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Wilkes Bashford, Zegna and Bontoni

john_sf

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I am new to the SFBA and would like to start some relationships with some good clothing shops downtown.

I'm also interested in a Zegna suit, so Wilkes Bashford was the obvious first choice. I had a good first experience there, but don't have much to compare it with. I'd be happy to hear any comments about this shop, as well as some recommendations for a second and third shop to start visiting (other than the standard Brooks Brothers, Polo, etc.).

Speaking of the Zegna suit, I currently have only Samuelsohn MTM suits (that I am very happy with) and was hoping to take the next step in terms of quality ... but I see that Zegna also does "only" MTM, and no fully custom ... any comments on whether moving from MTM Samuelsohn to MTM Zegna is merely a sideways move, and just a matter of preference, or am I indeed taking a step upwards in terms of quality and workmanship ? They also carry Brioni, which I assume would also be "just" MTM ... perhaps that's a better choice if I am interested in moving to higher quality and workmanship ?

Finally, I'd like a fully custom pair of shoes, and folks at WB were really pushing the Bontoni line - any comments ?

Many thanks.
 

sw20

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Almost no high-income workers (incl tech M&A bankers or VCs or PE or hedgies or software engineers or entrepreneurs) in SF or SiliconValley have worn suits/ties in decades...suits/ties in SF or PaloAlto usually signify visiting Luddites from Manhattan or other backward towns

The few who care about their attire tend to have MTM jackets, shirts, pants made for them in NYC at whichever favorite MTM shop (Ascot Chang is a favorite among some); rare few hard-core guys opt to build relationships in more distant/inconvenient London for bespoke jackets, pants...and Paris for bespoke Charvet shirts

No competent shoe store in CA: easier to spec MTO EGs, etc at Leffot in NYC and arb the sales tax

Sales tax arb is also a reason many in CA buy stuff in NYC or in EU/UK...and many w/money are forced to endure visiting Manhattan quarterly or so for business trips anyway
 

john_sf

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This is interesting trivia, and I appreciate it.

However, you can subtract the SFBA location and still provide some basic answers ...

MTM Zegna vs. MTM Samuelsohn ? Specifically, am I taking a big upward step there ?

Comments on Bontoni ?
 

Will

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Originally Posted by sw20
Almost no high-income workers (incl tech M&A bankers or VCs or PE or hedgies or software engineers or entrepreneurs) in SF or SiliconValley have worn suits/ties in decades...suits/ties in SF or PaloAlto usually signify visiting Luddites from Manhattan or other backward towns.

That is very ten years ago. No-one cares how they dress in Palo Alto any longer.

Choose Zegna if you like the style. The fabrics are light. Too light, in my opinion. The make is as good as you can find in machine-made clothing but it is still machine-made.
 

DandySF

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I've just returned from the first show of the season at ACT, a San Francisco theater. As far as I can tell, there were two men in ties and jackets, one of whom was wearing, what I consider to be, a handsome orange/navy striped tie from J. Press. I knew there wouldn't be many ties, but had no idea there'd be so few. I recall seeing a scattering of ties in the audience throughout last season. Perhaps the unusually hot weather squashed the desire to wear a tie on this particular evening.
 

Gus

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I have a pair of Bontoni shoes that I bought at a Wilkes trunk show. The owner of Bontoni was happy to tweak the fit and allow me to select the finish color at no additional charge. 60-90 days later I recieved a perfect fitting pair of shoes. They are perhaps my most comfortable pair of dress shoes, better than my Lobbs, Berluti, C&J and several other well known brands. They use a very effective innersole material as well as getting the overall fit right. I grab the Bontonis if I am walking a lot.

Bontoni has a "look". I happen to like it. I still want a variety of shoe styles from several manufacturers because I like to vary my look. I also think other companies make better models for suede.

Wilkes has some nice things but I have also had very good luck getting MTM at Neimans, especially Isaia. I think the Isaia MTM program is better than the Zegna, in my experience. However, it has been a while since I had a Zegna MTM. I work with Giuerrmo at NM. Good guy.

