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Why Buying a Custom Suit Makes the Most Sense

Wall Street: Welcome to Summer! Now that the weather is warming up, street fashion is becoming alive with pops of color.  I had lunch with menswear designer David Hart the other day on historical Stone Street, and we spent a couple hours people watching and talking about new trends in menswear.  In particular, there is a huge trend in going custom.  What was once a service reserved for the very wealthy, is now officially mainstream.  Long past are the days of boxy, oversized suits and shirts.  Now everything is very fitted and streamlined.  There is no room for error, making buying a custom suit the most economical option.  Rather than pay thousands of dollars for a suit off the rack, and then having to take it to a tailor anyway, you can get a suit made exactly to your measurements for less than half the price.  On top of that, you can choose EVERYTHING about it – from the fabric, to the cut, to the lapels, to the buttons, to the vents, to the color of  lining and stitching…………and even customize pockets depending on your needs.  With all of these customizable options, AND a perfect fit, there is absolutely no reason to buy off the rack (unless your lack of planning has you in a pinch and you need a suit for an event this week).  Short of that, go custom.

CHOOSING A TAILOR FOR YOUR CUSTOM SUIT

Now that you see the HUGE value proposition of taking the step of getting a custom suit made, let me walk you through some of the things to think about before you start diving into the details.  For starters, there are a  million tailors and online sites offering custom suits, so much so that even deciding where to go can be a bit overwhelming.  Choosing the right tailor is incredibly important.  I DO NOT recommend taking your own measurements and just ordering a custom suit online, although there are plenty of companies offering this as an option.  If you are going to get a custom suit made, you want it done right.  Not to say that these places aren’t good (most of them are probably still better than off the rack), but you will most certainly be compromising in quality and fit.  A tailor will not only be able to take your measurements, but also assess the nuances of your body and posture, which is incredibly important.  Anybody can take measurements, but the true art is in the translation of the measurements.  Also, unless you are a designer or mens fashion guru, you will definitely benefit from having the opinion of a professional to guide you through the process.  Finding a tailor that has a bit of fashion sense is very important, as you want to walk out with a custom, modern, fashion forward suit, not a suit that looks like it belongs in the 80’s.  For example, a British tailored suit is VERY different than an Italian tailored suit (British (Saville Row) is much more tailored and fitted, whereas Italian tends to be a bit more relaxed).  There is no right or wrong, they are just different, and it comes down to a matter of preference.  Find a tailor that fits your style sensibilities, has good customer service, and has good ratings and customer feedback.  A good tailor will be a perfectionist, and will place the utmost of importance on you being 100% satisfied.

THERE ARE A MILLION CUSTOMIZABLE OPTIONS: WHERE TO BEGIN

Now that you have selected your tailor, and they have taken your measurements, it’s time to dive into the design of your custom suit.  First, you will want to begin with fabric selection.  Most tailors will have several price tiers of fabric, with the finer fabrics usually being the most expensive.  As a general rule, if you are looking for a sturdy everyday suit, stay away from the fine fabrics.  These fabrics will not only wear out faster, they will also wrinkle more.  These are more for special occasions.  Once you have selected your fabric, you will select the lapel type and width, jacket style (one, two, three button, double breasted), middle or side vents, pockets, buttons, and button holes.  I never recommend the 3 button style, as in my opinion it is outdated and stuffy. My advice to you is to not go crazy.  You want to add a bit of style, but not have it be so trendy that you won’t be able to wear it next season.  I absolutely LOVE adding a contrast color button hole to 1 or 2 of the sleeve buttons, as well as a contrast under collar.  This is enough to add style and say that it is custom, without being ostentatious.  Next you will select your lining fabric (I LOVE contrast linings), as well as pockets.  With a good tailor, the sky is the limit when it comes to interior pockets.  You will also be able to select a monogram to put into the lining of your jacket, which is a nice added touch.

Once you have selected all of the options for your jacket, you will have a few decisions to make regarding the pants.  The waistband can have side tab or standard belt loops, and you will be able to select pocket types for both the side pockets and the back pockets.  You will also be able to select different types of fit and pleats (I’m NOT a fan of pleats), as well as whether you want a standard or cuffed hem (go standard for a more modern look).

COST

OK, the hard work is done!  You’ve selected your tailor, had your measurements taken, and selected all of the options for your perfectly tailored custom suit.  Now, let’s talk about how much all of this should cost.  Your fabric choice will determine your base cost, but  most of the options come at no additional charge.  Some of the options that MIGHT be an additional charge (depending on your tailor), will be things like elbow patches, special buttons, adding a different fabric lapel, and adding special interior pockets (other than the styles offered).  A good custom suit will cost you between $700-$2,500.  Most of my clients have AMAZING custom suits made for between $700-$900, with the experience of having a tailor AND a fashion stylist accompany them through this process (sometimes even in the convenience of their home or office).  For that price, and for that service, it is a no brainer that having a custom suit made is the way to go.  If you are in the NYC area, myself and my tailor will be happy to walk you through this process.

 

 

 

 

Men’s Wall Street Shopping Guide: A Walking Tour

MEN’S WALL STREET SHOPPING GUIDE

Although the Financial District is not necessarily touted as a big shopping destination, it is a hidden gem for those of us “in the know.”  Here you can find impeccable men’s suiting and luxury stores, as well as NY’s famous Century 21.  For any business man or lover of luxury fashion, this is an incredible destination on your NY shopping journey.  Here we have outlined a consolidated list of Wall Street shopping at stores that we feel will complete your look from head to toe.   This is also a perfect list for the business man that needs to pick up any last minute items on their lunch break.  The list begins at Century 21 and Brooks Brothers, then is listed as if you were walking down Wall St. west to east, ending at the South St. Seaport.

