The Complete Suit Guide
By A.J. Machete
Custom tailored clothing is not for everyone. And most people will never desire to go to the trouble of having each and every piece of their wardrobe custom made.
For the client (to say nothing of the tailor or dressmaker) having a garment made is a labor of love. One must make dozens of important minor decisions about everything from pocket style, to buttons, lapels to vents and fabrics. It takes, in fact, a degree of patience and focus.
Having a garment custom made will never replace the impulse buy. It is something of a labor, a labor, one might say, of taste.
On Being Distinct
In order for clothes to have meaning, they must share common reference points.
Clothing, and each of the details of pattern and design, are a shared (not a private) language.
Nothing can be truly new or else it risks being senseless and speaking to no one.
The great literary (and fashion) critic, Walter Benjamin once described fashion as a “tiger’s leap in to the past”.
Details, designs, and ideas are snatched from the place in which they originally had meaning and thrust into a new world, a new language, and are asked to mean and function anew.
A D-ring on a trenchcoat, which once served as a place of attachment for a map case during the Great War, becomes merely a decorative detail without function.
But when we attach one of these rings to our coats, it carries with it a touch of early century seriousness, a memory of class and also of duty. It speaks to a time in which we labored, in which the things that we had and that we wore were focused and functioned in ways that were tied to valor and death.
It still means, and it means potently, although the function is no longer the same.
But when we say that each piece of clothing must speak in a common language, we do not imply that each garment should not be utterly distinctive.
We are all different people with different lives. Our lives are filled to the brim with particular meanings that stem from our histories, our loves, our labors.
A custom suit is written in this language, made up of our desires, our aspirations, our tasks.
We can alter the shape of a lapel slightly to change “classic” into “youthful”, 1910 into 1960s Mod, or professor into laborer. A fabric can speak of Ireland, or Italy, or of an American memory of durability and things that last and stand the test of time.
The shape of a pocket can make a conservative coat suddenly punk or can change a dandy into a modernist.
A custom suit isn’t just something that you pull on like a costume. It should be woven from the warp and the weft of who you are and should emblemize the place where your past and your aspirations meet, expressing something that has never been said in quite this way before and that will never be said again in quite this manner.
The suit is about who you are now, right at this moment where history and the future collide and recombine. It is about you, your mind and your body. It isn’t something that you buy, but something that is grown, created, worked for.
The Aesthetics of Existence
You are your practices. You are what you do, what you make. And the choices that you make create the atmosphere in which you live your life.
Everything that you own, that you wear, the bath products that you use, each of these things is a symbol, not only to others, but to yourself. They speak to you and tell you who you are and what matters, beauty, truth, duty or mundane survival.
Taste and style aren’t merely something extra…. They are the very air that we breathe, a smog that chokes us, or something more crisp, heady, liberating.
Above all, custom clothing is filled with meaning, history, place. Dressing well and distinctively is about having more meaning in your life; about replacing empty products which you “put on” or “add” to your life with something that is filled up with the those ideas, colors, and textures that are central to your identity and signify the world that you want to live in.
Where to start….
Tell us something about yourself. Where you work, the types of events that you attend, the artists, authors, time periods that interest you. The colors you like. An actor or a movie with a style that fascinates you. And we will start sketching and sending you fabrics until we find the perfect design.