Welcome back to The Buy Line, where we analyze how the new market forces of menswear—driven by the Internet and the rise of a more savvy consumer—have redefined where the intersection of well-made and well-priced lands.
In a perfect storm of British rakishness, custom tailor Duncan Quinn has fully kitted out a London double-decker bus with custom suits and cocktails. And he’s on his way to a town near you.
We got a sneak peak at the whole operation last night over a few barrel-aged rum cocktails (yes, those will be along for the ride) in the upstairs speakeasy and were duly impressed with the roominess of the downstairs menswear shop on wheels. The tour began last night in NYC with a three-night stint and will continue in Miami for another three nights starting February 20. It will then make its final stop in LA for another three nights starting March 26. As you can imagine, time and space is limited, so drop Mr. Quinn a line if you’d like to get suited up when he’s in town.
As you might remember from the latest installment in our ongoing campaign for the summer pocket square (sure, we’re still a month from official summerdom, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t get a head start), we directed you to the newest pochettes from P. Johnson. But until this morning, you wouldn’t have been able to get your hands on them (or the resplendent shantung silk ties, or in-house hangers, for that matter) without an appointment and plane ticket to Melbourne.
The internet has just become a more handsome place.
It’s not a lookbook exactly—he only bothers with pictures every couple of years—but it’s a great reminder of what a sharp tailor can do. If you’re having a suit made any time soon, this is one to bookmark.
If you’ve had a custom suit made recently, you may have noticed a mind-boggling number of choices piling up in front of you. Would you like contrast threading? Two or six-millimeter pick-stitching? How do you feel about buttonholes?
The decisions are easier to handle with a trusted tailor, but with Web shops opening up left and right, it can be a genuinely befuddling moment. Unless you’ve spent the last few years studying StyleForum, you might not know the coded sartorial meaning of kissing buttonholes or the dozen other affectations swirling around the edges of a custom suit.
So we’re going to explain it all, here and now. The good news is, it’s simpler than you think.
One particular surprise: just like Band of Outsiders and (gulp) Ed Hardy, their path to the top ran through Hollywood. They converted Fred Astaire and a few of his friends, and have never wanted for business since.
So to show you that British drape up close—we’ve put together a few of our favorite pics from Anderson & Sheppard’s first generation of fans, including Gary Cooper, Rudolph Valentino and Laurence Olivier.
Continuing our run of handsome double-breasted suits, we present one Theodore Crispino, with a perfect specimen of the aforementioned suit.
It’s not exactly casual—if he wanted that, he would have worn something you can unbutton—but it’s more of a uniform. In menswear, that’s a pretty good tradeoff. It doesn’t hurt that this one is cut high and tight, and perfectly accessorized with the peeking pocket square and a barely visible polka dot tie. This, gentlemen, is how it’s supposed to look.
Naturally, Mr. Crispino is a tailor, so he designed the suit himself and had it stitched together the legendary and beloved Martin Greenfield. This kind of expertise doesn’t come easy. But if you find yourself commissioning a doubled suit of your own, you could do a lot worse than giving them this picture.
There’s a Self-Repair Manifesto currently making the rounds among the tech crowd under the familiar slogan, “If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.” In short, they want you to learn to fix your bike and figure out what Linux is.
For the sake of our pants, we'll skip the axle grease, but it's worth considering what this would mean for your wardrobe.
Yeezy Strikes Back: XXL’s new Kanye cover story is basically unedited excerpts from his diary. He’s officially broken the fourth wall of journalism. Awesome stuff. [XXL]
Shouldering Responsibility: A guide to the many varieties of shoulder on tailored suits. Advanced studies. [Men’s Flair]
Still the Man: Steve Albini on GQ: “I would like the fashion industry to collapse…. At least pornography has a function.” Running with this one took gumption. Our hats are off. [The Q]
The Internet Must Pay: Just because it’s Wednesday, here’s your chance to turn a helpless website into an Asteroids-style demolition derby, thanks to a clever new browser toy. Just leave us out of it, please. [Wired]
The sartorial sage’s latest work is Bespeak, an iPhone app that determines the specs of your perfect suit based on your height, coloring and body shape. The impressive thing is how natural it feels, since so much of his work points men towards exactly this kind of choice. It’s shinier, but the basic wisdom hasn’t changed.
We’re always glad to see signs of men getting a little more educated about their clothes, so this Observer piece was what we call in the business “a very good sign.”
Here’s the gist: New York tailors are starting to get customers who aren’t afraid to get into gritty technical details like ankle measurements, tapering and shoulder pitch. In short, they know what they’re doing.