PM me if you have more SFBA questions and perhaps you should join us at Campton Place Tuesday at 6 for drinks. A few SF members will be there and can give good local insight.
 

Aaron01

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Originally Posted by sw20
No competent shoe store in CA: easier to spec MTO EGs, etc at Leffot in NYC and arb the sales tax

Leather Soul in BH
Neimans in BH carries John Lobb, Barker Black, Tom Ford and a couple others
Saks in BH used to carry BB, EG, etc...
Barneys has Berluti and sometimes C&J
 

malat

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Originally Posted by sw20
Almost no high-income workers (incl tech M&A bankers or VCs or PE or hedgies or software engineers or entrepreneurs) in SF or SiliconValley have worn suits/ties in decades...suits/ties in SF or PaloAlto usually signify visiting Luddites from Manhattan or other backward towns

I work at one of the biggest law firms in Silicon Valley, and the rainmaking partners are all the most well-dressed men (yes they wear nice suits, shoes, ties, etc). This is part of the reason I have stepped up my dress as well.

I have shopped at both Wilkes Bashford in SF and Palo Alto. Since I live and work in Palo Alto, I have made a few recent purchases there, including a Zegna suit, two pairs of Gravatis, and a pair of Bontoni shoes (see here.) I would not fear doing the Zegna MTM; as long as the suit-makers at Zegna do their jobs, the in-house tailors at WB have been some of the best I've ever worked with. Very high quality people throughout WB. Also, I know that Bontoni will do 100% custom kicks for you, and it appears that they travel to the area quite often to do trunk shows. They are not cheap, but they are some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned.
 

polar-lemon

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Originally Posted by john_sf
I am new to the SFBA and would like to start some relationships with some good clothing shops downtown.

I'm also interested in a Zegna suit, so Wilkes Bashford was the obvious first choice. I had a good first experience there, but don't have much to compare it with. I'd be happy to hear any comments about this shop, as well as some recommendations for a second and third shop to start visiting (other than the standard Brooks Brothers, Polo, etc.).

Speaking of the Zegna suit, I currently have only Samuelsohn MTM suits (that I am very happy with) and was hoping to take the next step in terms of quality ... but I see that Zegna also does "only" MTM, and no fully custom ... any comments on whether moving from MTM Samuelsohn to MTM Zegna is merely a sideways move, and just a matter of preference, or am I indeed taking a step upwards in terms of quality and workmanship ? They also carry Brioni, which I assume would also be "just" MTM ... perhaps that's a better choice if I am interested in moving to higher quality and workmanship ?

Finally, I'd like a fully custom pair of shoes, and folks at WB were really pushing the Bontoni line - any comments ?

Many thanks.


Can't say I've done MTM in either program, but I have a lot of experience with both OTR offerings. I really don't think Zegna is a step up in quality at all. Zegna stuff is really nice, but there is really no hand finishing details at all--this despite the fact that it's increasingly priced in the league of Isaia, which is a far better option IMO. Zegna probably has better fits and cloths than Sammy, but I wouldn't start spending substantially more unless you're getting the likes of an Isaia, or perhaps Oxxford/Kiton/Brioni.

Of course, if you're talking about Zegna Couture/XXX Su Misura, that's a completely different product.
 

Gus

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Originally Posted by malat
I work at one of the biggest law firms in Silicon Valley, and the rainmaking partners are all the most well-dressed men (yes they wear nice suits, shoes, ties, etc).

The Sr. partners in SF that I have dealt with in transactions are always dressed in perfectly tailored, navy or charcoal suits with perfectly tied neckties and polished elegant shoes. They look sharp but aren't satorial show-offs.

At the same time a friend who is a Sr. partner at the big national accounting firm told me about a meeting he had with one of the more well known names in Bay Area tech circles. He put on his navy suit, french cuff shirt, the whole works. Upon arriving his client said, "Wow you look great, where are you going today?"
 

comrade

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Originally Posted by Will
That is very ten years ago. No-one cares how they dress in Palo Alto any longer.

