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The Made-to-Measure Thread

classicalthunde

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Jumping in here - love the idea of this thread. full bespoke is out of my price range for the foreseeable future, and most OTR doesnt work for my frame, so I've been wading in the MTM-to-Semi-Bespoke range for the past 4 years

So far I have had one negative experience with Enzo Custom (my first foray, so I'll take a bit of the blame on not knowing how to guide, but the fit was really bad), a progression of 3 sport coats made by Aaron at Kent Wang (generally pretty good, fitted in person, and each commission got successively better), moved on to Hemrajani 'semi-bespoke' for a classic navy suit since there were limits to the stylistic options that KW could do with their factory. Might give Juniors a try this year since its in my area (and traveling tailors aren't a thing at the moment) and I've been looking for a more American-Trad style tailor recently.

happy to answer any questions about my experience, really interested to learn about others experience here (especially @bdavro23 being on both sides of the equation).
 

bdavro23

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Jumping in here - love the idea of this thread. full bespoke is out of my price range for the foreseeable future, and most OTR doesnt work for my frame, so I've been wading in the MTM-to-Semi-Bespoke range for the past 4 years

So far I have had one negative experience with Enzo Custom (my first foray, so I'll take a bit of the blame on not knowing how to guide, but the fit was really bad), a progression of 3 sport coats made by Aaron at Kent Wang (generally pretty good, fitted in person, and each commission got successively better), moved on to Hemrajani 'semi-bespoke' for a classic navy suit since there were limits to the stylistic options that KW could do with their factory. Might give Juniors a try this year since its in my area (and traveling tailors aren't a thing at the moment) and I've been looking for a more American-Trad style tailor recently.

happy to answer any questions about my experience, really interested to learn about others experience here (especially @bdavro23 being on both sides of the equation).

You bring up a really interesting point here: When you say American-Trad, what do you actually mean? What are the specific hallmarks of the fit and the style details that are important to you? I have found that having an agreed set of expectations is one of the most important markers of a successful garment.

Another good point you've brought up is the potential for things to get iteratively better. Especially in the MTM world, if you are making minor changes along the way, theres the ability to get things really good eventually. The problem is knowing when to stop. I think this can be hard to learn for a lot of people and it ends up hurting the garment sometimes. I think some fitters want to "earn" their money or impress people by making changes because it seems more interesting and "valuable" than ordering off the last pattern. The first MTM company I used was really inconsistent because of this practice.

That was a lot of words, so here's some pictures:

PXL_20201008_165418063.jpg
PXL_20201008_165439686.jpg
PXL_20201008_165620952.jpg
 

classicalthunde

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You bring up a really interesting point here: When you say American-Trad, what do you actually mean? What are the specific hallmarks of the fit and the style details that are important to you? I have found that having an agreed set of expectations is one of the most important markers of a successful garment.

I would say the most important parts are natural shoulder (KWs version of 'natural' is shoulder pad with no roping, I would prefer no pad/no roping) and sack cut/no darts. other significant stylistic details would be two button cuffs (spread about an inch apart), machine stitched swelled lapel edge (AMF stitching looks different to me than the other vintage trad stuff I have), hook venter vent, lapped seams, etc.

another part my decision to try it out is accessibility and supply chain related, MIUSA and a local MTM fitter is easier in the current pandemic environment than traveling to NYC and having a suit manufactured in China. plus i like the idea of supporting a local-ish business

two other specific reasons for potentially pivoting away from KW: 1) they tend to push the fabrics that their manufacturer has in bulk (they can source anything, but they don't necessarily have the Drapers or W. Bill books lying around for you to see in person, and that's an expensive gamble to make off of an email and digital picture), they just didn't have the flexibility that I was looking for (dealing in CM they could do a 3.5" lapel or a 4" lapel, but not a 3.75" and they only have a 3.2" option in the lower gorge setting that I prefer)

