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PMA

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Another yet again, Draper's Five Stars, on a 13oz suit.

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birdlives80

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As a Philly resident I am very interested in how these turn out. Keep us posted!

Yesterday I went to John DiPietro, "the last tailor on Broad Street," to arrange to have some trousers made. I bought the ones that I wear now shortly after I moved to Philadelphia and they were always meant as temporary. Temporary officially became 'a year' yesterday and knowing that was bearing down on me and having mustered the resources to correct it, I decided that I'd best act.

Mr. DiPietro was an engaging character and roughly as cantankerous, a word that I believe can be used as a compliment, as I had wagered. Among the first things that he told me was, "something you have to understand about me is I'm nuts, but it's a good kind of nuts." He tended to be rather frank and clearly proud of his work, but not high-handed, arrogant or imperious. He emphasized that he cuts a unique pattern for each customer, always leaves several inches of fabric reserve to facilitate alterations and excoriated the work of made-to-measure firms. He is a self-described, "dinosaur," who only recently got a telephone with called identification at his son's urging. He described a rack of files with swatches and patterns for his clients as, "my computer." I admit that everything else aside, I enjoyed getting to meet him.

I wanted five pairs, so he started laying rolls of fabric out. I think that his selection is a bit limited, although I gather that he had some other swatches on hand, but it turned out to be sufficient. I suppose that in my mind, I was going to have five identical pairs (I have a habit of leaning on repetition and consistency in my wardrobe, which I developed because I hated shopping for clothes as a child), but I got the impression that he thought that I wanted five different colors, which I decided that I'd prefer. I selected fabrics in black twill, navy, dark grey, charcoal grey and taupe, all super 140s or super 150s, then he took to measuring me and deciding the details of the trousers.

They'll have cuffs, single pleats, a waistband with an extension at the closure, no side adjusters, slanted double-besom side pockets, no back pockets (I never use those and they just get in the way), a little reinforcement inside the waistband above the left pocket where I hook my keychain and suspender buttons, but no belt loops. I asked about fishtail backs, but he had no recollection of having made trousers with that and wasn’t comfortable experimenting on mine. He also seemed rather surprised by my request for a button fly, but happy to make it. (As luck would have it, I was wearing one of my few pairs of trousers with a zipper that day) All in all, he seemed to quickly gather a sense of my tastes and had good intuitions in general.

They cost $ 400 per pair, although would have been $ 50 more if he had needed to order the fabric rather than already having it in stock, and he said that he’ll get back to me in two or three weeks. (He also quoted me a price of $ 500 to $ 600 for waistcoats) I hope that they turn out well, because I’d like to have reason to feel confident patronizing him some more.

I'm also planning to soon contact Ray Nepomuceno about some shirts. (The Charles Tyrwhitt cavalry twill ones that I have now are in increasingly desperate condition) He's just about the last shirtmaker around. (There was even an article about the profession's demise in a local news outlet a few months ago)
 

dennistsang

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Recently, I picked up a pair of bespoke trousers from Dream Bespoke (DB) in Hong Kong.


(A cavalry twill fabric from Taylor & Lodge is picked for this commission.)

The overall fit is good and the hand finishings are fine but not the best. And yet the hand finishings from my Anthology's trousers are better than this. Of course, the price of the trousers in DB is just 1/3 of the Anthology.

However, some of the requirements are not fulfilled in these trousers. For examples, I asked for a 6 buttons configuration for the trousers’ fly (see picture below) and pick stitching in the side adjuster.



Unfortunately, in the final product, the 6 buttons configuration turns to a simpler 4 buttons & metal buckle configuration. Just like a normal button fly configuration you get from a tailor shop. And the requirements for pick stitching in side adjuster is overlooked.

The price of a CMT trousers in DB is at HKD 1.1k and requires around 3 weeks to complete which one fitting is included.

To conclude, DB offers a very good cost price ratio in CMT trousers, the fit is good for me (although I am not too difficult to find well-fitted trousers). However, some requirements may be “ asking for too much” at this price range. Of course, if you can pay more, those requirements will be just fine. DB is definitely a good place to start your menswear journey.
 

