December 1, 2003
“The goal is to get up in the morning and not have to worry that something is not going to fit right,” says Frank PeÃ±a, haberdasher for Tom James, an international company specializing in bespoke items for men and women. Custom clothing addresses personal tastes, comfort and lifestyle. Naturally, it costs more. Custom suits like those from Tom James can range from $700 to $12,000, but a prospective client should make sure the price is backed by fine craftsmanship. PeÃ±a offers tips on what to look for and how to wear it well:
Know Your Options. Aside from a perfect fit, suits should be constructed based on the type of work you do, your travel schedule, and the setting in which you conduct business. “I’m always updating my clients about new fabrics that wear better and/or breathe better,” says PeÃ±a.
Check for Glue Traps. The chest piece in between the fabric and lining is best when floating, says PeÃ±a. Many manufactures use glue to hold it in place, which will cause the jacket to ripple and bubble after several dry cleanings. Glue in shirt collars will eventually cause the shirt neck to shrink.
Double Order on Trousers. Particularly if you’re hard on clothes, suggests PeÃ±a. “Alternate the pants every time you wear your suit. That will increase its longevity.”
1. The Italian Job. Hand sewn and featuring silk threading (100% super 180), Ventura is top of the line for Tom James. Price: $5,000 — $12,000.
2. Construction Sight. Charles Tyrwhitt, known for fine ready-to-wear shirts, is now offering bespoke service. The company prefers you wear, wash, and test your first custom shirt before processing a full order. Minimum order: four shirts at $225 per shirt.
3. Getting a Leg Up. Haberdasher Anthony T has introduced his Made-to-Measure Trouser Collection in three models: Keith, Langston, and Madison. Price range: $175 — $275.
Top of the Line Custom Garments
1 Tom James: www.tomjames.com; 800-625-2228 x2407
2 Charles Tyrwhitt: www.ctshirts.co.uk 3 Anthony T: 718-783-2570