Trial and error is how most of us develop a manner of dressing, develop internalized rules and habits (such as always going for that not-quite-navy-blue blazer and a white shirt). While there may be sartorial prodigies who will instinctively know how to pair anything other than blue, how to pair workwear with suits and how to wear a tie casually; I am not one of them. I will annoy any of my readers and followers with garish combinations and at times a bit too much attitude, also going for brands that are off the beaten paths of the menswear community.
Sometimes it is a particularly tempting sale or a love at first sight meeting with a fabric and sometimes it is just curiosity and the possibility to assess a brand or manufacturer and judge them by more than just one product, which is what I will do with the made to measure jacket above. Once again I would like to thank all of those, who have commented on Instagram and shared their opinion (without knowing who actually made the jacket and what it is worth). This has in fact been my second jacket at Dolzer made to measure, so if you wish to catch up on my very first experience, please follow this link .
There was a time when people, especially women, bought their clothes way ahead of any season (ready to wear is a relatively new concept) and maybe the availability and accessibility of tailoring today is bringing back some of that spirit. My last order at Dolzer was a heavy tweed just as spring came around and this silk-linen jacket arrived as the first colder winds of autumn brushed through the trees. I will thus put it away and build a few additional items around it for next spring and summer, taking away some of the instant gratification. Bespoke Aficionado Ivy has asked about this topic frequently on Instagram, if you are interested in how others might anser questions about it, head over to his profile.
The world of custom-made, and in some cases Bespoke, clothing is a fast one these days, some tailors offer multiple fittings within days and easy orders afterwards, obviously catering to a diverse market and taking advantage of modern means of communication (The East Asian market loves British and Italian tailoring but won’t have the opportunity to stay for the entire duration of the Bespoke process). I do realize that tailors have always been travelling and that those with the proper relationship have always been ordering without fittings and that back then there was economic pressure on craftsmen to be fast. However, more than before, such an investment is a cultural and personal experience that ought to be enjoyed and given some time. So what is wrong with ordering something that you might not receive for two months and might not wear for another four ? (This is still very much true for Bespoke shoemaking by the way, as someone with great elegance, humility and sense of aesthetic pleasures has pointed out to me.)
As described above, I chose a silk-linen-wool blend woven in Biella, Italy, which does have a thicker feel to it than I might have hoped. Compared to the astonishing Linen Tweed fabric by Loro Piana, it is a bit rough, but then again it’s also on third of its price. The green color appears to be very light and muted, leading to curious tone changes depending on the rest of the outfit as well as the background. I have worn it on a cloudy day in an urban environment and if I had not told you it was in fact green, most of you would have described it as grey. Whoever said that green is the new blue in menswear (is probably not reading such an insignificant, small time article), she or he was right. It is rather funny how some immediately think of outdated glencheck jackets in pale green or loud 70s neon colored suits, when there are in fact so many ways to wear a dark green tweed or light green linen.
As we are already examining the shoulder and lapel: If you decide to order at Dolzer, you will have to accept the classic, rather German, padded, slightly elevated shoulder. Personally I like my shoulder on the British side, but it could be cut closer to the body. I chose the same lapel size, out of three widths, as I did in the spring and this time, with a less heavy fabric, it turned out much better.
Compared to my previous tweed jacket, I wished for a slimmer but longer arm, slimmer waist and more narrow shoulders, all of which are improvements in my mind. The back is still nice and clean and the overall length is one of the reasons to choose tailored garments over ready to wear. I can not say this often enough, if ‘fit is king’, proportions are heaven. Generally if you talk about a ‘fitted suit’ on the streets and in department stores, you will get a slim suit and not a great fitting suit, so it is always worth pointing out that attributes such as overall jacket length, lapel size, buttoning, height of the arm insert and so on are incredibly important. (Also a nice check list of details that made Suitsupply popular, even if most customers would not recognize them.)
Regular plastic buttons were replaced with really nice horn (plus I asked for working cuffs) and this time around the stitching was kept in a much more neutral color which is also a step in the right direction. The lining is their standard, included, artificial version, which ought to hold up for a decent amount of time. (I could, and probably should, write an entire article about linings and how it comes down to quality and not price, I have had polyester lined, fused jackets for almost 10 years and they do look better than some much more expensive stitched linings.)
‘What do you mean I have an unhealthy admiration for turtlenecks? I do, yes, but what’s wrong with it?’ I suppose my not so secret dream is recreating the famous shirt scene from Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby masterpiece with these sweaters.
The jacket does have flap pockets which I keep tucked in for a more casual appearance (Yes I should have gone for patch, I know, but if the craftsmanship doesn’t hold up they can be too bulky at times in my opinion.) and you can judge the waist for yourself after looking at the frontal picture. Now we will turn our attention to the biggest issue raised by commenters on Instagram: Arm length. I specifically asked for a longer length as compared to the first jacket in tweed, which felt too short when sitting and moving. After all, the shoulder and sleeves are industrial and assembled at a factory according to the submitted measurements (which are taken by experienced and very competent staff), as is common among made to measure services. This, in my opinion, leads to a rather low arm hole and not as much freedom of movement as we might expect from other, more expensive, tailoring brands. Lengthening the arm in this case helps mitigate that insufficiency to some extent.
Overall this project was, once again, an amazing deal at 180 Euros, if one can accept Dolzer’s stronger shoulder and budget friendly fabric. (By comparison a higher quality fabric would cost 250 to 450 Euros) I was surprised, in a most positive way, at how well they work with their clients and even if you will not get to fulfill all of your sartorial fantasies at such a company, they offer more than most off the rack brands at a fraction of the price. Especially for those seeking hands on experience with made to measure clothing this might be a good first step (It was for me). Never before have there been so many companies and brands offering a similar service and digital marketing has made it hard to sort through legit deals or honest craft. So why not see what is possible (and what isn’t !), to be prepared and learn the language of tailoring, instead of getting talked into 500-800 Euro suits that might look great as fabric samples but pay no attention to proportions ?
What is left to mention? First of all, really appreciate the chocolate-brown derbies by George’s Shoes, thinking about giving them a well-rounded fall weather treatment, so if anyone has a tip on what to do, feel free to message me. In terms of pants, I think I will have to approach Luxire for a pair of brown cotton twill pants as they are (shamefully) absent in my current wardrobe.
I hope the format of these reviews is both enlightening and entertaining, if there is ever an aspect of tailored clothing that I have forgotten, I am looking forward to your suggestions.