The Black Lapel Suit Review, 2.0

Black Lapel custom suit review

It has been a year and a half since I first reviewed Black Lapel.  Which in terms of the online made to measure suiting industry, which is still in its infancy, is a very long time.  There has been a steady influx of new players and the steady growth of old players; Black Lapel belongs in the latter category in case you were wondering.  The prices (at Black Lapel and elsewhere) have pretty much stayed constant but the expectations of consumers have gone up; reasonably so.  Fortunately, the level of quality of fabrics, construction, fit and customer service has also gone up.  And most fortunately for Black Lapel, they are still one of the brands at the front of the pack.

Another thing that has changed over the past year and a half is the proliferation of seasonal fabrics.  Linens and cottons for summer and tweed and flannels for the winter.  When Warren first reached out to me he noted Black Lapel was doing some seasonal fabrics, including a few wool/cashmere blends.  So the next time I was up in NYC I stopped by the Black Lapel office and went through the fitting and fabric selection process.  Which if you are NYC based I recommend you do the same, however, if you are based elsewhere you can always submit your measurements online, for which Black Lapel helps guide you through the measuring process.  I should note that I have had some readers who submitted their measurements online and the results have typically been quite good.  When you goto Black Lapel’s website it will look a little dated (at least at the time of publishing this), I have been told they will be launching their new site in the coming weeks, which should be a nice change.

In the end I chose the cashmere/wool blue fabric with a dual windowpane of rust and gold.  The fabric has a nice hand to it and is of enough heft to keep me warm in lower temperatures.  But most importantly it seems to tailor quite well, however, Black Lapel advises against using the fabric for pants; so we kept to just doing a jacket.  For which I chose a double breasted with a standard 6×2 set up.  I also opted for straight flapped lapels, side vents and working buttonholes.  Unlike last time, I was able to specify a lapel width.  Which for someone like me who prefers wider lapels is nice, so I specified 4″ lapels.  And thankfully, the lapels were made to 4″.  But to read more on the jacket check the captions below.

black lapel made to measure suit review
The overall fit of the jacket is excellent, especially for a first try.  I did not have any alterations done to it, so this is the jacket out of the box.  The length of both the sleeves and jacket is spot on.  Admittedly, it would be nice if Black Lapel could take into account my lower right shoulder, which makes the right sleeve seem longer.  But I have not seen any other online brands do this so I can’t really knock them for it.  Anyway, that aside, the balance of the jacket is great and I think overall it looks good and is comfortable when worn.  The shoulders are still very lightly padded, which I prefer.
black lapel made to measure suit review
The fit in the back is snug, but not too tight.  There is a little excess right at the bottom of the neck, but I don’t think it is enough to merit taking it to the tailor.
black lapel made to measure suit review
Very nice lines from the side.
Black Lapel suits
Overhead.
Black Lapel suits
Perhaps my main criticism of Black Lapel is that they still only have one color of buttons.  The buttons work decently well on some jackets, quite well on others and not well on the rest.  I would say they work decently well with this fabric but certainly leave something to be desired.  On a better note, the stitching around the sleeve buttons is clean.
Black Lapel custom suit review
The sweat guard is still present this time around, which is good.  The stitching around the sleeve head also still looks to be done by hand, which is nice to see and ideally should allow the shoulder to break in a little better.
Black Lapel custom suit review
Clean on the inside.  You will note that the lower pocket looks to be duller than the rest of the lining, that is just from the flash/lighting.  In person the orange is consistent throughout.  Although you cannot see it in this picture (you have to look at the featured image up top) the keeper button is simply fixed to the inside of the jacket like a regular jacket button.  Although this does work, it would be nice if there was an unusually long shank for the button, like .5-1″.  It makes the keeper button easier to fasten and allows for a little better movement when the jacket is fastened.
Black Lapel custom suit review
As you can see the boutonniere is straight and functional, which is the ideal set up.  Very well done on the underside of the lapel and collar.  Although it is hard to see, there is a flower loop situated under the boutonniere.  The fold of fabric to the underside of the collar is something I always like to see, it prohibits the collar felt from being seen when the collar is properly worn turned down.
Black Lapel suits
As was the case in the first Black Lapel review the buttonholes are really cleanly stitched.  The color also matches the blue of the fabric perfectly.
Black Lapel custom suit review
The pattern matching at the breast pocket is flawless.  And up at the shoulder it is done very well.  This will not be an issue with solid colored and small patterned fabrics, but with a large windowpane like this fabric, it is important that the pattern matching is on point.
black lapel made to measure suit review
Jacket: Black Lapel.  Sweater: Uniqlo.  Shoes: Jay Butler.  Pants: Ralph Lauren.

Overall, this is one of the best jackets I have gotten from an online made to measure operation.  I can’t speak for the current state of Black Lapel’s pants but I did get a suit from them about a year ago and the pants with that were great, so I image they are still doing a good job in that department.  I am glad to see Black Lapel finally incorporating seasonal fabrics into its offerings, and I look forward to seeing what they have on offer for spring and summer.  As good as the jacket is, there are still things that could be improved; small things.  Fortunately, I think these things are easy for Black Lapel to fix (shanking on keeper button and wider variety of buttons), and I suppose if they bother me enough I can always fix them myself.  Although I did not have extensive custom specifications done on this jacket, it is important to note that Black Lapel can do that (change the buttoning point, lapel width, specific vest type etc), they just don’t advertise it.  Although I haven’t talked about it elsewhere in the article I think I should also note that their customer service is superb.  This all said, if and when you are in the market for a new suit or jacket, I highly recommend you check out Black Lapel.  If you have any questions, comments or experience with the brand you would like to share, feel free to post in the comments.

JLJ

See the original review