Want to look undeniably fly? Custom anything is almost always the best way to go. Sometimes, though, it’s not always in the budget. In the game of life you usually get what you pay for and here at Devious Gentlemen we aim to give you the tools necessary to go forth, identify quality, and make the best decisions you can in regards to style, etiquette, taste, and travel.
What I mean by that is how to get the most bang for your buck. Not to be cheap or frugal, but on your lifelong quest for fulfillment you shouldn’t mind paying for quality – nor should you overpay for it.
Cutting corners will always leave the user experience dissatisfied, and that’s where the benefits of custom suiting come into play. Fashion retail brands and off-the-rack suiting labels are designed specifically with that consumer ignorance in mind. Their materials & construction are usually of poor quality, made in volume by a ‘fast fashion’ industrial complex.
Shopping for your next suit, which is often a larger sized purchase, can be a daunting task. A lot more goes into the right decision than you’d expect and price point is only a contributing factor, not just the end-all be-all deal maker or breaker.
Things to consider when picking out your next suit are its purpose and practicality. Once you get past the wardrobe staples of a black, a blue, and a charcoal suit other questions you should be considering are: is this a work suit? When will I be wearing this? Will it be utilized in several various ways?
Work suits tend to be more conservative in style and construction, but can be jazzed up with fun shirts, shoes, and accessories. The ‘when’ pertains to seasonal constraints: colder climates dictate heavier fabrics and styles such as a double-breasted three piece in wool or tweed, and warmer months prefer more lightweight materials like cotton and linen, perhaps with a half-canvas construction, in brighter colors or patterns.
Practicality when buying suiting refers to the opportunities you’ll have to wear the piece(s) on multiple occasions- I like to think of the ‘price-per-wear’ concept, meaning that the more you wear something the less it costs you (price divided by times worn = price per wear). And in the realm of custom, pieces can last a very, very long time.*
Will this suit transition from day to night? From work to play? Can you mix & match vests, trousers, jackets & blazers? Four two-piece suits can be worn in 20 or more ways. The more variety and use you can get out of your suit collection the better it is for your look and your wallet.
Custom suiting is not only about a quality product, but also a quality experience. You have highly skilled stylists and tailors at your disposal, and if you come prepared with knowledgeable questions they will be more than happy to oblige your curiosity. Things they can help you with that you might not think go into the design process are details like skin tone to match fabric color, body build & facial bone structure to compliment lapel design, or it might even be as simple as being a tough fit for off-the-rack sizing- retail designs can be a harsh and unforgiving wilderness of trial and error.
Take one brand for an example, Knot Standard. I recently visited their New York showroom for a custom jacket & shirt pairing and had an extremely satisfying experience. Their stylists are professional, knowledgeable, and affable- happy to help you pick the best fit for your wardrobe and your wallet (I even met the office dog, best shopping experience ever!). Once your first and second fittings are completed to your liking, they keep your measurements on file and you can just call in whatever it is you need and they’ll ship you a custom piece right to your door. Some of my other attempts entering into so-called ‘custom’ suiting experiences at brands likeIndochino were less than enjoyable. Their supposed ‘stylists’ were blatant salespeople, more aggressive than they were knowledgeable.
Please add any of your comments, questions, or concerns in the space below- I think it’d be cool to create an open-sourced forum of people’s ideas and experiences on the subject. Take a second to check out Knot Standardbecause I like them & what they’re doing, they have a proprietary algorithm that can digitally map your sizes via just a webcam & a CD/DVD- pretty cool if you ask me! Their price points are less online than they are in the showroom, mostly because the showroom experience offers more choices and detail options.
If you’re not quite ready to delve into the vast, addictive abyss that is custom suiting but still want a really dope, stylish new suit, I’d recommend Suit Supply. They have some really cool styles in modern fits (which can be easily accomplished with custom) at a very modest entry level price point.
*Custom suiting, depending on the tier level, is generally made with natural materials and traditional construction. Off-the-rack suiting is often made with synthetic fiber fabric blends and instead of stitching they use glue for binding. The natural fibers have been tested and studied to outlast their synthetic counterparts by thousands of degrees, proving their longevity and therefore their value.