If there is one constant between all of the online tailoring houses I have reviewed, it is that none of them have failed to impress me with the internationality of their businesses and the speed within which they can fulfill customer orders.
If you were to ask a small, charming country tailor in, say, Tunbridge Wells to make you a suit, they’d tell you – rightly – that “it won’t be done in a hurry.”
There’s the fabric to order, and that takes a bit of time. Then, there’s the tailor’s trip to the fairways of the Algarve that forces a small delay. Then, of course, there’s the fittings and second fittings. They also need the right people on the job and, this being a cottage industry, we have to “be mindful of their schedules.”
“Quality takes time” they chuckle, holding their hip, straightening their faded portrait of the Duke of Windsor and staring off into the sunshine of this vast, incomprehensible, rocket-speed world.
Indeed it does, but it would seem the actual time required to achieve this quality is lessening. As is the significance of borders on the map and distances over oceans.
In my suit reviews, I have dealt with ambitious companies as close as London and far away as Australia – with everything in between, including Thailand, Spain, Hungary and Switzerland.
And so to Indochino. Founded in Canada in 2008, Indochino are one of the most ubiquitous online tailors around, thanks to their highly successful advertising and marketing campaigns. They are not, as their name suggests, utilizing Vietnamese or Cambodian tailors. Instead, like many companies, they have found a unique team of tailors based in China.
Indochino has one of the sleekest websites of all the online tailors. The interface is post-Apple white n’grey – clean as a whistle.
You navigate to ‘Suits’ and choose one of the 30-odd options available. This is essentially your fabric choice, not the style of suit.
The choice of fabrics isn’t huge – and it’s also undeniably conservative, although there isn’t a man-made fibre in sight. You won’t find red wool herringbones or sky blue window checks either. This is boardroom-friendly territory and the palette doesn’t move beyond grey and dark blue – there’s also a few black options.
The suits range from a lower end ‘Essential’ collection, starting at $449 for a two-piece to ‘Premium’, which is a distance of roughly $400.
I chose a ‘Goldfinger’ suit; a light grey pick-and-pick three piece, similar in character to the one worn by Sean Connery in the Bond film of the same name (although his was actually a subtle Glen check). I opted for a one-button with a notched-lapel and a six-button single-breasted waistcoat.
The measuring process is very easy and has video guides to follow. Like all other online tailors, the measurement accuracy is your own deal, so it makes sense to find a helpful person familiar with a tape measure.
The suit itself arrived, neatly packaged in a large box. The folding had been carefully done, which meant minimal creasing.
I didn’t have a sample of the fabric before selecting it, although swatches are available, the cost of which is redeemable against purchases.
Given this is one of their entry level fabrics, I was quite impressed with the quality. It’s not at the Vitale Barberis or Holland & Sherry level, but it has a pleasant hand to it.
I was also impressed with suit’s quality of construction. For the price, it was quite unexpected and, given that other suits I have reviewed have cost more, I would say that this suit is close to representing the best value in this regard. The buttonhole stitching is carefully done and there is a delicacy to the work that is normally missing at this price point.
Details of particular note are the elegant pocket flaps, the substantial horn buttons, the fine curve on the lapel and the quality lining. The initials are a little vanity, but it’s worth noting they weren’t an extra cost.
The jacket is ever so slightly slim on the hips, causing it to pull when buttoned, but I prefer it this way. The shoulders are fairly impressive for an online MTM and despite a little pulling on the back – one of my bodily quirks – there is little shoulder divoting as a result.
I am very pleased with the height of the jacket’s gorge and I am relieved it doesn’t look quite so short as the very fashion forward jackets on the website.
The lapels are, ironically, far thinner than the new fashion for enormous Dumbo-flaps but I think they work well with the rhythm of the suit.
The trousers are good. I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to the lower half, but despite the odd location of the side adjusters, they are very comfortable and very elegant. The turn-ups are slightly out of proportion to the pockets and the lapel – they should be a little taller – but I don’t mind so much.
The waistcoat (yet again) was the least delightful thing about the suit, but in of itself isn’t too bad; the chest is a little too big and is also a little too long for my personal tastes. I have tightened the buckle to the maximum setting as I prefer waistcoats to look too tight than too loose. I might get the chest sorted and an inch taken off the length at a later date.
It’s a bit disappointing that yet again, an online tailor hasn’t got the waistcoat quite as right as the jacket. Many high street stores have managed to produce far better fitting waistcoats, so it must be something to do with the block being used.
That said, the grumbles with the ‘vest’ are minor.
Fit: 8.5 out of 10 – this was very pleasing. As a whole, the suit comes together very well. The shoulders, so easy to get wrong and so hard to change, are a lovely shape. They’re also adjusted slightly for my sloping upper body, so the arms don’t sit awkwardly on them. There are some minor shoulder divots, slight pulling on the fabric and some issues with the waistcoat, but it’s way better than an off the rack suit.
Fabric: 8 out of 10 – better than expected, and works with the jacket to produce some lovely shapes on the waist, lapels and shoulders.
Service: 7 out of 10 – fairly quick, although not as lightning fast as some. This was ordered at the end of February and arrived a few days ago, so about the same length of time as Massimo Dutti Personal Tailoring but several weeks slower than Tailor4Less. There was some ‘double checking’ of measurements required (to be completed in 48 hours) which was a little annoying, but apart from that the service was professional and friendly.
Quality of finish: 8.5 out of 10 – up there with Massimo Dutti. Quality control on the stitching and buttonholes is of note and the jacket feels robustly made; some jackets can feel a bit flimsy, particularly when the material isn’t a heavy tweed, but this felt like the proverbial VW passenger door.
Overall satisfaction: 8.5 out of 10 – very strong from Indochino. I must say I am pleasantly surprised, as the website images – which are more Topman than tailoring – do not do it justice. I had expected a very trendy looking suit, albeit with the right fit around the chest and shoulders. But I am delighted to report that this is precisely the ‘Goldfinger’ suit I was looking for. There might be some very minor changes but considering how well quality of finish, value for money and fit marry up here, it’s fair to say that Indochino are a contender to be reckoned with.