ATTENTION: All MTM/custom suit brands are invited to participate in this challenge. If you're game, get in touch for more details.
A reader named Justin emailed me with an interesting proposition:
He said he has a hard-to-fit build and wanted to challenge the most reputable custom suit brands to make him a suit that fits.
He also said that he wants to publish the results of this “fit challenge” right here on The Modest Man. Needless to say, I gave him the go ahead.
Several brands turned down the challenge outright, but a few expressed interest. The following is Justin's first review of the challenge, featuring Knot Standard.
Hey gents! I’m Justin.
I’m an undergraduate student at NYU, and I’m also impossibly difficult to fit.
This post is the first installment of “The Fit Challenge”, where I reached out to custom / MTM suit companies in the New York area and challenged them to make a suit that fits me.
Fitting me is indeed quite a challenge – I’m 5”2 (on a good day) and around 145 pounds, with a 40 inch chest and a 24 inch inseam. Let the games begin…
Knot Standard Review
Disclosure: I received this suit free of charge, for the sake of this review.
Although Knot Standard wasn’t the first company to respond to me, they were the first to get me fitted, and for that they get credit.
First, some background on the operation: Knot Standard was founded in 2010, and now boast 7 showrooms. The product line is somewhat vague if you look at the website, so I’ll clarify here:
If you order online, you can choose from either the Classic Collection (starting at $595) or the Private Collection (starting at $795, and going up to around $3000).
The showroom experience is totally different, unlike places like My.Suit or Indochino, where the showrooms are essentially extensions of the website.
At the Knot Standard showroom, suits start at $795, and can go up to $18,000 (!).
The $795 price point uses the same fabrics as on the website (at the bottom range), but all possible details and additions (we’ll get there below) are included.
So in summary, this price point was a bit higher than other competing shops, like the aforementioned Indochino or My.Suit.
As with any MTM / Custom suit maker, especially for short guys, you should go in person to a showroom to get measured. If the stylist knows what they’re doing (see below), then you have a much better chance of getting the fit right the first time.
The Fitting Process
I was paired with a lovely stylist named Caroline, who explained all of the above. Caroline was professional, super nice, and very knowledgeable about Knot Standard’s offerings and how a suit should fit, which is more than I can say for some of my past MTM experiences.
Caroline and I decided on a subtle dark charcoal fabric with a blue paisley lining. She said usually takes 26-28 measurements, although it felt like less.
She was also fairly adamant that KS is a custom menswear maker, not made-to-measure. For example, they measure shoulder slope using this nifty tool:
Or maybe it's just some sort of medieval torture device. Who knows.
How the Suit Fits
The suit arrived around 6 weeks later – a little on the longer side (My.Suit has a 2 week turnaround). I came in for a fitting, and the suit was not too bad.
We made a couple of adjustments – loosened the waist and thighs on the pants (were way too tight), tapered the pant leg slightly, and tapered the arms on the jacket. Overall, the initial fit was good but not great.
After the first round of alterations, the suit fits really well. I’m able to button the jacket comfortably, which hasn’t been the case with any of my previous MTM suits.
Here are some different angles (notice the matching, personalized Kippah):
I love the way it looks, although there are some fit issues:
- Slight pitch on the left side of my back, partially due to my uneven shoulder slope (I lean right)
- Jacket roughly 1/2″ too short (to fully cover my backside)
- Bunching on sleeves behind biceps
Overall though, I think it’s fantastic. Like I mentioned, I’m really impressed that KS was able to make a jacket that I can close without unsightly billowing in the rear area. I also wouldn’t change anything about the pants.
An area that left me really impressed was the details that KS offers on the jackets (these would cost extra online, and some aren’t available there).
KS was able to accommodate everything I asked for, including a zipper pocket on the inside of the jacket (highly recommended).
I chose the following details:
- Peak lapels
- Patch pockets
- Five kissing, functional buttonholes
- Real horn buttons
- Double vent, two button jacket
- Blue paisley lining
The Milanese boutonniere hole is absolutely beautiful, and totally worth the extra $50 in my opinion.
Here are the pants details (inspired by Justin over at The Fine Young Gentleman):
- Extended tab closure
- Gunmetal side tabs
- No belt loops
The gunmetal matches the fabric quite nicely, and the monogram on the waistline is a nice touch.
Another nice detail here is the extra fabric at the bottom – Knot Standard doubled over the cuff, which gives it some great weight.
If you’re a short guy with legs or calves on the larger side, that extra fabric will help your pants not shoot off the back of your shoes.
I’m no expert, but the construction of the suit also seems very good. The fabric is a 110s/120s 100% wool and is soft to the touch.
The stitching is neat all around, and details like extra fabric stitched over the back of the collar, and a loop under the lapel for a flower are all well executed.
This is the best fitting suit I’ve owned so far. Although it wasn’t perfect out of the box, Knot Standard and Caroline were able to understand exactly what I needed, and execute on the alterations.
The company was a pleasure to deal with, and I would most definitely purchase here again (although this suit was comped). If you’re a short man with less than normal body features, Knot Standard will do a great job fitting you.
Brock's Thoughts: My experience with Knot Standard was notably different than Justin's. I was fitted in person – at their DC showroom – with three other gentlemen.
All four suits required major surgery or complete remakes.
While being measured in person is almost always better than submitting your own measurements, it really comes down to the expertise of the person you're working with – regardless of the brand.
That said, I'm thrilled that Justin is happy with his KS experience.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below!