Being the clothes horse that I am, I've managed to compile an indecent collection over the years. I've gathered everything from the most basic of basics to the downright outlandish. And yet, the one garment which continues to elude me is the perfect charcoal grey suit. I thought I'd have this situation remedied when I ordered one online last Fall, but that endeavour ended badly
. Round two sees Imparali Custom Tailors
of New York throwing their hat in the ring. They have graciously offered to make a suit for me, and so I visited them in blitzkrieg fashion Tuesday.
7:50 a.m. saw me dashing through South Station, wishing I was getting on a train instead of racing to catch the 8:00 bus, but for $26 round trip, you learn to put up with some minor discomfort.By 12:30, Tin Tin
and I were prowling around Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart, killing time before my appointment later in the afternoon. A very British lunch of fish and chips with a pint of Old Speckled Hen (a real treat if you can find it on draft and nitrogenated) and we were off to the tailor.
608 5th avenue greets one with a stunning Art Deco interior.I'm already feeling better about this than my last attempt at custom.
An unassuming sign beside an unassuming door at the end of an unassuming hallway.
Inside, we're greeted by Matt Harpalani, the affable young fellow in charge. Matt comes to tailoring in the foot steps of his father, also a tailor. His full story can be read here
. He knows his stuff, and approaches it in a conversational and friendly manner that puts the customer quickly at ease. No stuffiness here, and that's good. I like nice things, but I have no time for stuffy people.
Matt begins by showing me some completed goods awaiting pick up so I can see up close the level of quality we're dealing with. This double breasted glen check with open patch pockets was a particular knock-out...
...while this purple velvet number piped in gold shows that he'll go to any lengths to meet any request.
Swatch books with fabrics from mills in England and Italy are piled atop a large table. After much deliberation, I settled on a dark grey super 120s Italian worsted. As I waited for Matt to finish up with his previous customer, I notice some very encouraging things around this small room.
Bemeberg linings available in every imaginable color....
...a book of formal wear swatches from Holland and Sherry
, which included tartans, velvet, and striped fabrics for morning dress....
...and on the dressing form, a beautifully executed 3/2 roll. I'm getting excited. Now for the measurements...
photo: the Trad
I get a full and thorough once over with the tape. Certain of the numbers, such as the one being taken here, may have been disturbingly large, but hopefully the resulting garment will de-emphasize that.
photo: the Trad
And I never knew how things like slope of the shoulder and arch of the back were accounted for, but now I do. With the help of wonderfully archaic devices like this. Right up my alley.
We discussed every detail, and my own personal style preferences. Fortunately, I managed to avoid the over blown silly detail trap that rubes like me tend to indulge with custom made things. The suit will be a three piece. The jacket will have a natural shoulder, 3/2 front, 3 inch lapels, no darts, but some shaping through the sides. The trousers will have buckle side tabs, brace buttons, no belt loops, and forward pleats. The vest is a standard five button single breasted. Can't wait.
Imparali is a full service operation, offering custom shirts
and cashmere topcoats
, and specializing in outfitting wedding parties
.The suit I ordered in the fabric I chose would have cost around $900 or so. The clothes are made in a factory in China, but the factory has been owned by Matt's family since 1967. That's something right there. It will be ready in about five weeks. Of course we have to wait for the suit to arrive before we make the final call, but so far so good. Finished goods can be picked up at Imparali, or shipped to you. I'm planning a trip back to pick mine up. Alterations are free for life, so if tweaks are needed Matt will do them there. If I manage to get those disturbingly large measurements down a bit, he'll fix that too.
By midnight the same day, I was home in bed. Brutal, but hopefully worth it. Look for the conclusion sometime in late February or early March.