Doyle and Mueser is a little gem on Christopher Street that specializes in elevated menswear. From to-die-for dress shirts to paisley pocket squares, the shop hosts a bevy of options for the New York male. The store's bespoke component is a special kind of storytelling, where owner Jake Mueser customizes a suit with a client from start to finish. Like many bespoke pieces, the finished product says everything about the customer - a reason we're always searching for anything and everything made-to-wear. Mueser shares his version of what bespoke is all about...
Technically, bespoke just means that something is made to a customer’s specifications. By that definition, any custom-made clothing is bespoke. But over time, the term “bespoke” came to imply a certain high standard of craftsmanship, with cutting and sewing done by hand and a pattern drafted for each individual client.
How much of your shop is bespoke?
Most of our business is bespoke, but we also do a ready-to-wear collection each season, along with handmade accessories.
What's the process behind these custom-made pieces?
The first step is to take time with the customer designing the suit, choosing fabric and style details. Then, after we’ve taken his measurements, we draft and cut a suit pattern on paper. Sometimes, we make a muslin copy of the suit before cutting the actual fabric and do a fitting with that. Our tailors then construct the suit, leaving some details unfinished. The client comes in for a second fitting; we make any necessary alterations so the suit fits perfectly, and we finish the suit.
Do you think having bespoke pieces is essential to any shop? Why?
I certainly don’t think it’s essential to most shops. You have to make a big commitment to spending time and money in order to ensure a high level of quality. Not every shop is up to the challenge. You have to really love and care for the craft.
Where are you personal favorite spots to shop bespoke?
When creating pieces in your own shop, what elements are most important to you?
Men’s clothing is all about details, so there are a lot of things to consider. We keep one eye on contemporary style and another on tradition. Our goal is to always create garments for our clients that will not only be in great condition ten years from now but will also still look stylish ten years from now. Suit makers and designers who focus too much on trends don’t have their customer’s best interests in mind.
If you could create a bespoke piece for any person in the world, who would it be? What would you make?
Woody Allen. Although he is not known for a well tailored look, he is certainly a style icon and I would love to see him in a sleek three piece suit.
Do you think it feels different for a man to wear a custom-made suit, rather than a regular one? Why?
It absolutely feels different. If you look at the racks of department stores, you’d think that men only come in three shapes. But a custom suit takes into account every angle of a man’s body. So often, when we have a client buying his first bespoke suit, he puts it on for the first time and thinks “what have I been wearing all these years?”
Does custom made tell a story?
It certainly tells more of a story than ready-to-wear does. For one thing, the client got to design it with us. His personality, preferences, and taste are manifested in the garment itself. And he also knows that a greater level of care and craftsmanship has gone into his suit than something he just picked up off the rack.
Who's your style icon and what did they wear that was bespoke?
Michael Caine is the first person to spring to mind. I love the scene in The Italian Job when he gets out of prison and the first thing he does is go to see his tailor.
Whats your favorite personal bespoke possession you own? What's the story behind it? What was the most memorable place you wore it to?
I made a charcoal gray double-breasted herringbone overcoat for myself and it was meant to have a fur collar. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to be finished in time for me to wear it on a vacation in Paris. So I brought it with me and sewed the collar on and finished the coat on the airplane. It continues to be a favorite.
*Photos by Danielle Kosann