Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brown and Yellow, Custom Made!

Quite a few years ago I had a suit made for me. It was a fascinating and wonderful experience and I have talked about it to many friends, to the point where they cover their ears - "Not the custom suit again!" But I forge on, hoping to convince someone to tread the bespoke path.

An old friend brought me to meet Vijay the tailor in a Chicago hotel room (I think it was the Palmer House), filled with fabric samples. Sarai had a suit already that she wanted copied; I wanted a three button pantsuit with boot cut trousers. The fabrics were lovely menswear in navy, charcoal, black brown, with birdseye, herringbone, chalk stripe and other textures and patterns. I chose a chocolate brown wool in something between a crepe and a twill. It has a nice drape and a smooth, but not glossy finish. I was carefully measured, gave them my check for $400, and the suit arrived in the mail 8 weeks later. The clothing is actually made in Singapore.

I've lost some weight, so the pants are in the drycleaner pile to be taken in. The beauty of menswear styling is how easy it is to alter anything. The seam allowances are generous and the waistband is sewn in two pieces so a tailor can expand or contract it in a jiffy.

May I say that this is the ONLY JACKET I own where the sleeves are the correct length. That alone is worth the price, with my short little Tyrannosaurus Rex arms. See how flattering a perfectly fitted jacket can be? I'm also wearing my Sundance yellow cords, Boden leopard calf-hair boots and a Boden blue and yellow knit top.

I hope you can see the lovely hand-bound buttonholes and the full rayon (not acetate!) lining. It has princess seams (from the shoulder) and welt pockets. I bought my suit from Nickermann's, which no longer does fitting tours, but does allow you to order online. This is a very similar suit, without the princess seams.

Why have I never bought another suit from Vijay, who has moved onto another company ( Well, they're not cheap, and I have not had much disposable income for the last few years. But also, the suit I have is so useful and elegant that I don't feel like I need another one. I'm glad I chose brown, which is more versatile and less somber than black or gray. And despite not being a skirt suit, it is also perfectly fine for interviews because its quality is so apparent.

Enough about the suit already! Sorry. This is part of my rant about clothes that fit YOU and not the mannequin or the hanger or Heidi Klum. They should fit YOU.
Image courtesy of


1 comment:

  1. you looked smashing yesterday - even better than this photo (which is pretty darn good)convey. The picture doesn't do justice to the rockin' leopard boots, though!

    I would love to get a bespoke suit - I have SUCH a hard time getting suit jackets that fit, I've abandoned them altogether, these days....