RETAIL REPORT: SUITSUPPLY

 

A lot has been written about newcomer Suitsupply since they brought their brand of no-frills, easy and affordable tailoring to the U.S. from Amsterdam. So I decided to give it a try and see what the buzz is all about. Located up a steep flight of stairs at 453 Broome Street in Soho, the design of the store is wide open and simple to navigate. One giant wall of shirts, one wall for ties and a long sweeping presentation of suits, with “casual wear” mixed in on the floor. Unlike traditional retailers who carry multiple brands, everything you see is Suitsupply – the benefit being that you’re assured they’ll have your size, as it’s right there in front of you. There are about 12-15 different suit styles, from basic navy and charcoal to more fashionable pin stripes and glen plaid checks. But beware, if you’re looking for a narrow lapel, this is not your store. The width is more classic, although the fit of the suit is spot on and modern.

The best part of the experience hands down is the staff. Upon walking in I was welcomed by a beautiful woman who offered me water. She handed me off to Jan Vanteeffelen, their selling expert who also travels the States monitoring their stores for quality control and training. Taking advice from someone who has great style and looks the part is one of the biggest missed opportunities in men’s retail.

Jan had it covered and made the entire process seamless. The company philosophy is refreshing and clear, as noted by the fact that their CEO still gets all of the email feedback from customers sent directly to him – just the bad and the good – the middle reports being superfluous. The ink blue navy suit that was selected was around $600, another reason why Suitsupply has struck such a positive note with American men.

By the time we were looking at shirts, the store was full, with easily twelve men buying suits – a complete rarity in a menswear market that has trended towards casual over the past decade. I would liken the experience to the Apple store, or Warby Parker eyewear – two brands that have successfully taken the intimidation out of a traditionally complex and angst ridden shopping experience.

An impressive array of ties. Along with a more modern lapel width, they could benefit from a thinner tie option.

Entering measurements into their in-house tailoring program.

Any criticisms would be limited to the dated branding and advertising images on the walls, featuring men wearing suits doing odd activities: rowing a skull in the sand, shooting a shotgun in the desert – the kind of photography that might fly in Europe, but not so much with Americans. Once that gets tidied up, there are no limitations for this refreshing newcomer.

Suitsupply, 483 Broome Street, NY. There are locations in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago & Washington D.C., with Seattle, Dallas and Denver opening soon. Suitsupply.com

 

 

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