Presidents, royalty, and movie stars wear custom tailored suits, so why shouldn’t you? A hand-tailored suit that will last for years is a smart choice. Think James Bond when considering a suited wardrobe of this quality: sharp, neat, timeless and well, sexy. From suits to shirts to shoes, Astor & Black is an example of one custom-measured resource for today’s man on-the-go. So, we took them for a test drive.
The company was founded in 2004 by David Schottenstein of the Ohio-based Schottenstein retail and real estate dynasty (think American Eagle and DSW Shoes, among other large retail institutions they operate). It was the younger Schottenstein’s vision for fine fabrics and a fair price that created this custom clothing success that’s caught on with the rich and famous. “I want to look as great off the court as I do on the court,” says Bruce Bowen, star forward of the San Antonio Spurs, who always looks his best, thanks to the bespoke Astor & Black suits. “With Astor & Black, it’s a slam dunk.”
The journey begins with fabrics of the finest quality. “Our suiting fabrics come in a wide variety and there’s something to fit every taste,” Henry Flores, the San Antonio-based Texas representative for the brand, reveals. The fabrics range from Scabal, Dormeuil, Loro Piana to Zegna Scabal – all Super 120s and 150s.
During the first visit, the client pours over a plethora of swatch books in order to make the best decisions. When this writer had a fitting, the choices seemed a tad overwhelming. Want to order a black suit that goes from day to evening? Sounds easy, but the selections are just as endless as they are with a navy or gray suit. Chalk stripes, pinstripes, plaids, tone on tone—it’s all about exercising your own one-of-a-kind, personal style.
In addition to the customer service and the use of the best fabric, the details make each suit truly special. The working buttonholes on the sleeves, the hand stitching, 100% canvas backing, and a Bemberg silk lining of any choice all look and feel super luxurious. From mild, matching lining to wild, colorful paisleys, these lining choices really make a personal statement for anyone lucky enough to see inside the jacket. Then there’s the double hand stitching on the shoulders and lapels, the sweat guards, rubber-grip waistbands to keep your shirttails tucked in, and buffalo-horn buttons. Engraving your name in the jacket ensures that it remains yours, because it will soon become your favorite suit in the closet.
An Astor & Black suit is built to last with prices ranging from $500 to $1,200, which is what even a good off-the-rack suit from a mass retailer can cost these days. After the fitting, a team from over 100 tailors in Hong Kong creates the suit. It then returns to the States just a few weeks later to the client for a refined fitting. The total turnaround time is about four to six weeks for this process, after which the garment is tailored further to the client’s exact specifications and personal tastes. The next step is choosing from an equally wide array of shirting and shoe choices to complete the outfit so that clients shine vividly from head to toe.
Astor & Black knows how to accommodate its clients’ busy schedules. The company’s representatives operate by appointment only and will come to your office or home for a fitting. Lifetime alterations, complimentary pressing, and the highest level of customer service are some of the reasons clients order one suit the first time around, then several more the next. The same applies to the custom shirting that Astor & Black offers. “It’s the commitment to quality and complete customer satisfaction that creates repeat clients for us,” Flores shares. “It’s not unusual for a client to order five suits at a time. He knows what he is getting, and that is not only an amazing wardrobe, but also the piece of mind that he will look flawlessly turned out.” For more information about obtaining Astor & Black custom clothing, visit www.astorandblack.com.