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Fashion Stores

Garrison Bespoke

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / Posted on October 21, 2014

garrison bespoke torontoGarrison Bespoke wants to help Toronto's men be their best-dressed selves. The bespoke suiting shop, tucked into a quiet building on Wellington just a stone's throw away from the Financial District, has been turning out tailor-made suits since 2011, becoming a burgeoning menswear institution in the process.

When I ask Garrison's David Tran about the genesis behind the tailoring operation, he - naturally - invokes author Malcolm Gladwell, who famously posited that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something.

garrison bespoke torontoWomen, he says, have been socialized to think about fashion in ways men aren't; how to highlight their best features, what their clothing says about them. "Most women have those 10,000 hours understanding themselves," he says; meanwhile, many men will wait to think about developing a style or dressing to suit their bodies until they finish school, look to enter the working world, and begin worrying about what kind of impression they're making.

garrison bespoke toronto"What we do is short-circuit those 10,000 hours, to help a man understand what's perfect for him," he says. "Every client session that starts at Garrison, before we pick up a measuring tape, we actually pour them a drink and we're trying to understand who they are as a man. Where do they like to travel? Do they have a family? What stage in their career are they at, and what industry do they work in? What music are they into?

"What that does for us is, it starts to draw out their personality. Are they more conservative, or are they more bold? Do they like to have fun with their dress?"

garrison bespoke torontoThe city's landscape plays a big part in how they dress one man versus another; Tran adds their stylists have divided the city into informal "micro-tribes". For example, he says, "They can tell us, you work on King St. We know you work in advertising. Oftentimes, you're wearing a blazer with jeans. We know what type of conferences you go to, what client meetings you have, what your work environment looks like, what restaurants you go to. And so we dress them according to that lifestyle."

garrison bespoke torontoAs an example, Tran points to the characters on the TV show Suits, which is shot in Toronto. Are you a Harvey Spector-like alpha male who favours shoulder-broadening peak lapels, a young and hungry Mike Ross (whose suits never overshadow the boss's), or a confident Louis Litt type who's not afraid of subtle checks and punchy ties? (He should know - Garrison Bespoke does all the tailoring for the show.)

garrison bespoke torontoThey've also been involved with some other high-profile projects, including creating the team suits for TFC this past summer. "The challenge they brought up was, 'Can we make our team look sharper than Team Italy?'" (For reference, their suits are custom Dolce and Gabbana.) They rose to the challenge with a three-piece suit in a grey check, subtly shot through with red, in a stretchy wool that was not only comfy, but had enough give that the players could even kick the ball around in it.

garrison bespoke torontoIf you, too, want to look about as sharp as an Italian footballer, their basic suits start at $995. "That's perfect for someone starting their career, someone who might be looking at a Hugo Boss or a Z Zegna as a starter suit - or maybe they are buying a discount suit at an outlet." (If you're doing that, he adds, you'd likely pay about $500 for the suit and $200 for alterations - so you might as well go custom.)

garrison bespoke torontoThe price tag can go all the way up to $20,000 - for the shop's famous bulletproof suit. If you're just looking for something to liven up an existing suit, Tran says, they offer a small selection of pocket squares, circles (for those who don't want to learn how to fold a square), and ties, as well as some nifty magnetic collar stays ($15).

garrison bespoke torontoTheir latest project: A brand-new satellite shop within the King Edward Hotel, just a block away, created specifically to help grooms get dressed for their wedding day - whether that's a grand tux-worthy affair, a rustic celebration in a country barn, or a destination wedding on a beach.

garrison bespoke torontoWhether they're getting dressed for a milestone moment or an ordinary workday, a bespoke suit is all about letting men show themselves off, Tran says. "For 10 years, they've been wearing something that was designed for somebody else, and now they have something that's truly reflective of them. They get that extra pep in their step in the morning."

garrison bespoke torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns.

Discussion

22 Comments

TJ / October 21, 2014 at 11:42 am
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If you, too, want to look about as sharp as an Italian footballer, their basic suits start at $995. "That's perfect for someone starting their career, someone who might be looking at a Hugo Boss or a Z Zegna as a starter suit - or maybe they are buying a discount suit at an outlet." (If you're doing that, he adds, you'd likely pay about $500 for the suit and $200 for alterations - so you might as well go custom.)

Umm. No. Because while the suits start at $995, the quality material suits you buy at an outlet (say Hugo Boss) for $500 is the equivalent of the roughly $2000-2500 suits at Garrison. My friend checked it out for his wedding a few months ago. So, yes, I will buy my $500 Hugo Boss suit at an outlet and pay $200 for alterations to make it perfect and like a custom suit. That will cost me $700 and not $2000-2500 (plus its a Hugo Boss suit!).
Mike / October 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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I've had some clothing made here, as have some of my friends and family.

Overall, you don't get what you pay for. I have off-the-rack shirts from banana republic that fit better for a fraction of the price. When I went in to pick up my suit at the time we agreed on, they subjected me to a 30 minute sales pitch while I waited for it to "be ready".

My friend had a bespoke suit made here and they used a different liner than he selected because they ran out of the one he wanted. They denied it until he showed them a photo of the one he chose. Their response: You're not allowed to take pictures.

