Perhaps the best thing about the surging menswear scene we are currently experiencing is that men are generally dressing better. More brands are producing collections that aren't crap, and consequently, guys in all income brackets can find clothes that elevate their style. However the next level of dressing up is taking the bespoke route - avoiding the off-the-rack blues and procuring garments made specifically for you. For those ready to take the plunge, we have some excellent tips below from Jake Mueser, the exquisite tailor from downtown NYC atelier, Doyle + Mueser.
When did you first open your bespoke shop and what was your background in tailoring?
I opened Doyle + Mueser in 2010 with my business partner Amber Doyle. We opened our first shop Against Nature in 2009. Against Nature sells denim, shoes, and jewelry, as well as suiting. We wanted Doyle + Mueser to focus exclusively on suits and more elaborate custom pieces. Amber and I both attended FIT and studied menswear.
Was it difficult for you to establish a loyal clientele or did that happen relatively quickly?
Since it wasn’t my first shop, I already had some loyal clients. Even so, it definitely takes time to build up a good client base in a new spot. Generally if you can keep the first clients happy more will follow.
What is your particular approach and method to bespoke suiting that sets you apart from other similar set-ups in NYC?
In the bespoke world, most brands adhere to either English or Italian style tailoring. I think we mix the best of both to create something that is truly unique. Our silhouette is trim and fitted with a shorter cut, which is typically English. We incorporate the Neapolitan traditions with the use of soft tailoring to make our coats extremely comfortable, and we use a very natural sleeve setting and little to no shoulder pad. The end result is a suit that strikes a very crisp silhouette without making you feel like the suit is body armor. The suit is made to mold around the body and give the best fit and feel.
Where do you source your suiting fabrics and where does the actual construction of a Doyle + Mueser take place?
Most of our cloth is English or Italian. We work with some of the oldest and most renowned mills in the world. These are heritage brands that have been around for hundreds of years, and often they are still family run. The cutting and prepping of all garments takes place in house. Some suits will be made fully in house but we also work with a local shop that helps do finishing and trim work.
What other garments do you offer – do you sell accessories too?
We sell shirts, ties, overcoats, scarves, luggage, socks, umbrellas and some footwear. Depending on the season we always have lots accessories to accompany our suits.
What do you notice to be the most common “cardinal sins” American men commit with their choice of suits?
Wearing a black suit. Black should be reserved for tuxes only. Also, buttoning the bottom button of a two-button jacket.
Do you have any thoughts on the current state of menswear as a whole?
I think that men are dressing better. Men are gravitating towards a more tailored look, and I am seeing sharp suits on everyone from bankers, artists, musicians, to that young guy right out of college with his first office job. Men are paying more attention to detail and figuring out how to make their look unique, be it with well curated accessories, slimmer suits, or a great pair of shoes.
What are your favorite accessories that you rely on for finishing you look?
I love putting on a silver skull ring by Ryan Matthew. I’m also a shoe fanatic. Most men don’t realize how a great pair of shoes can really take an outfit up a notch.
We’ve interviewed Justin O’shea of My Theresa on Style.No.Chaser – he is one of your clients – are there any other noteworthy/celeb clients you care to share with us?
In the old Savile Row tradition, we don’t like to disclose the names of clients without their express permission. However, I can say we have dressed other fashion fixtures such as Waris Ahluwalia, Sean Lennon and Derek Blasberg. We have also done film and TV costuming for Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Adam Goldberg, Jeffrey Tambor and Billy Crudup.
Lastly, this is a loaded question. For the newcomer to bespoke clothing – can you give some basic rules to achieve the best results and also enjoy the entire experience?
- Don’t over analyze the fabric, it can be overwhelming for a novice to fully envision the final product.
- Trust your tailor. While a custom suit involves a lot of input from the client, letting your tailor guide you through certain points will make the process go smoothly.
- Do some research before you choose where to go, find a house style that you can relate to.
- On the same note, think about what kind of suit you are interested in beforehand, look at images in your favorite publications or online, this way you can express what you want clearly from the start, communication is key.
- Start simple. If it’s your first custom suit, pick something classic and versatile, you will probably feel more comfortable taking risks the second or third time around.
- Think about the details. One of the great things about a custom suit is making it personal. While it’s good to start with something simple and classic, you can still try a fun lining, hidden pocket, or stitch the button-holes in your favorite color. The devil’s in the details!
- Practice makes perfect. The more suits you buy the easier and more fun it gets!
For more information on Doyle + Mueser, visit www.doylemueser.com