“The ultimate, timeless suit would still have to be a navy blue suit, single-breasted, two-button, side vents, notched lapels—as classic as they come. Even today, every great wardrobe starts with a great navy blue suit because it is so multifunctional; everyone needs a blue suit.”
That priceless nugget of advice comes from Alan David Horowitz of Alan David Custom who sells high-end custom suits and garments at his showroom located at 16 East 40th Street in New York.
And if anybody knows that to be true, it is certainly Horowitz, whose family has been in the men’s clothing business for four generations.
“My great-grandfather started the business in 1926,” Horowitz said. “He actually came over from Russia and was going to open up a tailor shop in Queens. He didn’t speak any English, got on the wrong train and ended up in Brooklyn, and that is how he started.” Family legend has it that Horowitz’s great-great grandfather used to sell garments off the back of a donkey. “But that is unconfirmed,” he admitted with a chuckle.
In fact, Horowitz’s grandfather was the legendary Moe Ginsburg, who had a 70,000-square-foot specialty store at the heart of Fifth Avenue. “I worked there for about 10 years, Horowitz said proudly. “That’s where I cut my teeth. Back then everybody wore suits and we used to sell thousands of suits a year. It was fantastic, and that’s where I got my start.”
Besides being a tourist attraction, Moe Ginsburg was such a major New York “institution,” as Horowitz called it, that it was even featured in an episode of “Seinfeld.” “It was a store for a different time, selling sportcoats, pants, overcoats, raincoats, tuxedos—everything you could possibly want for a guy,” said Horowitz.
“We’ve seen it all. We’ve been a fabric of New York since the twenties.” The family has been involved and dedicated to every aspect of men’s clothing for the past 95 years and counting.
“I can tell you that my grandfather was late to his bar mitzvah because he was helping a customer in the tailor shop.” That should tell you a little something about this family’s dedication to its craft.
Alan David Custom’s devotion to its craft is not to be taken lightly, and the company prides itself on not only being able to fit just about anybody, but making sure the garments look flattering.
“We fit the garment. We can fit anyone. Tall. Short. Heavy. Round back. Sloping shoulders. Bow-legged.” The tailors at Alan David Custom even have extensive experience fitting customers with medical issues and disabilities that require the utmost care and sensitivity.
The typical turnaround time for an Alan David Custom suit is about three to four weeks. The average price for one of those suits is about $2,500, but starts at around $1,400. “We’re not the cheapest,” Horowitz admits. “To be the cheapest we’d have to use inferior fabrics.”
The suits are sewn one at a time, handmade right here in the United States. “They are spending more money with us, but we’re experts. The average guy on the floor that is measuring has 30 to 35 years of experience. We won’t let anyone pick up a tape measure unless they’ve got the experience required. These are really full, bespoke suits.
“We not only fit, we flatter,” Horowitz continued. Every detail matters, from making sure the arm holes are high enough to ensuring the length is appropriate for a jacket. “All these things are very, very important in terms of the look of the suit. When it comes to fit, we just try to be the best version of ourselves we could be.”
For someone larger, a trouser with no pleats and no cuffs is the way to go. The top button on a two-button jacket should be placed at the fullest part of the chest/stomach to make the person wearing it seem narrower. For someone more slender, it is essential that the jacket stops at just the right place. “There are certain things that we can do in the finishing
process to focus on the positive attributes,” Horowitz explained. “To move the eye to his positive attributes and most importantly to move the eye away from the negative ones.” If someone has very sloping shoulders, padding the shoulder a bit more will give a more regal appearance.
“These are the things that you don’t really hear about or see, but only a real seasoned clothing person could know these tricks to highlight the positive and downplay the negative.”
For whatever the occasion, Alan David can suggest the absolute perfect outfit for all of life’s major events. For a black-tie event Horowitz suggests a jet black tuxedo with a vest. “A vest makes it very elegant. Peak lapels. Side vents.” He also has the perfect fabric from Zegna to make that happen.
Alan David Custom carries a wide range of premium fabrics from other luxurious designers including Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis and Thomas Mason, to name a few.
For more information on Alan David Custom visit www.alandavid.com or to book an appointment call 212-227-4040.