A Suit That Fits has been creating affordable, bespoke tailored suits in Manchester for 7 years.
We talk to our local style advisor and Manchester studio manager, Andrew Varley, about what you can expect from a visit to the studio.
Our Manchester Studio
With Piccadilly Gardens and the Wheel of Manchester right outside the door, and Piccadilly Station a 5 minute walk away, our Manchester studio is located in the very heart of the city.
As our Manchester manager and local style advisor, Andrew Varley, points out: “Piccadilly Gardens, our location, is a good meeting place in the Northern Quarter for people who are working and who come out for their lunch or for people who are just shopping.”
For those who don’t know Manchester very well, the Northern Quarter is known for its bars, cafes, alternative clothing stores and music. Thanks to this great location, A Suit That Fits finds itself well-placed to serve Mancunians from all walks of life.
The studio itself is located in an old hotel building with a lovely, antiquated exterior. Not your typical office building, it’s a great place to invite customers in for a relaxing chat about their sartorial needs.
“Come and have a coffee with me,” says Andrew, “It’s a very relaxed atmosphere.”
About Andrew, our Manchester style advisor
Andrew may well be one of the most experienced style advisors working for A Suit That Fits.
Having left school at the age of sixteen, he immediately started work at a classic menswear outfitters. Believe it or not, he’s only had 3 jobs in his whole life and they’ve all been in the world of men’s suiting.
“I literally left school and went straight into a very classic menswear, three-floor outfitters,” he says. “It was a very traditional company that did bespoke tailoring. I worked there for 16 years.”
One of the benefits of having 28 years worth of experience in the menswear industry is that you get to see how styles change through the years.
“I’ve sold suits since I was sixteen,” says Andrew, “and I’ve seen them come full circle: from the ‘80s, where you had double-breasted jackets, pleated-front trousers and turn ups – to today, with double-breasted jackets coming back with slimmer fits… It’s nice to see things go full circle.”
What can you expect from a visit to the studio?
One of the best things about an appointment at our Manchester studio is that you get personalized style advice from Andrew and complete access to our range of cloths and designs.
“First of all, we have a meet and greet with a cup of coffee,” says Andrew. “We sit down and have a chat about what the customer wants the suit for. I discuss with them how they want the suit to fit in terms of the style. And then we take a leisurely look through the different cloths and linings.”
When you come in for your appointment, Andrew will talk you through the process of choosing different styles of lapels, pockets and jacket vents – all of which will be personalized to you. Finally, Andrew will take your measurements.
“All the measurements are taken,” he says, “for a shirt, overcoat, suit jacket and trousers. The customer will have a complete pattern on their profile for everything they will possibly need from us.”
Taking the Measurements
If you choose to go ahead with the measuring part of the appointment, Andrew will take a £25 measurement fee.
This includes a fit guarantee, meaning that Andrew will adjust your suit as many times as he needs to in order to get the fit right.
“The £25 fee covers any alterations that are done through the fitting process and up to 2 months after the customer has collected the suit,” he explains. “If they feel in a few weeks time that something still needs altering, they can come in and have it altered without extra cost. They only ever pay the fee once.”
Think of the £25 as a kind of “A Suit That Fits” membership fee. Once you’ve paid it, you won’t be charged again. Our side of the deal is that we promise to get you a suit that fits you perfectly.
One of Andrew’s strengths as a style advisor and bespoke tailor is that he combines personal attention to every customer with an intuition that can only be earned from having worked in menswear for almost 30 years.
“We have more of a personal approach at A Suit That Fits,” he says. “We work on an appointment-only basis so when you see me you’ve got my full, undivided attention.”
In an industry known for its traditionalism, Andrew’s approach to bespoke tailoring is refreshingly easygoing. He explains: “Some people think that if they’re coming to see someone who’s potentially going to tailor a suit for them, it’s going to be all stuffy. This is a more relaxed atmosphere, a bit more fun.”
Not all tailoring is slim or skinny!
One thing that puts some people off bespoke tailoring is the idea that you come out of the process with an uncomfortably slim-fitting suit. Not everyone is looking for that very closely-tailored look.
As Andrew points out: “When some people think of a tailored suit, they think it means a ‘second skin,’ and though some lads can get away with wearing very skinny suits, I get a lot of customers who don’t want the skinny-fit and can’t wear a skinny-fit suit.”
Rather than giving someone a fit that happens to be fashionable at the moment, Andrew considers the individual who’ll wear the suit.
“It’s about supplying a suit that the person will feel comfortable in,” he explains. “If he wants a certain trouser width, he’ll get a certain trouser width. Because I’ve been in the industry for so long, I tend to have a good idea about what a customer wants. I take the measurements according to what will suit them.”
Andrew’s most memorable creation
Andrew has created many garments in his time working for A Suit That Fits. The most memorable is probably a wedding suit he made for a guitarist called James Beedham who plays in a local rock band.
“The suit included black trousers in a boot-cut style and a white jacket with black custom stitching,” Andrew recalls.
What really made the outfit so memorable, however, was the jacket lining: It was one of A Suit That Fits’ customizable linings, featuring photographic images provided by our customers.
“The lining of the jacket featured a picture of his cowboy boots, his wife-to-be’s stilettos and a load of bottles of Jack Daniels,” says Andrew.
Check out the images above and below! Impressive, huh?
Everyone should – and can – get tailored!
Manchester is a large, diverse city so Andrew gets a wide variety of customers. This is partly due to A Suit That Fits’ affordable prices and the fact that the company has opened up bespoke tailoring to all walks of life.
“If we were charging £3,500 for a suit, we might mainly see very rich people,” says Andrew. “But sometimes I’ll have a young lad come to see me for a dinner suit for a prom – and the next minute, I’ll see an 85 year old lady who wants a suit for her granddaughter’s wedding.”
In other words, it’s a good mix of customers.
“There’s a lot of business in Manchester and I do a lot of business suits,” says Andrew. “But I also do well with ladies’ suits for same-sex marriages. Manchester is probably the gay capital of the nation. I’ve had some ladies come to me after seeing what Ellen Degeneres wore for her wedding. They’ve seen the photos in Hello magazine and they think, ‘That’s what I want for my wedding.’”
Whatever kind of suit you’re looking for – whether it’s a standard business suit or matching suits for a same-sex wedding – make sure you pay Andrew a visit at our Central Manchester studio.
Not only will you receive valuable one-on-one attention, you can pick the brains of a style advisor who’s worked in menswear for almost 30 years. The main thing is to enjoy the process and look forward to owning a bespoke tailored suit that fits you perfectly. I know Andrew will enjoy styling it for you.