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New Luxury Menswear: Made-to-Measure Casual Clothes

New Luxury Menswear: Made-to-Measure Casual Clothes

No one in my building wears suits anymore,” says a very well-dressed senior executive at a big agency, when asked if he still gets his suits made. But the trend away from more structured, tailored clothing and toward smarter casual wear hasn’t lessened the desire for having one’s clothes made to measure. In fact, it’s opened up a whole new arena for menswear enthusiasts, with a crop of shops in L.A. ready to make not only a well-fitting custom suit but everything you’d want to wear — from a pair of perfectly cut five-pocket pants to a creamy-to-the-touch vicuña wool shirt jacket — just for you.

Thom Sweeney, the British menswear brand founded by two Savile Row-trained tailors, Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney, recently opened an L.A. flagship at 8401 Melrose Place, Thom Sweeney Loft. It’s an airy, open space designed by Billy Cotton, complete with a fully stocked bar named Sol’s.

Bomber jackets at Thom Sweeney, like this style in Loro Piana linen ($2,995), can be made to measure.

Courtesy of Subject

The brand, which still sees a majority of its business in bespoke suits (starting at $6,500), has witnessed its clients gravitating toward smarter casual clothing, almost all of which (with the exception of certain knitwear pieces) can be made to order, including perfectly cut bomber jackets. On a recent visit, a bespoke bomber in a dark grey nylon with a plush lining was waiting for the lucky customer who commissioned the piece. Whiddett tells THR that “while we’re seeing there are less suits being sold globally, we see people are prepared to invest in something a bit more special.” He adds, “L.A. is a massive market — there are guys here who care about how they dress and it doesn’t have to be a suit.”

The by-appointment Thom Sweeney Loft shares the space with furniture and design store Leclaireur meaning, you can have a glass of Blanton’s, get fitted for a bespoke tuxedo and buy the very expensive Backgammon set you’re playing.

The brand recently featured David Duchovny in its Spring Summer 2024 campaign wearing an off-white cashmere and silk double-breasted jacket. “I had a great time working on the Thom Sweeney shoot. I loved the people and I loved the clothes, both timeless and current, classic and new,” Duchovny tells THR.

The Thom Sweeney Loft in Los Angeles.

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Thom Sweeney

Tailor Jake Mueser of New York’s J. Mueser works with a lot of industry types and does a good business in custom tailoring. With his shaggy hair, gold rings and perfectly cut jacket, Mueser is part of a new breed of tailors who do make their clothes either in their own bespoke workshops or via long-established relationships with excellent tailors in Italy and has trunk shows multiple times a year in Los Angeles.

Mueser says he also has been seeing the shift towards softer tailoring. “In New York and L.A., people have changed their approach to dressing. Over the last few years, we’ve been developing more items — applying those ideas we have as tailors and custom clothiers — and taking the conventions of suiting and applying them to the more casual side. We’re doing a lot of custom bomber jackets, chore coats, overshirts and even safari suits.”

Mueser recently worked with the L.A.-based menswear brand Buck Mason on a capsule collection — J. Mueser for Buck Mason — a small selection of soft fitting suits and evening wear, which are offered off the rack and, at select Buck Mason locations, via made to measure.

Film director Peter Glanz — whose movie Savage House starring Claire Foy is due out later this year — has worked with Mueser on his personal wardrobe (he has more than 30 of Mueser’s bespoke suits) and on the costumes for some of his directing projects. “Because of Jake, over the 31 days of shooting on my last film, I wore a suit on set every day,” says Glanz, whose personal style is inspired by the 1960’s New Wave directors he grew up admiring. But additionally, Glanz recently had Mueser make him a loose-fitting, workwear-inspired French Blue linen chore coat with matching trousers. “I’m using all of Jake’s skills to fill both the L.A. casual wear vibe and my need to wear a nice suit on set or going out,” he says.

(Last year, THR also spoke with designer Savannah Yarborough of leather purveyor Savas on Melrose Avenue about the bespoke suede jackets she makes for such stars as Jason Isbell and Damian Lewis.)

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And at Zegna on Rodeo Drive — a reflection of the luxury label’s refreshed identity under the artistic direction of Alessandro Sartori — the new houses a special made-to-measure area on the second floor where you can peruse book after book of fabrics for suits, shirts and jackets. In a new twist, the boutique also includes ZEGNA X, a 3D digital configurator, which allows customers to create a whole new custom wardrobe — from triple-stitch sneakers to a gossamer light 15 micron wool overshirt and everything in between. With ZEGNA X, the customization options are endless, offering more than 2,300 products, allowing over 49 billion potential sartorial combinations.

Zegna allows users to personalize items such as outerwear via its ZEGNA X 3D configurator.

Courtesy of Zegna

While munching on a Baratti & Milano soft Amaretti cookie and drinking sparkling water, this reporter had a chance to use the service in store, which is as much fun to futz with as a well-made online car configurator. Both work in a very similar manner and tap into the same brain receptors, where via trial and error, you will find the perfect cashmere sweater and pants combination, if you try hard enough.

This type of engagement is the future of luxury, and with Zegna soon rolling out the service online and others likely to follow, next-gen execs will be able to define their own brands of casual couture.

A version of this story first appeared in the May 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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