My return visit to Cad & the Dandy for the second fitting was conducted on one of the warmest days of the year. The thought of slipping into a woollen suit, no matter how beautifully made, was unconscionable. I wandered past the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and the sweaty mass of jacketless City boys into the charming, Dickensian side alley where C&D occupy a small berth. Too small, it would seem, for their current levels of business as they are expanding into another property around the corner to house their alterations operation. The fittings would still be conducted in the current property as the purpose of the acquisition of additional property is to smarten up the experience of visiting C&D.
Smartness isn’t much of an issue when it comes to the product. The last time I had seen my suit, it was a basted, half-made fragment of cobweb strength. I slipped it on and off, appraised the design and was pinned and brushed. The suit I saw this time was markedly different. I recognised the fabric in an instant; the subtlety of flannel is continually arresting. The jacket was now finished and I admired its beauty and construction as it hung there, gleaming in the spot-lit changing area. Fully canvassed and hand stitched, the jacket was something to behold but I was more concerned with how it appeared on my shoulders. The waistcoat had also been finished and the trousers, with double pleats and side adjusters, were making their debut appearance.
One has no reason to fear for one’s trousers here as they are always perfectly made. The waistcoat, next in line for analysis by James, was in need of adjustment. It lacked a little shape under the arms but it was simple work and would be completed, I was informed, in a couple of days. The jacket was splendid; snug, comfortable and beautifully weighted. James, with a rear view, began fiddling with the material; “I think this could be brought in more” he said. Initially I wasn’t sure, but a side view confirmed this. The trouble with looking in a mirror is that it isn’t nearly as accurate as a tailor’s eye.
“Are you happy with it?” asked James as John, who was responsible for the tailoring and the first fitting, wandered in from the glorious day. All the basic requirements were there – the waistcoat was shawl collared and double breasted, the jacket peak lapelled, slant and ticket pocketed and the trousers, cuffed and pleated. And it all fit my peculiar bones very well. I was certainly happy. The real question was, “Am I happier with this suit?” My first Cad & the Dandy suit was my first foray into tailoring. It fits beautifully, is robust and will always hold a special place for me in much the same way that one always remembers, clearly and affectionately, all of one’s ‘firsts.’
I can safely say, having examined them together and worn them in quick succession, that my new suit, the highest category of suit offered by C&D, the ‘Full London Bespoke’, is a noticeably superior product that comes with a noticeably superior price. Am I happier then? Well, I am certainly impressed. Happiness is impossible to rank so arbitrarily – it will take weeks, months and years to realise exactly how happy I am.
The question for any gentleman venturing to Cad & the Dandy to solve their suiting woes should be whether the ‘Bespoke’, a suit that actually has the right to use the term, is the correct choice for them or whether they should opt for one of the less expensive made-to-measure options. The question, as always, is one of preparedness. If you have a budget and are cautious about spending spondulicks on sartoria, opt for a made-to-measure. If you would like a suit that gives the rest of the Row a serious run for its money, go all out for the Full London Bespoke.