I spend a lot of time with my tailer, it’s rare, in fact, when he doesn’t alter most of my clothes at least once. Not T-shirts, socks, ties, and un- derwear, if you must know, but just about every- thing else. I’ll have jeans tapered a little bit or the seat of a pair of khakis adjusted or shirts taken in just enough so that they’re not too boxy.
spend a lot of time with my tailor. It’s rare, in fact, when he doesn’t alter most of my clothes at least once. Not T-shirts, socks, ties, and underwear, if you must know, but just about everything else. I’ll have jeans tapered a little bit or the seat of a pair of khakis adjusted or shirts taken in just enough so that they’re not too boxy.
The main focus of my tailoring obsession, however, is suits. Are the shoulders right? Is the break just a touch too full? And don’t get me started on sleeve length. It’s safe to say that I’ve sometimes spent more on tailoring a piece of clothing than I did on buying it in the first place. But given how often the editors of this magazine, myself included, declare “Fit is everything,” I feel it’s essential for me to put my money where my mouth is. Clothes, particularly suits, never fit me right off the rack. I’m always amazed—and more than a little jealous—when I hear someone say he can go into a store and grab a suit in his size and all they need to do is hem the trousers.
So I was surprised on a recent trip to London to find a suit at my favorite Savile Row tailor that fit like nothing had ever fit me before. For starters, I hadn’t planned on shopping. I simply wanted to stop by and say hello. While I was there, though, I was asked if I wanted to try something on. Knowing that nothing “off the peg,” as they would say, was going to fit me, I politely declined.
“I’m pretty sure that a 40 is going to be too small and a 42 is going to be too big—if only you had a 41, then we’d be in business,” I informed my friends, realizing, of course, that suits are generally not produced in odd sizes.
As I said this, the tailors looked at each other and smiled, before one said he might have something in the back.
“This was made for a client of ours, but it’s pretty much right in between a 40 and a 42,” he told me as he emerged with a beautiful suit. “I know you don’t typically like this shade of blue, but let’s take a look.”
On it went. For a tailoring nerd like me, it was heaven. The fit was perfect.
“Holy shit,” I said. “This is incredible.”
He was right: I didn’t love the blue—it was far too rich for me, and I’ve always been more of a navy man—but it was like putting on a bespoke suit.
“I’ll take it,” I said. “How can I not? I’ll deal with the color.”
“I’m sorry, but we can’t sell you this suit,” I was told.
“You have to. Just make another one for your client,” I pleaded. “I’m not in London often enough for you guys to make me one.”
“Dan,” the tailor said in a hushed tone. “This suit was made for Prince William.”
Oh. Well, that explains the royal blue.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had an extra little spring in my step ever since. And if anyone knows Prince William, tell him I’m comfortable with hand-me-downs—particularly if they fit like a glove.
I’d miss not seeing my tailor as often, but, hell, I could always start bringing him my socks and undies.