Overall, I am happy with my KW garments, the iterative fitting done by Aaron, and the value proposition they hold. I'm just looking for different, more specific things now
 

classicalthunde

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Another good point you've brought up is the potential for things to get iteratively better. Especially in the MTM world, if you are making minor changes along the way, theres the ability to get things really good eventually. The problem is knowing when to stop. I think this can be hard to learn for a lot of people and it ends up hurting the garment sometimes. I think some fitters want to "earn" their money or impress people by making changes because it seems more interesting and "valuable" than ordering off the last pattern. The first MTM company I used was really inconsistent because of this practice.

this is another major concern of mine...starting over and re-tweaking fit, its almost like another leap of faith and why i haven't pulled the trigger on Juniors just yet. i only moved to Hemrajani after seeing an overwhelming positive things about them on SF and elsewhere, and literally zero unresolved negative things.

i think think there is something here that MTM companies should look at incorporating into their business model, maybe a discount for no-fitting, no-measurement change orders. having a quality alterations tailor on retainer to ensure a proper fit locally when the oversees manufacturer gets something wrong is also something that i think would ease a lot of the anxiety (Simon Crompton recently wrote about this with his high end MTM order from The Armoury)
 

bdavro23

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this is another major concern of mine...starting over and re-tweaking fit, its almost like another leap of faith and why i haven't pulled the trigger on Juniors just yet. i only moved to Hemrajani after seeing an overwhelming positive things about them on SF and elsewhere, and literally zero unresolved negative things.

i think think there is something here that MTM companies should look at incorporating into their business model, maybe a discount for no-fitting, no-measurement change orders. having a quality alterations tailor on retainer to ensure a proper fit locally when the oversees manufacturer gets something wrong is also something that i think would ease a lot of the anxiety (Simon Crompton recently wrote about this with his high end MTM order from The Armoury)

There are definitely limitations to what can be done in MTM, which is why I think its so important to have a clear understanding of what is, and isnt possible. When I first started having things made, the company over promised on what they were able to do and under delivered. If they had just said, sorry, we cant do that, but we can do X, I would have been fine with that. So communication is important to me.

As for starting over and tweaking fits, I think companies that use fit garments take some of the guess work out of things. Its basically like having a basted fitting and so long as they are consistent in their pattern making, the cloth doesnt lie. If you see something that needs to be fixed in the fit garment, try to fix it. Thats easier said than done, but for most people the outcome is pretty good. Fit garments can also cut down on the need for alterations, which is an added plus.

As for Simon, dont get me started. His apples to oranges comparisons of MTM to bespoke is laughable. I think it was No Man Wlaks Alone that was offering tailoring credits on garments at one point, not sure if they still are. Thats an interesting concept, but I would think it would be complicated to manage.

Now, how about posting some of those KW and Hemrajani pictures?!
 

comrade

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"I would say the most important parts are natural shoulder (KWs version of 'natural' is shoulder pad with no roping, I would prefer no pad/no roping) and sack cut/no darts. other significant stylistic details would be two button cuffs (spread about an inch apart), machine stitched swelled lapel edge (AMF stitching looks different to me than the other vintage trad stuff I have), hook venter vent, lapped seams, etc."

Your definition of "trad" is a bit purist for me. Much of it has to do with the fabrics. The example above
is definitely NOT trad. Thirty + years ago through the mid-90s I got my tailored clothing from the storied
Ivy League purveyor, Chipp. All of the jackets and suits came in their more fitted two button model
usually with side vents and true natural shoulders. I shopped MTM and OTR. At the time Chipp also
offered bespoke. The stylistic details you note were included. I chose this option because I love very
traditional British clothing fabrics but hate the structure and built up shoulders characteristic of much of it.
Also, the more fitted Chipp option suits my build which then was quite athletic but thick. After moving
to CA, I didn't get to NYC often, nor did I wear as much tailored clothing, so I stopped buying from them.
In the last 15 years I have found that the Neapolitan style often features very natural shoulders and when
cut not too short and close to the body has many of the features of "trad" clothing.
 
