Montrealers are lucky – we don’t have to travel all the way across the world to buy a famous Hong Kong suit, since we live right here on the circuit of at least two traveling tailoring companies. The Tailored Man and Maxwell’s are here this week and at the end of next week, respectively.
Both Maxwell’s and The Tailored Man arrive at our doorstep at regular intervals to fit men and women for suits and shirts. These men know how to do a Savile Row type of suit fitting with nineteen different measurements. The suits can be ordered in a myriad of duty-free fabrics from all over the world. With the low cost of labor and no duty to pay, you can own a custom-tailored suit for as little as about $395. A custom shirt can be had for as low as $45 – and that could be for delicious Egyptian or Sea Island cotton, too.
It’s all in the details when you buy made-to-measure. Shirts usually have fuse collar and cuffs, cuff pleats, a seven button placket front, sleeve gauntlet opening with button, center box pleat at back and your monogram on a cuff or shirt pocket.
Suit jackets are designed with five inside pockets and two hidden pockets within the outer pockets, and even sport sweat shields in the armpits. The pants can be lined, which adds another layer for warmth in winter and lends a slinky feel. It also contributes extra life to the crotch and thighs. The inner waist band has a rubberized trim which holds your shirt in, and also sports buttons for suspenders, for those who wear them.
The Tailored Man still makes a “surgeon’s cuff”, which is a subtle way of letting it be known you are wearing a custom suit. In this style the four buttons at the end of your sleeve have buttonholes that can actually open. In the “olden days”, surgeons might have had to deliver a baby or provide some sort of medical intervention wherever they were, so they would need to be able to open all their buttons so as to roll up their cuffs and get to work.
Besides the idea of owning a suit or shirt that fits your body to a tee, there are other reasons to buy from these tailors. Perhaps there is a favorite shirt collar that you like that you can’t find in the stores; these businesses have at least eight styles to choose from. Maybe you would prefer a white collar on your colored shirt?
Also, when buying from companies like these, you can for example order a classic two-button navy blue blazer when the stores are carrying only three-button styles. Perhaps you are a man or woman who is big in the waist but has small shoulders, and off the rack suits don’t fit properly. Guys who work out and have broad chests and slim waists need special sizing too. How about this one – you can bring in your favorite shirt or suit jacket for them to copy.
These two companies have very different modus operandi. The Tailored Man makes appointments and meets with one customer at a time, providing undivided attention. Maxwell’s has developed a more retail-like model where no appointments are necessary. There are a few tailors in the suite with him, and a more bustling atmosphere, with other people in the room shopping at the same time.
Maxwell’s Clothiers, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: www.maxwellsclothiers.com. Dates: March 29th– April 1st at Ruby Foo’s Hotel, 7655 Decarie Blvd. Phone: 514-731-7701 and then April 2nd to5th at Le Centre Sheraton, 1201 Rene-Levesque Blvd W. Phone: (514) 878-2000. Ask for Mr. K. Maxwell’s suite. This company was one of the first to come to Canada, back in 1961, and now has over 45,000 active customers throughout the country. They visit Montreal twice a year, in October and in March, renting a banquet hall in Ruby Foo’s Hotel for a few days and then heading downtown to Le Centre Sheraton for a few more days. Maxwell’s brings along a team of tailors who can fit you for custom-tailored suits, jackets, pants, overcoats and shirts. Tuxedo shirts, western style shirts and wing-tip court shirts can also be ordered, and winter overcoats are available in the finest cashmere fabrics. You can drop in at any time while he is in town, and you’ll find a room bustling with activity. His tailors are busily measuring different customers while other buyers are perusing the table holding books of thousands of fabric swatches, and still others are checking out some sample shirts and suits. The prices are excellent – for three custom-made cotton shirts, it’s only $135 plus tax and shipping (about $25). Suits go for $395 – $495, and orders take about eight weeks to arrive. A local tailor has been hired to do any small alterations that may be necessary afterwards.
The Tailored Man, e-mail: email@example.com. web site: www.tailoredman.com. Dates: (by appointment only, ask for Mr. Daswani’s suite) call hotel or his toll-free number: 877-984-3339. April 5th and 6th, Le Centre Sheraton, 1201 Rene-Levesque Blvd W. Phone: (514) 878-2000; April 7th and 8th , Ruby Foo’s Hotel, 7655 Decarie Blvd. Phone: (here ask for Mr. Kishu). 514-731-7701; and April 7th and 8th also at Sheraton Laval, 2440 Autoroute des Laurentides. Phone: 450-687-2440. Sunder Daswani has a more traditional approach to selling suits and shirts, and makes hourly appointments so that he can enjoy meeting one customer at a time. This way he has a chance to get to know each one individually, and has the opportunity to help the customer choose fabrics and to match shirts or ties. After taking your measurements, he shoots a digital photo of you and sends it straight to Hong Kong in an e-mail along with your measurements. This way, the shop has an opportunity to see your body shape. The fabric gets pulled the same day, and the next day the tailors can start making the suit. In about six weeks, it arrives at your door. Daswani comes to Montreal about every two to three months. The Tailored Man has a permanent US location at 5243 Duke St., Alexandria, VA. Phone: 703-751-7868. If you drive South for a vacation, you can be measured on your way down and have a suit or shirt waiting for you on your way back. Suits start at $425 US and shirts are prices from $45 US.