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Tailors in the Office

How to Buy a Wardrobe without Leaving the Workplace
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96

(continued from page 4)

Savile Row Custom Clothiers
9773 Clayton Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63124
(314) 567-8500

"We think of ourselves as a personal wardrobe management service," says proprietor David Shockley. "From first consultation to cleaning and repairs, we are there for our customers." These pampered gentlemen favor the firm's easy Italian silhouette and extended shoulder stance, with some drape in the chest and blade for a more relaxed elegance. Suits from $995; sports coats start at $750; shirts at $95.

Michael Smith Custom Clothier
8110 West Central, P.O. Box 352108
Toledo, Ohio 43617
(419) 841-6112

Michael Smith endeavors to provide anything a man needs for his business wardrobe. "Our styling is traditional, but several clients want something a little more individual," says Smith. "One longtime customer is an attorney who likes 1940s-styled clothes, and we make all his things in that style, right down to the black-and-white spectator wingtip shoes. He's dapper as hell, and we find those sort of fellows inspiring." Suits start at $600; shirts from $70 to $150.

Tom Street Custom Clothing
5 Bohler Mews N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30327
(404) 351-9093

"My customers like their traditionally cut clothes with a bit of flair," says owner Tom Street. "We pride ourselves on our fancy silk linings and unusual fabrics. We carry what's called in the cloth trade 'millionaire's cashmere'--exceptionally fine. It would cost about $4,500 to run up a sport coat, so we don't get many orders, but we like to keep it around for those special occasions." Other sport coats from $595; suits start at $750; shirts at $85.

G. Bruce Boyer is the author of Eminently Suitable (W.W. Norton, 1990).

An In-Office Original

In many ways, the real pioneer in the in-office clothing field is Spencer Hayes. In the mid-1960s, Hayes was president of Southwestern Co., a thriving firm that published and sold door-to-door Bibles, dictionaries and cookbooks. But books weren't his only passion. Always having a fondness for, and belief in the value of, a good suit of clothes, Hayes hired a consultant to determine the best type of clothing to sell to busy executives--and the best method of selling. In 1966, Tom James Co. was born.

"The results of that study," says CEO Jim McEachern, who, along with Tom James and Mack Isbill, was hired by Hayes to run the company, "showed that personally tailored clothing was the best avenue, because you could offer the customer a much better selection and do it with a smaller inventory. In addition, it was discovered that there were a tremendous number of businessmen who would appreciate someone coming to their office to serve them." That was all McEachern needed to hear: He saw a niche, jumped into it with both feet, and, according to Hayes, he has been the driving force of the firm. Hayes, for his part, financed the venture and has provided much of the direction.


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