Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tom James

On the referral of a friend, I met yesterday with a representative of Tom James.  Tom James is a company that offers made-to-measure clothing and wardrobe advice.  They claim to be the world's largest manufacturer and retailer of custom clothing.  One of their selling points is that their representatives will come to your home or office to outfit your wardrobe; this may be a draw for men who find shopping inconvenient.

I went into the meeting with an open mind, but armed with some negative preconceived notions about what to expect.  I had researched the company on a number of the style forums that I have previously mentioned in this blog.  Many men have complained on those forums that the representatives from Tom James are high pressure salesmen, not knowledgeable tailors.  Nevertheless I agreed to a meeting out of curiosity.

The Tom James representative arrived at my office at the scheduled time.  While we engaged in some introductory small talk, I examined his attire.  His clothing fit reasonably well, but one negative thing jumped out immediately at me.  The pinstripe of his suit was a repeating pattern of letters spelling out T O M J A M E S T O M J A M E S T O M J A M E S.  That struck me as a bit cheesy and flashy.  On a more minor note, his breast pocket was empty.

The representative asked me some preliminary questions about my wardrobe needs and explained their services.  He highlighted the convenience of their in-office services, and offered to outfit me in everything from underwear to suits.  On the issue of their custom suits, I asked if there would be any fittings during the process.  He looked a bit confused and explained that the factory would make a pattern from the measurements taken in my office and then deliver a finished suit that could be altered if necessary.  If you were to have a suit made by tailor, you should expect several fittings during the process so that any major errors in the pattern may be corrected early in the process.  I'm afraid the method used by Tom James could result in a hot mess.

The representative suggested some packages of suits, shirts and ties.  When I told him that I was not currently in need of shirts or ties he moved on without the expected high pressure sales pitch.  I told him I could use a pair of basic gray pants to wear with navy blazers or tweed jackets.  He produced some fabrics at different price points, but was unable to explain why one set of fabric was better or higher priced than another.

I decided, out of curiosity more than anything, to order one pair of gray flat front trousers.  The representative took four measurements - waist, seat, length and rise.  The only detailing option he offered was whether to add cuffs to the bottom of the legs.

We scheduled a meeting in January for delivery of the pants.  My expectations are not high, but I will be curious to examine the fit and quality of the pants.  I will give an update in January when the pants are complete.


  1. I agree with you about not having a high expectation. I cannot believe that he proudly displayed such a tacky suit that included lettering in the pattern. I hope that your pants will be sure to please. I am looking forward to hearing the final outcome.

  2. I can not believe you would use the phrase "hot mess" and not give credit to the person who came up with it! LOL!

  3. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.