In this Hall Madden review, we’ll take a hands-on look at this custom menswear brand to see if it’s worth your hard-earned money.
The results have been mixed, but in general, I have better luck going custom than trying to find suits that fit well off the rack.
About Hall Madden
My friend, Jon Shanahan (a.k.a., The Kavalier) connected me with Hall Madden co-founder, McGregor Madden, who offered me a complimentary suit in exchange for an honest review.
As usual, I graciously accepted this offer. At the time, I was living in Manhattan, which made it easy to visit Hall Madden’s showroom in the Flatiron District.
Note: Hall Madden also offers an online experience, but I always recommend getting fitted in person when possible. This will lead to a better fitting suit 90% of the time.
Hall Madden (formerly known as Proper Suit) was founded in 2009 by Richard Hall and McGregor Madden and was originally a traveling tailor service.
Hall and Madden launched the company out of their Chicago basement, leveraging their expertise and relationships around Chinese manufacturing and logistics.
They eventually rebranded as Hall & Madden (eventually dropping the ampersand) and took the company online.
They recently launched a more affordable, digital-first custom suit brand called Lords of Wool, but that’s a subject for another review.
To me, Hall Madden sits in that somewhat weird space above the Indochinos of the world, but below true old school bespoke – sort of like Articles of Style.
If you don’t want to spend $2,500+ on a suit, but you want something nicer than entry-level, this space is for you.
Hall Madden isn’t full bespoke, but it’s much closer than most online MTM brands.
The big difference between Hall Madden and, say, Indochino, is the fact that they offer an initial fitting that uses test garments.
We offer all new clients a “test suit” or “test shirt” fitting made with recycled cloth that allows your fit specialist to perfect the fit before we produce the final garment.
This makes a huge difference because it allows any major problems (e.g., jacket length) to be fixed before the real fabric is cut.
So the full showroom process for a new customer goes like this:
- First Appointment – take measurements, choose garments/fabrics/details
- First Fitting – try on test garments, make adjustments
- Second Fitting – try on real garments, make final tweaks (these are done locally)
- Final Visit – pick up your order
The home try-on process, of course, is different, but you still work 1-on-1 with a private Hall Madden tailor.
How long does it take?
Hall Madden estimates that the entire process (for new customers) will take about eight weeks.
This seems reasonable, but in my case it took much longer due to the pandemic. Hall Madden sources materials from Italy and the UK, but their garments are cut and sewn in China, so production took a real hit in spring 2020.
Things should be back to normal now, and for returning customers (i.e., those with measurements on file), the timeline is closer to 3-4 weeks.
I really don’t need any more full suits. So, just like with Lanieri, I decided to go with a sport coat and a pair of trousers from Hall Madden.
- Notch lapels
- Patch pockets
- Light shoulder padding
- Single pleats
- Cuffs (1.5 inches)
- Side adjusters
Believe it or not, I didn’t have a go-to navy blazer or sport coat, so I decided this was the perfect time to get one.
Similarly, I kept versatility in mind with the trousers by choosing an all seasons charcoal wool.
For my first visit, I met with Kiyoshi Martinez who actually managed the Chicago showroom (he was just filling in at the NYC location).
Oddly enough, I recognized Kiyoshi as the man behind The Silentist, an OG menswear blog I used to follow back in the day.
I’d always appreciated Kiyoshi’s color palette and overall sense of style, so this was a really cool connection. He actually has a new blog called Five in Blue if you want to check it out.
Anyway, we had a great conversation, he took my initial measurements and noted my fit preferences.
We also flipped through fabric swatch books and picked out my garments.
The second appointment was with Daryl Wright who runs the NYC showroom.
Like Kiyoshi, Daryl was professional and pleasant to be around. He was also dressed well in a simple, understated kind of way (the best way IMO).
Daryl had me try on the actual jacket and trousers. They both looked pretty good, but we did make some minor adjustments, like shortening the pants.
I picked up the final garments about 2.5 weeks after the second fitting. I did try on the garments before taking them home:
The jacket and pants came on a nice wooden hanger in a branded garment bag.
The garment bag is middle of the road in terms of quality – better than Indochino, but not as premium as some other brands I’ve tried.
The real wooden hanger is a nice touch, and one that I’ve only seen with higher-end clothiers.
But more importantly, how does everything fit?
The fit is slightly more traditional than I usually go with custom suits, and honestly, it’s more comfortable. I definitely went too slim on some of my older suits.
The jacket length is a bit longer (and therefore more future proof) than many of my jackets.
My only complaint has to do with the length of the trousers. They’re just a tiny bit too short. Instead of a nice no break look, they’re actually producing a cropped effect.
I take partial responsibility for this, because I wore
However, this is a very easy and affordable alteration that any decent tailor can handle.
I am happy with how the pants fit everywhere else, especially through the seat and hips, which can be problematic for me (too much glutes, not enough hammies).
If you ever have a chance to go with side adjusters instead of belt loops, do it. You won’t regret it!
- Second fitting with test garments is a game-changer than most MTM brands don’t offer
- Knowledgeable, professional, pleasant staff
- Showrooms in 7 major U.S. cities make in-person appointments a real option
- High end, diverse fabric selection
- Some confusion around the items in my order*
- Pricier than many online MTM brands (suits start at $1,150)
*During my first appointment, we looked at fabrics for an Oxford shirt so that I could review a full Hall Madden outfit. For reasons unknown, this shirt didn’t make it into the actual order.
I’m not complaining – this was a complimentary experience for the sake of review. But if I were a paying customer, I’d probably be a little bit frustrated by this.
I can only speak to Hall Madden’s showroom experience because I haven’t tried their online program.
If you’re near a showroom location and can get measured in person, and if you have the budget for a $1,000+ suit, I think Hall Madden is a great choice.
The fabric selection is top-notch, and the staff is seasoned (unlike many of the more popular brands).
My only complaint has to do with the sleeve pitch on the jacket, but I haven’t yet found a MTM company that’s able to customize this (it’s almost always a problem for me).
All things considered, Hall Madden definitely gets TMM’s seal of approval.