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Kingstonian

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I wrote a long dissertation on the blog about the story behind this suit ...

View attachment 1216442
“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.”

This experience was a key reason why Marks and Spencer captured much of the suit market from MTM shops in the High Street like Burton, John Collier & Hepworth. The constant too and fro to fix various issues then settling for something that was not quite right. Then Marks started to offer a well cut suit that you could try on and happily walk away with on the same day. I remember my father abandoning the High Street tailors for those very reasons. That said, the range of cloths and choice of style then becomes very limited.
 

Mr Knightley

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Haha might have saved me a load of hassle - and a sack of dough too!
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...Picture1.png

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:

Me on front11470007.jpg

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?
 
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Thin White Duke

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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?
It’s an interesting debate eh?
I think for Mods back in the day due to their one upmanship they were always coming up with flashy details so anyone could tell their suits were made bespoke not off the rack.
I’m not competing with anyone and I’m not bothered about buttons on the trouser hems or gauntlet sleeves so when I see something I like the fit is the big thing. If I can get a good fit off the rack or with slight tweaks I’m good to go. If I want something more custom in future my first port of call will be Jason at Thick As Thieves as he’s got my fit dialled in.
Was it Foo or someone else on here who said when you go bespoke it takes about ten commissions before they get your fit dialled in to perfection?
 

Yorky

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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.
 

Clouseau

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They just opened a Suit Supply store in Paris, a brand that TWD mentioned.

SuSu was all the rage in SF until relatively recently, i remember that until around two years ago all the posers (ooops posters) of the CM WAYWRN seemed to buy a new one every week.

Well i've been to the (flashy) shop and to tell you the truth i was not impressed. I don't know if the quality went down recently but well...
Ugly cuts, ugly materials, OK a bit of gloss and glitter and then what ?

I think the alterations are included in the price, but it's the case with almost all the shops selling suits here anyway.
 

Thin White Duke

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Yeah it’s funny how those trends go. SS was mentioned a lot on here a few years back but now Spier and McKay seems to be SF ‘flavour of the month’.
I have about five SS suits and about five sports jackets. All but the Jort were two-to-three button conversions.

The reason I like(d) them was coz they hit the sweet spot between quality and price. Probably among the cheapest half canvassed suits out there. Also they USED to have a nice range of fabrics ranging from conservative business navies, dark blues and various grey shades and pinstripes to more flashy and flambuoyant but I have to admit the last several times I’ve been in the shops there hasn’t been anything to catch my eye. I dunno if it’s cos my wardrobe is more or less saturated or if their range is just not as appealing as it once was. They tend to do shorter runs of fabrics so it may just be a phase not a more permanent downswing but I don’t visit their shops or snoop their website nearly as much as I used to.
 

am55

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Modern SuSu, in the Singapore store at least, is terrible. Not just the styling (I try not to judge people's choices on that front) with its high gorge and two-sizes-too-tight aesthetic, but the build quality, the cheap short-fibre cloth that looks furry already despite being new, the seams that pull pans up in weird ways... That in itself is no crime - it joins the legion of low price retailers peddling "suit shaped objects".

Where it is special in a Singaporean context is the service. It's blistering hot here all year long and the high spenders dress much like the rest of us plebs: T-shirt, shorts... In the very same mall, and the one next door, I played with items worth $200k+ with ample encouragement from the staff, ranging from enormous Cartier diamonds to exotic-dialled De Bethune watches. I've even seen babies bash on the keyboards of the Model D Steinways upstairs (now that is taking it a bit far...).

Yet somehow someone instructed the SuSu staff to go for the shall we say "American" approach to "luxury" retail, where clients not dressed sufficiently appropriately are made to understand that they are ruining the impression so expensively obtained from the interior designers.

Maybe it was opening pains, but I wouldn't know, because I couldn't be bothered to go again, after scanning all the shelves to get an idea in person of the quality.

@Thin White Duke my impression is that Spier is hit and miss. I find their purple label shirts to fit a little oddly (one should have broad shoulders and a narrow waist, a bit like an American "football" player) but to be made very well for the ~$30 they cost on sale. The same for the khakis and the Sondrio linen-cotton, and wool grey houndstooth trousers. I'm less keen on the Oxford cloth trousers and as such never tried a jacket. The base line of shirts uses a strangely stiff cotton which takes well to the iron but is not particularly comfortable especially with the super stiff collar they favour. I'm not sure the cutaway style would be of the taste of this thread.

I'm of two minds with the OCBDs; they fit and looked good but got stiffer over time and pill a bit. I also get a better collar roll with the Uniqlo OCBDs for some reason (but prefer Spier for the shell buttons). I still buy them as they're so cheap for what you get.
 

Kingstonian

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“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.
 

am55

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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.
I wonder what went first, the storefronts or the clothes.

1564918292295.png
 

Mr Knightley

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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.
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.

But he is now on the point of retiring (may have already done so) and I am left wondering if I can climb that hill again with another tailor...

“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.
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.

Having said that, I could quite probably point to any number of outfits in my wardrobe that fit as well and give me almost as much pleasure to wear...

I wonder what went first, the storefronts or the clothes.

View attachment 1217570
Isn't that awful? But regrettably it sums up your average British town centre very well. I expect the decline went hand-in-hand.
 

Clouseau

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I wonder what the point is... @cerneabbas - look away!
The point is : double logo = double price. £220 !

On another subject, the shirtmaker "Ratio Clothing", that @Botolph mentioned several times, has now an official thread on SF
 
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