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Paul Stuart MTM "CustomLAB" - reviews?

Knick from NY

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It's PS so it's the greatest ever right? Please say yes. The store on Madison is a dream and I'm curious about their MTM offerings. Jackets start at $695???! Too good to be tru it seems. I am looking for a summer weight sport coat to wear with jeans boots and a casual unbuttoned shirt or, gasp, a tshirt. I have an E Thomas silk linen fabric herringbone fabric I love.

Here's some unsolicited personal info: I work in an industrial area in Queens, outside my office it's quite dirty and I spend time around the warehouse and machine shop. Considering the environment and that it's a very informal industry I don't have the opportunity to wear a lot "classic menswear". That said I do like unique and high quality clothing and am trying to step it up a bit. Recently had a Martin Greenfield jacket made of the heaviest Harris tweed. It's great in the cold and think it might get better with age and looks good over jeans and boots with a sweater. That said MG style offering felt very limited and I am looking for another MTM or Custom option. Would like to get a warm weather sport coat which could be work with an unbottoned shirt or (gasp) t shirt. I think I'd get much better advice on finding the right look from the guys at Paul Stuart their employees are the coolest of cool IMO, though I don't know if they've ever seen jeans before.

Any advise on PS Customer lab or anyone else? I read up on Ercole but sounds like a nightmare these days, and Alan David is quite expensive for a casual jacket. I spoke to the guy at Peter Elliot once and he said he does custom jackets.
 

lordsuperb

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I've never done MTM with Paul Stuart so I cant speak to the process. I had a few things made with Mark Rykken when he ran Paul Stuart's custom shop. He's opened up his own shop called Britches Bespoke. I would seek him out.
 

papado

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It's PS so it's the greatest ever right? Please say yes. The store on Madison is a dream and I'm curious about their MTM offerings. Jackets start at $695???! Too good to be tru it seems. I am looking for a summer weight sport coat to wear with jeans boots and a casual unbuttoned shirt or, gasp, a tshirt. I have an E Thomas silk linen fabric herringbone fabric I love.

Here's some unsolicited personal info: I work in an industrial area in Queens, outside my office it's quite dirty and I spend time around the warehouse and machine shop. Considering the environment and that it's a very informal industry I don't have the opportunity to wear a lot "classic menswear". That said I do like unique and high quality clothing and am trying to step it up a bit. Recently had a Martin Greenfield jacket made of the heaviest Harris tweed. It's great in the cold and think it might get better with age and looks good over jeans and boots with a sweater. That said MG style offering felt very limited and I am looking for another MTM or Custom option. Would like to get a warm weather sport coat which could be work with an unbottoned shirt or (gasp) t shirt. I think I'd get much better advice on finding the right look from the guys at Paul Stuart their employees are the coolest of cool IMO, though I don't know if they've ever seen jeans before.

Any advise on PS Customer lab or anyone else? I read up on Ercole but sounds like a nightmare these days, and Alan David is quite expensive for a casual jacket. I spoke to the guy at Peter Elliot once and he said he does custom jackets.
No direct experience with the new 'custom lab' from PS but my understanding/sources have indicated that the 695 jackets and 995 suits are actually made in china and not the Samuelsohn that we typically see from MTM. Nothing wrong with made in China but just an FYI if you think samielsohn got super cheap :)

I like the PS vibe and dany-ish styles (their fabircs are ridiculous) so I think if you like it then try something from them. I think you can still probably get samuelsohn mtm for more $ which is what I'd suggest if you have it; else you can try the MiC stuff and report back!

I saw last year they snuck some real cheap suits on the website without listing maker and had them priced way low (people who visited confirmed they were made in china)--they're probably trying to grab the younger/aspirational buyer who can't pay 2k+ for the canadian and italian stuff.
 

Knick from NY

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Just checked in with them, jackets are made in China and delivery time is 4 weeks. I agree China does not = poor quality. The responsibility is on the mfr to assure they get what they pay for. My company does a lot of manufacturing in China as well as in the US, it's all about QA and vendor selection. That said I do expect a lower price for a made in China jacket, however you must still factor in the overhead that PS has. How many suits does it take to pay the rent on Madison Ave?
 

papado

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Just checked in with them, jackets are made in China and delivery time is 4 weeks. I agree China does not = poor quality. The responsibility is on the mfr to assure they get what they pay for. My company does a lot of manufacturing in China as well as in the US, it's all about QA and vendor selection. That said I do expect a lower price for a made in China jacket, however you must still factor in the overhead that PS has. How many suits does it take to pay the rent on Madison Ave?
I have to admit based on the times I visit PS NY that it's always relatively empty I have no idea how they do pay their rent!

(Still my favorite menswear store in NYC, but slightly out my range for every day items)
 

classicalthunde

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I have to admit based on the times I visit PS NY that it's always relatively empty I have no idea how they do pay their rent!

(Still my favorite menswear store in NYC, but slightly out my range for every day items)
I'm no retail expert, but I think places like these view these flagship/boutique stores as more of a marketing expense than an actual point of sale venue. Personally, for better or worse, I pop into NYC once or twice a year and hit up a couple different locations to check out fits and compare the product IRL to its online pics, but then will ultimately make the purchase online several weeks later

That being said, I do love the PS store and am interested in this Custom Lab...I wonder how many different options they offer vs. other MTM shops
 

knittieguy

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I always wonder how PS stays in business. I've been in their DC store a few times and I'm always the only one there, outnumbered by sales associates four or five to one. I've never done the custom lab, but have gotten regular MTM from PS. Not cheap ($1900 or so), but very good experience. It is my favorite suit.
 

