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Astor & Black or Balani experience?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by samba, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. samba

    samba Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Hello Gents:

    New to the forum. What a great find this is. I searched for both terms and read every post on AB (last one on Feb 4) and the single (not helpful) post on Balani (http://www.balaniclothiers.com/). I live in Chicago. I realize that these are not "high end" clothiers, but I do have a budget for now (would like a MTM suit in the 600- 800 or so range, definitely under 1000). I figure that a good MTM in that range would hopefully fit better than one off the rack for a similar price.

    Any of you have recent experience with either of these MTM places?

    I'm 29, 6'1 and 185 pounds in decent shape (no six-pack, but no hanging belly fat either). 41 chest, 15/ 3/4 neck, and 34/35 sleeves. I would like to get that "tailored" fit, with good, but not too, much waist suppression (new lingo I picked up on here [​IMG] ).

    I'm looking to get a few shirts and start off with one suit. I'm tired on not getting the right "look" and fit for suits. Since I'm not a brand snob, I much rather have a "no name" garment with good materials and cut, than a brand name ill fitting suit.

    THis picture from Balani scared me: http://www.balaniclothiers.com/press...bune_09-07.pdf

    To me, that suit looks 2 sizes to big (and that is the owner wearing $2K + suit), the lapel has no roll, the body/waist too boxy, and the sleeves too "thick", etc. Definitely not the look I'm after.

    Here are some other forum member's suits whose silhouette and cut I like:
    http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...=suit+critique

    Like this one a lot, but perhaps a bit less waist suppression http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...ouette+english

    So, what I like is an "English savile row" type cut?

    There is one more pinstripe suit I saw here yesterday, but I can't find it now (charcoal pinstripe, pic of a guy standing in what looked like a family room, close up full body shot, no face, Persian/oriental rug in floor and semi antique chair in background). It's killing me not being able to find it. I thought that one was PERFECT and exactly what I'm looking for. The thread was regarding sleeve/suit length, and the poster said that pic was a perfect example of how it should look. Anyways, if you know what I'm talking about please post the link.

    I think I would like what I've seen here referred to as a 3 roll 2 button, side vents, charcoal. I like 3 buttons, but I never button the top.

    I have an appointment with an Astor Black sales rep this Wednesday. I have never done this, so I do not know what to expect. I will for sure get 2 shirts, and then see what their suits look like.

    Do you have any recommendations on good MTM tailors?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. samba

    samba Member

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  3. samba

    samba Member

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    Feb 21, 2008
    bump. no one has anything?
     
  4. samba

    samba Member

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    Feb 21, 2008
    i went with astor. got measured last week. suit should be in 4-6 weeks. picked a super 120's charcoal wool. will post pics upon receipt. let's hope is any good...(fingers crossed)
     
  5. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

    Messages:
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    Mar 23, 2007
    i went with astor. got measured last week. suit should be in 4-6 weeks. picked a super 120's charcoal wool. will post pics upon receipt. let's hope is any good...(fingers crossed)

    Full canvased construction? Price?
     
  6. mylesmyles

    mylesmyles Senior member

    Messages:
    534
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    Oct 9, 2004
    Location:
    nyc
    i went with astor. got measured last week. suit should be in 4-6 weeks. picked a super 120's charcoal wool. will post pics upon receipt. let's hope is any good...(fingers crossed)

    what was the cost? did you go to them or did they come to your office?
     
  7. samba

    samba Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 21, 2008
    Yes, supposedly fully canvased. Paid $675, for a 120's solid wool by "Bruno McKenzie" (no idea if that is a decent fabric -- Is it?). I wanted something "cheap" to start with. I have no idea how it will turn out. I'm a bit nervous, but hoping for the best. The guy actually came to my house, late night too (8:30 pm). I put on other suits + shirts that I had, to give him an idea of what I liked. He took many measurments. I was very picky with how I like my the pants to fit so he measured everything from the rise, the inseam, leg opening, to the "thickness" of the leg, etc.

    This is my first MTM, so I have nothing to compare it too.

    I'll post a follow up in 1.5 months.
     
  8. cvac

    cvac Senior member

    Messages:
    433
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    Dec 28, 2007
    A quick internet search reveals that "Astor & Black" is a new business venture owned by the same corporation that owns Filene's Basement. Essentially, it's a made up name. Salespeople, not the tailors who will be making your suits, take your measurements and the info is sent to China where your suit is manufactured.

    I hope it works out for you.
     
  9. samba

    samba Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    A quick internet search reveals that "Astor & Black" is a new business venture owned by the same corporation that owns Filene's Basement. Essentially, it's a made up name. Salespeople, not the tailors who will be making your suits, take your measurements and the info is sent to China where your suit is manufactured.

    I hope it works out for you.


    Your post is very helpful....not. All that info provided I already knew, thanks. Did you miss the part of my original post noting that I already researched AB and read all the post here on it? That info was mentioned more than once here.

    Yes it's made in HK (or the mainland depending on who you ask). And yes is the salesman who takes the measurements. The latter is what has be a bit concearned. If it doesn't turn out good and can't be easily "touched up" by a local tailor, I'll request another one or my money back. If they refuse, I can very easily "lawyer up" [​IMG] . .... Simple as that.
     
  10. mylesmyles

    mylesmyles Senior member

    Messages:
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    Oct 9, 2004
    Location:
    nyc
    interesting - when i reached out to them 6 months ago they quoted a price of around $875 for a basic suit. I wonder if the tightening of the markets is causing them to adjust their rates.
     
