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Knot Standard: Custom Suit and Shirt Review (and promo code)

knot standard mtm shirt suit review

Iron & Tweed Readers Exclusive

Get TWO FREE Signature shirts with a minimum purchase of $995 in the Chicago Private Collection showroom or online using the promo code IRONANDTWEEDSS16.

Offer valid 3/5/16 through 5/15/16. Cannot be combined with any other offers or coupons.

I take the elevator up to the 20th floor, hang a right, and walk into the private showroom where I'm greeted by Knot Standard Chicago Manager, Molly Cross.

She takes my coat, offers me a drink, and asks me to sit at a large industrial-style desk just a few feet from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows.

From this height, I can see what seems like the entire city.

In the distance, cranes are hoisting I-beams, people and cars are bustling, but I'm sitting nice and cozy, sipping a bottle of mineral water on a gray and dreary day.

To my right is a rack of shirts and jackets awaiting their final fitting.

On my left is the fabric and hardware library, and I do mean library.

The atmosphere is refined and elegant, but Molly tempers the stark decor with her warm and approachable disposition.

Despite my initial awe of the experience, I'm informed that this is only a temporary location, and the permanent showroom is under construction downstairs.

“So, have you thought about fabrics?” Molly asks with a smile.

Knot Standard Overview

Originally, established in Dubai but now headquartered in New York, Knot Standard has brick and mortar locations in seven major world cities.

And rather than building a luxury brand-name and charging a premium for that alone, Knot Standard takes a different approach to offering custom suits, shirts, coats, and trousers.

They've created a superior measuring system and digital pattern making technology to bridge the gap between extremely expensive bespoke pattern making and more rudimentary made-to-measure techniques.

They use the same fabrics and many of the high-end construction techniques as the top designers, but since they've cut out the middle man, the customer only pays 1/3 to 1/2 the price.

Knot Standard has this to say about their business philosophy…

“We like to joke that our suits come in only one size (yours, of course), but 99% of suits and dress shirts sold in the US are made to fit other, random people.  Those that are custom are over-priced, unreliable, and inaccessible except for the richest among us.  We solve that problem with technology – we can provide perfect-fitting custom clothing to any man, anywhere in the world.”

And to get you into that perfect-fitting clothing, they offer two options.

To best internalize the differences, think Ralph Lauren vs. Ralph Lauren Purple Label.

1. Private Showrooms

knot standard review private showroom

This is the Purple Label experience.

Knot Standard offers a one-on-one fitting in their Private Collection Showrooms in Dubai, Houston, Austin, Dallas, DC, New York HQ, Chicago, and San Francisco.

If you happen to live near one of these major cities, I highly encourage you to make an appointment, especially if this is your first custom experience.

All of the custom options are included in the base price, whereas with the online shop, there's an additional fee for things like full-canvassing and functional button holes.

The best part is, although the initial fitting was a great time, my 3D pattern is now on file.

So as long as I stay roughly this size, fleshing out my wardrobe even further only requires that I make stylistic choices.

For all of you Chicago guys, I've worked out a deal on your behalf.

Get TWO FREE Signature shirts with a minimum purchase of $995 in the Chicago Private Collection showroom or online using the promo code IRONANDTWEEDSS16.

Chicago Private Showroom and online only. Offer valid 3/5/16 through 5/15/16. Cannot be combined with any other offers or coupons.

2. Online Shop

The Knot Standard online shop is second to the Private Showroom, but still far and away superior to shopping off-the-rack.

Online you'll be able to browse and build your custom suit with previews and examples through their builder function.

The custom options offered in the Online Shop are limited, but you'll still have full reign in choosing lapel styles, jacket type, pleats, linings, etc.

For the Online Shop, fabric choices aren't as vast as the Private Showroom, but they're abundant enough to not leave you wanting.

The only real downside is that it's completely up to you to get the measurements correct, as alterations are only covered up to $75.

Also, as I mentioned above, there are some options that will tack on a few extra dollars.

But if you know exactly what you want, are handy with a tape measure, and don't need an abundance of fancy upgrades, the Online Shop is a fantastic way to have a perfectly fitting suit made just for you at a very reasonable price.

