There’s nothing like a quality made to measure experience. And I’ve been lucky to have experienced a handful of different programs over the past couple of years. One of my finest experiences, however, was at Knot Standard in New York City. (Read our review here.)
One of the most important aspects parts of any quality custom suit adventure is the contact you have with the individual doing your fitting and guiding you. It’s safe to say that if the chemistry isn’t there, you could walk out with a really bad feeling about the whole thing.
Lewis Malivanek was my point person at Knot Standard and we hit it off immediately. From our shared admiration of Italian style to an appreciation of quality and attention to detail, it’s good to find someone who “gets” your style vision, especially when it comes to custom.
In the latest installment of a HSS In Good Company, we’re thrilled to feature Lewis. Here he is in conversation and in his own words.
“I’m originally from Sydney, Australia. I got into the custom suiting business after I was introduced to the two co-founders of Knot Standard, Matt Mueller and John Ballay, by a mutual friend while living in Dubai. They had just started the company, and since I already had a passion for menswear, I jumped on the opportunity.
I think everyone remembers their first custom suit experience – both the good and the bad. For me, it was a suit I had made in Dubai for about $250 – a light grey sharkskin two piece suit. At the time, it was my first custom experience, and it was quite exciting. Looking back now, the fabric was low quality and the fit was poor in the jacket.
My favorite part about working in the custom suit business is that no two days are the same. I love problem solving, and each day I am able to do so with a new issue, whether it’s assisting with a client fitting or dealing with one of our many international suppliers on the business side.
I get a lot of my style inspiration from the Italians, especially their high end tailors. Blogs and Instagram have allowed us to see how many people dress, in particular the international icons of men’s style.
My personal style is Neapolitan. No one does menswear like the Italians. I love the nonchalant dress sense – it seems as though everything is done with such ease yet the end result is nothing short of sophisticated and refined.
Most of my jackets are unlined and unconstructed, my trousers are cuffed and worn on the hips. My style is bold, most of my jackets/suits have patterns and are vivid. I have the luxury of being able to utilize all the fabrics we sell. Thankfully, my wardrobe is not just navy and grey suits.
Lewis Malivanek’s 5 tips for your first custom suit experience.
1) Come with an idea of what you want and what you NEED! Look in your wardrobe to see what you don’t have.
2) Start with the basics – a charcoal suit, a navy blazer, cotton chinos, white shirts. Start from there before you get crazy.
3) Don’t go overboard with customizations – your suit won’t look good, and won’t be timeless. Start with something simple, like choosing an interesting lining, contrasting buttons, but not making the buttonholes all pink!
4) Listen to the tailor. Allow them to guide you through the suit process and the fitting process. They do this for a living and know more about suits, style and fit than most.
5) Don’t expect ‘perfection.’ Many customers think that a custom suit is a ‘perfect’ suit, when in fact, there is no such thing. These suits are made by hand, and the beauty lies in their imperfections. A stray thread there, an uneven buttonhole there. You know it’s been made by an individual with care.”
–as told to HSS