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A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO EVENING WEAR ( SECOND EDITION)



 

Assembling Your Wardrobe
Buying Basics
Major Retailers
Supplemental Retailers
Custom Tailoring
White Tie Investments


 

LEGEND & NOTES

Information compiled
February 2011.

Prices are listed in the retailer's national currency and exclude shipping and applicable taxes or duties.


The globe symbol indicates that international shipping is available.


 

Trunk Shows


Michael Stewart Menswear


Made-to-measure patterns and fabrics are often offered by  manufacturers such as Samuelsohn or Coppley that also sell ready-to-wear suits.  These companies will regularly feature "trunk shows" at menswear shops that carry their products in order to offer discounts on their tailored suits.
 

Support The Guide

 

If you order from any of the retailers listed here please let them know how you found them!
 
► DIY Accessories

 

Another option for custom waistcoats, cummerbunds and bow ties is to use a pattern to make them yourself or to have a local tailor make them for you.  See The Black Tie Blog for details.
 
► Measuring Up

 

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If ordering from an online tailor, have a local tailor measure you to avoid costly mistakes. Be sure to bring an existing suit with you so the tailor can better account for the unique requirements of your body shape and posture.   For more important information on a proper fitting session, see Style Basics.

Custom Tailoring

 

Prices vary significantly depending on the tailor and the selected fabric but generally speaking a man can purchase a custom tuxedo adapted from a standard pattern (made-to-measure) for the cost of a mid-market or quality suit, or from an entirely original pattern (bespoke) for the cost of a premium model. 


The advantages of custom-made over ready-to-wear are enormous since the customer can choose the exact fabric, features and fit that he wishes.  Indeed, some classic details such as midnight blue fabric or traditional low-cut waistcoats can often only be obtained in this manner as they are no longer offered in most ready-made garments.

 

 

Bespoke


At the highest end, bespoke suits and shirts offer the best quality construction and the best fit.  Since the process mandates multiple fitting sessions, it can only be done in person. 


When shopping for such a service be aware many tailors will use the term "bespoke" interchangeably with "made-to-measure" or "custom".  While some of these haberdashers may produce wonderful garments, they are not truly bespoke unless the process involves multiple fittings and patterns created from scratch.  Purists will further argue that such suits also require hand stitching and floating canvas interlining.



Made-to-Measure


Made-to-measure apparel generally utilizes time-saving shortcuts in its construction and requires only one "fitting" to obtain the customer's measurements.  As a result, it can be done in person or remotely. 


Local Tailoring


Ordering these custom garments from a local tailor or haberdasher will ensure that the measurements are properly taken, enable the tailor to asses any unique modifications required by your physique and provide for easy alterations after delivery, if necessary.  It will also allow the customer to select a fabric from a variety of samples or, in the case of independent tailors, even purchase it from a third-party textile retailer if he is so inclined.


Distance Tailoring


Ordering custom garments from an out-of-town tailor may allow for cheaper labor costs but it also presents a number of challenges.  This option requires the customer to take his own measurements (or have a local tailor do so), often choose the fabric based only on photos, and ship the item back to the tailor if alterations are required post-delivery.  If you are up to such a challenge, you may be interested in some of the following distance-tailoring options.

 

• Traveling Tailors

 

TailoredMan.com is an example of a traveling Hong Kong tailor that will visit major North American cities to take measurements in person and provide the customer the ability to choose a fabric from a selection of samples.  Virginia-area clients can shop directly at the company's store in Alexandria and the rest of the world can order online for slightly higher prices.
MyTailor.com are Hong Kong tailors who visit the US and London.   Formal shirts are available online but suits and waistcoats have to be fitted in person.  Tuxedos range from $700 - $1,700 US, tailcoats from $800 - $2,100.  Facings are available in satin or grosgrain as are waistcoats.  Waistcoats come in classic low-cut style with rounded or squared revers or no revers at all (they can be found on the "Tuxedo" page).  Dinner jacket separates are available in winter white, velvet or tartan among other fabrics.

MyCustomTailor.com are Thailand tailors who visit the US, Canada, UK and Australia/New Zealand and also take online orders. 

 

• Online Tailors

 

Ravis Custom Tailors is based in Thailand and offer dozens of dinner jacket styles, some with custom waistcoats. Support the Black Tie Guide by telling them you heard about them here!  
De La Vega Tailors is a Spain-based online company that offers custom 2-piece and 3-piece tuxedos.  Services provided in English and Spanish.  Support the Black Tie Guide by telling them you heard about them here!
A Suit That Fits is a UK-based company that offers made-to-measure suits and shirts.  Their garments are constructed in Nepal.  In 2008 a Canadian reader informed The Black Tie Guide of a very satisfactory experience ordering a 3-piece midnight blue tuxedo for 310 plus 55 delivery.  (Duty was an extra $75.)  This included a low-cut waistcoat which the company designed based on information from The Guide.  The tailor's site also provided an online video to explain how to take accurate measurements.
Giorgenti Best Custom Shirt is a US online company that offers made-to-measure formal shirts starting at $69 (60/40 cotton blend).

 

 
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