And the same deal applies online.

Use the code IRONANDTWEEDSS16 to get TWO FREE signature shirts with a minimum online purchase of $995.

Offer valid 3/5/16 through 5/15/16. Cannot be combined with any other offers or coupons.

My experience

knot standard review fitting

After reaching out to Knot Standard, they offered to create a suit for me at no charge. All opinions and thoughts on the experience and final products are my own.

Fortunately, I live within a couple miles of the Chicago Showroom, so I went in for the private fitting.

The fabric, hardware, and feature choices are overwhelming, to say the least (7,000+ fabric choices!).

For the most part, I know what I want in a suit.

But in the presence of fabric sample books that rival the entire Harry Potter series in sheer number of pages, let's just say that Molly's guidance was a welcome addition.

I told her generally what I was looking for, and she quickly narrowed it down to a few examples from each book which were all within the realm of what I wanted.

I could tell right away that Molly really gets a kick out of creating badass suits, but she could sense my more conservative preferences and scaled her recommendations accordingly.

She had one piece of advice that particularly stood out to me:

“If you're going custom, you don't want to design a 3 day per week, boring navy suit. You want it to be special!”

Truer words may never have been spoken (about MTM, at least).

So rather than choosing a discreet solid gray as I had intended, I selected a somewhat more playful, but still understated, gray and blue windowpane.

And that's what you want in a tailor. Someone who will let you have the details you want, but who can also speak from experience and put their foot down if you're about to make a mistake.

After getting my measurements, it was time to choose nearly every aspect of the suit design and details, including…

The Jacket

  • Type (two-button, 2-3 roll, double breasted)
  • Lapel style (peak, notch, or shawl) and width
  • Amount of shoulder padding
  • Pick stitching or no pick stitching
  • Pocket type and placement
  • Lining material, piping, monogram, and contrast colors
  • Interior pocket number and orientation
  • Button material and color

The Trousers

  • Style (pleated or flat front)
  • Side adjusters or belt loops
  • Closure type (button or hook)
  • Ankle width
  • Cuff or no cuff (along with cuff size, if chosen)

The Vest

  • Did I want one or not (yes, please!)
  • Style (basic, u-neck, double-breasted)
  • Pocket style and number

And this isn't even an exhaustive list, but it's all I can actively remember. My head is spinning again!

Did I mention how important it was to have Molly guiding me through the process?

The follow-up fitting

Just a couple weeks after my first visit to Knot Standard, Molly notified me that my suit and shirt were ready to try on.

So I made an appointment for the following day and went to bed with visions of custom suiting dancing in my head.

When I tried the suit on, everything was nearly perfect.

We added about half an inch to the trouser length and thighs and took the waist of the shirt and jacket in a little.

I couldn't believe how great the suit looked because I normally look worse in a jacket than I do in a t-shirt.

But not this time. Other than those couple adjustments, I loved everything!

Then it was time to play the waiting game again while it was at the tailor's for final alterations.

The final product

Knot Standard review vest and jacketThe big reveal!

A little more than three weeks from my first fitting, I'm now the proud owner of a completely custom three-piece suit and dress shirt.

The suit

knot standard review suit fit

My long-time readers will no doubt have noticed that I gravitate toward casual clothing.

But I do love suits – the problem is that they usually make me look like complete shit.

Not this suit! Here are the things I love most about it:

  • Lightly padded shoulders – when you make your own padding in the gym, excessive shoulder padding looks ridiculous
  • A perfect fit in the waist and chest – makes me feel so much more confident than the boxy cut of OTR suiting
  • No restricted movement – despite a well-fitted jacket and pants, I don't have trouble moving in them (which is a first)
  • Navy windowpane pattern – the pattern is interesting, yet versatile and makes it easier to rock as separates
  • The vest – creates 7 possible suit combinations and allows me to crank up the formality when necessary

Now, I should note that the thighs of my pants are still a little snug (though still comfortable and without limiting motion).

However, I opted to not have them let out any further as I'm going to be working within a 10-15 lb range of my current size and don't want the pants to be too loose when I lean out a bit.