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classicalthunde

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Now, how about posting some of those KW and Hemrajani pictures?!

I need to convince my wife to take some pictures of the KW stuff, which comes before my Hemrajani stuff chronologically. But I do have these handy of the Hemrajani pieces:

Left is the first suit jacket (Drapers 5-star), right is the second blazer (H&S Cape Horn serge) I had them make up with some stylistic changes that lean trad but don't go full bore.

Some notes...my weigh fluctuates between 210-230lbs and I have a barreled chest/torso. I think when I got measured for the first Hemrajani commission it I was at around 215lb and opted for a basted fitting. Second commission was based off of notes from the first, with no basted fitting but I was probably around 230ish at that point so while its not quite apples to oranges, its a bit more apples to slightly bigger apples. FWIW, Joe and Divij have offered to make some alterations on the 2nd commission when they come back around again. they adjusted pretty well for my drop right shoulder on the 2nd commission, but I think I may have them might tighten up the right shoulder measurement just a bit to avoid the drop from the extended shoulder (which I am guessing is caused my the drop)

I think going forward I will continue to opt for basted fittings until my fit is totally locked down, going to give them another whirl with a charcoal suit and a tweed sport coat and then see where we stand. But the first commission was better fitting than my third KW jacket

Hemrajani.JPG
 

heldentenor

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i think think there is something here that MTM companies should look at incorporating into their business model, maybe a discount for no-fitting, no-measurement change orders. having a quality alterations tailor on retainer to ensure a proper fit locally when the oversees manufacturer gets something wrong is also something that i think would ease a lot of the anxiety (Simon Crompton recently wrote about this with his high end MTM order from The Armoury)

100% agree with your comments about establishing a relationship between local alterations tailors and MTO/MTM providers. The Armoury/Sam Wazin is probably the gold standard here, and even for their off the rack stuff, it's clear that the relationship creates some accountability both ways. If Wazin's tailoring sucked (it doesn't), the Armoury would hear about it; if the Armoury was putting people into the wrong base size garments, they'd hear about it, too.

Two major limitations of some (not all) MTM providers are a lack of in-person fittings and the end-product support that bespoke provides but MTM does not. There are lots of ways to mitigate the former (in-person meetups, detailed virtual fittings, trial and fit garments) but fewer cost-effective, reliable ways to handle the second.
 

classicalthunde

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Your definition of "trad" is a bit purist for me. Much of it has to do with the fabrics. The example above
is definitely NOT trad.

I'd argue that trad = natural shoulders and sack cut, the rest are just over the top details that I happen to enjoy in some combination or another depending on how much I want to lean into the look. I grew up in New England in the 80s and 90s and went to prep school and have an affinity for "trad" cause it reminds me of that. I've generally associated the 'trad' with the J. Press look (as opposed to Chipp) since that is where my father shopped.
 

Thin White Duke

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Good thread topic.
I had very UN-satisfactory experiences with MTM until I hooked up with Jason at Thick As Thieves. (Occasionally posts as @Get Smart on here).
It’s a narrow aesthetic heavily influenced by the Mod look which won’t appeal to a lot of people on here but it’s fine by me. If and when I make my next MTM move Jason will be my first port of call.

 

classicalthunde

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It’s a narrow aesthetic heavily influenced by the Mod look

definitely dig the look, it works well on you! this is where I think MTM thrives, being able to re-create a look that may be out of fashion with high street stores or fashion boutiques that you still find interesting, but also able to be had for well below the traditional bespoke price point
 
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Thin White Duke

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definitely dig the look, it works well on you! this is where I think MTM thrives, being able to re-create a look that may be out of fashion with high street stores of fashion boutiques that you still find interesting, but also able to be had for well below the traditional bespoke price point
Absolutely spot on - you just nailed my major motivation!
 

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