Thursday, October 31, 2013

My First Suit (Part Two)

I've been a little slow getting this post up, but my first dive into made-to-measure suiting (and suiting in general) has come into fruition, and I'm ready to share the results! 
(Ed. Note: Not sure what is going on with the picture quality here, having some uploading bugs. I'll be working to fix it, but in the meantime, sorry!)

First, a quick rundown of the final customizations I made:
  • As previously discussed, I went with Dragon Inside for my first suit.
  • I chose a single-breasted, three piece suit in navy wool with the following features:
    • Half-lined jacket in dark blue

    • Peak lapels

    • Functioning boutonniere

    • Pick stitching

    • Functioning buttons on the sleeves

    • Brown corozo buttons (as opposed to standard black)

    • No monogram (probably would have gotten one, but honestly forgot)

    • Wool back to the vest (as opposed to matching the back to the lining of the jacket)

      • Flat front pants

      • 1.5" cuff

      • Extra taper to the pants from the knee down (and by extra, I mean 1 cm narrower of a leg opening. I got that picky)

    So how did it turn out? Off the bat, I'm pretty damn happy with the suit. A lot of things came out perfectly, and the few that didn't won't ruin the suit, by any means, and should all be easily addressable.

    Here are the details:

    The Good:
    • Customer Service: Bobby was incredible throughout the whole process. Always easily reachable, and perfectly happy to meet pretty much every picky request I had. I really appreciate the fact that, despite being a lower-priced suit to begin with, they weren't resistant to my customization at all, even though I'm sure it would have been easier for them to produce with their standard options. On top of that, he seemed genuinely and personally interested in making exactly the suit I wanted, and has followed up several times since delivery to make sure I was happy.
    • Customization Options (and accuracy): Like I said, they were just great about this. Compared to other MTM suiting sites, Dragon Inside offers at least as many customization options as you pick out your suit on their website. After that, I kept throwing more and more requests their way and wasn't denied once. Basically, if you want it, they'll make it (to a reasonable extent, to be sure). For the sake of full disclosure, the options I requested that weren't available with the standard form were: brown buttons; tapered leg opening (a slight taper is standard, I requested slightly more of a taper); wool backing to the vest; specific cuff width.
    • Body Fit (Chest/Shoulders, Waist/Thighs): I'd say that the fit of the most important parts of the suit (the ones a tailor cannot easily alter) are spot on. I am a pretty skinny guy, and blazers and jackets tend to run on the baggy side for me, even when I get the chest measurement right.
      In this case, not only was the chest just comfortably snug, the arms were slim (but not tight), the shoulder width was perfect, and the waist was nipped perfectly for a modern (but once again, not tight) look. Same goes for the pants...I opted to keep the belt loops but I really wouldn't need them, as the fit at the waist, butt and thighs is as close of a match to my body as I expect to get from a MTM service.
    • Construction: I'm no expert on tailoring (remember, this is my first suit), but I have no complaints about the construction. The stitching all seems straight and neat (while I'm picky about my options, I have no interest in counting stitches, sorry). Even with just the half lining, the jacket feels substantial enough that I'm not worried about it falling apart, and the fabric doesn't wrinkle or mis-shape easily, which is often a sign of a cheaper suit.
    The Bad:
    • Armholes: I've been struggling with whether or not this concerns me, but the armholes do seem a tad low. When I raise my arms, there is considerable movement in the rest of the jacket, which is something you want to avoid if possible. 
      I'm not expecting anything incredible here (all of my jackets do this to an extent), but this particularly bothered me when I was sitting in a chair with higher-than-usual armrests, as it was impossible to sit comfortably without the jacket This may just be something I have to accept for the price point, but I plan on asking my tailor about it.
    • Sleeve Length: The sleeves are a tad bit short, which is really my fault (I leaned towards shorter sleeves in an effort to avoid too long of sleeves, and may have went too far). This could be a bigger issue since I opted for functioning button-holes, but really the sleeves are barely too short.
      I'm still debating if I even want to alter them at all, but if I do, it would only be by a centimeter or so, and the buttons might be fine as is.
    • Pant Length: Same goes for the pant legs, but here I may just be being overly nit-picky. I wanted just the slightest break in the front, which they did perfectly, but I wish the cuffs would touch my shoes in the back. 
      Once again, I'm not even sure I want to get this altered (the shorter look is in at the moment), but it's an easy, inexpensive fix that can be made at any time.
    • Collar Gap: This is probably my only real area of consternation, as collar gap is pretty unsightly and is usually damn hard to fix. However, once again, the incongruity here is barely noticeable. If I stand naturally, I tend to slouch just the slightest bit, and mostly just in my neck, and that's when I can see probably a centimeter or less of gap between my shirt collar and jacket collar. 
      If I consciously straighten up, the problem all but disappears. Additionally, after the few times I've had to wear the suit pre-alterations, it seems like it has started to conform to my body a bit more, and the gap is even less noticeable. Since I'm not an expert though, this is definitely something I will have my tailor take a look at as well.
    Which brings us back to one more item to add to the 'Good' list: $75 tailoring credit. I think this is pretty standard for an online MTM suiting company, but it's still worth mentioning. Dragon Inside offers $75 in credit to put towards any alterations that might be required to finalize that perfect fit. Since I'm kind of unsure as to whether or not I want to make any alterations at all, having this financial wiggle room leaves me entirely comfortable with taking my suit in to a well-reputed tailor and getting his expert opinion. I'm all set to go this weekend, so I'll report back with the results.

    Also worth mentioning, in another testament to the great customer service from Dragon Inside: if any of the alterations required are beyond the scope of a professional tailor, Dragon Inside will remake the jacket, free of charge, as long as the issues were not cause by a measuring error on my own part. Policies like this take a lot of the gamble out of the purchase, which is hugely important when dealing with online customized garments.

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