Choose Zegna if you like the style. The fabrics are light. Too light, in my opinion. The make is as good as you can find in machine-made clothing but it is still machine-made.


I am an endangered species. I live in Palo Alto and care about how I dress- which on a day-to- day
basis, mostly means the fit of my jeans. However, on special occasions, the Opera, SF Meet-Ups,
etc., I try to conform to a higher standard.
 

comrade

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Originally Posted by john_sf
I am new to the SFBA and would like to start some relationships with some good clothing shops downtown.

I'm also interested in a Zegna suit, so Wilkes Bashford was the obvious first choice. I had a good first experience there, but don't have much to compare it with. I'd be happy to hear any comments about this shop, as well as some recommendations for a second and third shop to start visiting (other than the standard Brooks Brothers, Polo, etc.).

Speaking of the Zegna suit, I currently have only Samuelsohn MTM suits (that I am very happy with) and was hoping to take the next step in terms of quality ... but I see that Zegna also does "only" MTM, and no fully custom ... any comments on whether moving from MTM Samuelsohn to MTM Zegna is merely a sideways move, and just a matter of preference, or am I indeed taking a step upwards in terms of quality and workmanship ? They also carry Brioni, which I assume would also be "just" MTM ... perhaps that's a better choice if I am interested in moving to higher quality and workmanship ?

Finally, I'd like a fully custom pair of shoes, and folks at WB were really pushing the Bontoni line - any comments ?

Many thanks.


I never really liked Zegna, but that might just my taste. Also, I agree that most Zegna is not a step up from
Samuelsohn. Besides, Samuelsohn comes more out of a traditional "Ivy" style, particularly the Talbot
model. If you're at Wilkes, take a serious look at Belvest. Priced like Isaia, but to my mind more classic,
especially the cuts that Wilkes carries.
 

bleachboy

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I own both Samuelsohn and Zegna MTM and the quality is equivalent, although really the two are sort of hard to compare. Especially in my case, since the two suits are TOTALLY different.

If you want my recommendation: Stick with Samuelsohn. They make great suits and are an excellent value.
 

Bull

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Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy
The Sr. partners in SF that I have dealt with in transactions are always dressed in perfectly tailored, navy or charcoal suits with perfectly tied neckties and polished elegant shoes. They look sharp but aren't satorial show-offs.

At the same time a friend who is a Sr. partner at the big national accounting firm told me about a meeting he had with one of the more well known names in Bay Area tech circles. He put on his navy suit, french cuff shirt, the whole works. Upon arriving his client said, "Wow you look great, where are you going today?"


Based on these poasts, West Coast lawyers are putting Chicago and NY/DC lawyers to shame. Yes, you find the occasional lawyer in bespoke or Oxxford or whatever, but, more commonly, what you find is lawyers dressing absolutely atrociously. The highfaultin ones wear Tom James "bespoke" which - at the lower levels - is more God-awful that Kenneth Cole. The highest-end stuff is Oxxford and looks nice, but Blago is the only guy I can name who used Tom James for their Oxxford line. Ever since the move to business casual, you'd be hard pressed to find a guy who knows what he's doing. I have to dumb down my suits or else people look at me like I'm an alien.
 

john_sf

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Originally Posted by polar-lemon
I really don't think Zegna is a step up in quality at all. Zegna stuff is really nice, but there is really no hand finishing details at all--this despite the fact that it's increasingly priced in the league of Isaia, which is a far better option IMO. Zegna probably has better fits and cloths than Sammy, but I wouldn't start spending substantially more unless you're getting the likes of an Isaia, or perhaps Oxxford/Kiton/Brioni.

Ok, so the Oxxford/Kiton/Brioni are the ones that do have better/more hand finishing details ? These are good choices for taking a step up from Samuelsohn in a MTM suit ?

Originally Posted by polar-lemon
Of course, if you're talking about Zegna Couture/XXX Su Misura, that's a completely different product.

Are those different MTM programs that Zegna does ? My intention is to have a gray flannel suit made, and there is only one small book of Zegna flannels to choose from, so I wonder if those two programs would even be available for what I am trying to make...
 

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