Maybe you have already seen my first impression pictures on Instagram (thanks to those who commented and gave their honest opinion), here is my full review on the very first true made-to-measure jacket I ordered.
Done by one of Germany’s two largest MTM (“Maßkonfektion”) chains, Dolzer, I went with a heavy wool tweed and minimal changes to the provided starting cut. I opted for double vents, flap pockets with extra ticket pocket, two buttons and a medium notch lapel. The slanted pockets were too extreme in my opinion and the larger (peak) lapel did not look great on the samples either. There are options to add patches or pockets on the inside, the basic version has one on the left and two smaller ones on the right. Obviously there is a decision to be made between double and single-breasted jackets and two or three buttons. Unfortunately there is no 2/3 rolling button selection, which would have looked nice for my size.
Measuring is done by separate staff with a background in tailoring and not by the sales staff which I appreciate, some newer MTM companies have sales staff do all the work. Even more important for my experience however: Although I did not spend a lot of money and it was my first order, every interaction was professional and they took their time going through customization. It is a very German company with decades of experience, so don’t expect interestingly designed stores or magazines to read while you wait, but it isn’t as rushed and efficiency driven as I had feared. Dolzer offers two general fits and dozens of sized garments to determine the shoulder, anything else can be chosen and altered. Certainly not above the average, but looking at the fit, I don’t believe it would have made a difference to measure and adjust more than once (And since production takes place in Eastern Europe it is not reasonable to do more than one session of measuring and trying on test garments.) Effectively this is a 50L (German 98) with shorter arms, when I came in after four weeks to look at alterations I decided against slimming the waist, it would disrupt the very clean back and shoulder. I might however consider slimming the arm width.
The working cuffs were 8 Euros in additional costs, the buttons were a horn upgrade for 6 Euros. (A bit of criticism: The staff did not mention that these buttons would look small paired with the broad tweed check. But since there was no alternative anyway, except for very conservative leather-covered buttons, this is more of a comment on service.) The stitching, which yes is not handmade, looked darker and more brown in the samples, on the final garment it is a rich red. I did get lucky, not all fabrics will look as good, or be pure wool, and the quality is above expectations. AMF stitching, which they call “Schneiderkante” (Tailor’s edge), can be added for 10 or 20 Euros, they rightfully advised against it due to the heavy tweed.
Let’s be frank and talk about pricing: I took advantage of a fabric sale, which Dolzer does not offer regularly and rarely above 20%. Non-lined or premium lined jackets are an additional 50 Euros, I only added about 15 for the buttons. In total it was approximately 160 Euros, the starting price for jackets is 280. That is, no doubt, an amazing price for what I got, however there are multiple ‘buts’ following. One needs to be lucky enough, and I have waited for three years, the fabric selection is limited and some will cost 400 even on sale. I might have chosen a less classic tweed to balance the conservative cut, but I was not going to spend more than 200 on a first time experiment. There is only a limited number of button choices and no choices for the shoulder (I am fine with the classic heavy padding but I realize that some will absolutely hate it).
The, in my opinion, worst feature, and reason why I would not pay 300 Euros for a jacket like this (Certainly not in the era of Suitsupply) however, is the lapel. No canvassing and not enough attention to the chosen fabric creates an awkward angle and proportion, which, in my eyes, creates an ill-fitting shoulder. The shoulder is actually surprisingly well done, but since there is a limitation to the type of fabric that would work with the lapel construction it can distort the entire garment. The synthetic lining does look alright for now, but once again, there are better options out there above the 300 Euro mark. Some will pay a lot of attention to the pattern matching: I would argue, that current digital technology and automated cutting can achieve a decent enough match, even in a 150 Euro ready to wear piece. So the bit that is done here is the very least I would have expected and anything else would have been disappointing.
Time for a final observation and comments on both the small stuff and the bigger picture. If you believe modern brands with good pricing are too fashion forward and if you dislike ordering online, Dolzer is a good choice (Looking at their typical customer it’s working). If you care about quality, details or wish for a more Italian look you will need to be patient and lucky when it comes to price reductions. For me personally, they did better overall than I expected and it weakened my scepticism of entry-level, mass-produced tailoring. With their decent enough Online platform customers can browse fabrics and estimate the price for future clothing, and given that they also offer shirts, coats, trousers and formal wear, these will be interesting to test as well.
So what do you think? Have you considered using a similar service? How do you like the final product and how do you like my process of judging it? Wishing everyone an excellent end of the week,