At what point do you suddenly become aware that you've "made it'’? For some it's the tug of a second hand sports car, for other's it's a 52" widescreen with speakers the size of jet engines. For a few, however, the true feeling of success comes only upon purchasing that first made-to-measure suit.
This year I’ve been lucky enough to have three bespoke suits made, and unusually for me - a man often brighter than a parakeet - they're all in shades of navy. Though, the similarities end there. With one setting me back £800, another came to £3,500. So today I'm asking, is the price you pay for Savile Row really worth it?
First up, the £800 offering from Mr Start on Rivington Street in Shoreditch. One advantage of having a made-to-measure is that you are free to choose your detailing. For this one, I intentionally left the jacket plain with no buttons or pockets so that I could wear it kimono-style with a scarf belt (as you do).
Mr Start is great for more experimental colour ways and contemporary cuts (they do a great 1960s shape with slim lapels). They have a good choice of house fabrics and linings - if you want 24 carrot gold pinstripe. for example, you can have it. That said, the detailing in the lining and the buttons could be stepped up a gear for a more luxurious finish. Mr Start suits feature working cuffs and half-canvassed jackets with an optional hand-stitched finish to the lapels, which overall, constitutes a pretty sharp cut.
£1,000 - £2,000
Next up is a double-breasted number from the Su Misura range by Ermenegildo Zegna. Starting from £1,220, the Italian house offers the finest finishes and incredible attention to detail. Their tailors are experts and notice everything – for instance, the fact that one of my shoulders is slightly higher than the other. This suit is super lightweight and hand-stitched. The only downfall of the Su Misura range, however, is the lack of cloth options, though for those with simpler tastes than I, Zegna is the place to go.
£3,000 - £5,000
Finally, the daddy of the group. Retailing at £3,500, this beautiful suit from Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies is a stunner. The cut is the most traditional of the three, with a slightly longer jacket and higher waistline on the trousers. Entirely hand-finished, Hardy Amies suits aren’t particularly daring but much like a quality chronograph or a decent set of kitchen knives, it's a lifetime investment that you're making. It’s the only suit of the three with horn, as opposed to plastic, buttons; it’s fully canvassed; the cloth is beautiful and, as one would expect, the detailing and finish demonstrate an effortless quality.
My conclusion? You get what you pay for. This is a sentiment which rings true with all three suits; each offers something different but quality of finish corresponds with price. The best has to be the Hardy Amies, as the classic styling is immaculate. It will never be in or out of fashion, it's incredibly comfortable but also hard-wearing (ideal for when I've had a few too many and I'm backspinning on the floor ) and if anything gives me that 'made it' feeling - it's this one.