Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Made to measure by Martin Greenfield at Brooks Bros

As I described in an earlier posting, many men decide to move from RTW to MTM. I myself recently made that transition to MTM. Last year around Thanksgiving, I ordered my first MTM garment - a sports jacket - through the Brooks Brothers store in Beverly Hills. In addition, in mid-March, I decided I would also order a MTM suit and scheduled an appointment with Martin Greenfield at the Brooks Brothers.

The appointment involved getting measured by Mr. Greenfield, selecting a fabric and specifying certain features of the sports jacket I was about to order. Mr. Greenfield makes biannual trips in November and March to various flagship Brooks Bros stores around the country to greet and measure customers. Greenfield's cut-make-trim factory handles the made-to-measure business for Brooks Bros. Accompanying the Greenfield entourage were representatives of Loro Piana, a well-known Italian mill.

Today I had my first fitting of the sports jacket I had ordered back in November. Due to a mistake by the factory, the jacket was mistakenly cut with straight rather than slant pockets as I had requested (resulting in what is known as a "pig" or spoiled garment). Normally, it would take 8 weeks but it took nearly five months to recut the jacket. Nonetheless, the jacket turned out beautifully – the fabric, feel and fit. The only quibbles I have are the gorge (a tad bit low) and the lack of pattern matching around the sleeves. But these require the adjustments of a full bespoke process.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Brooks Bros made-to-measure program: Martin Greenfield

Brooks Brothers offers three lines of MTM:

Golden Fleece
Made by Martin Greenfield, the Golden Fleece is Brooks Brothers's highest quality MTM suit and starts at $1,250 for Super 100 fabrics (book A), $1,250 for Super 120s (book B), $1,650 for Super 130s (book E) and can go as high as $2,850 (Super 160s Loro Piana fabric).

The brochure I received says the Golden Fleece suits have "full canvas camel hair chest pieces, linen under collars, genuine horn buttons, hand sewn buttonholes, and over 18 hours of workmanship". Turnaround is about 8 weeks.

The Makers line, from what I gathered, uses a half-canvassed front and hence cheaper and quicker to make (5 week turnaround). Smaller selection of fabrics as well. Not sure what the pricing is but obviously lower than Golden Fleece.

I didn't inquire into the specifics of the Select line but assume that there is even less handtailoring and lower quality construction (and an even lower price point). The brochure says choose from "100 fabrics and specify your size, model and options with a turnaround time of only 4 weeks."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Shopping guide for short & slim men

For men of short and slim stature, it is remarkably difficult to find clothing off-the-rack that fits well. If you're off a standard deviation or two from the typical RTW sizes, then you have essentially two strategies.

First, you can try your chances by finding a designer brand that cuts their suits, jackets, shirts trousers to a slimmer fitting overall. This is a rather hit and miss proposition as I have found over the years. But here are some ready-to-wear brands that currently offer or have offered slimmer clothing:
Alternatively you can find retailers who stock garments designed for the shorter man. They are listed in these two guides I found on the web:
The second strategy is to go custom, namely, made to measure (MTM) or bespoke. My recommendation is to start with MTM and work upwards to full bespoke. One caveat is that custom made clothing requires more attention to detail and knowledge by the customer and is actually "riskier" from a handwork/production standpoint because there are more human hands involved (e.g. potentially more mistakes). However, the benefits are much better fit and better value in the long run. Unless you have special needs requiring bespoke (e.g. very sloped shoulders), I think it's an easier and more manageable learning curve to migrate from MTM to bespoke (as well as easier on the pocketbook).

Additional links
- Styleforum thread on short & slim shopping guide
- Short Shrifted - Blog on clothing for shorter men

Updated Feb 2010

Monday, March 07, 2005

Casualwear: A list of the "best" blue jeans by aficionados

I enjoy wearing denim jeans but I'm not a keen fan as some are. I've only worn Levi's and Calvin Klein, which, as I understand it, barely scratches the surface on denim wear.

So for all you fans of Paper Denim & Cloth, Nudie, Diesel, etc., here's a list of the top 10 blue jeans (and updated list) by some of the more knowledgeable Style Forum members.