 

Financial District

 

Century 21 Dept Stores

22 Cortlandt St, New York, NY Tel: (212) 227.9092

Century 21 Department Stores, also known as “New Yorks Best Kept Secret”, has more than fifteen departments of sensational quality and designer merchandise at 25%-75% off retail prices. Choose from the finest selection of European and American Designers.
Century 21 features four floors of designer goods at deep discounts. You may have to weave through crowds and sift through racks to find the hidden wardrobe treasure, but when you score a slick Versace, Armani, Hugo Boss, or Dolce and Gabbana suit, an Hermes, Ted Baker, or Versace tie, a pair of Cavalli jeans, or Mezlan shoes at 75% off, it’s totally worth it.

  Century 21 is guaranteed to excite any saavy shopper, as the possibilities are endless. Just like any department store, Century 21 has departments for men, women, children, accessories, home, luggage, and fragrances/cosmetics.

C21store C21

 

 

 

Exit out the Cortlandt St. side of Century 21 and turn right  to cross the street to Brooks Brothers, which will be near the back entrance of the bldg.

Brooks Brothers

1 Church Street Tel: (212) 267-2400

Brooks Brothers is the oldest mens clothier chain in the United States, founded in 1818.  The store features classically tailored mens suits, shirts,sportcoats, and formalwear,  as well as timeless sportswear such as polos, t-shirts, sweaters, casual pants, and of course shoes and accessories.

BB Brooks Brothers

Upon leaving Brooks Brothers, head back towards Broadway, turn right, then take a left onto Wall St.  Once you see the New York Stock Exchange take a right onto Broad St..  This is all a pedestrian walkway (no cars), so you will have plenty of opportunities to take pictures and take in the sites of the historical buildings on your way to the next few stores.

 

Hermes

15 Broad Street New York, NY 10005 Tel: (212)785-3030

Hermes is known for luxury silk ties, pocket squares, scarves, cuff links, watches, belts, shoes, and luggage.
The iconic Hermes silk scarves and ties are colorful without being loud, and are available in scores of different shades and designs. Scarves range in price from a three figures (for a hand-rolled silk neck scarf) to four figures plus for a generous cashmere shawl.   Hermes also features beautifully crafted and timeless corporate gifts.

 

imageHermestie

Hermes Ties

Canali

25 Broad St. New York, NY 10004 Tel: (212) 842.8700

On Broad Street is the American flagship of Italian luxury menswear line Canali.  Rows of sleek, stately suits greet customers to the elegant stateside flagship of this Italian menswear line. From the blockish, low-lying furniture to the purple-paisley silk ties, the shop effortlessly blends the classic and contemporary. The timeless black-and-gray suits, the mainstay of the collection, are stitched in Milan and can be altered on-site in as little as ten minutes. But some prefer the blue or khaki glen-plaid affairs offset by bright-colored neckties—accessorized with an elegant pair of stirrup- or tassel-topped loafers. For made-to-order suits, the staff takes measurements and sends the specs to Milan for tailoring; after-hours appointments are available for clients who can’t break away from the workplace. Canali also goes beyond the boardroom, with a Hamptons-worthy selection of weekend wear such as crisp linen suits, jeans, polos, and driving moccasins.

Canali

 

Sarar

50 Broad St.  New York, NY 10005 212-425-2525

Sarar is a Turkish design house that molds modern cut tailored menswear with a classically tailored design.   They feature suits, shirts, jackets, formalwear, outerwear, pants, shoes, ties, and accessories.

image_4 SararBroadSt

 

 

 

Now head back up Broad St. towards Wall St. and hang a right.

 

Tiffany & Co

37 Wall Street New York, NY 10005 Tel: (212) 514-8015

Tiffany & Co.’s Lower Manhattan location, housed in a 1907 building on Wall Street, features stunning restorations and contemporary additions, like a 75-foot-long metal-mesh-and-crystal floating sculpture. While Tiffany necklaces, watches, jewelry, pens, luxury goods, and tableware offer plenty to see and shop, the store’s architecture alone is worth a visit.

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Pink

63 Wall Street New York, NY 10005 Tel: (212) 514.7683

Ideal for the buttoned up man with an eye for ties, Thomas Pink’s British sensibilities will liven u p any cosmopolitan businessman’s wardrobe.
Thomas Pink started as a specialist shirt company. Men’s formal shirts come in Classic, Slim Fit, and Super Slim Fit. More relaxed styling is found in the Casual and Informal collections and in a collection of Polo shirts.  They also sell a wide array of colorful ties and socks.

Pink

 

Tumi

67 Wall Street Tel: (212) 742.8020

A leading seller of luxury travel and business accessories, Tumi has a wide array of luggage, bags, wallets, attache cases, and travel accessories.

 

tumi

If after all of this shopping you are in the mood for some sightseeing, you can continue down Wall St., turn left onto Water St., and then take a right at the Seaport for some more shopping, restaurants, cafes, and activities.  There is plenty of seating, hidden parks, and restaurants along the water as well.   You can also head south to Stone St. and enjoy an array of indoor and outdoor restaurants and pubs on a quaint cobblestone street in a beautiful historical setting.  If you prefer a drink and meal with a beautiful water view, I suggest checking out the FDR Bar, which is right on the water.

 

FDR Bar

FDR Bar, South Street Seaport

NYC South Street Seaport

NYC South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport

 

Stone Street

Stone Street

Stone Street