Many of you read the post about my experiment in wearing the SAME outfit for a week. For those of you who haven’t, in that post, I talk about wanting to figure out a “work uniform” I could wear on a daily basis. A number of famous, successful people do just that, including Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama. Monotonous? Maybe, but for some, it’s a way to avoid “decision fatigue.”
Because, face it, when you’re a woman, “what to wear” isn’t ONE decision, it’s many: the top and bottom (or dress), sure, but also the jewelry, shoes, scarf, and bag. Then there’s makeup. Bold eyes and a quiet lip, or vice versa? And we haven’t even started on hair. Or nails.
Ever since that blissfully boring week in which my apparel choice was on autopilot, I’ve been thinking about how to simplify my wardrobe. I decided if I was going to wear the same outfit most work days, it needed to be:
- Extremely versatile (obviously)
- Made in the U.S.
- Tailor-made for me
Womens custom suits: Strike one
A solid suit seemed to make the most sense. I could pair it with a variety of sweaters, blouses and tees. My next task would be to research established companies that specialize in womens custom suits, choose one with some options in my price range, visit it and place an order.
I laugh now just thinking about it.
Because, dear readers, the number of companies that specialize in womens custom suits and make them in the U.S. is next to nil. I found two in New York and one in L.A. There may be others, but that was all I could find.
So then I looked into online tailors. I found several that offer womens suits (none made in the U.S.) With them, after a tailor takes your measurements locally, you enter them into an order tool, select your fabric, jacket and pant style, etc. Online would have been a less expensive approach, but it felt iffy at best. None of the websites worked very well, always a red flag. Ordering swatches was cumbersome. One site appeared to have changed its name because of poor customer reviews of their previous site. I passed.
I resigned myself to buying a ready-to-wear American-made women’s suit.
Equally hilarious. There are none. Zilch. A few companies manufacture women’s clothing in the U.S., but none offer suiting. Brooks Brothers has a selection of men’s suits made in the USA, but not women’s.
At that point, I was officially discouraged. While I could and would be willing to travel to New York to be fitted for a suit, I preferred not to.
In a fit of desperation, I searched on “custom suits – Raleigh, NC” (my hometown). I doubted I would find anything locally, but voila! I finally had a few options. Tom James looked the most promising. They are a 50-year old company with locations all over the world, including my backyard. Who knew?
And so began my first halting step down the primrose (thorny?) path of simplicity. I’ll post more about my actual experience getting measured and picking my suit style and fabric in a subsequent post. Stay tuned!
p.s. Please excuse the lack of apostrophes. I know better, but must sacrifice them to appease the search engine optimization gods.