Archive for the ‘Bespoke Dress-Up’ Category

NEW! AW Custom Ties

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Were you ever frustrated with the tie being too short or too long? Did you look everywhere for the perfect slim navy matte tie? Search no further, Alexander West is launching our custom tie collection.

In addition to choosing your tie fabric, you can also specify:

1. Length – off the rack ties usually range between 58 and 60 inches.
2. Width – 1.75″ modern slim tie to the traditional 3.5″ width ties
3. Your initials on a metal link


How Do I Determine the Correct Tie Size?

Tie length will depend on your torso length and not necessarily on your height.

There are three main factors to focus on, your personal style preference, body type and suit lapel width.


Personal Preference


1.75″ – Considered to be more fashion forward.  It is difficult to justify a tie

less than 1.75″ since it can look out of place

 2.25″ to 2.75″ – Modern men who appreciate slim fitting (aka European cut) suits and shirts

3″ to 3.25″ – Modern and elegant, yet not conservative

3.5″-3.75″ –  Traditional / Conservative


Matching Your Suit Lapel



A rule of thumb if you are after a classic business style, is that the tie should be as wide as the lapel of the suit you are wearing it with.


At Alexander West, we can easily match your tie width with your suit lapel width.




 Body Type

Tie width should also consider your body type.  For example, an ultra skinny tie on a person with a 18″ neck and 48″ chest throws off the correct proportion by over emphasizing the head and upper torso.

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Rules on Jacket and Pants Fitting Issues

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off

We found a great illustration below that shows correct as well as ill-fitting jackets and pants.  We take great care and attention to make sure all of our clients have well tailored clothes.

On the length of the jacket. Since people have different torso and arm lengths, it is better to look at the person’s height minus the head and neck for a proper balance.  Also, pants length is determined by shoes type, width of the pants cuff and your ideal style.

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What is a Sport Coat?

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off
“Sport coat may be worn on less formal occasions than a suit would be. Also, it is designed to be worn on its own, without matching trousers, and does not come as part of a suit. Styles, fabrics, colours and patterns are also more varied than in most suits; sturdier and thicker fabrics may be used, such as corduroysuededenimleather, and tweed.
Originally, sports coats were worn as casual attire for hunting and other outdoor sports (hence the name). With time, they came to be used on more formal occasions, sometimes being used in school uniforms as at Summer Fields School in England.” – Wikipedia
Be creative with pairing. For example, famous UK IT guy Andrew Collins pairs sport coat with jeans and orange GUNNAR glasses. May seem like an odd combination, but it looks unusual and catches attention.
Also, we just received a set of beautiful sport coat fabrics from Europe.  You know where to find us!



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June 27th, 2014 Comments off

Usually, picking your fabric for your next Alexander West suit is easy: Grey, Navy, stripes, small checks, or solids. You choose what your business dictates. BUT, when it comes down to picking out the lining fabric,quite a few clients let their true colors (pun intended) shine! We invite you to come see not only our suit fabric selection, but our lining selection as well. You may be surprised to see what you’ll find- a perfectly fitted business suit fully lined with personality!

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The Formal Shirt: An Integral Part of Your Formal Wardrobe

June 26th, 2014 Comments off

Building on last month’s entry for designing your tuxedo, we are going to explore options when designing your formal shirt. A formal shirt should let the tuxedo take center stage. A White shirt is the most traditional option. Opt for a crisp, smooth, densely woven fabric or choose a fabric that has a very subtle pattern or texture that feels more elegant than your business shirts. Subtle shine created by an extraordinary weave or texture on a formal shirt makes the shirt special. Also consider the season and time of day of an event: day events may call for a lighter weight fabric to ease the effects of heat, evening events may call for fabrics with a bit more weight. Below are some fabric options with texture for the shirt or the bib front:

There are two traditional collar styles for your formal shirt, either spread or wing. Both are appropriate to pair with a bow tie, but not with a neck tie! If you opt for the spread collar, note that the spread between the collar points should be narrow enough for the bow tie to sit squarely between the points- if the spread is too wide the wings of the bow tie could get caught under the collar! We strongly suggest french cuffs for a formal shirt, in order for you to show off handsome cuff links. We have several french cuff shapes to consider, but a square edge is the most traditional. There are several options to consider for the front of the shirt: with or without a bib, bib with pleats or pique front, exposed studs or fly front. This choice is very personal, choose which style best reflects your style and personality. All our formal shirts come with removable buttons to accommodate studs (unless you specify otherwise).

