Suit Supply’s Made-to-Measure Program

September 7, 2011

Suit Supply’s Made-to-Measure Program

Five months ago or so, this article in the Wall Street Journal generated quite a buzz over an Amsterdam-based company called Suit Supply. In it, they deemed Suit Supply to be of more or less the same quality as Armani, and praised the brand for having high-quality Italian fabric, clean construction, and “lots of attention to detail.” I found the piece intriguing, but was still skeptical. Armani is an over-priced fashion-driven brand like Louis Vuitton, and I’m cynical of overused phrases such as “lots of attention to detail.” The article still failed to say anything substantive, even about the most basic construction points such as whether the suits were canvassed.

More recently, a friend of mine in the industry commented that he thought Suit Supply’s suits were of good quality and that their made-to-measure program offered excellent value. Given how much he knows about the manufacturing of men’s clothing, I took his opinion very seriously and decided to investigate.

It turns out Suit Supply might be one of the better made-to-measure values around. A few points:

  • First, the fabrics for the made-to-measure suits are excellent. The company uses Ariston and Vitale Barberis Canonico, two excellent mills that supply many high-end manufacturers and custom tailors (e.g. Sartoria Partenopea, Brioni, Patrick Johnson, WW Chan, etc).
  • Second, everything is either half- or fully-canvassed. Production takes place in Portugal, Italy, Mexico, and China. I don’t know anything about the last three factories, but I do know that the Portuguese factory manufacturers for a number of very high-quality lines. I can’t reveal other people’s sourcing, but I have confidence the the manufacturing there is quite good given who else the factory serves.
  • Third, there actually is an impressive level attention to detail. The Jort model, for example, has an incredible amount of handwork – the setting and sewing of shoulders; collar construction; sewing of canvas; attachment of buttons; and pick stitching are all done by hand.
  • Fourth, there is the fit. Of course, it all comes down to fit. The photos above show two MTM jackets – one in the Roma model and the other in the London. The sleeves are a touch short for my taste, but this can easily be addressed in the measuring process. The jacket seems to fit fairly well otherwise. Made-to-measure, as you know, takes a pre-made paper pattern and adjusts it to your measurements. Here, there are eighty points of adjustment. It’s not as ideal as bespoke, where something is truly custom made for you, but it’s quite good.
  • Prices start at $899. It’s an expensive buy, but for a custom-made suit, with this level of materials, construction, and detailing, I think Suit Supply is an incredible deal.

They have seven models to choose from. It would be too much to cover all of them here, but I’d like to highlight the Roma (shown above in the first photo). The Roma has wider lapels, soft shoulders, high gorge, open quarters/ cutaway front, and patch pockets. If those terms are too technical for you, just know that this is a very rakish, casual Italian/ Neapolitan look. It’s a style that I strongly favor, but of course, your tastes may differ.

Unfortunately, you have to be near one of their stores in order to get measured. In the United States, that would be in New York City. If you can get to NYC, however, I encourage you to stop by their store for a visit. Nish (who formerly worked at Cucinelli for six years) runs the operation. He bent over backwards to get me all the information I needed for this article, which gives me confidence that he will give you excellent service.

Finally, Suit Supply also has a wide range of off-the-rack offerings, starting at $400, for those interested something more affordable. I don’t have as much information on those garments, but I’m hoping to get my hands on one of their off-the-rack suits soon. When I do, I do a full review of it here.

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