If you’re into ‘classic’ style, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Spier & Mackay. In this hands-on review, we share what we think about their made to order suits.
For over a decade, this Canadian company has taken timeless design and some of the world’s best fabrics and offered them at uniquely affordable prices. If you can find a good fit, it’s not much of a stretch to say that what this brand offers just might be the best deal in menswear.
I’ve always been a fan of their styling and have been a customer for over four years. However, the fit of their off-the-rack suiting has been somewhat of a challenge to get right.
Their ‘Regular’ jackets are too long for me, but their ‘Short’ jackets are too short for my frame and fit preferences. Also, for several reasons, the shoulder shape doesn’t sit quite right on my body type.
However, the brand offers a Made-to-Order (MTO) program. I approached them with a proposition to go through the MTO process and write an in-depth, objective review of the experience.
About Spier & Mackay
Spier & Mackay’s story begins in an Asian textile market. Walking through a vast selection of textiles in Eastern markets, Rikky Khanna could find rolls of cloth from some of the world’s best mills (such as VBC, Reda, and Guabello) for a low price.
Recognizing an opportunity, he would buy some cloth and have custom-made shirts made for him at a fraction of what he’d been used to paying for a poor-fitting shirt from a fast-fashion brick-and-mortar retailer back home in Canada. These custom-made shirts were better fitting and of better quality than what was available in stores.
We were founded on the belief that a great fit and high quality don’t have to be a luxury.From Spier & Mackay’s About page
Since Rikky’s family had been in the apparel and textiles business for fifty years, in 2009, he set out to create his own brand — Spier & Mackay. The company went live in early May 2010, both in a retail location in Mississauga, Ontario, and online.
The rest, though, is far from history. Manufacturing in both India and China, the company has expanded exponentially over the last dozen years. However, it has retained much of the ‘intimate’ feel you’d get from a smaller shop.
The brand, which began with a few shirts and a few ‘core’ suits, now spans the entire menswear spectrum: Blake-stitched shoes, welted boots, sweaters, casual wear, OTR and custom shirts, accessories, and a truly fantastic collection of outerwear.
The MTO program launched in Fall 2019, enabling customers to dial in their fit on many of the regular suiting and sports jackets.
In recent years, the company has moved to a largely online model. While they used to have a flagship retail location in Toronto, it closed in 2021, partially due to the pandemic.
Prices for suits at Spier & MacKay start at $348 full retail and go up to $898.
There are two main fits: a ‘slim’ (which, as you’ll find out, is indeed slim) and a fuller ‘contemporary’ fit. Cuts come in a traditional ‘American’ style, an ‘English’ cut with a more structured, roped-style shoulder, or a more relaxed ‘Neapolitan’ style.
The Order Process
After you decide on your preferred fit (slim or contemporary), you’ll choose your fabric, select style options like lapel and pocket styles, and dial in your suit fit.
First, you’ll select your fabric. When I went through this process back in May 2022, the fabric options were decent but far from plentiful. Back then, Spier & Mackay told me they were overhauling some fabric options and the ordering engine.
There are now dozens of MTO fabric options from at least 16 different mills, including Marling & Evans and Fox Brothers, in addition to the more ‘mainstream’ Vitale Barberis Canonico and Guabello.
Each fabric option appears to have been thoughtfully curated to match Spier & Mackay’s classically-inspired brand aesthetic.
There are numerous fabrics available, enough that most will find what they’re looking for, but not so many that you’ll encounter “choice paralysis.” For an obsessive, ruminating guy like me, this is most welcome.
When selecting fabrics through an online MTO program, many companies will give you a 3D rendering of your suit and the corresponding fabric swatch.
Spier & Mackay isn’t there just yet (some of the fabric choices simply say “image not available”), but I hope rendering will be rolled out at scale in the near future. While 3D rendering is a nice feature, I don’t think it’s essential.
Pricing has also evolved since I ordered. It still starts at $498US for a baseline suit, but the priciest options are $1,048 US. However, that is still more than reasonable for this quality of cloth and generally in line with what you’d find through Suitsupply’s MTO program.
With fabric selected, it’s on to styling. At the time of this writing, the company offers at least 13 unique models, from a ‘standard’ suit jacket with a lightly structured shoulder, to a double-breasted, unstructured blazer, and to a tuxedo jacket with a shawl collar.
You can tweak standard options if you wish. The lapel can be made narrower (3” for a single-breasted) or broader (up to 4.25”). The shoulder expression can be removed entirely for an unstructured feel, or it can be roped for a unique, European-inspired look.
With the jacket style chosen, it’s on to canvassing — the sewn interior of the jacket — which gives it structure and determines how the garment drapes on your body.
Half canvassing from the shoulder line to the top button comes standard, while full canvassing is available for an additional $150. That’s a pricier add-on than some other brands, but it’s definitely not a price gouge.
When going through a custom or MTO program, jacket linings are always fun to explore.
Crazy colors and wild patterns continue to be the rage, and some companies even enable what amounts to screen-printing a picture on the line. Spier & Mackay is pretty Spartan in this department. Navy, red, black, and cream — all in solid colors. That’s it.