  11. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    Salespeople, not the tailors who will be making your suits, take your measurements.

    That is usually the case with any MTM.
     
  12. cvac

    cvac Senior member

    Messages:
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    Dec 28, 2007
    That is usually the case with any MTM.

    Maybe most, but not all. Personally, I'd rather have an actual experienced tailor measure me, not someone who went through a training course that lasted a few weeks. Even if the tailor is not constructing the actual suit, odds are the measurements will be more accurate.
     
  13. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    Maybe most, but not all. Personally, I'd rather have an actual experienced tailor measure me, not someone who went through a training course that lasted a few weeks. Even if the tailor is not constructing the actual suit, odds are the measurements will be more accurate.

    Can you give an example of where that is the case?
     
  14. cvac

    cvac Senior member

    Messages:
    433
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    Dec 28, 2007
    Re: the info, I found that on a google search awhile back, not on the forum. I'm new to the forum and haven't read all the posts on AB. In your post, you did not mention you were aware of the specifics of their business model. Sorry if I offended you.

    Does AB offer a money back guarantee? How do they normally deal with a situation where the customer isn't happy with the suit?

    What would you do, sue them in small claims court? Seems like a waste of time and resources.

    Personally, I would not have spent the money on the suit unless I could afford to chalk it up as a loss.

    It seems like the better HK tailors charge $1K + to make a nice suit, so $675 seems a little suspicious.

    It will be interesting to see the results, maybe I'm totally wrong.

    Your post is very helpful....not. All that info provided I already knew, thanks. Did you miss the part of my original post noting that I already researched AB and read all the post here on it? That info was mentioned more than once here.

    Yes it's made in HK (or the mainland depending on who you ask). And yes is the salesman who takes the measurements. The latter is what has be a bit concearned. If it doesn't turn out good and can't be easily "touched up" by a local tailor, I'll request another one or my money back. If they refuse, I can very easily "lawyer up" [​IMG] . .... Simple as that.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. cvac

    cvac Senior member

    Messages:
    433
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    Dec 28, 2007
    Yes. In my town there is an experienced tailor that makes bespoke suits, jackets, and trousers. He also does alterations for off the rack garments. This tailor, for whatever reason, does not make shirts. Instead, he measures customers and sends their measurements to a well-known MTM shirtmaker in another city. The guy is not a salesman and obviously knows how to measure.

    Among independent clothing stores that do MTM programs with well-known suit makers, I'm sure it is possible to have the experienced, in house tailor do your measurements for an MTM suit instead of the salesman. Some suit makers even allow you to go directly to the factory to have your measurements taken by an experienced tailor. I believe Oxxford does this.

    Other than that, when the traveling tailors come to town, you can request that an actual tailor take your measurements and not a salesman. Several people have reported that when the order from Hemrajani, for example, they will only let Joe H. himself do the measurements and not one of his

    Can you give an example of where that is the case?
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    In the interest of full disclosure I work for Astor and Black. I want to answer a few of the questions posted on the site:

    1. The company is owned by David Schottenstein, who is a member of the family behind Filene's/American Eagle Outfitters however A&B is not owned or operated or even affiliated with those companies. There are currently 41 sales representatives working for the company so you arent dealing with some fly by night operation out of Hong Kong/China.
    2. The suits are all fully canvassed.
    3. Samba, you have nothing to worry about. The company will guarantee that you are happy with your purchase. If you are not, they will adjust the suit locally and if that doesnt work they will remake it from scratch. We stand behind every garment we produce.
    4. The suits are made in our own workshop in Hong Kong. We produce nothing in Mainland China. The tailors there do not have the skills to do what our guys do. We actually have 2 tailors from Napoli in our workshop who ensure the garments are not constructed like your average Hong Kong custom suit.
    5. Bruno Mackenzie is a fabric supplier to Canali, Pal Zileri etc.
    6. The low price is based on the fact that we own our own workshops and HAVE THE LOWEST MARGINS IN THIS BUSINESS BY FAR. I have personally seen cases where the company made 40 bucks off a $1000 suit.

    I hope that answers some of the questions
     
  17. mylesmyles

    mylesmyles Senior member

    Messages:
    534
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    Oct 9, 2004
    Location:
    nyc
    Thank you for the calrity on some of the questions members on here have had. In the interest of consolidation (i noticed you posted the answers on a few threads) - you may want to start a thread in this forum (similar to getsmart on the streetwear forum) to answer any questions and comments members on here may have. That way there won't be a half dozen threads on here with information on the brand and the product.

    Are you persnonally based in nyc?
     
  18. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

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    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    MylesMyles,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will get a new thread started. I am actually based in our Florida office. We do have 8 Sales Reps in NYC. Let me know if you want a recommendation on who to use there.
     
  19. samba

    samba Member

    Messages:
    16
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    Feb 21, 2008
    B

    Thanks for all the info. I am hopeful that everything will turn out good.
     
  20. Cigarette

    Cigarette New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    NOTES:

    1- Astor & Black pays folks to post on forums. be careful.

    2- I received a copy of the company's policy. There is no statement of refunds. This is an arbitrary policy so, as in my case, they did not have a good experience with you, they will simply refuse to give a refund.

    3- The clothes are subpar. My suit lining is already coming apart.

    4- Ask who the "local tailor" is. An insider told me that this meant the chinese laundry down the street.

    5- An experienced tailor priced a $1400 Astor & Black suit at around $700-800.

    6- Do not compare the company's suits to custom-made. They are not! It's misleading.
     

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