...is a bit like walking into this room...
...but without all the golden ticket politics and singing and wallpaper licking.
Assuming the role of Gene Wilder in a purple coat is a man who has (I imagine) never worn a purple coat, and that man is Michael Andrews, founder and CEO of Michael Andrews Bespoke. In place of the oversized lollipops and edible teacups and rivers of chocolate, there's this fully stocked bar:
As part of our search for the perfect Rehearsal Dinner look (and after a round of Stump the Stylist at Kmart), Julie Rath invited me to the MAB studio to check out their operation.
Here's the thing -- MAB isn't just a custom tailor. It's a place for men to hang out, have some scotch, fiddle with cuff links, get comfortable with formal attire. It's the kind of joint that has a Wii and a billiards table and a full kitchen downstairs, all available for use. Add in the fact that MAB is tucked away down an unpresuming SoHo alleyway, and it's a Man Cave in every sense of the term. As their website states, We are not your father's custom tailor.
Top left: not mints. Bottom right: not tissues.
Sensory grooms, such as myself, need to feel up every tie and pocket square in the store.
After gawking at and ultimately manhandling the merchandise, I asked Julie to pull three awesome Rehearsal Dinner outfits. Why rehearsal dinner? Well, because we hear about wedding attire all the time. And, honestly, there are a million resources out there for day-of groomwear. The rehearsal dinner is the first time you see the majority of your guests, and the first time they see you. This is your first impression. How you look (and, consequently, how you feel) sets the tone for the whole weekend.
Here's a tip to start us off: get yourself a pair of magnetic collar stays. They're incredibly handy and surprisingly inexpensive. I'm buying myself a new pair to kick off the summer. Happy Summer, me.
Julie's first ensemble is the dressiest of the three, apropos for a modern, city-dwelling groom (and actually very similar to what I wore on my wedding day). You'll notice how the sharp, solid suit is contrasted with what Julie calls a "friendly" tie.
[click photos to enlarge]
Navy suit ($1,595), blue dress shirt ($205), Drake's London tie ($135), pocket square ($65), and Scarpe di Bianco shoes (starting at $895)
A quick note about belts, because you won't see them in any of the looks pictured here. Why is that? Well, MAB pants are custom-fitted, so you can nix the belt. You can also opt for side adjusters, which make belts obsolete. Groom stylist Julie says she's not biased -- it really comes down to your personal preference.
Look #2 is one step down from the previous outfit, i.e. perfect for a slightly more casual event. Note, grooms, how the navy shoes coordinate with the knit tie. Check out Johnston & Murphy online for very affordable no-show socks and other accessories.
Cotton/cashmere chino suit ($1,995), pink gingham shirt ($225), Thomas Pink knit tie ($85), pocket square ($65) and Scarpe di Bianco shoes (starting at $895)
The final look is the most casual, but it may also be the most detailed (note the tipping on the pocket square, the pewter on the buttons). Your custom tailor and image consultant understand that the true success of an outfit lies in the details ... and will know when to keep it simple with a white collared shirt (see below).
Sportcoat ($1,355), white shirt ($225), Levi's denim jeans (starting at $40), and pocket square ($65)
Having hung out in the Bespoke studio long past my welcome, I can tell you that it's certainly worth a visit. Go for the Wii and leave with a kick-ass, fitted, immaculate suit. And if you're nice, maybe Julie will do your color analysis (see below). 2Es is autumn. I'm a summer. And apparently the color brown doesn't complement me whatsoever. My thirteen-year-old self, a big fan of "brown," wishes he'd known that fourteen years ago.
Whether it's your image, your style or your wardrobe that needs a revamp, email Julie to set up a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org. And then send me a photo of you sipping bourbon while you fondle the tie pins. You lucky bastard.
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Note: All of the suits and jackets pictured above are selections from the Michael Andrews Bespoke Platinum Collection. All looks and styles were handpicked by Julie Rath.
Images Courtesy of Joanna Wilson Photography