Bespoke, too cheap?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Nathan Parker, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    Someone local promised me a bespoke suit for less than $1k. Haven't spoken with him in person yet, but is a decent bespoke suit even possible for that price? Not looking for anything special, just a medium to dark gray business type suit.
     
  2. gringodaddy

    gringodaddy Senior member

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  3. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    I'm assuming. I tried to communicate that I wasn't interested in paying a huge amount for a suit I would hardly wear, so I wanted to know upfront if we were in different markets. He might be low balling me, but that really wouldn't serve his long term interests, IMO.
     
  4. gringodaddy

    gringodaddy Senior member

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    It sounds low for a true bespoke suit inclusive of fabric, without knowing your location, etc.
     
  5. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    Location is in the southern states, so our cost structure is a lot lower than NY, of course. I hate to express my concern about the price, because I'm sure he would gladly raise it to make me feel better. :) I don't know what's reasonable in this area, when even a MTM is a lot more than that.

    A lot of the people doing this sort of thing seem to operate without a place of business, which makes it look potentially shady. They could really do a customer wrong without having serious repercussions.
     
  6. Victor Elfo

    Victor Elfo Senior member

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    Well, I pay the equivalent to approximately US$ 230,0 for a bespoke jacket and the equivalent to approximately US$ 44,00 for a bespoke pair of trousers and I've not had any critiques about the silhouette, but the handwork does suffer from the lower price tag.
    Try to see some examples of his work and, if possibly, how it's done. If you see hundreds of paper patterns there's a good chance that it's a true bespoke operation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  7. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    Perhaps it's a definitions problem. The guy told me that the work is done in the US, which seems to suggest that HE isn't doing it. If the work isn't being done locally, I'm not sure how it can be true bespoke, at least as I understand the process. I did ask him directly if it was bespoke or MTM, and he assured me that it was bespoke, but he might be using the term incorrectly. I would actually be relieved if it were MTM, because as least the price would be more in line.

    I'm not sure I would know poor work if I were looking at it, which is part of what makes me nervous. I haven't worn a suit in three years. And the last suit I bought was probably 20 years ago.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  8. gringodaddy

    gringodaddy Senior member

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    I have recently located to a suburb of NYC and have found a tailor that has assured me he offers a full handmade suit for a little more than $1000 per suit BUT that is exclusive of the cost of fabric. This is much less expensive than anywhere in the city itself, and I too have expressed concerns about whether I am going to get a quality garment so I understand your trepidation.

    To Victor's point: I have been able to view his work in various stages of completion and he does indeed have paper cut-outs all over the place.

    My guy too is in a brick and mortar store and is the son of the original owner.

    At some point, it seems you either take the plunge with this sort of thing, no?
     
  9. Victor Elfo

    Victor Elfo Senior member

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    He could just be the store front or style consultant, as the Rubinaccis, and the service would still possibly be bespoke. He could also be just the cutter and still the garments could possibly be bespoke.
    As I understand the work, something is bespoke if it you have a large part in the designing process (fabric and any other details), if you have fittings and if you have a pattern made exclusively for you. MTM will, usually, limit your part on the designing process, give you two fitting at best and will adapt existing patterns for your measurements. I'm, probably, excluding some important aspects, but that should give you a general concept of what is bespoken.
     
  10. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    Yes. There are several other people around who offer variations on this service, and they all seem to know each other, so I can get feedback from others as to what he's really offering. A competitor will probably try to point out every possible flaw. :)
     
  11. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    This guy, I'm told, provides suits to professional athletes, so they probably have some pretty challenging body shapes. If anyone needed a custom pattern, I would think they would. I'm pretty sure I don't. I think I'd get more value out of a quality MTM provider than a poor bespoke operation. Thanks for giving me some more questions to ask.
     
  12. Victor Elfo

    Victor Elfo Senior member

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    You're welcome.
    There're some hidden gems around and, if you're willing to take the chance with a test garment, your guy can prove to be one of those. In my experience, there will be some demerits on the handwork given the lower price tag, but there's the possibility to achieve a better fit than houses that charge many times what you're paying.
    Another issue with those lower priced tailoring operations is the silhouette of the garments (which you should not mistake for fit), as you don't have many informations about the house style. IMO, you should talk to him, try to understand his style preferences, check some of his work (finished and unfinished) for the silhouette and for the handwork. I'm fortunate to have found a good silhouette for a ridiculous low price tag, you could be standing in front of a similar opportunity.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  13. mactire

    mactire Senior member

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    Thats pretty good for cut make and trim on a two-piece, if he owns the place himself its probably do-able. Make sure to ask for whatever handwork you want specifically buttonholes.
     
  14. David Reeves

    David Reeves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    Generally yes but It all depends on the individuals definition of bespoke these days I think, you may as well just say custom made (I don't because being English, we don't use the term custom made, its just cultural for me, like saying lift instead of elevator) . Unfortunately describing something as bespoke does not guarantee a high end product, its not like saying 22 carat gold. I think tailoring is just like a lot of other professions though, sure there are lawyers but they are not all of the same ability. I think when people think of tailors on SF they often tend to think that they can do anything if so inclined, that they are all possessing the same skill sets and that if the client can just coax or manage them correctly they can do anything. This is of course not the case.
     
  15. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker Active Member

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    So, I met with this guy today. He says he actually does cut the patterns himself, although he has the cutting and sewing done in Chicago. He didn't bring me any examples of his work, although I had asked him to; he's going to come back in a few days. I didn't much like the suit he was wearing.

    He recommended a higher button stance from the coat I modeled for him; he says that it would deemphasize the bulk of my chest. I thought the opposite was true? He said he would change the taper of the lapel to compensate for the visual flair of the higher button stance. I'm not sure I really comprehend the effect of what he's proposing. He also thought the higher button stance would help the material flow better over my chest by moving the point of closure higher. Does any of this make sense? The guy supposedly has expertise in fitting athletes, but I don't know if they necessarily look good.

    Here's some of the guy's suits on NFL players:

    http://www.rookiedraft.com/?p=6002

    The photos aren't very good, but to my not-very-experienced eye, I merely see suit-like material covering bodies.

    In the meantime, a local menstore has measured me for a Trands MTM. I can't find any information about them, other than the Buffett connection. The suit would be $975.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013

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