You need a suit.
But not a suit that buries your body in excess fabric. You want something modern—slim and classic. The problem? You don’t know where to start or your actual size. You don’t trust yourself.
Strapping a tape measure from your belly button under your crotch and up to your lower back while solo seems kinky. But you’d prefer company. You need help.
Help arrived in Toronto on Wednesday night, with its summer collection in tow. Online men’s retailer Indochino (whom we’ve recommended before) introduced Toronto to its Traveling Tailor pop-up shop. Drop the tape measure. For three to four weeks, fitting experts will make buying a bespoke suit easy without gutting your budget.
Amazonian women in black miniskirts and pumps hoist food platters as they strut across the room. This event is for VIPs, a party to kick things off. People who already own expensive clothes mingle. Not me.
I pluck a glass of red wine from the table and accept a shrimp in a shot glass. Then I scribble gibberish in my notebook. I finger fabrics and give calculated nods to no one until I meet Anna who steers me to Michelle, my fitting expert.
Indochino trained Michelle and other Torontonians to take your measurements. You book an appointment and show up (appointments should last thirty to forty-five minutes). I surrender my contact info to Michelle’s iPod. Indochino stores your measurements online to aid future purchases.
During the measuring phase, don’t flex. Touch your belly button only when asked. Praise your decision to post-work deodorize when asked to lift your arms. You can make jokes. I stand in the front of the mirror and insist that before my August wedding I’ll shed that neck fat.
What kind of lapel are you? In the showroom, Michelle offloads a series of choices. Here’s where anxiety snakes into the process. There’s a long list of custom items. Included in that mix are lapels (peak or notch, wide or narrow), lining, wool (high and higher quality), jacket venting and even monogramming.
You get two lines of text, twenty characters each. I choose “Pierre Hamilton | Man of Culture.” Sorry long-named men. You’ll need to lop something off to enjoy that feature.
There are many, many choices, but the experience is an education. It’s not rushed, pretentious or pushy. It should stay that way. I learned a lot about suits and what I want. Having a knowledgeable tour guide helps. Because sometimes the best salesperson is your friend—a friend with a product to push.
I wanted to know what kind of guy booked appointments at the Traveling Tailor. So I asked Indochino founder and CEO Kyle Vucko. He gestured to some dapper members of the Toronto Argonauts. Then he mentioned kids seeking prom gear. Is it me or is Moore’s not good enough for prom any more? He even says older men who skew Harry Rosen will give it a try. But he also mentioned college-aged kids, which is fitting.
Indochino’s roots sprouted at the University of Victoria. Kyle and a friend needed suits for a conference. The selection sucked. Popular retailer priced cool suits out of their reach. Off-the-rack suits didn’t fit. They had an idea. They found a Chinese supplier and started selling online. Now they offer tailored suits for a good price.
And they’ve realized something. Meeting people in person installs a bond. That in-person meeting can erase the anonymity and ease of measure at home, point, click, buy. And that helps Indochino meet their core purpose. “Our brand is about confidence and success and enabling guys to be their best selves,” Kyle says.
I scoped out what the Argonauts were wearing. They’re fine. It’s the rest of us that will benefit from a trip to Indochino’s Traveling Tailor. The result—after four weeks to make and ship it to your —is a suit that suits your body.
Visit Travelling Tailor for more information or to book an appointment.
Visit Alterations and Returns to see their alterations promise. If your custom suit arrives and stills needs fixing, they’ll give you $75 to apply to a tailor of your choice.
Pierre Hamilton is a freelance writer from Toronto, where some of his best friends describe him as an acquired taste. He enjoys bourbon and scotch, but craves craft beer, overproof Jamaican rum and great non-fiction. He has a very limited style knowledge but knows what he likes. He also produces a monthly music podcast called Sound Considerations. Follow him, but not too closely, on Twitter.
Photography courtesy of Indochino.