Our Favourite Shoe Stores

We like to think of ourselves as a “one stop shop” for all your sartorial needs from head to ankle, but where do you turn once you’ve got our new ensemble, and you’d like to get a killer pair of shoes to go with? 

We love shoes, and are often fielding questions from our clients as to where they should go to get the perfect pair, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite local shoe stores below. 

Gravity Pope - 2205 W 4th - a Vancouver classic with one of the best collections of kicks from casual to black tie.  The staff are helpful and know what they’re talking about in terms of both fit and style.  They have classic styles, as well as fashion-forward picks, and their well-curated collection ranges in both price and formality - almost ensuring you’ll find what you’re looking for!  They also have a great online shop, featuring some exclusives you won’t fine in store.

Fluevog Shoes - multiple locations - perhaps geared more to our Artisanal Bespoke crew - John Fluevog has been crafting intricate, innovative shoes with his signature flair for nearly 50 years.  Looking for something to set you apart from the crowd?  Look no further!!

Have a local favourite we didn't mention?  Let us know!

Caring for your New Suit

When one of our custom suits is taken home by its new owner, the fabric feels soft and luxurious, the shoulders are crisp, and the suit pants are perfectly folded along a sharp crease. A well-maintained suit can retain these marks of quality with proper care. However, there are some potential pitfalls which can ruin or degrade a beautiful suit.

One of the most common mistakes a suit owner makes is regularly dry cleaning their suit. The heat and chemicals that dry cleaners use can sometimes cause a fine wool to lose its softness and lustre.

Wait - so then how am I supposed to clean my suit?

There are some good options you can employ instead of dry cleaning, which can ruin a suit with high heat, excessive chemical treatment, and the removal of natural oils.

Generally, suits won't even require regular cleaning. If you hang them up properly, the fine wool fabrics that we use will shed their wrinkles right on the hanger. Remember to leave the garment bag open when hanging so that the fabric can breathe, and to use a sturdy hanger so that your suit's shoulders remain well-formed.

So that's it?

Well, sometimes you do have to perform some maintenance on your suit. For example, if your suit has developed some wrinkles, you can often just hang it up in the bathroom when you run a hot shower. The steam will get out the major wrinkles. In the same vein, a hand steamer is also a great tool for getting wrinkles out of your suits and shirts.

If your suit has acquired an undesirable odour, you can usually deal with that by hanging it up outside on your porch or balcony. Use caution as we do not offer refunds if your suit blows away in a strong wind!

Blair, my suit is dirty and no amount of hanging will fix that.

Okay, if it's just a nasty stain, bring the suit to the dry cleaner and tell them to spot clean that specific area. Otherwise, dry cleaning might just be in order. Try to find a dry cleaner that you can trust not to ruin your beautiful garments! As well, some cleaners are now offering "wet cleaning" which can be used on "dry clean only" garments. There's one in Vancouver called Village Cleaners. I haven't tried it yet but, if anyone has given it a go, please leave a comment and let me know how it is!

 

 

Made to Measure vs Bespoke

So, you've decided to leave behind the pinched shoulders, rolled backs, and too-long sleeves of off the rack suits, and invest in your first custom piece. Very exciting!

But now you're confronted with some confusing terms. One store offers a bespoke suit, another promises that everything is made to measure right to your exact specifications. Which does one choose?

While the terms bespoke and made to measure describe very different processes, their meanings have been obscured due to a controversial ruling which allows for some deceptive marketing. Let's get to the root of what exactly what these different processes are.

Made to Measure

Made to measure suits are individually constructed to order. The tailor takes your measurements, you make choices on fabric and styling details, and the suit is made to these specifications. However, your suit will be cut based on a preexisting pattern. A line of made to measure suits may have several patterns: a slim pattern, a more classic pattern, etc. While certain parts may be easily changed (pant and sleeve length, jacket length, centre back width, and so on), others, such as the sleeve pitch and the posture of the jacket might not be alterable, or could be tied to other parts of the pattern.

The first time you see the suit made up, it is fully constructed. A final hemming and some minor alterations may be needed, and then the suit is complete and ready to be out in the world. For many people, the suit will be a near perfect fit. However, there are certain body types or postural issues which may require a bespoke process to achieve that same level of fit.

Bespoke

Bespoke suits are also individually constructed to order. Again, the tailor takes your measurements and you make fabric and styling choices. More options are available with bespoke than with made to measure, however. Anything the mind can conceive, the tailor can achieve! Like drawing up an architectural blueprint, a new pattern is constructed just for this specific suit. After taking detailed measurements and finalizing certain style details, the suit is then cut and basted for an initial try on.

A couple weeks later, you'll try on the suit. At this stage it is unlined and not sewn, merely tacked in place. The tailor will make small changes to the suit pattern to accommodate any fit issues which may have arisen. You will get a chance to see how the garment drapes and fits around you and offer your own opinion on any changes you may want. After both tailor and customer are satisfied, the garment is then sewn to completion.

A couple weeks after the initial try on, you will come by for a final fitting. Minor alterations are sometimes required, but generally all of the hard work was done at the initial try on and you will be walking out the door with your perfectly fitting new suit!

To Summarize

Made to Measure and Bespoke suits are both custom made to your specifications. The main differences between the two methods of suit construction are:

  1. With Bespoke suits, a pattern is drafted specifically for your body (with Made to Measure, a pattern is adapted to fit your body).
  2. The Bespoke fitting process includes a "basted try-on" where the suit is only half constructed.

Both made to measure and bespoke suits are custom suits which are crafted to your specifications. For many gentlemen, a made to measure suit will, in style and fit, be more than satisfactory. However, if you have unique style requests or a difficult fit, a bespoke suit may be the best the way forward.