Let’s be honest here. Custom suiting is a luxury that isn’t for everyone. It can be costly, frustrating, and often times disappointing. On top of that, a vast majority of custom clothiers across the country offer gender binary suiting options that do not account for those who don’t quite fit into the traditional molds. While I tend toward a masculine suiting concept, I possess some more feminine fitting needs. I am also more adventurous in my style than a traditional custom clothier can provide robust enough selections of patterns and materials. Thankfully, I happened upon Thúy of THÚY Custom Clothier while visiting my brother from another mother — NiK Kacy — about a year ago at Harlowe Bar in LA. Finally this past July Thúy, who currently operates out of San Francisco, and I had a chance to get together and collaborate on my first suit with her.
The experience of designing the suit was inspirational. Thúy presented me with possibilities, always mindful of my specific needs, wants, and desires. Rather than offering a limited number of options based upon the assumed needs of my gender, a veritable cornucopia of choices were laid out before me. My first THÚY Custom Clothier suit was born from a vision inspired by a Boardwalk Empire binge and my newest NiK Kacy Footwear Derby shoes.
Thúy kept me posted on the status of my suit’s readiness. After going through a final inspection for quality and accuracy, 7-weeks later the package arrived at my door. Before opening the box I reflected on the process, looked back through pictures of my experience designing the suit with Thúy, and then was ready to see how it all turned out.
Carefully unwrapping all three pieces, I first was taken by how everything exceeded the expectations from my fantasy. The material, color, pattern, and overall quality are impeccable. Functional buttons on the blazer sleeve, enough pockets inside my jacket to carry all the small necessities that previously crowded my pants pockets, and seams that respected the lines of the complications presented by the pattern. Even the lining I chose was deployed flawlessly — lining the blazer, vest (including the entire back of it), and the pockets of my pants. If the devil is in the details, this suit is Satan incarnate even down to the most advanced vest tightening belt/strap I’ve seen.
As I tried on each of the three pieces I was able to focus more on the fit and feel of the suit. The time and care that Thúy and I put into both measuring and communicating special requirements paid off. From where the waist and crotch sit to the break of the cuff, the pants — with contrasting fabric peeking through the back pockets — were near perfect. I was also overwhelmingly happy with the shawl collared double-breasted vest, a fresh take on a classic look. The blazer fits perfectly in the shoulders, which is critical. Of all the tailoring needs I’ve ever had in my life, the costliest was when I had to rework the shoulders of a suit jacket for my wedding.
No matter how accurate the measurements or sure the communication it is rare that a first attempt at a custom suit goes perfectly. Alterations are generally needed for a perfect fit. It was no different with this project. That being said, I can say with confidence that this is as close to perfect as I’ve every achieved. Fortunately for me, I have a wonderful local tailor — Kortni of DramaGirl Designs — who never lets me down when it comes to my tailoring (and sometimes custom work) needs. In anticipation of any final adjustments, THÚY Custom Clothier offers up to $50 reimbursement toward alterations with a local tailor — which was sufficient for the minor alterations for fit that I required.
Each time I’ve put on any piece of this suit I find myself reliving the entire experience. It is something I can truly call my own, unique to my specific desires, and worthy of a dapper lifestyle.
Since this was the fourth clothier with whom I’ve worked I have the keenest of hindsight and insight. Here are the top 9 (top 10s are so Buzzfeed) things I wish I knew before I made my first suit.
- Interview your clothier to make sure they can help you achieve your dream suit.
- Read reviews, recommendations, and testimonials.
- Know what you want and be specific when consulting.
- Have a budget in mind at the onset and communicate it up front.
- Be open to recommendations but remain firm if the recommendation truly compromises your vision.
- Understand the cost associated with each special request. They can stack up.
- Though the customizations are what make the end product so special, if the budget is firm then prioritize what you can live without.
- Unless literally providing a photo and communicating every last detail — translating an idea into wearable art can fall short of your dream.
- When you finally find a clothier who paints with the same brush, spread the word and remain loyal.