From Khelan Bhatia. Follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB or email him at khelan[AT]borderstan.com.
Well hello, Borderstanis. It’s been a while, I know. I’ve missed our chats about all things menswear, fashion and style. But I’m back now… pinky swear.
Now that we have the pleasantries all sorted out, let’s get to brass tacks. You know I love nothing more than a perfect-fitting suit… and I loathe nothing more than shopping for one. Department stores, even high-end ones, are filled with off-the-rack monstrosities that cost more than they should, uninformed (and often-times rude) sales people who couldn’t give you fashion advice if you paid them (and, hey, guess what? we are paying them) — and other customers who keep getting in your way as they try to find that perfect belt to hold up their pleated pants.
Remember: your suit’s your armor in this crazy world; life in the District can be stressful enough but buying a great suit doesn’t have to be.
Made to Measure
Luckily, our little borough has seen a growth of made-to-measure suit makers to help us unlock our inner Don Drapers in a civilized manner. The latest and greatest of these is Michael Andrews Bespoke, who not only offers made-to-measure suits but is a full custom clothier. Already a force to be reckoned in NYC for the past seven years, Michael opened up his DC location last October on the corner of 17th and Q NW.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit his Dupont studio; as I walked in, I knew this is a place where I’d feel more than comfortable dropping a chunk of change for a well-tailored suit. Frank Sinatra was playing softly in the speaker and I was immediately offered a beverage of my choice.
As I was introduced to Michael, the proprietor of this lovely establishment, I noticed his sharp, finely cut three-piece navy suit (BTW, I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust anyone who looks sloppy). We sat down and chatted about the experience he and his team want to create for their prospective customers.
First of all, you have to make an appointment, and the DC studio is only open on Mondays and Tuesdays. But what better way to start off the week than to strategize about your next suit? Especially with a drink in hand. Once you have your appointment… and your beverage, Michael and his team get to know you as a customer (hopefully a customer for life).
Why do you need the suit? Is it for work? A wedding? What’s your budget? (Made-to-measure suits start at about $1,000; full bespoke suits at $1,395). Then they help guide you through the 10,000 or so fabrics they have in stock, in addition to their vast collection of linings (I gotta tell ya, they have some very, very fun ones) and other details, like buttons, etc.
Once you’ve made your selections, it’s time for the measurements. A few weeks later, you’ll come back for your first fitting and then a couple of weeks after that, you get your brand, spankin’ new suit. All in all, it takes about eight weeks, but don’t forget, good things take time and a little TLC (and I don’t mean No Scrubs).
That’s it for me this time around. Talk to you soon!