As for other parts of the jacket, functional sleeve buttons come standard. You can also select a variety of pockets — flap, patch, or jetted, and add a ticket pocket if you’d like.
Trouser options are both excellent and varied. Flat-front (“plain”) models come standard, but both single and double pleated options in forward or reverse. The waist enclosure can be extended if you’d like, and you can go for belt loops or side tabs as you wish.
Cuffs are either 1 or ¾” or the more fashion-forward 2”. For a man 5’5” and under, though, I think having a 1.5” option would be nice.
Difficulty in sizing was the impetus for this review. I think it’s also a true measure of a brand’s custom abilities.
Some companies claim to offer “custom” suiting when, in reality, you’re essentially just buying an OTR 38 Short suit with pockets you chose.
Others allow you to go very deep and customize your measurements to a dizzying degree. You’ll often pay out the nose as options multiply, though. Spier & Mackay’s program is somewhere in between.
Your sizing is based on an OTR jacket in one of the company’s two fits: “Slim,” or the fuller “Contemporary” cut. Variations within this include the Neapolitan and English cuts. You are able to mix and match Slim and Contemporary fits, which is lovely. More on that later.
After selecting your fit, you’ll get to choose your size. This is, indeed, an OTR jacket in regular, long, or short. However, when you do so, the measurements for vital components of that jacket are displayed in a menu (in inches).
You can then adjust from that OTR size, including the width of the shoulder, length of the jacket, and thigh width on the trouser. If they can cut to size and keep everything proportional, this could be really quite handy.
What I Chose
Spier & Mackay was kind enough to allow me to choose cloth for a suit valued up to $500, which I think is a pretty good ‘middle ground’ for custom suiting. More than a baseline from, say, Indochino, but a more accessible price point than my suit from Enzo Custom.
Keeping versatility in mind and taking a little inspiration from Connery’s Bond, I selected a light grey sharkskin cloth. While not available at the time of this writing, a warm grey would also be pretty close.
As I’ve been feeling relaxed, soft tailoring lately, I went with the house Neapolitan style — a three-roll-two button enclosure, slightly wider (but not comically so) notched lapel, and a little shoulder detailing.
The rounded front quarters should give some pleasant drape as well. Patch pockets also make this much more versatile, I feel, as an odd jacket should I choose to break it up.
The trouser has a medium-high rise of 11 inches. And, keeping with the relaxed theme, I opted for a single forward pleat, side tabs instead of belt loops, and a proportional 1 ¾” cuff.
Shipping Time and Packaging
Given the changing nature of the global workforce, supply chain and logistics, and general fabric accessibility, shipping, and turnaround time, I was quoted that I’d receive my suit about eight weeks after ordering. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in around five weeks.
Bravo, Spier & Mackay! Now, while I wouldn’t try to order a suit for your wedding in a month, this is actually pretty amazing (give or take a week) for MTO suiting in the current textile manufacturing climate.
I’d also like to comment on the packaging. In the ‘early days’ of Spier & Mackay, suits arrived seemingly thrown into a cramped box and plastic dry-cleaning bag- probably to save on international shipping to the United States.
These days, everything is neatly and securely packaged in quality boxing, befitting the fabric you’re getting.
As mentioned earlier, the two biggest challenges I’ve had with Spier & Mackay OTR suiting have been the awkward (for me) tail length on the jacket and the shape of the shoulder.
I’m pleased and relieved to say that the company nailed the jacket length and shoulder shape this time around.
The jacket length is exactly what I asked for. My model, based on a 38R contemporary fit shortened about half an inch, is elongating on my frame and not cropped like so many of today’s fast fashion jackets. The vents are deeper, which adds to the aesthetically pleasing drape.
The shoulder seam sits, generally, where it should. The addition of the subtle spalla camicia shoulder detail provides a touch more room through the sleevehead.
It’s not perfect, and when I move, you can see wrinkles, rumples, and that sort of thing. But, it’s important to remember what you see on Instagram, and even on some photo blogs, is a collection of carefully curated images.
My goal for the photos in this review is to show you how the suit actually fits me. We’re more than mannequins or static images. Ripples and (gasp!) shoulder divots can happen when you, well, move. So, is this perfect? No. Will it do? Yup.
Another potential issue is improper fitting for sleeve pitch, or how the sleeve attaches to the jacket shoulder. If the way the sleeves hang doesn’t match up with how your arms hang forward — a little backward or truly neutral — it can result in wrinkling and twisting.
Room for Improvement
While the shoulder and jacket length are often the most difficult part of a suit to get to fit right (and often very tough to alter), the chest and waist could use additional adjustments.
In this case, my chest measurement arrived a little slim. You can see where the lapels are coming away from my body instead of sitting cleanly. But, there’s enough room to let out that this shouldn’t be much of an issue to correct.
The sleeve pitch on this jacket isn’t perfect. It’s hard to get it perfect unless you’re measured for it in person. The photos in this article show me in motion, and, to me, the sleeves look a touch odd. However, standing still, they look just fine.
