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“But when the dust had settled it rankled me that I had spent so much on a bespoke suit that was not only far from perfect, it gave me less pleasure to own than a simple off-the-rack Suitsupply suit which was half the price.”
Well, I have just read your dissertation and what a cautionary tale it is @Thin White Duke !Haha might have saved me a load of hassle - and a sack of dough too!
It’s an interesting debate eh?Well, I have just read your dissertation and what a cautionary tale it is @Thin White Duke !
My own experience has been similar, regrettably. I started off with MTM at the tender age of 14 when my dad took me to John Collier one Saturday morning in the spring of 1967. As a family we were to have some professional pictures taken to celebrate my parents' 20th wedding anniversary and hence my first 'proper suit'. I don't recall much of the process of ordering, fittings and collecting the suit but do remember my dad chose the fabric (he was paying). It was a very safe navy with a fine self herringbone. I loved it. The fit seemed wonderful to me as a boy more used to Foster Brothers and school uniforms.
I know you have seen this pic before but...View attachment 1217312
As I became a little better off, having been happy with John Collier, Burtons and Hepworths' MTM offerings, I ventured into full bespoke trying two Mod-approved tailors in my home town of Chelmsford. And what did I find? Thankfully, I only ordered a pair of trousers from each. But each pair was disappointing in its own way.
The first pair were a beautiful sliver mohair with faint grey and tan stripes. At the first fitting they were much too big all over. When I eventually collected them just before Christmas 1970, planning to wear them on Christmas Eve, I found, just like @Thin White Duke , that they were virtually unchanged!
The next pair were gabardine in a kind of pale taupe colour. They were much better and fitted superbly but the flared style I had requested (by now it was autumn 1971) was not quite there. They still had what was, I assume, a house style that was pretty much straight cut - perhaps a very slight flare in evidence after much toing and froing:
View attachment 1217325
Then the 1970s got into full swing and the 'need' for classic menswear was on the wane and OTR suits from Take 6 and Stanley Adams became the thing.
But many years later, about 10 years ago, I returned to bespoke tailoring and found that the age-old problems still dogged the overall experience...
But as @Kingstonian remarked you do give up exclusivity of cut and fabric when you abandon bespoke. So, is it worth all the challenges?
After about five commissions and three or four alterations projects I have just about got into that sweet spot with my tailor, Roger Crawford of Ilford, who I found thanks to a guide to mod tailors on Modculture a few years ago.Never had any problems with MTM, you just need a tailor who knows what he's doing, and is willing to listen. But I must admit that I stopped getting MTM about 20 years ago when I packed in going to mod events and weekenders. The one exception was my last wedding suit 16 years ago, a nice brown 3 ply mohair number, which sadly must have shrunk as it doesn't fit me anymore.
I once bought some black jumbo cord material from Leeds indoor market, and got my tailor to make me a knee length double breasted coat, and the ex wife a shorter version of the same style. It still fits me but hasn't been worn for over 20 years.
The best outfit in my current wardrobe is the Roger Crawford 'true navy' blazer with MOP buttons and the POW trousers in a Huddersfield 11oz Cloth. It has not been without its problems but probably worth it, as it's not a combination one could easily find other than through the bespoke route.“So is it worth all the challenges?”
Well if it is just competitive instinct then the bar has got very much lower. Any sort of jacket, a half decent shirt and proper shoes and people think you look very smart indeed.
If there is a fabric or cut that you really want then you will probably need someone to make it up for you. So for suits in navy or charcoal mid weight worsted off the peg is fine; but try finding well cut garments in other colours and fabrics.
Isn't that awful? But regrettably it sums up your average British town centre very well. I expect the decline went hand-in-hand.
The point is : double logo = double price. £220 !