Indochino Quality - The Great Indochino Wear & Tear Check

Friday, March 30, 2012

How does your Indochino suit stand the test of time? This is a question that comes up rather frequently in comments, forum threads and emails. It's an interesting topic worth finding out more about, I believe. Indochino suits are good value for money, but how do they look after a couple of years regular use?

Indochino's Spring Collection - Chambray shirts and more

Monday, March 26, 2012

Indochino Spring Collection 2012
It has been a while since Indochino's last really grand new collection. You know, those collections that get their own mini-sites on and include a variety of suits, shirts and accessories, presented with some advice on how to wear and combine the items. The last big collection was probably the Steve Nash Collection in October 2011, so I guess now it is finally time for the next big thing: the 2012 spring collection.

Indochino introduces flannel suits

Indochino Flannel Suits - 399$
Photo shows the Gray Flannel Chalkstripe Suit
First shown at the Indochino Calgary Traveling Tailor event, Indochino released 4 new flannel and 3 regular suits on the website today. Everyone is of course already set for spring and light suits, but I guess it's ok for a Canadian company to issue flannel suits in March - and probably there are some Australian customers as well and it's autumn down under. 

Anyway, on to the suits. There is one solid charcoal flannel suit, the others are all different kinds of pinstripe or chalkstripe flannel suits. They also threw one gray glen plaid suit into the mix. The new suits are all priced at 399$, unfortunately there are no coupons around at the moment, but as usual, I will inform you if I hear of any.

Indochino Review: Vincero Charcoal Plaid Suit

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Indochino Vincero REview

Honestly, when Indochino first introduced the Vincero Line (the Vincero Line suits later simply become the premium suits) in 2011, I thought the suits were way overpriced. Remember, a couple of years ago, Indochino suits still sold for $299 or $399, and the introduction of the Vincero Line occurred before a more premium approach was pushed and eventually accepted by customers. Sure, you'd get high-quality Italian Reda fabrics, Bemberg linings (more breathable than the standard polyester linings) and BWF collar felts from Germany. But is that worth paying a premium? Starting at 599$, the Vincero suits were quite a bit more expensive than, for example, the Indochino Essential Suits priced at $499, using fabrics sourced mostly from Chinese mills.

Teaser: Indochino's upcoming Spring Collection

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looks pretty cool, I like the outfit! We didn't have a big collection for quite a while, so I'm positively curious. Didn't think there'd be more outerwear in spring, but it seems we get another trench coat, light spring blazers and hopefully some spring/summer shirts too! What do you expect from the spring collection?

Indochino's pop-up store in Calgary

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tyler Mazzucco (Indochino), Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi and Kyle Vucko (Indochino CEO)
photo via Indochino on Twitter
As may of you may know, Indochino held their second pop-up store some days ago, this time in Calgary, Canada. Just like for their first pop-up store in Vancouver, attendance was pretty impressive. On Facebook alone 641 people registered for the event. As you can see in the pic above, Kyle Vucko was even wearing one of their new paisley shirts, gotta give him credit for pulling off that look. 

Judging from the reactions on Twitter and Facebook, the event was received very well. Most people were very happy with the style consultations at the event and I am sure it is reassuring for many to get measured by someone who knows how to do it. One person did complain on Style Forum (single negative opinion I found), because he felt his measurements were messed up when he checked online afterwards. Would be interesting to find out if people who got measured at the pop-up store have a lower remake/alteration rate compared to pure online customers. Another advantage is obviously that you can check the fabrics and styles in person. 

Indochino's shirts on display - photo from Indochino's Facebook stream (click picture for more shots)
I believe the pop-up store also kept them busy, so we didn't see any big new collection for a while - however, the spring/summer collection should be out soon and I am hoping for some nice surprises (double-breasted suits?). 

