A Bespoke Tailor Is Dressing Bankers And Lawyers On New York's Savile Row

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

I felt slightly frumpish walking into Michael Andrews Bespoke in my Gap khakis and oversized L.L. Bean corduroy jacket on a recent morning.Michael Andrews, a former lawyer who owns the elegant studio, had on a pair of chocolate-brown cotton trousers and a tightly fitted blue sports coat over a pink shirt with all-white banker collar and cuffs. 

He had off that day and described his dress as “business casual” but said he wears a suit when he works, single-handedly fitting and measuring each of his customers’ suits.

Since 2007, Andrews, 39, has operated this gem of a clothing shop located in NoHo, right off of Great Jones Street, in an area described as New York’s Savile Row.

Andrews offered me a drink when I stepped in for an interview, pointing to a bar at the side of the room stocked with bottles of whiskey and other liquor. He does this for his customers, too. He wants to get to know you, to understand your lifestyle, because most of his customers (about half) are repeats.

He has on hand over 10 thousand fabric swatches to choose from for your suit material; you can pick from an array of linings and buttons, mainly genuine horn and mother of pearl. You’ll match your socks, and choose other accessories. You can build a full wardrobe here.

This is the business of bespoke, and Andrews describes it as “anti-retail.” 

“Ready-to-wear is an inventory game,” Andrews said. “You have to predict what you’re going to sell. With us, once you put the credit card down, we’re just getting started.”

Indeed, when a suit is measured, it goes all the way to the company’s workshop in Shenzhen, China, where it’s put together. 

Andrews describes men’s clothier chains like Brooks Brothers and Joseph A. Bank as a “national embarrassment.”

He explained that, although it took a while, American men’s fashion is now “emphasising a more contemporary silhouette,” meaning a slimmer fit. Around the time he got into the business, he said, the American fashion designer Thom Browne was credited with slimming down that silhouette and popularizing the kind of early 1960s business aesthetic you see in the TV series Mad Men.

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

But he added that Tom Ford, the former creative director of Gucci, is the new bellwether of men’s wear. The fit is still slim, but the style more elegant, with wider lapels, bolder prints, and more colour. Less Don Draper and more Fred Astaire—a throwback to the 1930s.He pointed to a blue velvet tuxedo in the room by way of illustration.

Andrews estimates that 70 to 80 per cent of his clients are bankers or lawyers, the majority of them younger than 40. A mix of entrepreneurs, media types, celebrities, and doctors also comes in. 

He has noticed that the Silicon Valley techies, known to wear shorts and flip-flops to work, are “growing up,” maybe investing in nicer pairs of slacks, or sports coats.

You can spend as little as $1,000 and up to $10,000 for a suit at Michael Andrews, though Andrews said that the average suit costs right around $2,000.

And business has been going well for him. At the moment, he’s planning to open another outlet in Washington, D.C. as of this fall.

He’s just recently hired an in-house master tailor who has worked at Henry Poole & Co., a bespoke retailer at Savile Row in London.

Rory Duffy, 29, is a fifth-generation Irish master tailor from his mother’s side. And in case you didn’t know, a master tailor can cut, make, and fit the whole range of men’s clothes. Most tailors specialize, however, and Duffy mainly does cutting and fitting at Michael Andrews.

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

He said he is the only master tailor in New York City, and estimated that fewer than 40 exist in the West.

In his studio upstairs of the main fitting room, he pulled off the rack a blue, fully canvassed, British-made jacket, explaining that it had taken him 3 days of work and 6,000 hand stitches to put together. 

Then he showed me a long, black tailcoat that his grandfather had made in the 1930s. It looked like something you might find in a Dickens stage production.

When I asked him why he had it in shop, he said he had been wearing it.

“Lucky enough, it fits me,” he said.

Now take a look behind the scenes at Michael Andrews Bespoke >

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