Stepping up to bespoke?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by chorse123, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. chorse123

    chorse123 Senior member

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    If I'm doing custom, I want it to be in New York, with fittings. I'd like to establish a relationship with a tailor. If it's a bespoke tailor like Shattuck or Raphael, I may not be able to order anything for another couple of years, but I want the option. Also, from what I've read about Shattuck, he's a perfectionist, and I'm not worried about being disappointed so long as I know what I'm after. I've tried other things like overseas tailors, and though I have some good garments, I don't want to make small compromises on fit any more, especially if it's on a custom garment.

    I wouldn't say that I'm set for clothes, but I'm no longer in the heavy building stage. I have four very nice fall/winter sportcoats, plus a few that are just okay, two spring/summer coats, and about a half dozen suits: grey tropical wool; black year round, which never gets worn; blue pinstripe in a nice thick english worsted which never gets worn; navy with windowpanes single breasted peaked lapel for spring/summer/fall which does; three piece dogtooth for fall/winter, which I can split and wear separately. Also around twenty Jantzen shirts, with more on the way, fifteen pairs of shoes, thirty ties, a dozen pocket squares, two overcoats, three casual jackets, probably two dozen sweaters, etc.

    I wear a coat around two days a week, though more lately, and a suit very rarely, partly because most of them are too dressy. If I had a bespoke suit made, I would want it to be slightly more casual - a medium grey flannel or grey flannel with windowpane perhaps.

    I'm not a terribly tough fit, but not easy - I have long legs and very wide hips.
     


  2. chorse123

    chorse123 Senior member

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    I agree that unless you are a complicated fit (and even if you are) a lot of the benmefit of bespoke is experiential. Developing a relationship with someone sartorially inclined who makes your dream garment come to life as well as indulging yourself are all to be considered as part of the bespoke payout.

    And the experience is something I am looking for, to be certain. In fact, it's a large part of why I am interested. Getting a dream garment and enjoying the process. RTW on sale can be great, and I have done well, but there's always something, like a low breast pocket, that makes it imperfect, in my experience.
     


  3. marc237

    marc237 Senior member

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    Buenos Aires vacation + MTM suits.

    Well, because I went with Chan, I had the benefit of true bespoke, not M-T-M, as well as a week in HK. There was something wonderful about visiting the tailor for a later afternoon fitting and then eating the most amazing shrimp and langoustines from a sidewalk table and stool near the night market.
     


  4. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    +1 on what edmorel and EL72 said. The value in bespoke comes after a couple orders. It's not that Shattuck or Raphael won't make you a suit that fits well on the first try. It's more that you won't know what to ask for until you've received a suit or two from them. And while I don't know about Shattuck, Raphael probably won't be around for lots more years so your prospects of forming a long-term relationship there aren't that good.

    dan
     


  5. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    I'm also taking the step up to full bespoke, having made an appointment with Mahon during his NYC visit.

    Why use a traveling tailor when there are several excellent tailors in NYC?
     


  6. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    I made the decision to go bespoke the beginning of this year. My previous experience had been unaltered OTR, altered OTR, and MTM with various makers, and the bespoke experience is really not comparable to any of them. Besides the fact that the measurements are more extensive, the most important thing about bespoke is that the person cutting your pattern is looking and measuring you. Measurements will only capture so much about your fit and body, and give an incomplete picture. It's more important for the person who will be making your clothing to see you.

    --Andre
     


  7. Jovan

    Jovan Banned for Good

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    Why use a traveling tailor when there are several excellent tailors in NYC?
    Obviously because he likes the A&S construction and cut. If I had the money for bespoke, I'd go with him as well.
     


  8. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    I went the opposite way. My first sports jacket was bespoke and I've since bought several borrelli and an attolini at discount. I've already placed an order for my next 2 bespoke jackets, however, because I can't fill the gaps in my wardrobe without it. I have 5 different sports jackets with blue in them, and they vary widely in color and texture, but I don't have any grey or brown, which my bespoke order will address. I'll likely do the same for suits, of which I have little need atm. I'll start with borrelli/attolini/kiton at discount and then start adding in bespoke as my wardrobe fills-out.

    First things first though. As others have said, bespoke is an experience, but more importantly it's a process. Don't expect perfection on your first try. It's just not likely to happen. I've read this on LL as well as here. No tailor is perfect and it's rare that they achieve perfection on the very first try. They may get close, but it's rare that they achieve perfection. I doubt you could find a tailor that wouldn't admit to improving upon a customer's pattern the second time around.

