Andy Writes: Size 36 jackets don’t do it for me at all, I feel like a kid trying to look like a grown-up. I haven’t been able to find a single label that makes a 34 jacket. Can you direct me to the right place? Maybe online somewhere?
If your body is an unusual size, it can be maddeningly difficult to find and buy clothes. Many fashion-oriented clothing lines sell jackets as small as size 36 – you can find expensive options from brands like Dior Homme and affordable ones from brands like H&M and Zara. Kick it down to 34 and things get a lot tougher.
Your best bet off the rack will be to try boys’ sizes. Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren both carry boys’ suits which are of decent quality and generally less expensive than their adult counterparts. A size 34 will be a boys’ 16 or 18. The proportion of boys’ clothing isn’t always the same as the adult equivalent, so it may take some trial and error or tailoring, but hopefully that will solve your problem.
Your secondary option is custom clothing. Here you should expect to pay at least a thousand dollars or so for a suit. Many big men’s stores have Made to Measure programs – you can try Southwick (at many independent stores) or Brooks Brothers (which, coincidentally, now owns Southwick). High-quality Hong Kong tailoring is in the $1500-3000 range, and English or Italian bespoke clothiers will be $3000 and up. If you’re looking for a touring option, WW Chan visits many big American cities, and will make you a bespoke garment of exceptional quality for about $1500. Mr. Ned, in New York, can make you something to measure for a little less than a thousand.
I’ve expressed my ambivalence about online made-to-measure programs in the past, but this is one area where a retailer like Indochino can be quite valuable. They’ve ignored our requests for a sample garment in the past (though they continue to send us press releases…, and evidence online of their quality is mixed, but if you have a very tough to fit body, they’re a good bet. While their tailoring seems to be quite inconsistent, most people who know what they want seem very satisfied with the company’s customer service. Another option if you’re comfortable with the mod-ish house style is Thick as Thieves, which makes a pretty good quality MTM suit in China for about $500. Though he’s primarily known as a shirtmaker, Joe Hemrajani of MyTailor.com offers made-to-measure suits in the $600-700 range.
(Above: the very small, very well-dressed Matt from Tweed in the City)