If you are a current client, we would use your most recent measurement profile to create your shirt, with new formal style details. Lastly, we ask that you give us 5-7 weeks ahead of your event date so we deliver you a perfect finished shirt in a timely manner.

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The Tuxedo Guide

June 26th, 2014 Comments off

Because a tuxedo is meant to be formal wear, it should differ greatly in style and detail from your business suit. We have put together some points to consider when designing your tuxedo:

Let’s start with the jacket lapels. Because the notch lapel is closely associated with business suits, we suggest choosing a peak lapel or a shawl collar for your tuxedo. This will automatically distinguish the jacket from regular business attire. We suggest the traditional 1-button single-breasted style. It is customary to exclude pocket flaps at the waist on a tuxedo jacket, leaving the welt detail only, and trimmed in the same silk as the lapel. There will be no vent opening at the back of the jacket for a more polished appearance, but if a vent is necessary a double (side) vent is more appropriate. Buttons on the front of the jacket and at the sleeve are covered in the same silk as the lapels. A chest pocket is customary with a tuxedo jacket.

The major style difference for tuxedo pants is the elegant silk stripe (or “braid”) covering the side seam. This stripe is made from the same silk as the jacket lapel. The waistband only includes side tabs, and not beltloops, so fitting the waistband very closely is important*. The hem of the pants are plain and without cuffs for an elegant finish. The fabric for the pants should match the fabric of the jacket. If you’re considering a white tuxedo jacket for warm weather occasions, we suggest darkest navy blue pants to pair with your jacket.

You have the option of including a vest with your tuxedo design. The purpose of the vest is the same as a cumberbund, to cover the waistband and keep you from exposing a bit of shirt above the waistband.

A tuxedo is both a luxury and a necessity for a gentleman. We will help you get your gentleman on when you come in for a fitting.

*Even though you wont be able to wear a belt, you can always opt for braces/suspenders to wear with your tuxedo.

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Suit: Low Button Stance Jacket

December 17th, 2013 Comments off


“I lost a lot of weight recently and my old suits look pretty awful. They’re really boxy and I don’t care for that look anymore especially now I’m so much smaller. ” – JDC, Greenwich CT


When tailoring a jacket (or “coat”, which is the proper term), we suggest a low button stance as shown on the right (in addition to proper fitting waist). The depth of the button stance creates a deep “V” shape which broadens the shoulders and chest and narrows the waist. Conversely, a high button stance doesn’t create the deep “V” shape, and broadens the mid section of the coat – giving the illusion of a larger body underneath. During your fitting we will work with you to place that top button in order to create the shape that will best enhance your body shape.

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Layering It On

November 7th, 2013 Comments off
“I got a new job and now I have to wear a suit to work but can’t figure out how to wear a striped suit with my favorite check (pattern) shirts .  Blogs I read have too much info and I don’t want to stand out like that. How do I wear my shirts to the office with a suit and tie?” – MN, Manhattan
Putting a suit, shirt, and tie together can seem like an opportunity to make a wardrobe mistake, but if you read along with last month’s entry about pairing pattern and color, this will be easy. There’s a formula to putting together a good match – “2+1 and you’re Done.” Repeat: 2+1 and you’re DONE.  You will work with (a) two solid fabrics and one patterned fabric, or (2) two patterned fabrics and 1 solid fabric.

a. 1 patterned suit + 1 patterned tie + 1 solid shirt or
b. 1
solid suit + 1 solid shirt + 1 patterned tie or
c. 1 patterned suit + 1 patterned shirt + 1 solid tie.

The keys to this formula are:

a. Making sure that when you’re working with two patterns, one of those patterns is significantly larger than the other
b. The colors you’re pairing are similar (but they don’t have to match exactly).

Take a look at some of the examples below:

1 Patterned Suit + 1 Patterned Tie + 1 Solid Shirt
1 Solid Suit + 1 Solid Shirt + 1 Patterned Tie

Patterned Suit + 1 Patterned Shirt + 1 Solid Tie


1 Solid Suit + 1 Patterned Shirt + 1 Patterned Tie


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Pair It and Wear It Too!

