For years, Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors sold ready-made suits in addition to custom suits. We also wholesaled ready-made suits to fine specialty stores around the country. How could we (my grandfather, father and me) perpetrate such a barbarous practice?
The concept of ready-made tailored clothing is absurd. No other consumer product has as a greater need for customization than those intended to fit the human body. Human beings come in an incredible variety of shapes and sizes as a result of differences in height, weight, posture, ethnicity, age and athletic condition. And, of course, human beings cover the gamut in terms of preferences in terms of color, style and taste.
The merchant who sells ready-to-wear is trying to fit square pegs into a round holes. While falling short of outright dishonesty, the merchant reassures his client that the ready made suit is exactly what the client wants and that “minor” alterations will make it fit “perfectly.”
How did we live with ourselves knowing that no ready made suit can meet these expectations? Quite simply—years ago, the clients thought that custom suits were proportionately too expensive. And, they were at that time.
Nowadays, the reverse is true. Ready-made suits are overpriced because they must survive multiple markdowns before they really sell (the "out the door" price.) As a result, today's merchant must source his ready-made suits at significantly lower prices, so that when they get marked down, he’s still making a profit. As a result, his suits must come from China, Romania or other countires not particularly reknown for the fine pedigree of their products.
With a custom suit, the merchant does not have to be concerned with markdowns. He can focus on quality without compromise. And he does not have to cajole a client into accepting something that is not quite right. A custom suit is now the much better value.
That’s the Saint Laurie way.