the bottom.   I also saw that he took a measurement referred to as "blade" but I don't know what that was.  
Blade probably refers to your shoulder blade characteristics.  The (few) really good tailors don't actually need to take an exceeding amount of measurements as they're already drawing a mental pattern based on your body characteristics; measurements are more of an outline.  Their talents are in their eyes and fingers, which isolated specs can't replicate.  For example, I have a small squiggle in my spine that is accounted for in the pattern my tailor in NY has developed for me, which you can't measure in a traditional way.  He made a mental note of it, and my garments are that much more balanced as a result.  And, through the fitting process, your tailor will likely mold the preliminary garment to the contours of your body that, again, cannot be captured by raw numbers.  This is where the artistry takes hold.  This is just one example among many.  In contrast, another tailor, one of the "young turks" on Savile Row, took voluminous measurements and photographs, yet he completely botched the suit.  Could have enjoyed a more redeeming career cutting meat rather than cloth.  Enjoy your new bespoke suit and the process of seeing it through to completion.          Grayson
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
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My main rule is that I spend on clothes only when (1) I objectively need an item of clothing, or (2) when I come into "found" money such as Ebay profits, birthday gifts, or bonuses at work.
How did you convince your wife that you "objectively needed" a bespoke suit?  Or are the funds for the suit coming from eBay profits?
I don't have an objective need, so that answers your question AC. This was in any event a splurge of course, but the price is really incredible for what I'm getting. I can't imagine that I'll ever find the level of work at such a price, and this particular tailor has told me that retirement is probably only a few years away. Since I'll be leaving Boston soon, perhaps for good, I figured there was no greater momento to take away from this place than a suit that should last me many, many years.
post #5 of 18
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(What is the typical Milan cut, BTW?)
Typical Milanese cut is a natural shoulder, rather soft chestpiece, armholes high (especially compared to American makers) but not nearly as high as the Neapolitans, and most distinctively, a rather short skirt.  The Prada mdel of the 90's is an exagerrated form of the Milanese cut, if that makes any difference.  Of course, I defer my opinion to anything that the Rizzo tailor (forgot his name) says about the Milanese cut. BTW, I never said this to you in person, but congrats on the great new job - it sounds like an incredible opportunity. I just hope that we can actually get together for a couple of coffees before you actually leave. And those cords you were wearing the last time I saw you, amazing. What were they? They sort of looked like Varvatos, but slimmer.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
LAG, Work has seriously sucked lately. I have barely even seen my wife. Hopefully it will slow down after a couple of weeks, at which time we can get together. Nice eye on the cords, BTW -- they were Varvatos, and before I had them hemmed I tossed them in the dryer to shrink them just a little bit in the seat. I love them. $45 at FB about a year ago. God I'll miss that place.
post #7 of 18
JN3, You probably sniped one of the pairs I was going to by my brother (he's shorter, but otherwise, about your size). (I was waiting for the 75% off mark). Hope work is going a little better. Email or phone me when it settles down a little. LA.
post #8 of 18
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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser,Mar. 31 2005,08:51
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My main rule is that I spend on clothes only when (1) I objectively need an item of clothing, or (2) when I come into "found" money such as Ebay profits, birthday gifts, or bonuses at work.
How did you convince your wife that you "objectively needed" a bespoke suit?  Or are the funds for the suit coming from eBay profits?
I don't have an objective need, so that answers your question AC.   This was in any event a splurge of course, but the price is really incredible for what I'm getting.  I can't imagine that I'll ever find the level of work at such a price, and this particular tailor has told me that retirement is probably only a few years away.  Since I'll be leaving Boston soon, perhaps for good, I figured there was no greater momento to take away from this place than a suit that should last me many, many years.
Wow, that was easy.  If and when you leave the Big Apple, all you need to say is that a Raphael suit would be the perfect memento.   The fabric sounds very nice.  With this suit, and your "farmer" Hickey and Golden Fleece suits, you will really stand out from the drones in the courthouse wearing gray and navy suits.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
The thing with NYC is that I'll have to get one from Raphael and one from Nino Corvato. This might be my one and only bespoke suit depending on what job I take next.
post #10 of 18
Where in Boston are you getting your suit made? -boston
post #11 of 18
Is the bespoke suit going to blow your $4k annual clothing budget?
post #12 of 18
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Today was the official start of my bespoke indulgence
Have you done your due diligence to be sure that you are getting a bespoke suit? Certain components of the measurements you enumerated are normally not used for bespoke but are used for M-T-M.
post #13 of 18
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(Marc) In contrast, another tailor, one of the "young turks" on Savile Row, took voluminous measurements and photographs, yet he completely botched the suit. Could have enjoyed a more redeeming career cutting meat rather than cloth.
Would that young turk by any chance be, "Another Tailor Guy"?
post #14 of 18
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Have you done your due diligence to be sure that you are getting a bespoke suit? Certain components of the measurements you enumerated are normally not used for bespoke but are used for M-T-M.
As far as I know, the guy is a real tailor who does true bespoke. If I'm not mistaken, it's the same guy who makes John "seriously in need of charisma" Kerry's suits. And it's not Southwick.
post #15 of 18
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As far as I know, the guy is a real tailor who does true bespoke. If I'm not mistaken, it's the same guy who makes John "seriously in need of charisma" Kerry's suits.
Cool. Maybe they'll retire together. Cool-er.
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