October 8th, 2013 Comments off

“What are the rules for pairing shirts and ties? I always feel like I’m going to make a mistake and look bad at work” – TPM, Manhattan 

Building on last month’s entry of pairing shirts and ties of different scales, this month we’re going to focus on highlighting different colors in a shirt so you get more use from the same shirt. We will use shirts with a small pattern and a tie with a larger pattern or a solid color. All the information here will apply to striped shirts.
Helpful hint: DON’T worry if the colors aren’t an exact match. They should be close, but don’t stress out about it. The human eye adjusts to see the colors as the same.
Take a look at some of the examples below:
EXAMPLE 1:  This shirt has a dominant burgundy check with a grey check underneath. The solid burgundy tie highlights the burgundy check (light shirt and dark tie).
EXAMPLE 2: Same shirt as above, but paired with a navy tie that has a similar (but not exact) burgundy color stripe. The 2 burgundy colors in the shirt and tie make this pair a good match.  The thick navy stripe is a nice offset to the small check pattern and once again, tie is dark and the shirt is light.
EXAMPLE 3: A light red check shirt paired with a burgundy tie. Light red and burgundy are both shades of the color red. Two shades of the same color are a good match. 

This also applies to shades of blue and purple/lavender.   Once again, light patterned shirt and a solid, dark tie. 
EXAMPLE 4: This shirt has both a blue check and a pink check. The dark navy blue tie highlights the light blue in the shirt.  Also, the scale of the stripe in the tie is larger than the small check, making this a good match.  Again, light shirt and dark tie (we are emphasizing this point here.)
EXAMPLE 5: Same shirt as above, but paired with a pink tie. The pink in the shirt is highlighted. The large pattern tie and small pattern shirt make this a good match.  
EXAMPLE 6: STOP! TOO MUCH! – This is an example of a good color match, but the pair is too graphic and not appropriate for work. The 2 patterns don’t create an elegant match even though the colors are paired nicely.  It is too “busy.”

Let’s review our tips again. 

1. SCALE: Shirt or tie should have a larger pattern.  Easy route is to pair a small patterned shirt with a larger scale tie.

2. Light Shirt and Dark Tie: Generally, you should opt for light colored dress shirts and pair them with dark ties.

3. Highlighting a Shirt Color: Use the tie color to match with one of the colors from the shirt.
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Pair it and Wear it!

September 9th, 2013 Comments off

“What are the rules for pairing shirts and ties? I always feel like I’m going to make a mistake and look bad at work” – TPM, Manhattan 

Rule #1: It is all about the scale.  Either the shirt or the tie should have a larger pattern. The easy route is to pair a small patterned shirt with a large scale tie.   
Rule #2: Pair a light colored shirt with a dark colored tie.  When wearing a tie in a conservative office setting, you should opt for light colored dress shirts: white, blue, light pink, and light lavender and match it with a more saturated or darker colored tie.
Take a look at some of the examples below:
EXAMPLE 1:  Rule #1 – Shirt has thin stripes and tie has larger stripes.  Rule #2 – Shirt is lighter than the tie.
EXAMPLE 2: Rule #1 – Shirt has thin stripes and tie has a larger pattern.
Rule #2 – Shirt is lighter than the tie.
EXAMPLE 3: Rule #1 – Shirt has a small scale check pattern and tie has larger stripes. Rule #2 – Shirt is lighter than the tie.

Pretty simple! Tie pattern should be larger and darker than the shirt pattern and color. If the patterns are too close in scale and color, people will have a tough time looking at you.

Next month, we will review some classic color combinations between shirts and ties.  Also, please send us your style and fit questions and we will do our best to answer them.

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Creating Your Casual Custom Shirt

August 13th, 2013 Comments off

“I’ve been having my office shirts made with you for a few years, and I wanted to know if you would do my casual shirts too. The body fits great but the shirt is way too long to wear untucked (my girlfriend laughs at it, seriously). Can you tell me what would have to change on my shirts so I could make this happen? And, what kind of casual fabrics do you have, I always look for office shirts. Thanks, let me know.”   – AJ, Manhattan 

AJ, we will adjust the back length if you are planning to untuck your shirt.  We have found that taking 1.5 to 2.5 inches off the back length will give you a good length for untucking, but we’ll work with you to determine the exact length decrease.  One major issue with untucking your “office” shirt is that a longer shirt makes your torso look longer and your legs shorter – it throws off the vertical balance. 
We can also lower the bottom curve height (aka “hip rise” – see illustration). This helps the sides of the shirt from exposing your skin when you are moving and/or bending over.  We also recommend making the waist measurement larger for a more subtle torso silhouette.
Some other changes and features related to a casual cut shirt are below:

– Add back side pleats for more comfort

– Adjust the collar point length.  Shorter collar points give off a more casual feel, and this subtle detail may add a needed punch to your wardrobe. Also, button-down collars are always casual.

– Choose a fabric with two or more colors, because increase in color count will make the shirt more casual.  Also, checks are more casual than stripes and bigger and bolder patterns are more casual than subtle and thin patterns.

