Part one of our two part Enzo Custom suit review includes an overview of their website and in-person measurement process.
Enzo Custom both is and is not a modern custom suit shop. Having been fortunate to interact with a number of custom clothiers over the years, I've found there's a particular cadence to how they work.
You're greeted by a shop coordinator in smart business attire and offered water, a beer, or the whiskey the brand happens to partner with. Mannequins adorned with jackets of every conceivable pattern and weight are strategically placed across the showroom floor.
The clothier on staff, wearing a slightly loud version of the house style, takes your measurements and offers advice on selecting cloth and pattern from seemingly endless swatches.
Details like the lining, lapel width, and whether you want your trousers cuffed are dialed in. Three to five weeks later, your suit arrives at the atelier or at your door, you make alterations as needed and-bam!- you've got a suit that's just different enough.
Enzo believes they can do better. They offered to make me a suit, and I agreed to document the process in two parts for Modest Man readers.
What follows is Part One.
About Enzo Custom
Enzo Custom was created in 2011 to target the higher tier of the custom suit market. With locations in Midtown Manhattan, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the company knows their clientele.
Its DC location, on the corner of K Street and Connecticut Avenue, is perfectly situated to attract lawyers, lobbyists, and those who enjoy a well-cut suit.
Enzo sources from primarily Italian and English mills, including Vitale Barberis Canonico, Reda, and Holland & Sherry. Customers do seem to have a preference for Loro Piana and Zegna cloth. Their House line is called Enzo Sartori.
Suits start at $495 and run well into the thousands. The average package, though, will run you $1150-$1250.
The Enzo Custom Website
Unlike some of the other major custom clothiers, Enzo doesn't have much of an online functionality. You can't input your measurements and have a suit (that may or may not fit) delivered to your door in a few weeks. That may be for the best, as measuring yourself without a trained eye can result in some wacky configurations!
The website intro is a polished-looking video of dapper gents and whiskey. Classy, but not over the top. However, functionality of the ‘customize' portion of the site is limited at best. You can see some of the suit combinations, but the graphics package really doesn't do the fabrics any favors.
I think that's easy to overlook, though, if you consider the website secondary to getting measured in the boutique.
I'm able to schedule a fitting with ease in a few days' time. Enzo actually allows you to choose the clothier you want to work with, which is an excellent feature.
Fitting at Enzo Custom
I arrive at Enzo's DC location on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It's on the eleventh floor of a run-of-the mill office building, in a suite at the end of a long, fluorescent hallway. It's inconspicuous in the best of ways.
A streamlined, black leather couch and some chairs to match is the first thing you see. An espresso machine and decanter sit in the corner, and a cubby of rolled-up ties lies further to the left.
While the interior isn't sparse, it's certainly more stripped-down than other larger scale custom clothiers I've encountered.
I get the sense, though. this isn't the kind of place to sell you with bright lights and flashy patterns. They just want to cut you a killer suit.
Monica, the Showroom Coordinator, greets me with a smile. She offers me whiskey or sparkling water. After a few pleasantries, I meet Jared Bethune, the Executive Clothier at Enzo DC with whom I'll be working.
Jared and I start by talking about my work dress code, how frequently I wear suits, and my current suit arsenal.
I work in business development for my day job and attend a number of functions in the evening. I don't dress in suits every day, though, and I can wear denim and sneakers to the office if I don't have a client meeting or an event.
We also address my unusual body type. I stand 5'7.25″, and have an 8-9 drop between my chest and waist. My height makes nearly all off-the-rack Regular jackets far too long, but I'm actually too tall for some of today's cropped Short jackets. I need a unique length.
Additionally, my arms and chest make the sleeves on today's slimmer, high-armhole jackets far too tight. The squeeze around my biceps pushes the sleeve up my arm. This creates unsightly wrinkles and a ‘divot' at the shoulder-even though the seams sit where they should and the jacket is my correct size. I've yet to find a solution.
In short, I'm a perfect candidate for custom.
Jared takes a series of over 23 measurements, ranging from shoulder slope and armhole size down to thigh and calf width.
To compensate for shoulder issue, Jared builds some extra tolerance by extending the sleevehead a little so that it goes past my natural shoulder.
The hope is that it will roll around my deltoids and down my arm. We also intentionally cut the sleeves slightly more full to eliminate the wrinkling. We can slim them a little if we need to.
Shoulder work is an extremely difficult part of tailoring. So precise, in fact, that I'd consider it almost a “bespoke” capability. This is something I rarely see in even custom suitmakers, and is one element that, so far, sets Enzo apart.
Regarding length, Jared measures to cut me in half and so that jacket will fall just below my rear. That way, it's not super cropped and trendy, but definitely not too long- which will not do me any favors as a shorter dude.
We'll see what happens when the suit comes in!
My suit arsenal is pretty well-stocked with the basics- navy sharkskin, charcoal micro birdseye, medium blue hopsack, etc.
They're also all single-breasted. I can afford to branch out and have a little fun with this one! So, Jared and I decide on a classic 6×2 double-breasted suit with wide, peaked lapels.
I know what you're thinking. Shorter guys can't wear double breasted suits.
I believe even a 6×2 looks stunning if that jacket is custom-fit to our proportions. That means putting the button stance in an advantageous position and keeping the space between each button proportionate to our frames.
I'll be doing a complete breakdown in Part 2, so do stay tuned to find out if Enzo delivers.
The fabric we'll be working with is the Enzo Sartori house line. It's a Super 150s wool in a 10.75oz ‘four season' weight. Frankly, it's fantastic.
The cloth has a silky, almost slick feel to it as it glides through your hands. The weave is a little too fine for a workhorse suit (think Super 110s) you'd wear to the office a few times a week, but not so delicate you feel you have to baby the thing.
I've got the basics covered-navy sharksin, medium blue hopsack, charcoal birdseye, etc. Let's bring in some pattern!
For our pattern, we decide on a mid-to-light grey glen plaid with a subtle, light blue overcheck. Menswear types call this a ‘Prince of Wales' check, It's named for David, the Duke of Windsor, when he once held this title before becoming a sartorial icon.
Patterns can be challenging for shorter men. But, I believe patterns can work if you follow two rules:
First, keep it subtle. No green or purple patterns here! Second, keep the pattern small. Large-scale windowpanes will just swallow your frame.
Part One Thoughts
The team and the experience at Enzo is fantastic, and so far I highly recommend trying it if you have the means to make the investment.
The location is free from extraneous pomp and that allows them to focus on cutting you a great suit. Jared is a wealth of knowledge, and he deeply enjoys talking the finer points of menswear.
So much, indeed, our banter (along with the time to take these photos), runs our time beyond the one-hour time slot. I actually come back later the in week for another half-hour, and to nail down a few more details. I've rarely experienced service like that.
Finally, a note on semantics. The folks at Enzo seem use the terms “custom” and “made-to-measure” interchangeably. I'm not sure if I'd agree with that assessment, as there is a difference.
I'd argue they are closer to ‘custom'- which is a good thing. Mass-market MTM options don't afford nearly the options a custom one does. With custom, you can really dial in the lapel width and build a shoulder around you. Very few MTM companies can do that.
Do stay tuned for Part 2 of my Enzo Custom experience. In it, I'll dive deeper into you the suit- my precise measurements, what I liked, what I didn't like, and if I'd change anything.
Thanks for reading!