Mothetgoo

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I just brought home my first "CustomLab" suit and I would give it an enthusiastic 5 stars.

About me: I have a fair bit of experience with custom. I am tall and oddly proportioned, so I haven't bought off the rack in years. That being said, I am a custom shopper by necessity, not because I simply enjoy the experience or the customization of little details. I have bought custom suits across the range, from very inexpensive (Indochino), to very expensive (Duncan Quinn, in NY, which is a great tailor/shop and very expensive but very cool). Most recently, I have gotten suits from Knot Standard and a local, single location small-shop tailor.

After my first CustomLab experience, I won't be shopping anywhere else for suits. The suit I got was a fairly simple dark navy, one of the mid-range fabrics (i.e., not the cheapest) to replace an older suit.

The Fit: is the best I have had of any MTM suit and equal to the fully bespoke Duncan Quinn suit I own. Truly excellent right out of the box, required almost no alteration after the first fitting. Very impressive. Something that is often "off" on suits for me is the top button height, as I carry all of my height in my torso, and they nailed it. Likewise the fit of the chest and shoulders. Really, I was incredibly impressed by the fit of this suit.

The pricing: As they say on their website, the prices start at $995 for suits, but the great thing, which they don't say, is that they top out around $1700 dollars I think. It is nice to be able to look through fabric books knowing that you are not accidentally going to suggest a fabric that costs $5k.

The quality and the details: All of the customary detail customizations were available. They have a wide selection of linings, and they did a nice job with everything. Also, the fit and finish of the suit feels great. Obviously, it is made in China, but in my conversations with the salesmen at PS, they only started the Customlab program because they felt that they had found a supplier in China that could live up to the level of quality that their customers expect. It shows. Obviously, I just got the suit, but out of the box it feels of comparable quality to other PS off-the-rack suits that I bought previously, which is to say, very high quality.

Potential Considerations: For me, PS Customlab is exactly what I need and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. Considerations that might make it not quite as good a fit for others would be: 1) While I am tall, I am younger and generally have an easy to fit frame apart from my height. There are probably people who would not fit as well into the Customlab MTM template, and therefore would be harder to fit. Obviously, this is true with any MTM though. 2) the fabric selection is solid (maybe five or six different books of fabrics) but is not as wide as you can get. You are not going to be able to pick from thousands of fabrics. They have a ton of solids and classic patterns, but if you are after a really specific colorful blazer or something, Customlab is probably not appropriate. 3) finally, their fabrics are not "branded." This isn't something I care about, but if you are looking for a particular Loro Piana fabric, and you want that little label in your jacket, then you're not going to get that here.

Overall, a terrific experience that I would recommend to anyone who has access to one of PS's four stores. I hope this info helps anyone who has been considering purchasing.
 

knittieguy

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Always intrigued by folks who join the site, post one long review, and are never heard from again
 

Mothetgoo

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I don't know if a few weeks qualifies as "never," but I was just trying to fill what seemed like an information gap. If you are implying that I am some sort of shill for Paul Stuart, I can assure you I am not. Given that customlab is a newish product and that the existence of this thread suggests that there was a desire for information, I figured I would write a review. Posting information on something when there seems to be a genuine lack of such info on the internet seemed to be a better use of time than posting the 400th review of Alden Indy Boots or something. I had wondered about PS Customlab, looked for info on the internet, couldn't find any but bought a suit anyway. Once I had the suit, I figured I would share my experience so that anyone else considering it had more information than I did when I was researching.
 

knittieguy

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I just ordered a Customlab suit, in part motivated by your post, so I am glad to see that you are a real person. We do get a lot of sketchy one-and-outs here, often from people pretending to be unbiased consumers but in actuality connected to the retailer being discussed. My field is false advertising, so perhaps I am on a bit higher alert than others. But good to hear from you again.
 

knittieguy

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so far it has been a positive experience, although there was a slight snag in that a few days after my order, they called me and told me that my fabric was out of stock, so I had to go back in, look through all the fabrics again, and pick out a new one. I kind of feel like they should have thrown in some sort of free tie or pocket square or something for me having to go back a second time, but not a really big deal.

The true test, of course, will come when the suit comes in. I have gotten regular MTM (Canadian-made Samuelsohn) with PS before, so it will be interesting to compare that with the Chinese-manufactured CustomLab. I am also curious whether the CustomLab is going to hurt their regular MTM program. The salesman admitted that it had probably led some MTM customers to give the lower-priced Customlab a try. It's actually not that much cheaper, though, than what the regular MTM used to be. My MTM from two years ago was $1800, whereas my customlab was about $1600, although I took advantage of a $250-off offer to lower it to $1350. Of course, they now seem to have raised the price of the regular MTM and I think it is over $2200. I always find the pricing at Paul Stuart kind of random. You'll see one blue sharkskin suit for $1850, and a nearly identical one for $1600.
 
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