Very exciting news: Chris Despos has kindly offered to help me give Simply Refined’s readers a closer look at the bespoke process by cutting me a suit. I’ll be chronicling the process here, including technical detail, my own reactions, and any tips I can humbly impart along the way. Here’s the first installment.
You may remember my recent article about Chris Despos, one of the nation’s top tailors. I spoke with him a little more last week and this project emerged. Once the smelling salts were applied and had I hauled myself off the fainting couch (read: floor), we got down to business.
We started with the basic concept: a two-piece suit in textured navy wool. This way the jacket can be worn separately as a blazer, since I don’t have nearly enough occasions for wearing a full suit.
I flipped through few cloth options, only half-sure of what I was doing. Ultimately Chris chimed in and pointed me to a piece of deadstock worsted on his cloth-wall that fit the bill perfectly – Holland & Sherry’s Vendon, a particularly sturdy 110z worsted with some texture and a great depth of color.
To the mirrors. Chris whipped out his tape, sized me up, and started letting the questions fly. I’m pretty comfortable around Chris, but it is an intimidating process. Each answer feels like the most important one you’ll give in your lifetime. How many buttons? Two. Vents? Two. Belt loops? No. And so on as the tape flutters about.
It’s also a little weird coming to terms with the actual shape of your body. With most ready to wear brands vanity sizing and cutting things as they do, most of our human imperfections are glossed over. You could have the tailor keep yours to himself, but where’s the fun in that.
Luckily I have been measured before so it wasn’t a total shock when we started talking about my extremely lopsided shoulders, protruding shoulder blades, *ahem* prominent seat, etc. Chris kindly remarked that my 36″ chest and 5′ 7″ stature are “not unlike Fred Astaire.” Flattery, Chris, will get you everywhere.
To sum things up, after all my prevaricating, the coat will have notch lapels, flap pockets, two buttons, twin vents, and a fairly soft shoulder, while the trousers will sit on my natural waist, stay up with side-tabs and braces, and feature two pleats, slash pockets, and two-inch turn ups. Nothing too shocking, and a little old-school on the trouser choices.
To compliment the navy worsted I selected a bottle green lining (though burgundy nearly won out) and extremely dark horn buttons. By not selecting blue buttons the coat will look less like a divorced suit coat with odd trousers, yet the horn buttons remain discreet and unobtrusive when the suit is worn as a whole.
So everything is ready to go. The next step will be my basted fitting. That will be followed by possibly another basted fitting if there are any major adjustments needed, and then definitely both forward and final fittings. You’ll all be updated each step of the way. Here’s looking forward to next time!
Next: First Basted Fitting