I’ve been fairly lucky in my MTM journey because many of my MTM suit trousers require little to no alteration.
I actually recommend plugging in trouser measurements rather than body measurements when doing an MTM program online, as different manufacturers have different tolerances for what continues a ‘slim’ or ‘fuller’ fitting trouser.
Having been through this (and failed) enough now, I can generally plug in my trouser measurements and know it’s going to be pretty much spot on for the look I’m going for.
I have two pairs of higher-waisted trousers in cotton/linen and 100% linen with a slightly fuller leg. For this pair, I wanted a *touch* slimmer to match a streamlined suit, so I took a quarter inch off from those and opted for the ‘slim’ cut instead of the ‘contemporary’ cut when punching in my measurements online.
Unfortunately, this was a mistake. The photos may not convey it (again, returning to perception and reality), but these suit trousers are simply too tight to wear comfortably.
Now, I know that in menswear adjusting an inch here or there can make quite a bit of difference to a garment’s overall fit — but baffled how a quarter-inch change made that big a difference. (I should note that I based this measurement on a thigh measurement that I know works for me).
I was, and still am, scratching my head, trying to figure out what happened.
There is, however, some additional fabric in the leg lining to let out. I consulted Spier & Mackay about this alteration, and it’s definitely possible to do.
I’ve done this with another pair of trousers, and while that pair does fit much better after being let out, it’s far from a perfect solution. That pair isn’t pleated like these suit pants are. Adjusting pleated pants could make for some awkward drape issues. I guess we’ll see how they turn out after a trip to the tailor.
I’ve also noticed that the break on these is quite full. I didn’t want ‘no break’ trousers, so I gave another quarter inch here just to be safe. However, for whatever reason, these pants are just too long. I double-checked the measurements, and they are the length I specified.
I have a similar pair slated for future review that has only a quarter-inch difference, and they hit exactly where they should. Granted, this is clearly my fault and not Spier & Mackay’s.
While the Neapolitan 3-roll-2 isn’t for everyone, I like it, and I think it works very well with the suit’s color and subtle pattern.
Also, the lapels are wider than some may prefer. Again, I like them this way and believe they wear a little smaller than the 4-inch measurement would imply.
The only issue I have with the jacket is the lapel doesn’t quite ‘roll’ down to the second button the way it should. Sometimes it can appear as a three-button jacket and like I forgot to button the top one. None of my other 3-roll-2 jackets have this problem.
I suspect that this problem might be caused by the same chest-area fit issue that I mentioned earlier. I’m hoping that once I get it let out it will roll correctly.
As for the trousers, aside from the fit issue through the thigh, I do like the higher waist and single pleat combination. While this look is currently trending, I think it’s a relatively timeless and versatile look.
The cost of my suit was $448. At this price point, you’re not going to be getting the world’s finest fabrics.
However, this fabric punches at or above its weight.
It is a little slick and smooth. It drapes and holds its shape quite well. It is leagues beyond what you’d find at the likes of Banana Republic or J.Crew. I’d say that it’s on par with an entry-level Suitsupply suit.
Considering that Suit Supplies ’MTM program costs north of $700 (or more), I think that this is a pretty darn good deal.
The sharkskin pattern and shade are comparable in person to what I saw on the website — no enhancing, no enhancing, or significant post-processing here!
It is a lighter shade of grey, yes, but it’s far from pale. The fabric has flecks of darker grey, as well as a little bit of black. If anything, it’s similar to the shade of the suit Connery wore in Goldfinger. This shade of grey is supremely versatile and exactly what I was looking for.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
This review began as an experiment with a brand I deeply want to like but just haven’t been able to get a fit that works for me.
In my opinion, Spier & Mackay’s styling is very good and bordering on exceptional.
You can get phenomenal fabrics and unique details no one is offering even close to their price point (as far as I know). That, in and of itself, is enough for me to offer an endorsement.
However, there are some caveats and suggestions I must mention.
First, I wouldn’t recommend Spier & Mackay for a man looking to get their first MTM suit. No matter where you get your first MTM suit, more than likely, it’s going to need some tweaks. Spier & MacKay isn’t scaled up enough yet to offer remakes or tailoring credit the way many of their competitors do.
Second, and along the lines of the first point, choose your measurements based on a suit you know fits, preferably a suit in a similar fabric. That way, you’ll be able to dial it and mitigate any tolerance issues you might otherwise run into.
For the life of me, I can’t quite understand why a quarter-inch difference from a pair of comfortable linen trousers makes a wool pair borderline unwearable.
That all said, if you have a few MTM suits in your closet and you generally know what works for you fit-wise, go for it. It’s going to be hard to find a better deal out there than Spier & MacKay.
As for me, I will consider trying them out again on my own dime. The styling options are simply too tempting to pass up.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!
Alan Au says
If a Neapolitan cut was chosen, then you would get a Neapolitan shoulder. That’s what the rippling is. Not necessarily a flaw in production, but part of the design of the style.
Coach Ray says