In the world of men's fashion, the allure of a custom-tailored suit is undeniable. It embodies a unique blend of personalization, craftsmanship, and sartorial elegance that transcends the realm of off-the-rack offerings. There’s a lot of options when it comes to custom suiting, however my recent journey with Hall Madden was nothing short of superior. I'll take you through every step of the process, from the initial encounter to the final fitting, and share insights into why Hall Madden stands out in the world of bespoke tailoring.
Discovering Hall Madden
Being in Chicago and Hall Madden having a location downtown, I have heard of them through different connections. Since I have not had the opportunity to work with them we got in touch with their team and here we are! The post is sponsored, but as always it is my honest opinion of the process and experience. I try and put myself in your shoes going through the process for the first time. Founded a mere decade ago, Hall Madden has managed to carve a niche for itself in the competitive world of custom suiting. This freshness, I would come to learn, is one of its strengths.
Unlike some high-end custom suiting companies where the entry point can be quite steep, Hall Madden caters to a range of budgets, with an average consumer investing around $1300 in a custom suit. The team at Hall Madden doesn’t shy away from their custom suits under $1000 which I have seen a lot of niche companies do. This is one of the reasons why I enjoyed the experience so much because they base it on what their customer wants and needs are. This inclusivity and the promise of quality within reach were compelling factors.
Initiating the Journey
Scheduling an appointment with Hall Madden was the first step. The process was user-friendly, complemented by automated email and text messaging reminders. These thoughtful touches acknowledged the busy lives of their clientele and set the tone for a customer-centric experience that I would encounter throughout.
I also did what probably anyone would do upon determining if they were going to purchase from a new brand, headed to their website. It’s very informative, but is definitely not build for an online end-to-end purchase experience. They are valuing that in person expertise from their team doing the measurements and not relying on a consumer measuring themselves and inputting measurements. I actually really appreciated that about Hall Madden.
As I ventured into their showroom, I harbored certain expectations about the fitting process. After all, I had experienced fittings with other custom suiting companies. What immediately set Hall Madden apart was their keen interest in understanding not just my measurements but also the role the suit would play in my wardrobe and how it was going to be worn. This emphasis on context was a refreshing change.
The Fabric Odyssey
Fabric selection, often the first and most pivotal phase in the custom suit journey, was a fascinating odyssey at Hall Madden. It was tailored to my specific needs and the intended purpose of the suit. If this were to be a wedding suit or tuxedo, the options would have naturally narrowed. However, Hall Madden's team had already curated a selection of fabrics for the fall/winter season, making the process efficient and enjoyable.
The team there really helped to move away from the endless fabric books on their shelves and directly into their recommendations for the seasons. These fabrics have been curated and were designed for each suit at various price points. In fact, they even designed their swatch cards that took the fabric itself and an image of the full suit.
While it sounds so simple, I’ve actually never seen another brand handle swatch cards this way and it made the process more enjoyable. First, it helped reduce the overwhelming amount of choices by only focusing on what they recommend (which is a full range of colors and patterns). Then, we could lay the cards side-by-side and discuss with the purpose of the suit in mind.
They really do understand the supply chain as well, considering they can advise during the fabric selection process which fabrics they stock and are ready to be produced into suits or if they have to receive the fabric for the order, which adds time to the process. This level of detail is important upfront compared to just getting an email to let you know after the fact, which has happened to me before!
For reference, there are custom suit fabrics that can be completed in four weeks time which is a night and day difference compared to other options. Now this would limit your options, so I always recommend starting the process much earlier compared to when you’d need the actual suit.
The Fitting and Measurement Process
Throughout the journey, the hallmark of Hall Madden's team was their expertise and professionalism. The individual I worked with demonstrated a deep understanding of custom suiting, which elevated the entire experience. While using try-on garments, it wasn't about tweaking an existing template, it was about creating a unique garment. Unlike previous experiences with measurements where it often felt like a surface-level adjustment, Hall Madden delved deep into the intricacies of measurements. They didn't just ask how much I wanted taken in here and there; they inquired about how I wanted the suit to fit, my range of motion, and other critical aspects. This level of engagement is particularly beneficial for those new to custom suiting.
Investing in a custom suit often comes with concerns about the final fit. Hall Madden's expertise reassured me that my suit would fit right, and they had a reassuringly local feel despite having eight locations. They demonstrated their commitment to ensuring each customer received a suit that fit impeccably. Crafting a suit that aligned with my style preferences was achieved through one session with the measurements and another trying on my actual garment. Then it was just some minor tweaks and it was done! These fittings fine-tuned the garment, ensuring it met not only my measurements but also my aesthetics. The process was collaborative, with the Hall Madden team lending their expertise to enhance the final product.
