It was seven weeks ago when I first went to Michael Andrews Bespoke. It was seven weeks ago that I entered the promised land of fine clothing, a place that would help create a most handsome set of garments for me. And seven weeks is what it took for me to become the proud owner of a bespoke suit.
I was rather satisfied with the fit of the try-on suit, but I still left a little bit unsure about what the final product would be like. I was a little nervous. To me, getting this suit was like having a baby: I handed over my likeness along with my financial commitment, with no guarantee of complete satisfaction. I was worried: what if I didn’t look good in a two-button dual-vent suit with a ticket pocket? I had always had three-button suits and the last time I tried a two-button one it was horrendous. Even with the try-on suit, I wasn’t sure what it would feel like, what it would truly look like with my chosen cloth. The try-on was plain black, thick and a little unwieldy: what would my real suit be like? The pockets were not there either, so I had no clue how the slanted pockets and ticket pocket would affect my image. I started second-guessing whether or not it was truly bespoke, or if I was paying out the wazoo for a sham of a suit. I had as many concerns as Michael Andrews Bespoke had my dollars. So when the day came that my actual suit had arrived for a final fitting, I was nervously excited. After all those visits, all the fittings, I would finally come to see the fruits of our collaborative efforts. I went back to the studio. It was an apparently quiet day, with only Clark and Marian manning the stations. My suit was hung up by the mirror, ready for my appraisal. I closed the curtains and donned my new custom tailored façade.Emerging from the billows of cloth, and taking a step back from the mirror, I looked at myself. My hair was a little tussled from removing my sweater. I was sweating a little from I deemed to be their overly warm thermostat. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and took a deep breath.
The image in the mirror was a sight to behold. A man in a ill-fitting Calvin Klein suit had walked into the studio seven weeks ago. Today, that man would walk out with a suit that was impressive, respectful, handsome, and irresistible.
I looked at my reflection and admired my suit. It was perfectly proportioned, cutting a flattering figure. My shoulders were no longer overly large, and my stout stature no longer appeared boxy and cumbersome. The cloth draped nicely, the way water flows off the crest of a stream in an elegantly smooth sheet. I touched the cloth and rubbed it between my fingers. It was no longer a stiff and rough artificial darkness prescribed by Calvin Klein, but a tender black wool that was pleasing to the touch. I looked at my sleeves, whose buttons were fully functional, with a mysterious burgundy grosgrain peeking out from underneath the plackets. The buttonholes were sharply defined: they were not the machine sewn variety seen on less fortunate suits.
The waistcoat was a fine one that fit me like a second skin. I was pleased at my decision to go with a vest: I would now have four extra pockets to use. Not only did the waistcoat have serve a utilitarian need, it enhanced the already respectful and ritzy look of my suit, elevating the outfit above most of the other suits walking about on the streets of New York. It had its own distinct image, one that could evoke a different feel depending on its wearer’s demeanor and choice in style of wear.
Again I gazed upon my silhouette with admiration. Finally, I was graced by clothing that was not ill-fitted to the large legs I developed from leg-pressing too much. My trousers streamlined the lower half of my figure. The jacket was beautifully cut: it conformed nicely to my waist while avoiding constriction. In my old sack suit, my figure was hidden beneath the generic and overly spacious cut. My bespoke suit carved away at that old blobbish image, in its place a flattering and more attractive silhouette that brought balance to my large features. I was impressed at how my clothing now reflected my internal state: an unmoving confidence, with an understated and barely perceptible sense of mystery. My slightly thick neck and broad shoulders felt liberated: I had a greater range of movement than I did when wearing, well, most anything but T-shirts and such. I wiggled my legs, stretched out my arms, and bent down as if tying my shoe. It felt wonderful. It felt as though I may as well have not been wearing any clothes at all. The fact that I could move so comfortably while dressed so elegantly was an incredible freedom.
I stayed in front of the mirror admiring the birth of this fine sartorial work while Clark tucked away at various parts of my suit to check for the fit. Marian was quite vocal about her satisfaction of the final product. I was thoroughly satisfied, save for the fact that they failed to ask me if I was left-handed: the pen pocket on the inside of the jacket was on the wrong side. They packed away my excellently tailored suit in a nice garment bag that had handles on either end. My bespoke shirt was also boxed up: a pinpoint oxford cotton in white with a barely perceptible dotted texture that provided a solid look and feel to it, with a French cuff withslanted corners.Before I left, I suggested to Clark that they put a little checkbox on the form: “Are you left-handed?” If I were a more patient man who cared immensely about the placement of the pen pocket, I would’ve held Michael Andrews Bespoke to their satisfaction guarantee. However, the truth is that it’s not all that important to me, and I already felt that seven weeks was long enough to wait.