More pics from the pop-up event:

Black Lapel Review: The Navy Blue Suit

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Black Lapel Review
Black Lapel | Solid Navy Blue Suit | 449$ |
Indochino Ultimate Utility Shirt
Aubergine white-dotted tie from Berg&Berg
Proper Suit white linen pocket square
Indochino tie bar
I first talked to Warren Liao, co-founder of Black Lapel, I think in 2010. He was in the process of setting up what is now Black Lapel, an online MTM suit maker. Black Lapel officially launched a few weeks ago and Warren was so kind to send me a suit for review.

I don't think I need to spend a lot of time talking about their business model. You know how it works from Indochino, Black Lapel is not fundamentally different. You have got your measurement videos, the "flawless fit promise" as they call it, including a 75$ tailor credit (75$ for suits, 50$ for all other MTM products), free remakes and full refunds. Shipping is free and at the moment, their custom suits and shirts arrive within 3 weeks. 

Black Lapel Review

Black Lapel is another sign that the online MTM market is growing constantly and as with every industry, higher competition will lead to better products for us consumers. There are a couple of cool customization options with Black Lapel that you won't find on Indochino (yet): you can choose to have accent stitching on the boutonniere and your last sleeve buttonhole, matched with your suit lining (they  always use 100% Bemberg lining - something you only get with the Indochino Vincero suits).

Furthermore, their suits are half-canvassed, with horsehair lining in the chest piece and lapels. This makes sure the suit drapes well and you won't run into troubles at the dry cleaners (my advice is to avoid dry cleaning if possible). Hand stitched armholes and crescent pocket reinforcements are other details Warren Liao is rightfully proud of. Fabrics are all from Italy and independently tested and confirmed as 100% wool, buttons are real bull horn. Black Lapel also puts a high focus on quality control, making sure that every of your suits fits the same way. According to Warren, it is actually not digital cutting that makes the difference, it is the individual master tailor who uses these patterns during suit construction.

By the way, there is also an active blog from Black Lapel that you can follow for style advice and inspiration:

Great attention to details - love the buttonholes!
Black Lapel also sell shirts, pants, vests and ties, plus some accessories such as cuff links and tie bars. Pricing is comparable to Indochino.

The suit I chose is their Solid Navy Blue Suit. I wanted to be able to compare to my Indochino navy suits (I have both the Essential Navy from 2010 and the Navy Traveler suit from 2011) and my Black Lapel suit. As for customization options, I stayed pretty much on the safe side with 2 buttons, 2 vents, notch lapels and regular pockets. I chose single pleated trousers with cuffs. I remeasured myself according to their videos to make sure my tweaked Indochino measurements don't mess up anything.

On the photos below I combined the suit with a white Indochino shirt, a aubergine tie from Berg&Berg, a tie bar from Indochino and a pocket square I got from the guys at ProperSuit. The thing with Indochino shirts is that even their wide spread collar is not really that wide spread, so I prefer to use it with a four-in-hand knot - first of all I like the slightly asymmetric look it creates and second, it fits well with the collar. The Berg&Berg silk ties are made of very nice material and they tie just perfect, with a little dimple just were it belongs. Funnily enough the Indochino tie bars are actually too wide for their rather slim ties, but they fit perfect for the normal tie width.

Overall, I have to say the suit is really nice and compares well to Indochino. Especially the fabric, the cut and the construction are very convincing. I messed up the shoulder measurements a bit, they are just a bit too wide, but it's not too obvious. What I don't like that much are the strongly padded shoulders, more natural would be nice (update: natural shoulders are now standard, I had an earlier patch).

  • Fabric: it feels and looks great with a very subtle sheen
  • Cut: modern, slim cut without too much or too little waist suppression 
  • Construction: half-canvas, horsehair lining in the chest piece and lapels
  • Full canvas available for 150$ extra
  • Lining: 100% Bemberg on all suits (more breathable than polyester)
  • Customization options - you can even choose to have accent stitching on the boutonniere  and your last sleeve buttonhole matched with your suit lining. Wish I had chosen that for my suit.
  • Shoulders are very strongly padded
  • Comparably limited choice of fabrics
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Get 15% off any item at Black Lapel with coupon code LLBLACKLAPEL (valid until March 31, 2012).