A decade ago, it was all but impossible to find a quality suit for under $500, off the rack. But in recent years, made-to-measure suiting—typically in the $800–$2,000 range—has become more popular as it’s become more financially accessible. Now, one of the biggest players in made-to-measure menswear has come to the Twin Cities. Indochino has opened its first Minnesota showroom at the Mall of America.
The Vancouver-based brand got its start as an e-commerce company in 2007, selling suits with a step-by-step video that instructed customers to take and submit their measurements. It began offering in-person custom services via its Traveling Tailor pop-up events in 2011, and the success of those pop-ups led the brand to open 19 showrooms across the U.S. and Canada over the past two and a half years.
Indochino specializes in providing affordably priced, stylish, quality made-to-measure suiting and shirting with customization options. Most suits and tuxedos range from $399 to $499, and shirts are $70 each—think the quality of Brooks Brothers with style of Suitsupply. What enables the brand to offer such affordable pricing is its direct-to-consumer model, and by working directly with their production partners in Shanghai to ship suits directly to the customer.
How it works: After booking an appointment for a consultation (although walk-ins are welcome), customers will meet with a “style guide” (Indochino’s version of a sales associate) to get 14 body measurements taken and help choose a suit style, fabric, and 35 customization options, including pocket styles, jacket linings, monograms, and shirt collars. You can also evaluate fabric upon a range of factors including weight, composition (wool, linen, silk, cashmere, or blends) and thread count.
Following the consultation, the style guide will input the order, and in three weeks you get a suit mailed to you directly from Indochino’s manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China (which also makes suits for J. Crew and Club Monaco.) If you need alterations, you scan or bring in your receipts to Indochino, and they’ll give you up to $75 back for your adjustments. Measurements and preferences are kept on file to make future purchases easy.
“We’re here to guide them through the process,” says Indochino district manager, Giovanni Spataro. “Our job is to provide styling tips—if you go wide-breasted, you’ve got to do wide peak. If you’re going to do a skinny peak, you can’t do double breasted. We’ll take care of the fit and give them our styling tips, but empower them to make choices according to their style and preferences.”
What the Indochino showroom provides that the website can’t is the relationship between the style guide and the client. “Selling them the suit is only 10 percent of the journey,” he says. “They want to work with somebody because they’re your guy. It’s very similar to the relationship you have with your barber—you’re not going to go to just any barber. You’re going to go to your guy, because he knows your style, and what you like.”
For those who can’t make a trip to the store, the Indochino website sells an optional tailor’s kit featuring 16 fabric swatches and two tape measures for $29 (redeemable towards the purchase of a suit), or buy a tape measure for a dollar. (It ships for free.)
Unsurprisingly, weddings are a big part of the Indochino business. “Guys aren’t renting suits anymore,” Spataro says. “With where the price point’s living in made-to-measure, it’s become more affordable for grooms and wedding parties.” In advance of the kickoff of wedding season around February, the brand recently launched a new campaign dubbed “The Proposal.” Anyone who buys an Indochino suit and proposes to the other half in that suit by Valentine’s Day (posting a photo of the proposal to Instagram, tagging @indochino and the hashtag #TheProposal) will receive his wedding suit for free. The brand also has discounted bundles for wedding parties.