I have this tailor who is like the best tailor in Boston, although this is a heated debate. For years, I had never really used a true tailor, just the ones that work at suit stores, sorry no offense to those guys. But when I got married a few years back, I wanted to get it done right. I had heard once that if you get it tailored right, even a pretty cheap suit can look great. So I bought a light grey suit, nothing fancy, few hundred bucks, but made sure to go to a good tailor so it fit right.
That was the first time I went to Beauge, and for that suit, he made me go back to the store and buy a different suit, because the sales guy sold me the wrong size. It was too big. So I trusted him, and the result was unbelievable. I got actual comments on how well my suit fit during my wedding, which I didn’t think was a thing that could happen.
I still wear that suit, and when I do it feels completely different than other suits that were not tailored by Beauge. I know it’s a cliche, but it feels like skin, or at the very least, like something I’m supposed to be wearing. My other suits made me feel like a guy who was forced to wear a suit, or had to borrow one from an older cousin.
So when I needed a new suit (we had a moth tragedy), I knew my strategy would be the same—get a moderately priced suit, but pay for Beauge’s tailoring. This time, I had a much harder time finding the right suit to start with. I’m tall with a narrow bony frame, but so, so sadly, am bigger in the midsection. So off the rack, I bounce between a 42L and a 40L, with neither fitting me quite right in either the middle or the shoulders. Stay with me, this is not about suit shopping.
So once again, I brought Beauge a suit, and Beauge sent me back out to get a different one, trekking in late summer Boston humidity across downtown. But this time, neither one was right. He could make it work, he said, Beauge can make anything work. But it would be expensive, as he’d have to really chop up the shoulders and collar.
“I think you should be patient and wait for the right suit, then come back to me,” he told me. I told him, I trust you Beauge, I’ll be back. He looked me over and told me two brands I could try, 40L, and they should work.
So I trusted him, and went online, bought directly from the store, exactly the size he said, sight unseen. It showed up a couple days later and I brought it straight to Beauge. He knew me immediately, asked if I had any luck. I said yes I think so and he just gave me his slight gesture to the fitting rooms, I’ll believe it when I see it. But when I walked out he smiled, this one’s good.
He made a couple of chalk marks on the pants, he does it so gracefully it seems almost accidental, then looked at the cuffs of the jacket, and said, this one’s good, this one’s too long.
“Really? How does that happen? Some kind of manufacturing mistake?” I asked.
“No. It’s your shoulders.”
I broke my collar bone when I was 13, and ever since, my right shoulder’s sat about a half inch lower, almost nobody notices it. In fact, I’ve only had one person ever notice it in the 27 years since, a girlfriend’s astute mother.
I told him about it, kind of stunned, and he just smiled a little and nodded, like he knew. “The wool tells me."
He went back to his sewing machine far behind the counter, told me to leave the garments on the counter and write down my number. Think you can finish by the 25th? He gives me an, are you joking of course I can, expression.
As I was walking out, he called to me, “I'm glad you were patient. You waited. It’s good.”
I said, “Of course, I always listen to you Beauge. I trust you 100 percent. You’re always right."
“It’s good,” he says and goes back to his sewing.
I was not being polite when I said that. It made me think, I only trust, unconditionally, a handful of people in my life. My wife, members of my immediate family. But one of them is my tailor.
The way Beauge works, his confidence, his deep, delicate knowledge, always gets me thinking about the concept of craft. About how—setting aside folly like happiness, love, fame, art, the things people crave from life in order to know they’re doing a good job at it—we would all probably be better off to chase craft, a kind of mastery that allows you to make complete strangers listen to you, and trust you, unconditionally. To know those strangers’ shapes better than anyone else, with just a glance. To be able to look at the cut, the brand, the fit, and let the wool tell you.