Company Spotlight: InStitchu Review & Giveaway

Thursday, January 30, 2014

InStitchu, an Australian online MTM tailor, recently caught my attention when they made the news by receiving funding to finance their impressive growth. I had heard of the brand before, but they clearly gained momentum in the past few months. Their main focus is on their home country Australia, but InStitchu is expanding world wide. InStitchu UK was founded just a while ago to focus on the very interesting UK market and to keep a watchful eye on continental Europe. Furthermore, InStitchu put parts of their funding to good use by acquiring custom shoemaker Mantorii. I think 2014 will be a very interesting year for customers, lots of things are happening and clearly online MTM is no longer a small niche.

Grey Suit by InStitchu - AUD 699 (Fabric #10)
Shirt, Tie and Tie Clip by Indochino

InStitchu offers a wide range of suits and shirts for all occasions. Unlike Indochino, InStitchu also still has a number of offers in the entry price range with suits starting from just AUD 299 or around USD 263 including free worldwide delivery. Their Classic Light Grey suit for example would compare with Indochino's Essential Gray ($449), the difference in price being substantial - almost USD 200 (and we are talking fully canvassed suits here).

10 Healthy Foods you are not yet eating

Some rights reserved by SweetOnVeg

Two of my goals for 2014 are to get fit and eat healthy. Arguably, these two things are probably on every other to-do list for every new year, but for a good reason. Why? Proper nutrition (in addition to exercise) is essential to feeling good - and looking good. The web is full of articles on super foods and there is a new hype every other month. However, food doesn't need to be very exotic to have a great impact. Many great foods are rather ordinary and easy to find, but often overlooked.

Indochino 2014 - Challenges Ahead

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 will be an interesting year for Indochino - we have yet to see their first collection of the year, but there are already plenty of topics to cover. I've heard a few rumours about additional taxes on Indochino suits for the last few weeks and decided to look into the topic more closely. The whole taxation part is tricky, but one thing becomes clear: Indochino has to charge customers with additional tax in at least some of the US states where they previously held one of their Traveling Tailor events. Customers in California are hit with a 8.5% sales tax according to Rick Squires on Twitter and customers from NY also mentioned having to pay additional tax. The tax amount is calculated automatically at checkout, I didn't see any tax being calculated for NY, but changing the address to CA showed a tax of approximately 6%. Premium suits suits thus now cost around $740 for Californian customers, up $50 from the $699 shown on the website. 

Top 10 bodyweight exercises you have to know about

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Being in shape is one of those factors that greatly defines how well you will look in your suit. Did you know that unless you train, your body loses muscle every year once you are past the age of 25? Not only do our bellies grow, our bodies get weaker too and no custom suit can make up for the lack of exercise.

Indochino Pre-Spring Collection 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's been a while since we have a real new collection from Indochino (the last one was the Holiday Collection in October 2013), but the regular promos have certainly kept us busy. A first few "teaser" suits are available online now as part of the limited edition Pre-Spring Collection 2014. We got 5 new suits, 3 of them priced at $529 and 2 more premium suits at $699. Among them are a number of pinstripe suits. A couple of new shirts have been added as well and a full new themed collection is to be expected towards the end of February. 

The suits don't stand out in any particular way, but are of course welcome additions to the current lineup. 

What are your expectations from Indochino in 2014? The competition is definitely increasing. I have a ton of content to publish, Dragon Inside and InStitchu will be the first reviews of the new year and I just need to get some more photos done. 

Company Spotlight: Mantorii Custom Footwear Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mantorii Custom Footwear is not an entirely new company. Originally launched in late 2012, Mantorii had some initial success and was quite popular, being the only (well known) company doing online custom shoes. I did the first review and many more followed, the company eventually got mentioned by Coolmaterial, Gearpatrol, Dappered any many more important publications. Mantorii then unfortunately went out of business due to troubles with their manufacturing, before being bought up by Australian suit makers InStitchu. 

I'm certainly glad they are back. There is definitely a market for affordable shoes that are customisable - with Mantorii you can choose from a ton of shoe styles, bragging details, upper and lining leathers, sole types, etc. InStitchu has been carefully restarting Mantorii over the past few months and is working on integrating it with their striving suit brand. I've had the chance to test one of their new products - an updated version of their Oxford Wingtip design in Topaz Tan. I had asked them to apply some darker shoe cream and polish it up a bit - they result is fantastic. 

It's an absolutely great shoe - I just love the design and the workmanship is excellent. Mantorii apparently moved to another supplier in the last months and I'd say the move was definitely worth it. Mantorii shoes are made using the Blake Stitching method (used for most high quality Italian shoes)  meaning you get a sleek and modern looking shoe that can be resoled at any time. Definitely a sign of quality - much like for suits, you don't want to go for something glued. Blake Stitching also makes the shoes less rigid and easier to break in, compared to Goodyear Welting (which of course is still a great construction method as well).

