Custom Suits for Women NYC

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If you're a woman, buying a great custom tailored suit in New York is a pretty difficult proposition. There are plenty of tailoring companies out there, many of whom offer custom options for women. But most NY tailors are just simply not setup to properly accommodate women.  

For one thing, women's bodies are obviously different to men's in fundamental ways. We require our own sizing templates and methods. It's not good enough to just squeeze us into men's formats, which is what a lot of custom companies tend to do. The results, in my experience, are not great... You basically end up with a pretty ill-fitting suit or blazer, in other words. Going through the process of being squeezed into a men's custom template might even be enough to turn a lot of women off custom suiting altogether.  

There is also the issue of design and styling when it comes to women's custom suiting. Most male-oriented companies just don't get what women want in terms of style and design.  

Generally speaking, we don't want what the guys have. We want other options, often of the more fashion-forward variety. We want flair and textures that are uniquely feminine, and the fabric options aimed at men simply don't cut it.  

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This ineptitude in terms of styling for women in the custom suiting business is the major issue as we see it. Most of us don't want to walk into fitting studios filled with chesterfield lounges and too much dark wood. We don't much want brown liquor on the rocks or a cigar to go with our fitting experience. These glorified man-caves don't inspire much confidence that a chic and feminine custom garment is going to be delivered in the end. Sorry. 

At Watson Ellis, we create custom suits for the women of NYC with women specifically in mind. What that means is that our sizing and fitting methods have been specifically developed to accommodate women.  

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I’m constantly working on curating the best fabric and design options for women too. Radical textures, colors, patterns, as well as more classic styles. We feel we truly have great options for women of all tastes.  

We've also worked really hard to setup the Watson Ellis showroom - 80 8th Avenue Suite 1010 New York, NY  10011 - as a space that will make women feel comfortable and confident that they are in good hands as soon as they walk in the door. 

We are passionate about working with women and getting as many of the women of NYC in custom garments designed to perfectly fit their bodies and reflect their personalities. Feel free to book a no obligation time to come in so we can chat further about the Watson Ellis process for women - https://www.watsonellis.com/appointment




Tips from A Top Tailor on How to Buy a Bespoke Suit

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In the market for a new bespoke / custom suit? It's not always easy to know where to turn these days. There are so many options in NYC alone, and just about all of them seem to be offering the same things -- custom or bespoke suits perfectly tailored to your body, along with design options personalized to your particular style.

We thought it might be helpful to fill you in on a few things you should be looking out for if you are shopping around for what we'd call a classic, or 'true', bespoke suit.

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What is a Bespoke Suit?

In suiting terms, bespoke basically means handmade to your unique specifications. That's the first thing to be aware of -- is the suit you're looking at buying handmade by one tailor from start to finish, or is it factory-line made, piece by piece by many sets of hands. If it's the latter then it's not a bespoke suit or garment. It might be what's called a made-to-measure suit, but it's not bespoke or true custom.

Price of a Bespoke Suit

The second thing you should be looking out for is, to be blunt, the price. We see lots of ads these days for $400 or $500 'custom' suits. The bottom line is they're not actually custom or bespoke.

It's impossible, in the US at least, to offer a truly bespoke suit for that price. I mean, it's not impossible, but you wouldn't be in business for very long if you did it. A suit at that price is made-to-measure, at best. What that means is that in addition to offering only a very narrow range of fabric types for that price, there will be a limited array of design options to choose from. In other words, you can't go putting the buttons wherever you want; nor can you craft a lapel however you damn well please. These are just a few of the many examples. Basically, for that price you will be limited to the few variables in terms of sizing and design that factory-line made-to-measure production is capable of performing.

Design Limitations

Third, you need to be looking out for those design limitations. True custom / bespoke suiting implies that everything is on the table in terms of design. If you want an absurdly wide peak lapel that reaches all the way to the edges of your shoulders, or a ridiculously exaggerated drop-crotch in your tuxedo pants, then you should be allowed to have it. The designer and / or tailor you're working with might (and possibly should??) advise against such choices, but the point is that under the rules of bespoke you should be able to do whatever you like with your garments.

If it's a flat no to your design ideas for a suit, then you probably need to question whether it's actually a true bespoke / custom process.

The Fitting Process

A true bespoke or custom suit requires an in-person fitting process. It also usually requires a muslin, or test, garment to be made before the real thing is produced. There should be several steps (multiple appointments) to this fitting process as well.

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To put it as simply as we can, the bespoke process means a tailor will be fussing around you while you stand in your test garment. They'll be taking measurements, securing pins where alterations need to be made, jotting down notes. After alterations are made you'll go back and see the tailor again, and you'll keep going back until everything is perfect and no more changes need to be made, at which point you'll take the garment home.

