A Perfect Fit

The luxe experience of custom suiting.        

At first, I was alarmed to find out that my shoulders were different sizes. I felt better, however, when James Bower assured me that it was nothing to worry about. They’re called drop shoulders, and are relatively common (though not a little inconvenient when buying clothes off the rack). 

Bower should know—as the co-owner of fashionable Lynchburg men’s clothier R. Coffee Ltd., he’s measured thousands of men for custom suits and tuxedos over the years. 

Custom suiting is a popular way to add a touch of luxury to the wedding day for a groom and his groomsmen. According to Bower, from start to finish, it should be an experience—not just another purchase made on the run. The goal for every custom suit, he says, is to make the man wearing it feel as confident as possible by paying attention to every detail. 

A visit to a respected custom suit-maker like R. Coffee begins first with a get-to-know-you conversation. Bower serves drinks, and asks questions. What’s your personal style? Modern or traditional? Wedding colors? Day or night? Family traditions? It’s a chat that feels natural and easy, but it’s important. The clothier’s job is to ensure that the suit fits not just your body, but your life.

Next come the measurements. Bower takes not just the standard chest, arms, legs, and waist measurements, but wrists, ribs, neck, shoulders, biceps, hips, ankles, and so many more—a specific record of each specific body. 

Based on what he’s learned, he’ll recommend options for fabric, cut and style as well as buttons, lapels,  single vs. double-vented backs, and accessories like ties, studs and shoes.

I pose Bower a question stolen directly from my own experience as a groom: I want a modern style, but I also want some traditional touches that nod to my family roots. Can he help? 

Of course he can. He suggests a modern slim suit, with a pocket square made from the fabric of one of my father’s favorite ties. It’s an innovative and delightful solution—one I’ve never encountered before. 

The end result of this process is not only a bespoke garment, but that feeling of having every need considered, every contingency taken care of and accounted for by a team of skilled experts. It’s an empowering sensation. 

And confidence is the best thing you can wear—except, of course, for maybe the perfect suit. 

Custom Clothiers Around the State

Alton Lane, Richmond, AltonLane.com
Bell’s Fine Clothing, Winchester, BellsFineClothing.com
Franco’s Fine Clothiers, Richmond, Francos.com
Ledbury, Richmond, Ledbury.com
The Tailored Man, McLean and Alexandria, TailoredMan.com

This article originally appeared in our Weddings 2018 issue. 

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