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Savile row suits

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DandySF, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. DandySF

    DandySF Senior member

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    I was curious what a truly bespoke Savile Row suit would cost. I contacted H. Huntsman and was told that a two piece suit would average about $6,560 (£3,584.93). The price would vary considerably depending upon the cloth selected at the time of order. This would include 3 fittings in the US. They offer a 10% discount if it's paid in full at time of order. Also, the VAT can be claimed back. Much more pricey than I thought. If a person earned $200,000 a year they'd still be forking over 3% of their annual income for this suit. Clearly there are just a handful of people who can have a closet full of these suits and not worry about saving for retirement.
     
  2. masterfred

    masterfred Well-Known Member

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    "There you lay your finger on the sore that many feel...."

    Dandy, you're right. However, you did contact the most notoriously expensive of the SR houses. Although SR bespoke is well beyond the reach of most of us (at least on a reguar basis), one need not pay that much, even on the Row itself. Other houses are less expensive, if not spectacularly so (A&S, Poole, even Kilgour's). There are other off-Row firms that provide bespoke tailoring for even less (Darren Beaman, a tailor whose skills have attracted the admiration of several SF commentators).

    Richard Walker's book on SR's history has a quote by one of the tailors he interviewed, in effect stating that with the cost of overheads on the Row, tailors are in danger of producing something so costly that it's difficult for even affluent purchasers to justify what they're buying.
     
  3. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Senior member

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    What exactly are the overhead costs of a tailor? Beyond labor (which is clearly not inexpensive), I would think a couple bolts of fabric, a sewing machine and a pair of scissors would do it...
     
  4. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Over head includes Rent.
    Taxes, more rent.
    furniture and fixtures.
    a web site. telephones

    Rent and more taxes.
    Inventory of fabric. Not every one wants to pick from a swatch book.
    Hangers, buttons, labels, insurance, shipping supplies, paper, pens. Running a business is expensive.

    Years ago there was a label in England called "My tailor is Rich"
    I have no idea what the clothing even looked like.
     
  5. regularjoe

    regularjoe Senior member

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    Also, the ones who travel probably some signficant expenses there (doubt the govt gives them that much of a tax break on that).
     
  6. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Senior member

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    Yes, but everyone pays rent and taxes - even the low-cost tailors. It seems to me that a tailoring shop doesn't need the prime real estate that, say, a Starbucks or a tourist shop would need. Of course, I have no idea how much it would cost to rent a shop on Saville Row.

    While fabric inventory would certainly be expensive, I would think hangers, buttons and office supplies for an independent shop would be minimal. Maybe they deal in such small scale that they have to have enormous margins on their product...
     
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    It's a streetwear/skatewear label. Shirts and jeans with funky detailing. I sort of like the stuff, but everyone is doing that nowadays.
     
  8. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know much about London real estate, but I would imagine that a shop on Savile Row would be a bit pricey. Tailoring houses in less prestigious neighborhoods would likely have to pay much less. Think about how much rent near Fifth Avenue and 57th in New York would be compared to someplace in Brooklyn.
     
  9. sleeper

    sleeper Member

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    I think that the price of rent on Savile Row is a major item for many of the tailors there - it's some of the most expensive real estate in London. Don't underestimate labour costs, either - it's a long apprenticeship, and it's hard work, and it's not easy to attract people to the job any more.

    For what it's worth, I paid 2,000 pounds for a suit from Poole's, and 1, 350 for a jacket. This includes VAT. I think these prices are the same now. Personally, I don't think that this is a huge amount of money, given the pleasure that you get from a really good suit. I paid considerably more than that for two Lange watches, and looking back, I would rather have spent the money on buying suits.

    It depends on your own value system. I think it's crazy to spend a lot of money on a car, when it just sits in the street most of the time, while you are either at home or in the office. On the other hand, a good watch or a good suit are on you for a lot more of the time, so you get a lot more hours of use out of the money that you spend. But there are lots of people who spend money on a Mercedes or a Porsche who think that it's stupid to spend more than $1,000 on a suit. As always, your mileage may vary.
     
  10. fareau

    fareau Senior member

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    That's a very good point Sleeper. I'm willing to spend a little extra on clothes, but not the same relative amount on a car (I prefer simple, reliable, and affordable). Of course, people must wonder when my little import pulls up and a nice suit steps out........but then again, why should I care?
     
  11. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    It depends on your own value system. I think it's crazy to spend a lot of money on a car, when it just sits in the street most of the time, while you are either at home or in the office. On the other hand, a good watch or a good suit are on you for a lot more of the time, so you get a lot more hours of use out of the money that you spend. But there are lots of people who spend money on a Mercedes or a Porsche who think that it's stupid to spend more than $1,000 on a suit. As always, your mileage may vary.
    That's a very good point Sleeper. Â I'm willing to spend a little extra on clothes, but not the same relative amount on a car (I prefer simple, reliable, and affordable). Â Of course, people must wonder when my little import pulls up and a nice suit steps out........but then again, why should I care?
    I think esquire.com put it best: "You are in your car one hour each day. Â You are in your clothes from morning till night. Â Spend accordingly."
     
  12. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As I've heard it said:
    "You're either in your shoes or in your bed, so it pays to invest in both."
     
  13. Yosarian77

    Yosarian77 Well-Known Member

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    The other thing to consider is the quality you'd get from fine materials and fine construction. When I was in graduate school, I bought two Kenneth Cole "interview" suits (in 1997, I didn't know much about clothes, though I felt I had decent taste back then). I believe I paid about $500 USD each for them. I wore them quite a bit, but three years later, they were all but shot. The fabric looked somewhat worn and they really didn't hold their construction. In 2000, when I started a new job that required business attire every day, I bought three RTW Canali suits. (I think I paid about $1000 USD each). I wear them all the time. Through a few hundred wears each, all three look as good as the day I bought them, except for a few snags here and there of my own doing. I imagine the bespoke clothing would fall into that same category, but at even a greater factor than the MTM items.
     

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