The process from start to finish was less than one month. Our first meeting was the suit fabric selection and customization process. The next meeting was the first fitting of the garments. Honestly, they fit nearly perfect and the team really nailed it! During the fitting they just made some minor adjustments that were then sent to a tailor locally. Since it wasn’t super easy for me to get downtown again given my schedule, Hall Madden just mailed me the final pieces and they were then, officially perfect.
To be very specific on the changes required, it was just letting out the rise of the pants a bit more, tapering in the jacket slightly and shortening the sleeves a tad. In the grand scheme of custom suiting, these tweaks are super minor.
Hall Madden's meticulous measurement process, coupled with their commitment to continuous improvements, resulted in one of the best-fitting suits I've owned. It wasn't just about fit; it was about value. Hall Madden's pricing structure felt fair, guided by a team that prioritized the client's budget and needs.
For those considering a custom suit, my advice is to immerse yourself in the experience. Take the time to collaborate with the Hall Madden team, as it's this partnership that sets the stage for an exceptional outcome.
The Power of Customization
For someone like me, who has a clear vision of the desired suit once the fabric is chosen, Hall Madden's customization options were easy to step through. They offered the ability to customize every aspect of the suit, a feature not always available with larger competitors. This level of personalization allows clients to truly make their suits their own.
For someone who has never stepped through the process before, it might seem a bit overwhelming. This is where their expertise comes in since they can guide you on what they would or would not recommend for the type of suit being ordered.
This is a very nuanced example, but it helped me appreciate the process even more…typically I order custom suits with a ticker pocket (a small pocket sitting above the standard pockets on a jacket). Well, since the suit I was ordering is a plaid suit, they reminded me that the pocket flap fabric might not line up perfectly. So we didn’t go with it!
During the collaboration with Hall Madden we also crafted a unique shirt and sweater. The shirt itself is a walnut melange cotton pique knit dress shirt. This is the most unique dress shirt I own. To me, if feels like a jersey knit cotton, but instead of it being a casual shirt, it’s completely elevated with a stiff collar and cuffs. It is peak comfort with the natural stretch and breathability of the fabric. It also works perfectly with a tie! I went with a wide spread collar just to emphasize the customization options.
The sweater is a stunning navy wool and cashmere blend full button sweater. It’s basically an ultra fancy cardigan and it will be my go to garment to change up the sport coat / blazer look. Having a nice sweater in the wardrobe becomes really important when you’re going into an office or work trips since it can be dressed up or down working well with jeans or even with a tie and dress slacks.
Styling the Suit
In most of my suiting reviews, I typically talk a lot about the ability to break apart a suit in order to get maximum wear out of each piece. This suit selection kept versatility in mind throughout the process. Below are three different examples of how to wear the suit for various occasions that take advantage of each piece in it’s own unique way.
Option 1: Suited
Details: Full suit, white dress shirt with wide spread collar, tie and dress shoes
Option 2: Casual Suiting
Details: Full suit, cotton knit dress shirt, boots
Option 3: Business Casual
Details: Sweater, cotton knit dress shirt, suit slacks, boots
Conclusion: The Hall Madden Experience
I would highly recommend Hall Madden to anyone looking to acquire a custom suit. It felt more than just getting a custom suit. It felt like a partnership and designing and crafting a suit that I was going to have and wear for a very long time. I also learned a lot during the measurement and fitting process that I haven’t learned from prior custom suit processes. It feels like they are very consistent in what they are delivering and when you’re going the custom route, that is imperative.
Recommending them to family and friends is really what it comes down to and I have and will continue to recommend them. As always, if you have questions don’t hesitate to reach out!
Details of the Featured Garments
Navy blue wool-cashmere
Full button sweater
Monogram position(s): left bottom sleeve
Monogram color: anthracite
Monogram font: ornamental
Walnut melange cotton pique knit
Extreme wide spread collar
Two buttons per cuff
Monogram position: top of left cuff
Monogram color: off white
Monogram font: ornamental
Midnight blue natural bi-stretch super130s wool flannel with storm blue windowpane
1 button wide peak lapel
Slanted jet front pockets
5 functional kissing buttons per sleeve
Fully lined with two vents in back
Button: brown horn with flame
Inside jets: 3276 Bemberg aubergine
Inside pick stitching (Columbia): midnight blue
Contrast lapel buttonhole: mid grey
Contrast 1st buttonhole sleeve: mid grey