The shirt

knot standard review shirt and pants fit

I went with a blue and white micro-stripe cotton button-up to maximize versatility and ensure a perfect partner for my new suit.

I opted for double button cuffs to add a little elegance and nixed the chest pocket for the same reason.

One of my major gripes with fashion brand shirts is that they typically have really wimpy collars.

So for my custom shirt, I chose a nice robust collar that would balance the proportions of my frame and won't get lost behind my beard.

And I couldn't be happier with the fit.

The sleeves are just right, I can button the collar without choking, and the body is fitted without being so tight that the buttons pull apart.

Let's talk price

Knot Standard suits start at $595 for the online models.

That's an extraordinary value when you compare the competition.

A standard OTR suit from J.Crew will set you back at least $650, and that's before you even consider the list of alterations it'll likely require!

And most poorly constructed department store fashion brands will be at least $300-$400 depending on whether or not you catch a sale.

The suit I'm wearing is valued at $945.

Normally, you won't find a full canvased suit for anything under $1,500, let alone one that's fully custom!

So that's the all-inclusive price of the Private Collection (you can go higher with more exclusive fabrics, though), or one of the Classic collection suits ordered online with a few upgrades.

For shirts, I normally  have to buy an OTR shirt that fits in the neck and sleeves and then have the body taken in.

So I end up paying about $50-$60 for the shirt and then tack on another $40 in alterations to get a body taper and darts.

I think paying $95 for a perfectly fitting shirt that doesn't need any alterations is a much better deal.

And let's not forget that Iron & Tweed readers get a special deal.

Get TWO FREE Signature shirts with a minimum purchase of $995 in the Chicago Private Collection showroom or online using the promo code IRONANDTWEEDSS16.

Offer valid 3/5/16 through 5/15/16. Cannot be combined with any other offers or coupons.

Who should consider Knot Standard?

Based on my experience, everyone, of course!

But really, if you still need me to talk you into it, here are two hypothetical guys who I think should consider going custom with Knot Standard.

  1. The guy who's experienced with suits, wears one most days per week, and thrives on looking his best. With the attention to detail, perfect fit, and ease of reordering, this is a suited professional's dream.
  2. At the other end of the spectrum, if you're the type of guy who only wants and needs one suit and maybe isn't over the moon with all things menswear, let Knot Standard create the perfect suit for you.

And with the promo code, you can get two free dress shirts, one in white and one in light blue, and you'll be completely covered for dress clothes.

Sure, it'll cost you a bit more than the department store brand, but for the once or twice yearly occasion, you'll be the best dressed guy in the room.

Not to mention a suit of this quality will easily last a decade if worn that infrequently.

So if either one of these hypothetical guys sounds like you, I encourage you to check out what Knot Standard has to offer.

I know I'll be a repeat customer.

All the best,

Nate

P.S. If you have any questions about the process or final product, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Anon
    March 4, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Hey Nate,

    Based on the article here, I think I might check out the Knot Standard near me (lucked out and I’m walking distance from one). Would the online code work for other locations or is it all Chicago only?

    • Reply
      Nate
      March 4, 2016 at 7:06 am

      The code is only for the Chicago Showroom because I got the deal through that location’s manager. But I would definitely bring up the promotion, show them the article on your phone, and they may honor the deal or give you something similar.

  • Reply
    Shobhit Choudhary
    March 4, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Excellent post Nate. It’s important for a man to buy a right suit without calling his father. The right suit can make you look like the real man that you are.
    That looks like a perfect suit..What fabric is this? Worsted? And what is the weight of the cloth?

    • Reply
      Nate
      March 4, 2016 at 7:19 am

      In the presence of the entire fabric library, I actually forgot the details of the fabric. It’s a very smooth three season wool.

  • Reply
    JR
    March 7, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Nate- Great information. Would you be willing to share the 7 different possible suit combinations?

    Great website!

  • Reply
    Piyush Swain
    May 9, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    This is fantastic Nate – Do they offer tweed suit as well?

    • Reply
      Nate
      May 10, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Yes they do! A lot of their fabrics are seasonal so I’m not sure if you can get tweed right now, but for sure in late summer/fall.

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