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February 6th, 2013 Comments off

You guys are the perfect fit, why shouldn’t your wedding shirts fit just as perfectly? Our featured couple, Gary and Sal, had shopped for weeks for the ideal shirts for their wedding when they decided to ask us to help them create their shirts.

Your wedding day is all about expressing your love and personality, and custom shirts are an important facet in the planning of your big day. If your wedding is a formal grand event or a casual destination affair, we will create shirts to your taste and accommodate special requests that will make your shirts reflect your personality.

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Timeless Blues

April 11th, 2011 Comments off

Levi Strauss & Co. has been around since the late 1800’s. The distinctive red tab generations of people are familiar with, continues to reach people of varied age groups and personal style. The Original 501’s remain their best seller thanks to its timeless fit. This is the jean your dad wore growing up, it’s reliable, durable and will surely out live your iphone.

Button fly, straight through the seat, thigh and leg, this jean becomes a closet staple. One can’t go wrong with a classic straight leg. The 501 is suitable for casual Friday’s. Modest, but never frumpy, not too skinny so no one will mistake you for an intern. This is the reliable jean to pack for any trip, to wine and dine friends, to running weekend errands while cruising all over town. It’s classic proportions pairs well with oxfords, sweaters, t-shirts, and throw on a sports jacket, and you’re well on your way to meet the parents.

Go to

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Pop-Up Flea November 19-21

November 18th, 2010 Comments off

The third annual ‘Pop-Up’ Flea will take place this year in the Open House Gallery in Nolita.  Alexander West will be one of many high-end Menswear designers showcasing their items and setting up shop.  We will be there servicing your every custom shirt need!

Stop by to see our special deals!

Times and dates are as follows:

Location: 201 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Kenmare)

Friday, 11/19, 3 – 9 pm
Saturday, 11/20, 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday, 11/21:  11 am – 6 pm

Vendors include: Oak Street Bootmakers, J.W Hulme, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, L.L. Bean Signature, Smith + Butler, Tellason, Billykirk, Aether, Tanner Goods, Scout Original, Wooden Sleepers, Riviera Club, Alexander Olch, Gant, Oliver Spencer, The Hill-Side / Hickoree’s Hard Goods, Grown & Sewn, Stanley & Sons, J.Crew, Gitman Brothers Vintage, Schott NYC, Digby & Iona,  Leather Head / Lemon Ball and more!

Looking forward to seeing you there!  Please click here for more information.

Style Guide: Color Psychology

September 7th, 2010 Comments off

Color is an important element when choosing the right shirt. According to color theory, every color sends different messages; therefore if you are aiming for a certain message we suggest that you wear a specific color.  Colors can also affect your mood and your energy, so it will impact how others view you.  Below, you will find meanings behind some popular colors.

Red represents power, passion, and authority. Red is demanding, exciting and energetic; it portrays confidence and control. Firefighters wear red, projecting power and control. If attention is what you seek, red is the color for you.  In business, red is best utilized as a tie with a white or blue shirt.

Blue resonates honesty, dependability and organization. You will note many bankers and lawyers wear blue shirts as it represents order and efficiency.  Policemen wear blue uniforms as it represents law and order.  Blue is and always will be most popular color next to white and it is common to have many different shades of blue in the closet.

Black portrays authority, wealth, and professionalism.  Judges wear black as it commands respect and authority.  Black looks good on most people but people with fair skin and light hair should avoid black as it can overwhelm their face.

White represents purity and cleanliness. Nurses and doctors wear white to give a sense of stability and safety.  Brides wear white to express their purity and faithfulness. It is also the ideal color in hot climates as it deflects light and heat.

Yellow symbolizes relaxation, wisdom, learning and happiness.  Strong or saturated yellow will grab the viewer’s attention, thus it is used for hazardous and warning-signs.  It also symbolizes hope and it works best as a companion to another color.

Purple demonstrates creativity, royalty and extravagance. It is a mysterious color that is both masculine and feminine.  Many people in the creative field seek out purple or lavender colors.

Green represents tranquility, reassurance, life  and nature. It is also said that time moves faster in a green room.

Pink represents interest, fun and compassion. Though not the most powerful color when standing alone, it does give authority when combined with another. Darker shades of pink add more strength.  A man in pink is a confident man!

Gray signifies sincerity, respect, conservatism and balance. It is also a sophisticated color and often worn as a uniform for business. Soldiers usually wear this color to show strength and for camouflage.

Bespoke Dress Up: Volume 6

March 9th, 2010 Comments off