Review: Beckett & Robb MTM Suits
This review has been a long time coming, but I like to put some wear on the products I write about before collecting my thoughts. This perhaps more so with a custom suit, which takes time to mold itself to the wearer’s body. And even now, I am sure that I’ll report back in the future with some updates about how this suit from Beckett & Robb is breaking in.
Last year, the good folks at San Francisco’s Beckett & Robb store offered to make me one of their basic suits for review. Though Beckett & Robb offers suits in some of the finest suiting from Loro Piana, Huddersfield, Ariston, and others, the base wools are mostly from Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC), which is a pretty great starter wool that’s been written about quite a bit of late in the menswear blogosphere. I chose a medium grey flannel, and got to work with Dustin (of prodigal-punk.tumblr.com fame)—one of Beckett & Robb’s made to measure specialists (MTM) and roving Beckett & Robb store-opener—on getting measured and choosing customization options.
Beckett & Robb is a true MTM business, where changes are made to base patterns to accommodate an individual’s physical idiosyncracies. To accommodate idiosyncrasies of taste, Beckett & Robb offers a very wide range of customization options from contrast buttonhole stitching to pretty wild patterned lining fabrics. The measuring process took about 45 minutes, with me trying on stock jackets and pants, and Dustin entering necessary changes into a complicated looking order form. For the jacket, we made adjustments to the arm hole height, lapel width, button stance, body length, sleeve length, and more, and on the pants we adjusted the seat, waist height, and taper.
While I had deferred to Dustin’s expertise when it came to some of the finer details of fit, when it came to customization options I gladly took the lead in choosing some details for the suit that would really speak to my tastes and the needs I would put the suit to. I’ve written here before about the benefits of owning suits that can do double duty as separates, and that certainly drove my decision making process when customizing my suit from Beckett & Robb.
I chose to have the suit made up in a way that is inspired by the Neapolitan aesthetic that is so hip right now. I find it a bit more relaxed in its softer construction and less formal in some of its more frequently seen details like three patch pockets, which is perfect for my line of work where I seldom have to wear a suit, but often choose to.
Beckett & Robb offers a totally unconstructed and unpadded suit as an option for a small up charge, and that’s what I went with. I also chose to have the jacket unlined. When faced with the broad array of choices for the piping fabric to be used on the taped seams of the jacket, I chose a subtle navy silk with small yellow dots (Go Blue! and Go Bears!), and to match that I opted for a Bemberg for the sleeve lining that has subtle navy and yellow striping. I admit, it took me a while to settle on a button choice (sorry Dustin!) but I finally went with a tan corozo nut that I felt offered a nice contrast to the grey flannel and that played down the formality of the jacket, thus helping it to be worn as a casual sport coat when necessary. Other customization options I went with included side tabs on the pants instead of belt loops, a 2” cuff on the trousers, functioning buttonholes on the jacket, a 3 roll 2 lapel, double vents, and three patch pockets.
Beckett & Robb suits are made in Portugal, and so after having my order processed I sat back for a wait of about 6 weeks as the suit made its way from Beckett & Robb’s tailors across the Atlantic over to where I live, perched on the Pacific coast of the U.S.
About 6 weeks later, Dustin called me to let me know my suit had arrived. I was excited to see the finished garments, and made my way over to Beckett & Robb as soon as I could. When I put the suit on, the pants fit absolutely perfectly with no tweaks necessary, but the jacket was quite off. The sleeves were several inches too long, and it was too tight across the waist. It turned out that an error had been made when someone at Beckett & Robb’s headquarters in Salt Lake City transmitted the order to the factory in Portugal where the suits are made. As a result, the jacket needed to be remade entirely. I must say, however, that though I was disappointed by the error with the jacket, the customer service at Beckett & Robb was top-notch. They offered to remake the jacket without any hesitations, and even made me a complimentary MTM shirt (the purple university stripe one seen in the lower set of pictures). I believe there were a number of similar order transmission errors around this time (the problem has since been fixed), and they were offering shirts to all affected customers, so my treatment was not unique.
About a month later Dustin called me again, and I once more made the trek across the bay to see my new jacket. When I slipped into it the shoulders, chest, and back fit great, but the jacket was still tugging quite a bit around my waist. As per their policy, Beckett & Robb had their local tailor alter the jacket and I was able to pick the finished suit up a couple of weeks later. There wasn’t a ton of fabric in the seams to be let out, and the tailor did the best they could. The fit is one that is quite fashionable, but I would prefer it to be just a hair looser in the waist (I suppose I should take it as incentive to shed a few pounds). Small quibbles like that aside, it is a very comfortable and well-fitting suit. The construction is stellar, and the custom details came through very nicely. This is easily one of my favorite and most comfortable suits, and I can see myself wearing both it, and the jacket and pants as separates, for years to come.
Beckett & Robb’s MTM suits are priced from $695 (for the VBC fabric that I chose), all the way to $7K+ for what I assume is the finest cashmere from Loro Piana. Though Beckett & Robb currently only has three storefronts (two in Utah—with a third on the way, and one in San Francisco), they are still expanding, and, if you’re lucky, they’ll be opening one near you soon. In the meantime, if you travel for business or pleasure in any of the cities where they do have a location, I think it’s well worth a stop to get measured for a suit. At $700, Beckett & Robb is competing with the likes of many off the rack suit retailers (Brooks Brothers, Suit Supply’s more expensive lines, etc.) and for a high quality MTM suit and stellar customer service, I think it’s a great price.
Stay tuned for more future posts where I’ll be sure to be wearing this suit!