The tan colour and the wingtip broguing definitely make the shoe more casual - it will work extremely well with a pair of dark jeans and a blazer, but it also looks great with a blue suit (the lighter the blue, the better in this case). The only slightly negative drawback is the black welt - it clashes a bit with the tan colour. However, as my shoe was basically the final prototype for their new design, I can't expect everything to be 100% perfect and I was assured the welts would be in line with the colour of the upper leather on all customer orders. 

The Mantorii last is great too. It's not overly fancy of fashionable, it's based on the classic English last shape with a rounded toe, but features a slightly elongated toe. The result is a stylish last and a design that is contemporary and in no danger of being outdated anytime soon.

I've had the chance to talk to Robin and James, co-founders of InStitchu, about their businesses (a review of one of their suits is coming soon) and these guys certainly know their share about shoes. They control every part of production and leave nothing to chance, implementing their learnings from producing suits in China. Their full grain upper leathers are imported from the US and Australia, they source their own grade A quality sole leather and all components are rigurously tested to make sure they are up to their high standards.

What is next for Mantorii? According to Robin & James, Mantorii is now working closely with an experienced shoe designer to carefully update all designs (most changes are already implemented) and then to offer more styles and customisation options. Different medallion designs is one option that should be online in the near future, more colourful linings is another short-term goal. 

They are also working on reducing production times of currently 8 weeks (but well worth the wait). A few new accessories are on the horizon as well, I got one of their new wallets and it's excellent. Great leather (the one I have is actually dyed by hand) and simplistic design with all the functionality needed.

Coupon & Giveaway

Mantorii shoes are usually priced at $299, but they are running quite a few promos at the moment. Some of their products are reduced up to 20% already on their website and I got a special coupon for readers that will further decrease the price. Use indochinoreview at checkout to get a further $30 off all purchases over $200. Normal shipping is already included and you can upgrade to express shipping for $15.

I am also able to raffle off a couple of their Essential Wallets worth $18. For your chance to win, simply post a comment below this post until January 24th.

What has your opinion with Mantorii been like? Gave them a try already? Curious to hear what you think about the concept and also, possible alternatives worth checking out.

Indochino Deal Alert: $100 on purchases of a suit and 2 shirts

Friday, January 10, 2014

Indochino $100 off

With the End of Season Sale (and suits from $249) just over (well, almost, still good things to be had), Indochino is already having another deal. If you are purchasing a suit and 2 shirts, you get $100 off. It's not a lot - it's basically a shirt for free, but it's better than nothing and I'm sure there are more details - and new collections just around the corner. 

$100 off a suit and 2 shirts - use FRESHSTART at checkout. Valid until January 15th, 2014. 

A Gentlemen's Guide to Cigars

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Indochino Review Guide to Cigars
A guest post by T.J. Elliot

Thе рrасtісе оf сіgаr ѕmоkіng hаѕ bееn оn thе rіѕе іn thе U.S. (and probably wordlwide) ѕіnсе thе еаrlу 90'ѕ. In раrt duе tо а rерutаtіоn аѕ а glаmоrоuѕ аltеrnаtіvе tо сіgаrеttе ѕmоkіng, thе іnсrеаѕе саn аlѕо bе tіеd tо іtѕ рорulаrіtу аmоng сеlеbrіtіеѕ, аѕ wеll аѕ tо thе ѕосіаl nаturе оf іtѕ рrасtісе. But whаtеvеr thе rеаѕоn, іt іѕ сlеаr thаt сіgаrѕ аrе bіg buѕіnеѕѕ іn thе U.S. wіth hіghеr ѕаlеѕ оf рrеmіum brаndѕ еасh аnd еvеrу уеаr.
Indochino Review Guide to Cigars
Mаgаzіnеѕ lіkе Cіgаr Afісіоnаdо роrtrау сіgаr ѕmоkіng аѕ аllurіng, аnd реrhарѕ ѕlіghtlу rіѕqué (раrtісulаrlу fоr wоmеn), аnd ѕо thе hоbbу ѕtrіkеѕ а соrd wіth уоung Amеrісаnѕ.

Cеlеbrіtіеѕ аrе оftеn рhоtоgrарhеd аt раrtіеѕ оr ѕосіаl gаthеrіngѕ wіth а сіgаr іn hаnd, аnd сіgаr lоungеѕ fіnd rеgulаr fоlkѕ trуіng tо еmulаtе thеѕе ѕtаrѕ. Clubѕ аnd ѕосіеtіеѕ, раrtісulаrlу thоѕе dоmіnаtеd bу mеn, оftеn dеѕіgn thеіr rеgulаr асtіvіtіеѕ аrоund thе rіtuаl оf сіgаr ѕmоkіng.