Encathol Epistemia

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This afternoon (June 8th, 2019) I took custody of my trousers from John DiPietro. They were almost ready on May 29th, but Mr. DiPietro realized after his initial message that he had fitted them with zippers instead of button flies; he directly noted this error, apologized profusely and promised to have them ready with the correct fly in a week and a half, which he did. He told me, both when I asked for a button fly and twice later, that he hadn't be asked to make trousers with a button fly in fifty years. I could hardly complain bout a minor, wholly correctable error and delay as I've only gotten as far as I have because of such forgiveness. In my dealing with him so far, he's demonstrated considerable pride in his work, so I appreciated that he took the error seriously, although I'm forgiving enough that I'd've probably just taken them happily with zippers.

1189303


He had me try each of the five on individually for certainty. I'm quite satisfied with the fit, but I'll submit it to public scrutiny and scorn at a later date. I can at least provide a summary image of the trousers. I believe that the cloth is all by Gladson; he also had cloth from at least Zegna and Holland & Sherry. I neglected to ask about 'CMT', but will in the future. I didn't get a clear answer on the 'entry level' for his trousers, so all I can say is that they range from $ 350 to $ 500.

1189300


Mr. DiPietro has something of a salesman's aspect to him and eagerly encouraged the idea of accompanying waistcoats and sport coat, which I had been interested in myself. I've ordered three waistcoats and a sport coat, with an eye toward further waistcoats later. All of this will be made with cloth already in stock. The waistcoats were $ 550 each and the sport coat came to $ 2,250. He expects to have me in for a first fitting of the sport coat next Saturday. He took several measurements and correctly diagnosed my square shoulders, which have been the bane of the fit of my clothes for my whole life. (I'm thick, squat and short limbed; more or less a Hill Dwarf) I was a little concerned, that he didn't take an armscye. I gathered that he was more than keen on the idea of two sports coats, and so I was I to tell the truth, but I've already spent more on clothes in the last two months than in nearly my entire life to this point, so I demurred at that hint. All of this been costly, but the moment has been prepared for.

*Regenerates into Peter Davison*

Damn it, now I'll need to have everything taken in!

Why, no, I never have been on a date. Why do yo ask?

1189306


Anyway, I'm a little unsure of my own judgement about this sort of thing; I'm the son of a man whose pick-up line for his wife of nearly thirty-seven years was, "I don't wear ties," so I'm flying a little blind. That said, what I've seen so far looks pretty well to my unseeing eyes. I also enjoy John DiPietro. I asked him about how he entered the business and he told me about how when Philadelphia had thousands of tailors working in shops, he was a bundle boy who moved finished bundles of clothes from one set of workers to another in the assembly process, once had his piece rate docked because he was finishing work too fast and, to quote the man, got a, "kick in the ass," from an uncle to become an independent tailor. He also told me about getting the Eagles and Flyers as clients. If he's not telling tall tales, and he does have signed team pictures to go along, he's made, with help as it was a large order with a deadline, the jerseys (or something else; I don't know sports) for the Flyers twice in their history and the team has been very good to him. He also told me that an Eagles player (I don't remember which) wanted him to make a suit for free 'for exposure', which Mr. DiPietro would not do.

1189307


In crudest terms, he's 'quite a character' as well as 'old fashioned' and I enjoy that. The one thing that makes me a little uneasy is that he's 85 years old. He seems in good health, even having survived prostate cancer sixteen years, ago, but his age is such I feel a certain 'dissonance' when he talks about things lasting for thirty years and how I should come to him for any alterations or corrections. I don't doubt that he's sincere and competent, he even offered to deliver the trousers to me instead of having me carry them on the Broad Street Subway, but I'll need to find an alterations tailor whom I can trust to handle his work sooner rather than later. I hate thinking about this; not the least because my father is 73, which is less than 85, but well... you know...

