Three fittings awaiting a customer
Last week in New York it was a real pleasure to meet the five men who came for appointments with Graham Browne. They varied from the established customer (there to try on a tweed jacket and two suits) to the complete newcomer (who needed to understand how bespoke worked), as well as one who was new to Graham Browne but knew exactly what he wanted in a suit – that’s his list of specifications in the photo below.


Perhaps most satisfying for me was the help that my advice seemed to provide. I answer many questions every week from readers who want practical (and highly specific) advice, but it’s not as pleasing as providing it in person, and flicking through lining books at the same time.

Everyone seemed to agree that there is a gap in the US market for a tailor like Graham Browne that uses some machine work in the making of a suit – certainly more than most Savile Row tailors – but that still cuts the whole thing by hand, to a bespoke pattern. And most importantly, is therefore a lot cheaper. With extra trousers etc, most suits that were ordered were between £1000 and £1500. That’s a reasonable step up from ready-to-wear, but a long way off the bespoke tailors who charge at least $4000 to $5000.

Textile merchants HMS Gladson kindly hosted the tailors in their lovely offices in the Crown Building, on Fifth Avenue. One advantage of this for US customers is that they can pop in to HMS any time, having made an appointment, and browse through the cloth books. Once a pattern is established, phone up Graham Browne and give them the swatch number. They can then bring over a basted fitting ready to go. This method necessarily limits the cloths to HMS lines, but given that they now own Huddersfield Fine Worsteds (J&J Minnis, John G Hardy, Hunt & Winterbotham) and are the US agent for far more, it’s not much of a limitation. 

Choice of horn buttons for that tweed jacket
Edouard’s suit fitting
Russell’s rather racy Dashing Tweeds jacket
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Richard

I am very interested in this £1000-1500 bespoke suit of which you speak. Is such a thing available in the UK? I had more or less given up on the idea of bespoke. [Of course, everything is a question of priorities, and my first love is guitars, on which I will happily spend that kind of money.]

And perhaps more to the point, being of a very standard shape, would such a place perhaps make me a lovely MTM suit for a bit less?

Christopher

I’ve read through the other posts re: Graham Browne, but couldn’t find any details…

Are button holes sewn by hand at Graham Browne?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous

Lived in NYC between 1999 and 2001. No bespoke to speak of, but penty of “custom”,which is really MTM, and often sent out to India for cutting and making.
On my 5th suit with Russell currently; they get better each time.

Nick

Edouard

Simon, it was great meeting with you in NY! And yes, you have been very helpful, it was indeed very good to have you during the fittings. Your observations and comments were right on spot and sometimes quite needed (I was clueless about which buttons for the tweed for example and your help here has been quite important…)!!

Many thanks again!

Edouard

Sir Fopling Flutter

Mr Ned is a good, moderately priced, option in NY. I would steer clear of the various places that advertise in the newspapers for “3 suits and 12 shirts for $xxx”.

In my experience, London has a much wider selection of “off-Row” tailors. The quality varies widely, but some are superb and offer an excellent product for a very fair price.

Eric

Simon – with whom did you meet while you were in NY? Would be interested to know. I was sorry to have missed the graham Browne folks when they were in town – hopefully they will be back again.

Anonymous

Simon

Have just enjoyed catching up on your NY visit (i have otherwise been engaged elsewhere) and would like to add a comment or two.

Firstly Alan Flusser. Now gentlemen let us be realistic. Alan Flusser’s book Dressing the Man’ is the best book out there on the market. It is my constant bedside companion and, for the new-comers to men fashion, is the best. So whilst i agree that his attire is inappropriate you have to consider two elements. He is American and he is ageing and trying to be controversial. Leave it at that and enjoy the book.

Simon here i believe there is a marvellous opportunity to write and have published, a new book that will bring Alan’s book up to date and use better photography. You are after all highly regarded throughout the world, and the world needs guidance on dressing in the 21st century, and you can provide that guidance. Do we need to be on the lookout for such a book?

And finally Graham Browne. Based on your recommendations and on the nearly affordable prices (for me anyway) i have ordered 1 suit and 1 blazer and await the outcome, which to put it bluntly, is now becoming rather a contentious issue with me, for waiting is all that i seem to do. I cannot quite get my head round this – why go all the way to NY to find new customers when you are not servicing the new customers you have here in he UK? Not only have i ordered the above mentioned clothes but i took a very good friend in there too – and he ordered 2 suits – which he still awaits delivery on. Despite many promises of their delivery on this day and that i never get called to say it is now in the shop, and when i do pop in (i work around the corner) i get a friendly welcome and chitter chatter, but no fitting. So after my rather long rant, how long is acceptable for waiting for bespoke clothing? To highlight this i must now have been waiting at least 10 weeks.

As usual – wonderful website Simon – thanks

Bradley

Anonymous

Dear Simon

A reply to your reply. Thank you so much for offering to contact GB to find out why my suits have taken so long but i hesitate, simply because i would not like to upset them. They are very kind and chatty in the shop and if a query comes so soon from me on my first purchase, then it may look like i am a difficult customer. I would very much like to order from them but, i will see what my suits are like and i will have to do a little more saving.
I suppose my question was really, how long do you think is appropriate to wait and, from your reply i can determine that 10 weeks is a little too long.
I yesterday received a call from Russell to say my suits and blazer are in but, unfortunately i was not in the city today. Having said that, they are still buttonless – so i see a slightly longer wait still to come.
Many thanks for all your help and as always, keep up the excellent site for you and The Rake (though too biased on watches i feel) are the only high quality information out for there for us.
Regards
Bradley

Edouard

Simon, any news from Paul W. from GB/Choppin?? I have sent emails that were returned with error message… I double checked, i have the right “choppin” email address. Could it be that there was a change there? If yes, would you have Russell’s email by any chance? May be you can put me an email? Many thanks Edouard

David

Hi Simon, I live in New York, and am considering using Graham Browne for a first bespoke suit. The ideal for me would be a SB 3/2 button roll in a fresco / tropical wool with a hopsack weave, probably in navy. My intention would be a suit that could be worn in the summer as well as spring and autumn, except the worst winter days. (Some background: I have the bases covered in several RTW 4 season worsted suits, as well as tweed and flannel: grey, navy, brown, mid-blue.) I’d be looking for something formal enough for special occasions but adaptable enough to be a travel suit, and could be dressed down. (I don’t have to wear suits to work, only for special meetings.) Do you think it would be possible to either find something with a subtle pattern, or at least with enough character in the weave where the jacket could double as a navy blazer? Thanks so much, David