I’ve always been a fan of a really good suit.
I can’t say I’ve owned anywhere near the best kind of suit a guy can buy, but I’m happy with some I currently own. The best kind of suit in my opinion is custom-made. But for me, it’s hard to find suits that fit without a lot of work thanks to my long arms and torso. It took me several years of discounted Hugo Boss suits off the rack at department stores to learn that it doesn’t look good to have suit jackets that ride too high and sleeves that fall too short.
Happy with the old, intrigued with the new
I found a great company in Tom James during my time in Orlando. A representative would come to my apartment, take measurements, bring samples and record numbers. He was a superstar salesman, and a good guy to boot. A few weeks to a month or two later I’d get the suit. He’d bring it back to my apartment, I’d try it on and we’d be all set.
The suits weren’t cheap by any means. But I learned fit and quality are well worth the cost. I’m still wearing all of the suits I bought from Tom James and they are still in good shape even though I tend to be hard on my clothing.
I was recently introduced to a company in Miami called Damiani. I recently bought a suit and shirt from the company and I have to say, while I was thrilled with the fit of the suits from Tom James, I’m equally impressed with the fabric used in the suits at Damiani. Not only does the suit fit well, the fabric is very nice, heavy and hangs just as it should on my body.
My plan is to try a few more suits from Damiani and perhaps revisit Tom James. But now technology has seemed to make an entrance with some companies taking measurements and using lasers to cut your suits. It’s not the same as a truly bespoke suit, where a master tailor cuts a pattern to your measurements, and then tweaks it over multiple fittings.
But wait, there’s a laser-cut suit?
As Wired reports, a new company called Proper Suit is cutting suits to perfection at an affordable price:
All of the measurements and specs then go to the company’s facility in China (the company’s founders, McGregor J. Madden and Richard Hall, met working in China, where they developed relationships with apparel factories). The fabric is cut using AutoCAD and a laser cutting system — once they have the pattern right, it’s easy to cut perfect suits for you each time. In about a month, you’ll have the suit.
I love the small details I see in the Tom James suit (granted, you pay for them). Stitched-lines on the lapel, functioning button holes with an impact color stitched around the holes, flashy linings sewn into the jacket and heck, they even sew your name onto the inside flap of the jacket. Not bad.
Its sounds like Proper Suit offers some nice additions as well:
The waistband of the pants has a rubberized strip in it, to help keep your shirt tucked in. There’s a strip of fabric sewn around the inside bottom of each pant leg, which shields the main fabric from wear. There’s a special cell phone pocket sewn along a seam in the jacket, which keeps the phone from distorting the line of the coat.
The Age of Perfection
With all the rage of 3D printers and everything being designed to absolute perfection, I’m interested to see if they can truly make this quality of suit. Face it, people’s shapes change over time – and this would require more and more measurements before a laser could cut you a new suit. But it’s really no different than a bespoke suit of yesterday.
Time will tell to see if the speed, price and fit will be a successful formula for companies like Proper Suit, or if men will simply enjoy the old process of having a tailor measure, cut and form the suit into the timeless look and feel that most of us have grown to love.