I concluded my last post with what I considered to be an "ultimate splurge" and so I'll introduce this post with another one: the made-to-measure suit - especially the ones of the bespoke variety. It's definitely a splurge, a luxury item, one of the finer things in life that make the cut to the Robson Report kind of thing - a status symbol, if you will, like a yacht or the Rolex, the fancy car - all toys for the big boys - the big guns, with big cash, who leave the rest of us trailing behind and eating their dust, sigh!!!
And while a made-to-measure suit is unarguably superlative, it's not always worth the cost, especially if you don't wear a suit on a regular basis. The next best thing, in my opinion is a good quality suit off-the-rack and the skills of a good tailor. Moreover, a good suit salesperson with sufficient "product knowledge" can offer his/her suggestion as to the ready-made suit of the best value commensurate to your budget and according to what you are willing to pay.
To call a suit "ready-to-wear," though, is a gross misnomering, for it is never really ready-to-wear. An off the rack suit will invariably need some (or a lot!) of taking in: for example, lengthening of the hems, shortening of the sleeves, letting out of the waist, or an adjusment in the seat or shoulders. Let's face it, men (and women for that matter!) come in different shapes and sizes (lol) which makes for awesome variety (lol) which in turn is the spice of life (lol). As a matter of fact, in all of Kumar's eight years of working in the high-end menswear retail business, he has yet to meet a perfect "sample-size," on whom a suit will fit like a glove off the rack, requiring no further tweaking - he's actually supposed to tell me when he does, that fateful day! So this is where a good tailor comes in. If you can't afford for one to make your entire suit, at least avail of the services of one to properly fit and take in a store-bought suit according to your measurements. Find a tailor, invest in one. Entrust your sartorial needs in him (in keeping with political correctness, technically, the term refers to a man, a "seamstress" is his female counterpart). Develop a relationship with your tailor on a professional level as you have with your trusted dentist or doctor. He's a highly-skilled tradesman whose trade shouldn't die to fused*, mass-produced and outsourced, second-rate garments.
Allow me to introduce Kumar. Kumar, meet followers. Followers, Kumar, a.k.a. my, as in my fave metro in J.P. Tilford M-T-M but non-bespoke :( granite, four-season suit available at Harry Rosen.
*chemically by mechanical means as opposed to painstakingly hand-stitched with good 'ol thread and a needle!)
When I met Kumar about a decade ago, he introduced me to the unique world of men's fashion. That initial arousal of my interest in this sub-discipline has grown and has been held ever since. Well, at the very least, I've been "sensitized" to it and can now spot (and smell!) a faux-pas from a mile away! And now, Kumar and myself are forming a dynamic duo (of sorts!) and together, we're endeavoring, to gently nudge and guide men, on to the path of sartorial "enlightenment."