*achem*

Anyway, that question of mortality is why I intend to keep a relationship up with Joseph Genuardi, even though John DiPietro is much closer and costs less. Mr. Genuardi has the uncomfortable comfort of being only a few years older than I am rather than a multiple of my age.

As it happens, my first fitting with Mr. Genuardi will be on the morning of June 22nd.

*achem achem*

Besides Mr. DiPietro, I've been working with Ray Nepomuceno of Ray Custom Shirtmaker and expect to take delivery of fifteen shirts next week.

I've been very well pleased with Ray; he's very amiable, seems to have a keen eye, appears to take great care with fit and emphasizes long-term relationships with customers. (He's also young enough that it's plausible that I could be dealing with him for another few decades -- man, the considerations that one must account for in bespoke clothing can be such a bummer)

Ray explained to me that he's closed his storefront and exclusively does visits to homes or offices because he provided that service to a few clients years ago and it was so well received that he reorganized his business around it. As such, all of the times I met with him were in my apartment. He told me that he tries to arrange his schedule to see his Center City clients, who constitute the largest share of his business, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. he is quite responsive via telephone and text message.

Our first meeting was in the morning of May 10th. He showed me samples of cloth and asked for my preference on each detail of the shirts. He worked by asking about whether I preferred various details of the shirt that I was wearing, which I didn't for those purposes as it was a kind of shirt that tended to wear 'off hours'. (It was a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt with a button-down collar) He had samples of the collar and cuff templates in addition to cloths. I'm very dull, so I only asked for white or slightly off-white twills, ultimately selecting two fairly visible twills and a herringbone. He, of course, took my measurements and worked out details of the fit.

We next met on May 23rd when he had a test shirt ready. I wore and he made observations about it fit, suggesting alterations on that basis. For the most part, the direction of the changes was to tighten the fit slightly. As multiple revisions were made, he prescribed a second fitting before making the full run of shirts. Another change was to one of the fabrics, which he thought might be unsuitable rough; I agreed and chose a substitute. He also took a deposit of $ 1,000 at this time.

Said second fitting was on June 4th. There was one more slight change, but completion of the order is to proceed. I also needed to choose another substitute fabric as one of my original selections had become unavailable. The chosen substitute was costlier, but Ray kept the price at that for the original fabric. The balance will be paid upon delivery, which should come soon.

Worth noting is that Ray's default buttons are plastic, but he will provide mother-of-pearl gladly upon request. This normally adds $ 10 the cost of each shirt, but because of the size of my order, fifteen shirts, he lowered that to $ 6 per shirt. He also took care to note that he offered replacement service for the cuffs and collars, which are what usually wears out. I don't recall the exactly cost, but I believe that it was approximately $ 35. (I'm not sure if it was for each collar or both) This makes these shirts potentially quite economical over the long term, which is what I like.

In summary, I'm getting fifteen shirts for $ 191 each; per the shirtmaker, some of the materials are expensive enough to merit higher prices, but he found it feasible to keep the prices uniform.

Out of mere curiosity, I asked him if he could make shirts for detachable collars. His answer was equivocal as he was not confident that he could obtain the necessary bases, which are evidently made of very thick fabric treated in such a way as to be almost like plastic. He said that he would investigate the possibility. He seemed very enthusiastic about discussing what I thought was, as practical fact, a frivolous question.

I will subject the fit of both the trousers and shirts to visual scrutiny after I take delivery of the shirts, so that I can display them together, probably with some Sam Hober neckties.

While I'm at it, it's not the sort of thing that usually gets mentioned here, but on Monday I received a refurbished hat from Art Fawcett of VS Custom Hats. The hat in question was the first bespoke hat that I ever ordered. It is eleven years old by now and showed some age, especially in the tapered crown and loose lining, but Art did excellent work refurbishing it. The dear thing might pass for new to the unwary eye. (Convenient for me, almost no eyes are wary about hats these days)
 

dan'l

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Thanks for sharing. Is there some reason you placed such a large order at once? 15 shirts in one go is a lot, especially if it is with a new shirtmaker. Same with getting 5 trousers on the first order.
 

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