Proper Suit – Jacket Review
by Gus Walbolt
I have enjoyed buying MTM from many of the well known luxury tailored menswear brands. More recently my suits and jackets have been bespoke commissions from a well-respected tailor in Naples, Italy.
I was contacted by Proper Suit and asked if I would like to try their MTM services. They offered to make me a suit asking only that I write and share my candid experience in a review. Their suits start at $750 and are full canvassed.
To be candid, at first I was a bit hesitant. As an active blogger and participant in menswear forums, I couldn’t help but notice an increasing number of ill-fitted and poorly styled suits from some other new MTM makers being posted online.
And, to be fair, perhaps my high-end MTM and bespoke experiences might not be an appropriate comparison to the Proper Suit process. However, after reading a Proper Suit review by The Silentist, (you can read his review here) I was curious and wanted to give this a try.
Proper Suit has headquarters in Chicago and is open for customer appointments. They also regularly visit New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Houston, Boston and Portland. (Additonal cities are being added. Check the website for further details)
You begin by going to their website http://propersuit.com/ and reserving a day and time with a $150 deposit. Upon arrival, you will have a one-on-one experience with one of only four people within the company that take all the measurements and handle all the company’s appointments. I want to stress the importance of this part of the process because a number of MTM companies rely upon inexperienced sales associates, many who are hired on a temporary basis, some just a day before an event. Without accurate measurements and a trained eye for tailoring details, a good fit is impossible. Proper Suit is clearly superior in dealing with these critical, initial steps with care and accuracy.
Sample suits are on hand for you to try on. Most MTM companies take a stock model and make minor adjustments here and there. Proper Suit uses a CAD system that allows for the input and adjustment of 300 measurements. I’m aware of no other MTM company that even comes close to this level of custom adjustment. This is ideal for anyone who is hard to fit or simply desires a specific cut.
In my case, I brought along one of my best fitting jackets (always a good idea with any MTM or bespoke process). I showed them what I liked and what I would like changed. I then reviewed swatches of several hundred fabrics, most of which were classic suit materials. They also offered a selection of non-suit fabrics (which has since increased) and I selected a Loro Piana cashmere plaid for a sport jacket.
Once the measurements were taken and the fabric was selected the real fun began. First we discussed pocket options and I asked for patch pockets with a slightly curved shape.
Then I selected:
-Kissing horn buttons (Or “scalloped)
-Suede Melton collar
- Inside lining contrasting stitching (I chose white)
- Extra handwork on lapel pockets and seams. It shows up as subtle stitching
- Choice of buttons (3-2 roll)
- The buttoning stance
- Choice of lining (I went blue conservative but you can go full “Vegas” if you so desire)
There are numerous other custom options available to any customer. They will be happy to discuss these with you during your appointment as well as to make recommendations.
During my visit to Proper Suit, I was able to observe the MTM process with several customers ordering for the first time, placing reorders or picking up new suits. From what I saw one of Proper Suits strengths is in advising customers on how to get an updated classic look. That is a look that isn’t “old guy” and one that isn’t so trendy that it will be out of style in a year. After all, most need their suit to project professionalism and for important events. (I saw several suits being picked up by groomsmen in a wedding party while I was there. Every one of them looked terrific.)
I was told the typical suit takes about 4 weeks for delivery. In my case it would take longer if my material isn’t currently in stock. It wasn’t, so they gave me the option of selecting another fabric or waiting. I chose to wait for the LP cashmere and it was worth it.
Proper Suit has their clothing made at a state of the art tailored clothing factory in China. This is a factory that does work for a number of European luxury brands. The owners of Proper Suit are American, have advanced degrees in business and operations, learned to speak fluent Mandarin and worked for several years in high-end tailored clothing manufacturing in China before establishing their US based company. The owners are hands-on in every phase of the business and may even be there to measure you at an appointment.
The Jacket Arrives
Upon arrival, I opened the box, put on the jacket and moments later my wife came around the corner and said, “Wow, I love the jacket. It fits you perfectly. Did you get that from (she names my bespoke tailor from Italy)?”
I looked at it in the mirror. The body length, sleeves, shoulders, everything looked right. The jacket actually fit perfectly right out of the box. I was very impressed.
The next day, it just so happened that a suit arrived from my bespoke tailor in Italy. I had been waiting six months since the last fitting for it to arrive. I can honestly say I wish it fit as well as this Proper Suit jacket. (The bespoke suit fit wasn’t right and was returned for more work. It has been a very long and frustrating process)
Wearing The Jacket
I’ve now had a chance to wear my new jacket and find the fit and the feel to be excellent. (What good is a jacket unless it feels right?) Many of my #menswear friends have seen me wearing it and assume it is either bespoke or ask if it is a well-known luxury brand name. I enjoy the reaction on their face when I tell them about Proper Suit.
The other day I wore the jacket into Neiman Marcus, tried on several similar cashmere Zegna jackets in the $3000-$3,800 range, and this jacket appeared equal in quality and details. Most of all, the Proper Suit jacket fit me better than any of the OTR Zegna jackets in my size. That says a lot for a jacket that is MTM and a fraction of the cost of Zegna.
I’ve been very impressed by the entire Proper Suit process. The interaction and communication is efficient and professional. The quality and fit of the jacket is excellent and all at a price that offers exceptional value. I highly recommend trying Proper Suit, for their fine jackets as well as for their classic suits.
- Gus Walbolt
Photo Credit: Thanks to Jason of Brokeandbespoke