    Having said that, it's worth doing. I love my tailors and the relationship I've developed with them. And there's no match for the sheer number of options at your disposal. On the jackets I'll be having made in the near future, we're going to copy the attolini shoulder & silhouette. My last one was more structured with roped shoulders but I'm really getting in to the whole salsa thing and I want stuff that provides the utmost freedom of movement and I believe the extra little puff of the sleevehead makes a difference.
     


  9. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    There are good arguments either way. I agree, however, that bespoke should be approached with a certain amount of caution, for two seemingly contradictory reasons. First, it IS -- or can be -- frustrating. It does take a couple of tries with the same tailor (generally) before you reach perfection, or something close. And you're paying a lot more. Thus, not to achieve perfection on the first try can seem pretty galling.

    But (this is the second reason) once you work out a pattern with a great tailor, the results are miles beyond what MTM can achieve for you. Thus, all your MTM and RTW clothes will seem inferior to you. You will only want to wear bespoke. That gets expensive.
     


  10. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    +1 on what edmorel and EL72 said. The value in bespoke comes after a couple orders. It's not that Shattuck or Raphael won't make you a suit that fits well on the first try. It's more that you won't know what to ask for until you've received a suit or two from them. And while I don't know about Shattuck, Raphael probably won't be around for lots more years so your prospects of forming a long-term relationship there aren't that good.

    dan


    Forgot about the fact that Raphael is no spring chicken and has no apparent heir. Bespoke is all fine and dandy but it's one of those things where the incremental value is very small for the large sums above RTW that you are paying. Also, the other consideration, what style are you going for? If I was doing Savile Row (I know there are a few different Row cut), there are enough tailors around that have pretty much perfected that. If I was doing Neopolitan, how many guys around in NYC can do that type of cut that much better than what is available from Kiton/Borrelli/Attolini?
     


  11. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    First, it IS -- or can be -- frustrating. It does take a couple of tries with the same tailor (generally) before you reach perfection, or something close. And you're paying a lot more. Thus, not to achieve perfection on the first try can seem pretty galling.

    Repeated for emphasis. My first jacket looks beautiful on me, but it's not as comfortable as my neapolitan stuff and I paid almost 3x as much. It's a downer, but I know my tailor will get it right on the 2nd and 3rd attempts because he's very eager to please and I know he has the skill. I've seen countless creations that were an absolute marvel to behold.

    It very hard to be natural when you're being measured. You tend to stand very straight, to pull back your shoulders, etc. In my case, this caused a couple problems that i didn't notice until later on. My eye is much more discriminating these days.
     


  12. Jolly Green

    Jolly Green Well-Known Member

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    How well educated are you? Do you know what you want in a Bespoke suit that can't be had OTR/MTM? I ask this realistically, not sarcastically.

    My situation is somewhat different, as I'm in the building process and good RTW is not really available in my size. But I chose to "work my way into" bespoke. I really don't know what I want, let alone how to ask for it. I expect I'll start with Mr. Ned's/etc. and work my way up to full bespoke at some point.

    Cheers,
    D
     


  13. Master Shake

    Master Shake Senior member

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    Why use a traveling tailor when there are several excellent tailors in NYC?
    Jovan hit on one of the reasons, the A&S cut. The other is that I am relatively young, and I want to establish a relationship with my tailor for years to come. While it appears Raphael can make a suit that I would probably like, he will likely be stepping down in a few years. That's one of the largest reasons since, as many others have pointed out, a large part of the bespoke experience is hammering down a pattern and entering into a relationship with a tailor.
     


  14. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    I am in a very similar position to you, chorse.

    I would recommend going MTM or cheaper bespoke before parting with 5k for a Frank Shattuck Original. For the simple reason that as you experience the freedom and choices of some flavor of custom, your personal style will evolve.

    I have found that for as much as I think I know about what I want and what looks good, I am still wrong about 35% of the time. The freedom that even MTM offers can lead to some vast improvements over RTW but also some thing features you think you want but don't like wearing more often than two times a month.

    I'd define your personal style a bit more before taking the fully bespoke plunge.

    You can try one of the Asian tailors, or one of the sub-2k bespoke guys in NY. Carl Goldberg can also provide some valuable guidance on other options in that price range.
     


  15. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    Well said.
     


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