Nestled into a second story office space is Alton Lane, another name on New York City’s quickly expanding list of made to measure suit shops. Well, technically they classify themselves as a ‘custom’ suit maker because they do not take existing patterns and alter them (which is MTM, like My.Suit) but create an individual pattern for each person. They say this should give a better fit, but we shall see. The shop has a nice set up, couches, a small bar (mostly whiskey, naturally) and a few big chairs; a very masculine feel. I believe Alton Lane is trying to give off the impression of a clubhouse or social club. They pull it off pretty well. But that is really not what is important, what’s important are the suits.
The process at Alton Lane is pretty simple. You can either submit your measurements online of go into their shop at 11 W 25th street. The latter option was the method utilized in our case. And when I say our I mean my friend and I, for he is the one who got the suit not me, I was just an impartial observer in the whole process. The selection and fitting appointment took about an hour, as was the case at My.Suit. First, the fabric and design of the suit was selected. A solid navy, notch lapel, 2 button, single vented jacket was chosen along with flat front trousers with belt loops; about as classic as it gets. But I should note that the usual options were present (including hacking pockets, ticket pocket, functional buttonholes on the sleeves, suspender buttons, side tabs and different color button holes).
The fabric selection was excellent. The basic fabrics start at $495 and prices go up from there (up to over $2,000) for fabrics from the likes of Dormeuil and Vitale Barberis Canonico and others. But, I wouldn’t spend half of $495 for a suit at Alton Lane, I would take my money elsewhere. Why? You may ask. Because they do not provide a functioning boutonniere hole on the lapel, and it is not an option. Although I would get very little to no use of this hole it is a matter of aesthetics and principle. And to make matters worse, the girl who was doing the fitting (who other than this was great and answered all of our questions) said that you could take a seam opener to it to open it up. FALSE. All that Alton Lane’s manufacturer does is sew over the lapel fabric to make it look like a boutonniere hole. Of all corners to cut, this has to be one of the cheapest and it makes me wonder about the quality of the construction of the jacket and pants.
After the fabric and styling has been picked out comes the fitting. The usual measurements are taken but additionally the client steps into some type of electronic measuring machine (much like the full body x-ray machines at the airport). The client stands in the machine for about a minute while it takes thousands of measurements to create a 3D model of the client. I was told this helps a lot in determining the posture of the client, I would imagine it is also helpful with the shoulders. Once the measurements are completed and documented you down the last of your drink and head out. Simple enough, right?
Although six weeks was the stated delivery time my friends suit will arrive in roughly four weeks. Unlike My.Suit, alterations are left to the client to choose where to get them done. Alton Lane will provide a $150 certificate for alterations to a tailor of your choosing. There are obvious pros and cons to this method but I do not think that it is a deal breaker because most alterations will likely be covered by $150. But as I already stated, the lack of a true lapel hole is the deal breaker for me.
There will be one more post on the final product from Alton Lane, but before that I will have the first of the posts on my experience with Indochino.