For the modern man, the perfect suit is the holy grail. It reflects style without being garish, and embraces craftsmanship while still being affordable (hopefully). That’s basically the mission statement behind Windsor Custom, the new clubhouse-turned-tailor beneath The Ainsworth sports bar in Mahattan. Helmed by Florence-trained Brian Mazza (who has also worked with fellow menswear pros Generra), Ralph Lauren alum Ryan Grayson, and nightclub guru Matt Shendell, the custom suit spot opened its doors last night.
Housed in a studio that resembles a New England hunting lodge and designed by Grayson, guys are invited to visit, get fitted, have some whiskey, and play pool, all while creating their own made-to-measure suit, shirting, tie, pocket square, and jacket (clients already include chef Todd English, Ranger’s player Brandon Prust and Steelers’ lineman Willie Colon). The kicker is the bespoke details: embroidered initials, in-sewn personalized labels, and hundreds of fabrics to select from to ensure each jacket is tailored uniquely for its owner. We caught up with Mazza and Grayson to talk about how the suit-curious can score their own custom pieces, the art of the lapel, and the one mistake every guy makes when it comes to his suit.
So who can come down here? How do you get an appointment?
Grayson: We are by appointment only, and you get an hour to come down, relax and have a drink. It only takes me five minutes to measure you up, so you can come down and do some work or bring some friends down here to hang out or get fitted, too. We take all your measurements and then discuss the fit you want. You have a different collar and cuff option.
Let’s say we just wanted to come for a really great work shirt. Is that cool?
Grayson: Absolutely. We don’t have a minimum. We don’t mind if a guy wants to just come down here and try it out. We talk about how your current style is, and how we can help to add to it.
Mazza: We take into consideration what your profession is, whether you like to wear your shirt in or out, what colors you like. There are a lot of clients that already understand fashion, and a lot of clients that don’t. And we want to cater to both.
Grayson: And we really like to upgrade your wardrobe. Push some boundaries and encourage guys to get away from the blue shirt.
So the idea is that you can get stuff here that you can’t get anywhere else?
Mazza: All of these fabrics are unique. Our prices start at $120 for shirts. Everything is specifically made for the client: monograms, cuffs, inseams. You can even design the music here, if you want to bring your iPod.
Grayson: The suits we are each wearing are in the same price range. But I chose a wide lapel and Brian chose a narrow lapel.
Mazza: I’m a little Simon Spurr, he’s a little Tom Ford.
Would you say there is an element of education here?
Mazza: For sure. I wanted to create an experience for the man who felt insecure shopping the racks at Barney’s, and for the guy who knows what he wants. In every guy there is style, and we just need to find it. And we hope to bring it out by ordering food, putting on the game, and serving drinks. Before you know it, they come out of their shell.
OK, it’s the season, so we’ve got to ask: What are some good holiday dressing tips?
Mazza: A dark plum shirt with a white collar and a grey tie and you’re golden. I go against tips, because I will wear any color in any season because I feel comfortable.
Grayson: Though, some guys, I have noticed, overly clean their suits. You shouldn’t dry-clean suits too much. It really wears down the fabric.
Mazza: Hunter rain boots under suits. Never wear your shoes outside in the winter, just carry them in your shoe bag. Also, for our banker types, we like to mix blue with a gingham to make shirting more interesting, and then they can dumb it down a little with a straightforward tie.