As of this moment, I am a very happy man.
Why? You might ask (even if you didn’t ask I’m going to tell you).
On Saturday I visited Erlend Norby at Stephen Shirts to try on my new made-to-measure suit. You might remember we had Part 1 and Part 2 over 5 weeks ago now. Well, the suit was made up and Erlend wanted me to come in and try it on.
As I stated before, made-to-measure gets a bad rap, deservedly so in most cases. But, and it’s a big but, it does have one advantage over bespoke, namely price. Of course you’re only getting a good deal if what you’re paying for is worth the money. At a starting price of £495, the service Erlend provides is most definitely value for money. The suit is not quite finished, but this is where Erlend’s credentials as a trained Savile Row cutter and tailor once again come into their own.
If you remember we deliberately chose a difficult design for this commission, a Kent style 4×2 Double Breasted. The difficulty comes not only in the button placement but getting a soft roll to the lapel, something normally only available with bespoke, because of the need for handwork to stitch in a floating canvas. However, Erlend uses one of the few manufacturers with machines capable of replicating this handwork, and is thereby able to provide a full floating canvas. We added additional complications by making it soft shouldered and cutting two different styles of trouser.
The reason Erlend wanted me in was to get the button placement exactly right so he could then cut the buttonholes. This is all part of the normal care he takes with any commission and while he doesn’t have second fittings as such he is able to make any alterations. Indeed, as he put it to me, “I could completely take the suit apart and rebuild it if necessary. There’s really nothing we can’t alter or fix”. Now, you don’t get that with most made-to-measure providers.
Well we did make a few additional alterations. You can possibly make out the tailors chalk where Erlend is going to take a little more cloth out of the chest and improve the armhole further. There was also a little more cloth across the back than he thought there should be, and the same with the jacket skirt where it meets the jacket flap. But these are minor adjustments which take excellent to perfect.
So far everything has exceeded my highest hopes. The softly tailored shoulders are perfect, the first time I’ve ever owned a jacket that was. Despite putting on a bit of weight these last few years, he managed to provide some waist suppression. The sleeves are wonderfully narrow, which makes a bigger difference to the illusion of being svelte than you’d imagine. Both pairs of trousers are exactly what I wanted particularly the Italian styled flat front pair with narrower legs. Flat front trousers are the ruination of bigger built men, so the fact these looked so good is a testament to Erlend’s skill.
I pick up the finished product on Friday.