Shop Garrison if you want awful customer service and off-the-rack quality for triple the price.
Kevin replying to a comment from TJ / October 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm
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Eww, Hugo Boss.
BEWARE / October 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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BUYER BEWARE!
old client / October 21, 2014 at 01:28 pm
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Place isnt what it used to be. Nobody i know still goes.
G replying to a comment from old client / October 21, 2014 at 02:48 pm
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Purchased a couple of suits there. Realize that I can now find my fit off the shelf for a lot less with no loss of durability (their suits are not exactly made to take a beating). And micro-tribes? Herding us into similar uniforms based on a 5 part survey is what it sounds like. So, yes I no longer go there either.
1001 / October 21, 2014 at 03:36 pm
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I thought my incident here was an isolated one. Based on the comment above, i wasn't the only one given the bait and switch.

Perry Como / October 21, 2014 at 03:45 pm
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I buy my suits at Honest Eds. best price and fit in toronto
Vince / October 21, 2014 at 07:41 pm
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Been a client of Garrison for a couple of years. Always enjoy their recommendations and the face they take care of everything for me and keep me looking sharp. I use to buy off the rack Zegna suits from harry rosen and I find it actually costs less and they fit me way better. If you want a well fitting suit that lasts for a good price with a enjoyable service experience these are the guys.
Jen / October 21, 2014 at 08:04 pm
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My fiancé got his wedding suit here . I did the research and came to the conclusion this was the place to go for a great suit in Toronto.. Upon making my appointment the lady was very knowledgeable on the phone and setting up a time was easy. I came with my fiancé to the first appointment and really liked the vibe in the store. Everyone was very down to earth and friendly and we immediately felt at ease. The stylist knew everything there was to know about fabric and what would compliment our wedding day. Yes this was more we ever spent on a suit but the finished product was worth every penny. I purposely didn't come to the other fittings as I wanted to be surprised on our wedding day, and that I was he looked absolutely amazing and styled perfectly. I couldn't be happier with the way it all turned out. My only regret is that we didn't get to see the new wedding space. I would highly recommend Garrison to any couple who wants the perfect suit and wedding experience.
Gary / October 21, 2014 at 08:27 pm
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I bought my wedding suit here in the Summer. Their staff greeted us promptly and gave us their full attention for our consultation. I opted for a bright blue suit I couldn't find off-the-rack. I never had a suit fit me so well before. Overall, I'm very happy with service and suit.
matts / October 21, 2014 at 08:58 pm
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Marked up suits for those who don't know any better and have money to spend. For good quality stuff head to SuitSupply in Yorkville - unless you are very unusually built, you can find off the rack suits there (half canvassed) and go up to their MTM program, still at fraction of Garrison. Plus you get to interact with staff that is knowledgeable and NOT CONDESCENDING at all, which is a big plus.
Dr. Mantis replying to a comment from Jen / October 21, 2014 at 09:28 pm
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Like to be in control, huh?
Richard / October 21, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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SuitSupply..... i second that
bought a full canvas suit, Gorgeous
fits me like a glove.

$1200.00

great customer service also
Zara / October 22, 2014 at 09:09 am
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My fiance bought his wedding suit here because several close friends recommended it. He wears suits often and has bought suits from all kinds of places, included Banana Republic and Harry Rosen. But the suit from Garrison fit him like a second skin. Their customer service was amazing, and they paid attention to every little detail. My fiance has a few "imperfections" - and they accounted for every little measurement. I really recommend this place for anyone looking to get a suit. They are not always expensive, and they last a while.
TJ replying to a comment from Zara / October 22, 2014 at 01:53 pm
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Funny how so many comments sound like endorsements for the company. How to tell a fake comment? They will only say amazing things and never give too many details, including price.
Look, if you have $2000-5000 to spend on a suit, go ahead. Mere mortals don't have that kind of money to drop on a suit. A $5000 won't last you 10 times longer than a $500 suit.
Chris / October 22, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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Every time I wear my Garrison suit I get crazy compliments. What does Hugo Boss know about Italian fashion? I've been going there for 5 years and trust every suggestion they have for me. I've had the honour of working with the owner and this man KNOWS style
Mike replying to a comment from Chris / October 22, 2014 at 05:00 pm
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Hugo is German you twat, not italien
Mizuhara replying to a comment from TJ / October 23, 2014 at 12:26 am
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Quite surprised at the negativity. First of all, if you're walking in there looking for a bargain or low price points, you probably should not be walking in there at all. These guys are in the business of luxury and exclusivity, not selling mass produced 2for1 suits to "mere mortals." You going to walk into Ferrari and talk about how you can get a bunch of honda civics for a fraction of the price as well? It's luxury. Of course it's over priced but we can sit here and talk about how every luxury brand is over priced for days.

Many people are missing the point entirely. It's about lifestyle, it's about cigars, expensive cars and suiting the cities powerful. They've always gone far and beyond to fix any problems i've had . Highly recommended. Like Wilde said, nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
1001 / October 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm
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Guess if you're a personal buddy of the owner, you get good service.
Otherwise, you're SOL.
Randymann King / October 28, 2014 at 04:39 pm
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That bulletproof suit would make a fabulous accessory when travelling to sketchy destinations. Look good with confidence!
Meano / November 19, 2014 at 06:10 pm
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A truly Bespoke suit should not
Cost $900, it must cost much much more! It's the Haute Couture equivalent to men's suiting.

If you're going to spend $5000 on a suit, you may as well fly to Savile Row and get your measurements in file at places like Gieves & Hawkes, or Norton & Sons. They keep the measurements of every client they've ever had since the 1800's, literally, hanging in their archives.

I'm glad Bespoke Tailoring is re-emerging in Toronto, but the poor reviews are truly sticking out on here like a sore thumb on here. Nobody likes to "sold" something, being a victim to salespersons.

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