When I got home, I put on the suit again. And this time, in the privacy of my own home, in familiar lighting and environment, an uncontrollably wide smile expanded across my face, the type of smile where teeth show. I normally don’t have a toothy grin, but that’s precisely what I had on my face when I looked again in the mirror. I started laughing with a happiness I don’t remember feeling in ages. Hell, you could even say that I started cackling. I begun to exclaim to myself, aloud mind you, just how awesome I looked. This was the absolute height of my vanity: never in my entire life have I looked upon myself with such self-love and inglorious attention to just how irresistibly handsome I looked in the suit. My humble nature fell away. I couldn’t believe how vain I was. I looked at myself in the mirror for what must’ve been half an hour.
With all that attention on myself, I noticed little details about my trousers that delighted me. The pockets seemed to be perfectly angled. They were roomy too, with coin pockets in either pocket. There was a rubbery strip that lined the waistband, to prevent shirts from slipping out. There was a tiny break at the center back of the waistband as well, to prevent it from rolling when sitting down. I discovered that I much preferred the pair of pants that used side adjusters instead of a belt.
I also fell in love with my waistcoat: it was a look that I much preferred, far more than wearing the suit without it. It created a more distinct and more refined image. I also noticed that my bespoke suit’s lapels looked nice. They didn’t seem so flat and pressed like my Calvin Klein suit: the hand rolled lapels helped soften the lines. And although the wool was black, it’s dark severity was offset by the subtle herringbone pinstripes.
I tried different combinations of my new outfit: with the waistcoat, without it, with a tie in a half Windsor knot, with a tie in a full Windsor, jacket buttoned and unbuttoned. I was playing dress-up, and I was my own doll. In all honesty, I did not want to take my suit off. I wanted to wear it every minute of the day.
Michael Andrews Bespoke had created for me a bespoke suit that was not only well-designed, handsome, and elegant, but incredibly comfortable. I placed a large amount of money, but more importantly my trust, in their hands. And they delivered. Their expertise, attention to detail, and keen aesthetic eye turned out a sartorial piece of artwork. It may not exactly be a masterpiece of epic scale, but I absolutely love my bespoke suit. It was well worth the price, and my complete and utter satisfaction on this first suit will guarantee that I will return to them for all of my bespoke needs. I would highly recommend them to everyone I know.
I strongly believe that everyone should have at least one bespoke suit in their wardrobe. I recently saw some wedding photos. The bride is a friend of a friend. The groom was a very large and rather portly fellow, rotund by any measure. It is no doubt that he would be a difficult fit for a suit, or any type of clothing for that matter. I was so disappointed to see that his suit was so poorly fitted. The sleeves were anywhere from three to four inches too long, and the jacket was too small across his belly: it was clearly too tight and did not fit him. I wondered why anybody would get married in such a terrible looking suit. I am aware that people do rent tuxedos for their wedding, and I can’t remember making such a distinction between suit and tuxedo: all I could look at were the flaws in his sloppy attire. But a wedding is a once in a lifetime event. Well, not anymore, but one should treat it as such. Anyway, I was irked to see that this man did not have the self-respect to dress himself appropriately for his own wedding. I thought, “This is your own wedding!” I wanted to yell at him for having the gall to appear in such a bad suit. Now, some may argue that the groom may not have had the money for a bespoke suit. But if you cannot afford even to buy a suit off the rack and to have it altered to fit you, then honestly, you really shouldn’t be getting married. By all means, get engaged. But for the sake of your children’s memories as they look upon the wedding photos, wait until you can at least look presentable at your own wedding.
With that said, I will be enjoying my bespoke suit as much as I can. I’m grateful that this journey of mine ended wonderfully. In fact, I have the fortune of having a friendly little dinner to attend tonight, so I will of course be proudly appearing in my suit. But I love it so much that I would wear it every single day. I just hope that it will last through my enthusiasm, because I fully intend to wear it every chance I get, even when it isn’t necessary to wear a suit (and perhaps especially so when it is not).
So look out New York, I’m bringing back the suit. Don’t be surprised to see an incredibly well-dressed man picking up groceries at a bodega or going to the local movie theater to catch an afternoon matinée. ¶