Nowhere has the internet-driven democratization of men’s fashion been more apparent than in custom tailoring. Once reserved for Wall Street bankers, c-suite businessmen or those willing to put up with a great deal of effort and uncertainty to navigate international transactions with foreign tailors, it is now possible to find reasonable-quality made-to-measure shirting for $100 or less and suiting from around $500.
Between New York and DC alone, Alexander West, Alton Lane, The Tailored Man, and VM Clothiers are just a few of the options available. Around the country, sites such as Black Lapel, Indochino, mytailor.com, Proper Cloth and Ratio Clothing allow you to take your own measurements and design a shirt or suit online without visiting a shop. For those with slightly deeper pockets, startups such as Michael Andrews Bespoke and established retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Geoffrey Lewis Ltd., Hickey Freeman and Nordstrom variously offer made-to-measure and fully bespoke options that are competitively-priced.
Modern Fellows’ Affordable Custom project is an effort to highlight a range of online and in-person options for affordable custom clothing and to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the brands. Periodically, MF will report on experiences with custom clothing retailers.
Modern Fellows maintains a directory of where to buy custom suits and dress shirts online.
Menswear styling service Trunk Club has been quietly building out a physical presence across the United States to complement its online subscription offering. Their expansion includes a clubhouse in Washington, DC, where Modern Fellows recently caught up with their team. Founded in 2009 by Bonobos co-founder Brian Spaly and acquired by Nordstrom in the summer of 2014, the company began opening studios with their home base in Chicago. Trunk Club arrived in DC in March...read more
The calendar says spring and it is finally starting to feel like it. Time to trade heavy winter jackets and functional snow boots for new shoes and clothes. Here is what Modern Fellows is looking forward to as the weather brightens. The thing about winter is the weather often necessitates function over form. Who in their right mind would put on an unlined, patch pocket blazer (above) courtesy of Knot Standard’s new DC showroom when the thermometer is hovering...read more
Knot Standard feels like a classic tailor updated for the digital age. After evolving several times since it began five years ago, founders John Ballay and Matt Mueller seem to have found their groove, offering a seamless experience and quality product online and across an expanding series of showrooms scattered throughout the United States and Dubai. The company offers two entry points for customers. Online, the company offers made-to-measure suiting via processes...read more
Custom shirting outposts are everywhere these days, but European-headquartered Tailor4Less has been around since 2008. And while many focus on high-end fabrics and finishes with prices to match, Tailor4Less targets the basics at an affordable price point. How does their basic sub-$60 dress shirt stack up? Getting to know Tailor4Less In the summer of 2008, Tailor4Less’ CEO, Andreu Fernández, was traveling in Shanghai, where he found good quality menswear at a very...read more
New York-based suit startup Black Lapel recently unveiled their Fall 2014 suiting fabrics and invited Modern Fellows to take a look. An outstanding contender in the world of custom suiting from the start, Black Lapel’s founders Derek Tian and Warren Liao continue to iterate on fit, fabrics, offerings and design in ways that seem deliberate and conscious of a long-term strategy. Black Lapel has been introducing handfuls of new fabrics for suits and blazers each season....read more
Can an app take measurements as accurately as a tailor? New online startup MTailor delivers precision measurements via your iPhone. When Miles Penn approached Modern Fellows to review a custom shirt from his recently-launched technology-meets-fashion concept MTailor, I was skeptical. MTailor’s pitch? A custom shirt that removes the need to take your own measurements or visit a tailor. Download an app, set it down on the floor 10 feet away from you, spin 360...read more
The entrepreneurs behind Chicago-based Proper Suit put a premium on customer service, having evolved their business model from online made-to-measure to an in-person only approach that aims to guarantee a perfect fit and inviting experience.read more
If you have been researching options for affordable online custom-tailored suits, Dragon Inside has likely appeared on your radar. The EU-headquartered company has made a splash of late via menswear blogs, targeted Google ads and a slick website. How does Dragon Inside’s suits stack up in the growing digital menswear world? Pretty well, largely because of their dedication to customer service and to understanding your fit preferences. Inside Dragon Inside...read more
You have just one day in London. Where would you go? If shopping for menswear is your answer, read on for the Modern Fellows walking guide to menswear in London. The birthplace of Beau Brummell and the home of Savile Row, the City of London helped developed modern tailored dress and remains central to men’s fashion. Perhaps most exciting, while Savile Row has aged and shrunk (as one does when one ages, I suppose), a new generation of entrepreneurs is opening shops...read more
With the explosion of affordable custom tailors in recent years — led by venture-backed behemoths such as Indochino and bolstered by fledgling, well-regarded entrants like Black Lapel — Modern Fellows has released a guide to buying made-to-measure suits and shirts online. While the proliferation of online custom tailors may be thought of as a natural outgrowth of the traveling tailor who, twenty years ago, came from Asia or Europe to major U.S. cities, this...read more