Getting to Know the New Knot Standard

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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.

Modern Fellows’ readers receive a 15% discount online for first time customers with code MODERNFELLOWS at checkout. First-time customers can also receive $250 off a blazer or suit in-store by mentioning code MODERN FELLOWS when making an appointment

The company offers two entry points for customers. Online, the company offers made-to-measure suiting via processes similar to competitors such as Black Lapel and Indochino at prices that begin at around $500. In person, where suit prices begin at just under $800, personal stylists offer a more in-depth custom experience, guiding men through measurements, a broader range of fabrics and impressive bespoke details.

Given their recent journey, Knot Standard seems poised to take up the mantle dropped by Astor and Black when it went under – a reputation for quality fabrics and great fit stylists at a reasonable though by no means rock bottom prices.


About Knot Standard

Co-founded by entrepreneurs John and Matt, pictured above during an interview on ABC News’ Real Biz, Knot Standard began in Dubai, where both men were living at the time.  John was selling custom cowboy boots while Matt was running a medical technology operation for a major U.S. university.

The two took their made-to-measure suiting concept internationally in 2012, and went through several iterations before settling on their current model.  Those early years resulted in some growing pains, which are still evident today on customer review sites like Yelp.

The two have since changed their approach – now offering a simplified online custom ordering experience and a more comprehensive in-person option for those living near their network of showrooms while prioritizing stellar customer service for both – and their tailoring process.

Knot Standard also offers what it calls Knot Standard Private – a business-to-business play that makes dapper uniforms that coordinate that looks similar but where each piece isn’t exactly the same.  They’re outfitting sports teams, hotels and private clubs with suits, belts, ties and cufllinks.  “It’s wildly successful,” Matt offered, “It’s the new letter jacket” for colleges.

Ordering online at

The website is the introduction to the company for most of Knot Standard’s customers.  “We take a guy who is used to buying Brooks Brothers and show him the same or better fabrics and something that fits way better,” says Matt.

Online, the process is straightforward for the customer but is souped up under the hood with unique technology that aims to help get the fit as close as possible to perfect. You can enter your measurements manually or via their unique and surprisingly accurate body scanner technology licensed from the Berlin-based startup Fit Analytics (formerly UpCload).

“We came to the conclusion that we have to get it right the first time and overhauled production in 2012 to digital patternmaking,” said Matt.  Knot Standard developed a proprietary database of different off the rack suits and body-types, and promises it can translate measurements and preferences into a perfect digital match.

“For the most part,” Matt says, “we have seen a guy like you to about a quarter of an inch. The finesse is in adjusting for preferences.”

Fabric and customization options are more limited online than in the Knot Standard showrooms, but adequate for most tastes.  One nice touch is the company’s customer service, as representatives check in after creating an account and after ordering a product.


The Knot Standard Showroom

Knot Standard also maintains a network of showrooms around the United States and in Dubai and New Zealand, including in Washington DC (pictured above).  Customers can make an appointment online to visit with a style consultant and get measured up.

The company has invested heavily into the online model, but Matt notes that, “when we launched our showroom, it really took off. People were coming in and buying 3 times more than they would online.”

Knot Standard sells more online than via its showrooms at the moment, though Matt notes that the website is a great funnel for future showroom business.  “We still get more customers online than in our showrooms,” he observes, but “we also get more leads from the website for our showrooms than anywhere else. If you’re a showroom customer, there’s a 75 percent chance that you came to us through our website somehow.”

Matt also says the company is opening new showrooms as quickly as it can.

“It’s a different level of service and has allowed us to do things you could never do online,” says Matt.  “You get to walk people through the process.  And when you walk out you know enough about the fabrics and the details to teach a few other people about the jacket you bought from us.”

Digital Pattern-making and Customer Service

Regardless of how a customer engages with Knot Standard, their measurements will integrate with an extensive, data-rich proprietary system that Knot Standard has developed to ensure a perfect fit.  A customer will be measured by a stylist in the store, enter measurements online, or use Knot Standard’s online scanning technology to capture initial details.

In addition, the founders have constructed a massive proprietary database that can help Knot Standard align measurements with fit preferences.  If you like a Hugo Boss Jam/Sharp suit in 40R but the shoulders are just a little too long, Knot Standard can use that information to get you closer to your perfect fit off the bat.

Customer data gets translated into an XML translation that is sent over to one of Knot Standard’s factories around the world to align with a CAD file and RFD code for manufacturing.

“We went from using tailors to an entirely automated process,” says Matt. ” It’s about 3 minutes to order something online to having you uploaded into the system.”

It’s an impressively high tech operation that can account for different intakes of new customers and fit preferences — and it works exceedingly well.

This is part one of a two part series on Knot Standard. Part two reviews the Knot Standard custom tailoring experience in Washington, DC. Knot Standard provided a blazer and pants at no cost to Modern Fellows for review.

About Jake

Jake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.

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1 thought on “Getting to Know the New Knot Standard”

  1. I live in DC and have always wondered how their suits come out. Recently purchased a custom suit from Enzo that I’m relatively happy with, so interested to hear if anyone has tried both and can compare the two.


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