If you have the money for a new suit, many places in New York will gladly help you spend it. But for reasons of style or fit, there are times when buying off the rack just isn’t good enough, as the short-armed, long-legged, narrow-waisted, and strangely-shaped among us will understand.
Custom tailoring is not the cheapest option, but getting rid of the middleman can mean a better suit for your cash, if you can afford it. It also means a suit that really fits—and an ill-fitting suit is a waste of money no matter how much you spend. Before investing in a bespoke suit, it’s a good idea to talk to a few tailors. If you’re seeking out tailors in New York, here are some of the guys you should be talking to.
Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors
Saint Laurie was originally a Williamsburg tailor, back before it was Williamsburg. Founded in 1913 by Samuel Kozinsky, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, his son joined the firm in 1929 and moved the thriving business to Manhattan (its tailors currently work out of Koreatown). Saint Laurie barely survived the 1990s tech bubble, a victim not of computers but of casual Silicon Valley style crashing demand for suits.
Connections with Broadway, film, and television helped to keep Saint Laurie going, and its work has appeared in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the musical Jersey Boys, and even on the Muppets. Despite its brush with death, Saint Laurie unashamedly sticks to tradition: its centennial collection has a British look and praises the virtues of sturdy fabrics like worsted and tweed.22 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001
Michael Andrews Bespoke
“We are not your father’s custom tailor,” is Michael Andrews’ claims, and it’s not wrong. With a slightly younger feel than some of the others here—okay, much younger—this is a tailor that embraces vibrant color. Electric blues, sharp pinstripes, and seersucker jackets clamor for attention, although classic tweeds and tuxedos are not neglected either. A self-styled “recovering corporate attorney,” Michael Andrews visited many tailors in search of a suit he liked, and when he couldn’t find one, he decided to start making them himself.2 Great Jones Alley
New York, NY 10012
Photo by BKMag.com
Run by a husband-and-wife team hailing from California, Brooklyn Tailors is also a result of creative frustration. Daniel Lewis couldn’t find suits he wanted to wear, so he and his wife Brenna began a tailoring business in his Clinton Hill apartment. When demand for their suits outstripped supply, they moved to their current storefront in Williamsburg (proving that everything old is new again).
As befits the neighborhood, Brooklyn Tailors’ style can be described as hipster at a wedding—think unstructured jackets and slim-fitting suits in fabrics like cotton, for a look that compromises between formal and playful. The ready-to-wear collection can be customized, or clothes can be made from scratch. Brooklyn Tailors is also making a name designing a line of clothing for GAP.
Bhambi’s Custom Tailors
Bhambi’s clients come from “all walks of life,” as the website carefully puts it, but that’s being much too coy. Any tailor would love to have a James Bond on their client list, and Lal and Harry Bhambi are said to have two: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. You could run a political campaign in a Bhambi’s suit: just ask Senator John McCain. His Presidential campaign might have suffered from Sarah Palin’s wardrobe issues and his love of Ferragamo shoes, but his suits stayed firmly on message. The fact that the Bambis dress Bonds and Presidential contenders gives you a sense of their aesthetic.14 E 60th St
New York, NY 10022
510 Greenwich St
Photo by aandhmag.com
Founded in 2010, Miller’s Oath was inspired by Kirk Miller’s great-grandfather, who started a haberdashery in Groton, South Dakota, with his eight brothers. Miller’s Hudson Square store has the same can-do spirit but a very different clientele. Miller’s Oath prides itself on a “sleek yet elegant house silhouette,” with a stress on English fabrics, single-button jackets and cutaways evoking the morning coat. In 2014 Miller’s Oath launched its first season of ready-to-wear clothing.
Manhattan, NY 10013
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