The other day, I introduced Chris Despos, one of the last bespoke tailors left in the US. Today, we will share the fitting process, the trousers, the details, as well as the style of a Despos Suit.
Typically, a Despos suit requires only two fittings, even if it is the very first garment produced for a client. Now, that has not always been the case. Initially, Chris needed more fittings until he began making suits without any modifications to the basic pattern. This allowed him to analyze the shortcomings or issues with each pattern and further enabling him to consider these flaws when making a unique pattern for his clients. Today, Chris says only gentleman who come for their wedding suit may have a third fitting, just to make 110% sure that everything is perfect on their big day.
According to Chris, clients sometimes respond to trousers more than to their coats, because hardly anyone wears a nicely cut trousers anymore. Initially, clients expected an improvement over their past experiences, but they are totally stunned when they wear the pants for the first time. The right balance, a snuggly fitting waist and enough room in the seat are simply a hard combination to find. Especially if the drop – the difference between waist and bust measurement – is too large, it is impossible to find properly fitting trousers off the rack.
Although the overall fit of a garment is the most important consideration, Chris Despos enjoys details, and hence, he matches the cloth pattern meticulously. Although he has tailors working for him, this is always something he does himself. Chris particularly enjoys perfectly matching the pattern on plaid coats at the back center seam.
The buttonholes I saw were nice, and sewn with Gütermann silk thread and a gimp. However, Chris’s attention to detail goes beyond the garment, and therefore, he came up with the idea to store his cloth in custom made drawers rather than piling up the cloth bundles awkwardly on top of each other. He no longer has to move the entire stack to reach a length of fabric at the bottom of the pile, and it also helps preserve the neatness of the fabric arrangement. It is a very simple yet very effective and elegant way to handle fabric in my opinion.
The buttons are from England, even those made of mother of pearl. It is very difficult to find solid mother of pearl buttons nowadays, and so Chris must settle for buttons with just a mother of pearl cover.
Apart from in-house custom made garments, Chris also offers a range of Italian ready-to-wear shirts, silk ties and pocket squares from Simmonot Godard. On top of that, he regularly hosts Trunk shows of Gaziano Girling products in Chicago and in Dallas.
Sometimes, customers come in and ask him whether he also tailors double breasted suits. In fact, like many men these days, his clients are businessmen who need or want a good suit but know little about them. With such a request, Chris tells them that it depends on the body of the person. “Certain things just do not look good on stout, short men.” But like any good tailor, Chris will consult and help to achieve the best possible result. This is especially important for him since he does not advertise and negative reviews would have a bad impact.
That being said, Chris Despos is particularly good at working with lightweight fabrics, although he also works with heavy gabardines and overcoat cloth. The house style is classic, yet a little more closely fitted than what you would expect from an American tailor. The button stance on his jacket seemed to be slightly lower than what I would have preferred but that’s easily adjusted. As I mentioned in Part I, Despos’ shoulders are slightly padded and cut to follow the natural shoulder line, which ensures comfort and free range of movement.
He also provides food for thought in terms of style. When I visited him, he had a nice camel wrap overcoat on a mannequin, something I had heretofore never seen in real life. Originally, this kind of coat was worn by Polo players in between chukkers, but later it was superseded by the Polo Coat, which you can still find today. For that very reason, English tailors may also refer to it as a wait coat. In any case, Despos underlines that bespoke work can be very unique indeed, yet classic and elegant.
At this establishment, you know that you pay for high quality fabrics, the tailoring, and the skill – nothing else. As I was leaving, I overheard a new client who said that he came to Despos because he had heard good things about him. It seems that in the era of the internet, twitter, and tumblr, the good ol’ word of mouth still works great for Despos Custom Tailor Chicago. And if you can’t make it to Chicago, where the Despos team of 6 creates about 250 suits per year, you may also visit him in Dallas.Chris Despos
34 East Oak Street
Chicago, IL 60611