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