It can be a little time consuming and tedious (though not at Watson Ellis because we're excellent conversationalists, ha), but the end result will be a garment that'll feel better than anything you've ever put on straight off-the-rack.

If all you're doing is entering a series of measurements into an online form, then it's not bespoke / custom. Or if your fit specialist is simply putting you in the closest fitting template without noting or making any adjustments and / or alterations to the fit before the order is submitted, then it's not bespoke / custom either. Or if it's just a one-and-done fit session, followed by final delivery of your garment/s, then it's not bespoke.

At Watson Ellis, we work with the world's best mills and manufacturers to bring you handmade luxury custom clothing. That's what we do. No half measures. We also offer the most modern and fashion-forward approaches to the design of your custom suit, overcoat, shirt and blazer. Learn More

5 Benefits of Custom Tailored Suits

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Why buy a custom tailored suit instead of just buying a suit off the rack? After all, the off-the-rack suit is probably going to be cheaper, plus you can take it home right away instead of waiting for 3-4 weeks for it to arrive.

And then there's the whole second fitting step when you buy custom... This whole custom suit business seems like more trouble than it's worth, doesn't it?

These are questions a lot of people ask themselves when they're thinking about buying a new suit. We know, we've heard them many times. So we thought we'd lay out five benefits, as we see it, of choosing to buy a custom tailored suit over one that's straight off the rack.

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1. THE LONGEVITY OF A CUSTOM TAILORED SUIT

Sure, a custom tailored suit might cost you more up front than one off the rack. Our prices for a 2 piece suit, for example, start around $1200, whereas we've seen suits in other ready to wear stores for around $300.

But the big difference here is that a Watson Ellis custom tailored suit will last you much much longer than the cheaper option. Our suits are handmade by expert tailors, rather than factory line made; and we use only the world's best fabrics. This heightened manufacturing / material quality will always show in the long run.

As we've been saying for a while now, we're setting out to make heirlooms, not fast / disposal fashion. A Watson Ellis custom tailored suit is made to be worn over the course of many years, whereas the off-the-rack options will more often than not be on their last legs within a matter of months.

2. THE SUSTAINABILITY OF CUSTOM TAILORING

A big concern of ours is that we're working within the bounds of sustainability. In fashion, that largely means not contributing toward the 'fast fashion' movement that adds so much waste and pollution to our already struggling plant, and instead contributing toward a 'slow fashion' movement.

A Watson Ellis custom tailored suit is yours, it's unique, made slowly, carefully, and with the upmost sense of personalized design. It's about quality, not quantity in clothing. Nothing is wasted, and everything is individualized. Every garment is made by a single tailor, not by a factory line manned by thousands of grossly underpaid workers.

When you buy a Watson Ellis suit, you are contributing to a sustainable rather than disposable fashion culture.

3. PERSONALIZED DESIGN

Another benefit of opting for a Watson Ellis custom tailored suit is that everything about it is personalized to you. We are a proper bespoke company, and that means we can hone in on the most granular details and make them exactly how you want them.

We're not squeezing your body into someone else's design template, with a few variables on the side. We offer you a blank canvas to create using the world's best materials and the expertise of our highly experienced designer.

The end result will be a garment that reflects exactly what you want it to reflect. You won't have to just accept the design decisions someone else makes for you, like you would in choosing an off-the-rack suit.

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4. THE PERFECT FIT OF A CUSTOM TAILORED SUIT

We had a female client say to us recently that she just couldn't believe how good it felt to put on her first ever custom made suit. She knew it would probably be good, but it turned out to be what she described as a game changer. That's because it was made specifically for her, fitted specifically to her frame.

And there's nothing like the feeling of a suit that's fitted to your body. Everyone's body is truly different. That means nothing off-the-rack, created according to a generic sizing template, is going to fit you correctly. A custom tailored suit will, and it'll feel awesome as well as making you look your absolute best.

5. FABRIC SELECTION / PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCE

We offer a wide range of the most luxurious fabrics from some of the best fabric mills in the world. You won't find this range in looking at off-the-rack suits. From vicuna, to cashmere, to wool and linen, the fabric options available when you opt for a Watson Ellis custom tailored suit are both vast and special.

We will work with you in a one-on-one fitting and design session to make sure you choose the fabric that's best suited to your needs. This experience of working closely with every detail of your garment is another special quality of the custom tailored suit making experience. Ultimately, as we're finding through talking to our clients, this experience only heightens the appreciation they have for their garments in the long run. We treasure those things we take time to create, right?!