Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by UrbanComposition, Feb 29, 2012.
AFAIK, Marco Polo died many years ago.
A man can dream, can't he?
You're probably right. However, I'm actually surprised at his interest in my requests - I showed him JeffreyDs blog, where he has the outline of the arm/sleeve cutout with the various colors for different shoulder types. He read the whole thing, right in front of me, and said, "this is very good. It's nice to see someone with an interest in the particulars." I detected no snark, but rather an appreciation for another tailor's work.
I forwarded Al JeffereyD's buttonhole posts for reference, and will bring it up when I see him for the first fitting.
JeffereyD does amazing work from his photos.
I don't mean to be contrary. Think of it this way: a top quality bespoke suit will have anything from 40 to 80 hours of tailoring work put into it. RTW with similar levels of finishing generally retails for the same or often more than a bespoke suit. It is unreasonable to expect or even hope that your $1K will buy that. Even though you are providing the exterior fabric, there remain a range of materials costs that AA will have to squeeze into the price that they are charging you, in addition to the labor.
At the $1K point, you should not be thinking about refinement of the finish tailoring but the basics of proportion, style, and fit. Those three things are worth much worth more than the $1K all on their own, and if you get them, you are lucky at that price. A handsewn buttonhole is of no consequence.
I'm sure that you already know that, but it's worth giving you a beat-down nevertheless.
Off topic, but in your blog, the actor on the right in your photo from The Man From U.N.C.LE. is Robert Vaughn, not David MacCallum.
Heh. I've been spared beat-downs for far worse, so I suppose my expectations need to come down from the stratosphere just a bit.
Robert Vaughan? Whoops.
^ let us know how the suit turned out
I'm staying more on the rustic side with Al and having him make up several vests for me (wool front, chambray fabric backs). So far the first one (a brown Magee Donegal tweed) - which I get back later this week - is perfect -and couldn't be happier. I also had him make me two sets of horsehide leather suspenders that look amazing.
Next in line, two more vests and then I'm going to get him to make a Martexin (dark tan) 10 oz waxed cotton cafe racer moto jacket for warmer weather riding (if you're visiting the store, check out the horsehide one he made for decoration). Last project for the summer is for Al to make a car / chore coat and another vest from the final run of a great charcoal grey Donegal (very 1930's look). I'll post pictures when I get them all back.
His boots are terrific and so well made - built like tanks & all Goodyear welted with double soles....Levi's actually bought a run of them that look like this (horsehide):
p.s. nice write up about Al in the SF Chronicle last year
I'm bumping this because I'd love to see what the current state of Al's work with suits is. UC, did you ever get the suit done? I had Al do a wonderful khaki cotton suit a couple years back with patch pockets. Had it based on the one Gregory Peck wore in The Guns of Navarone. I can't wear it any more due to my weight loss - now I look like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense in it.
Over all from my experience I have to say that Al is a savant of tailoring but can get ditzy sometimes. I tried to make an appointment in person a few months ago and he mistook me for more recent customer and was about to bring "me" my order when I stopped him. Since them I haven't had the time to see him though I live just over the hill from his shop.
Norcal !, this is very inspiring. I've been thinking about a vest or two for fall. Maybe one in a brown corduroy and one in a tweed. I like vests with lapels and 4 pockets so bespoke would get me what I need to fit my long torso. (and maybe a secret flask pocket inside)
Gus, the vest he made for me is fantastic quality and he can literally do any detail you request, so lapels and extra pockets are no trouble. He actually was suprised that I wanted such a basic design for mine and got me to add more pockets inside for cell phones, etc.
p.s. my vests are being made from these tweeds and the first one has a matching back, the second uses a brown chambray back:
one suggestion for vests: Al doesn't install the cinch size adjuster in the back of the vest (unless you ask for it) because he feels the fit will be so good, that only off-the-rack vests need them, but I would disagree and had him add it to all of mine because you need that cinch to get the center point and the shape to work properly, otherwise the vest will just look like a silo instead of a "V". Important detail not to miss. On the first fitting, even with my 8 inch drop from chest to waist, the cinch was essential to get the middle to look right without having the vest be skin tight.
btw, so far I've stopped short of having Al make a suit or sportcoat because I feel that a soft Neopolitan shoulder is not an easy skill to acquire unless you've done it a lot, like WW Chan or Napoli Su Misura, so I'm sticking with both of them for the time being since they have my pattern down cold
I might however try a linen half canvassed summer jacket to see how that comes out if Urbancomposition's jacket shoulder's look right because I could use a few of those for Unfunded Liabilities projects
but for anything else, Al has the skill to get it done locally (coats, pants, shirts, boots, hats, etc) and I love having that go-to option for CMT projects.
My jacket from Al is done, I just need to go in to pick it up. Will post updates with pics sometime next week.
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