Finding a quality tailor is important for anyone considering going bespoke. For the amount of money you are going to invest in a hand-made shirt or suit, you are going to want the best that your money can buy. If you live in Paris, London or Napoli you will at least have the luxury of being close to quality tailors who live and work in those places. For the rest of us, we will have to pay money to travel to those places or be lucky enough to be close to a city to where some of these quality tailors now travel. Bespoke has gone on the road in the last several years and now Los Angeles, New York and Miami are blessed by these masters.
So how do you find them and how do you find the one who is the best for you?? My research has been two fold. There are others who are here to represent, who are leading this new movement back to bespoke tailoring, gentlemen like Simon Crompton, Hugo Jacomet, Kirby Allison and others who have blogs and have written books and made videos to help us understand the process of bespoke and point us towards todays master tailors. They have done the research. They have invested in the craftmanship. They have critiqued the work and they have chosen those worthy of mention. I find it refreshing that so many tailors have family histories of many generations of experts in their trade. Of course, we all know that longevity does not guarantee quality.
Gennaro & Luigi Solito of Sartoria Solito, Napoli
By reading their blogs, watching their videos and reading their books, you will start to get an idea of which tailor may aptly represent your style and budget. It will be important to be honest with yourself. It can be easy to just want to copy someone else. But by the time you are ready to buy your first bespoke suit, you most likely will have a style that best represents you and will be drawn to one tailor more than another. You will want to consider things like shoulder design which varies significantly from traditional English Saville Row to traditional Napolitan styling. You will want to consider climate. I live in Florida making a Napolitan tailor the right fit for me. You will want to consider accessibility. A bespoke suit usually takes up to three visits over a duration of up to two months if you are local and potentially up to nine months if you are waiting for your traveling tailor to come back into town. And you will want to consider cost. If you have the luxury, you can also consider your tailor’s personality.
Most of all of this preparation can be done before commissioning your suit, but it will still not guarantee that you have found the one. If you choose a tailor recommended by the experts you will invariably get a wonderfully fitted suit that feels 100 times better than anything you have purchased before and if you don’t bother to keep shopping around, you might be perfectly content and return for a second. If you do shop around based on the recommendations or the experts, you will build an amazing collection while developing a comparative analysis from which you can pick and choose who is best for you.
The other way I try to educate myself is through researching styles I see and like, most often on shows. Who was Ari’s tailor in “Entourage”? for example.
It is an amazing and fun journey of exploration and discovery. Do your research and weigh all your options before you pull the trigger.