Throughout a decade when tailoring everywhere seemed to run in one direction—the shoulders softer, the lengths shorter, the constructions more deconstructed—Husbands proudly ran the other way. The Parisian menswear label, established in 2012, found inspiration in the sharp, sexy suits worn with maximum loucheness by such 1970s icons as Serge Gainsbourg and Bryan Ferry, and translated that appeal into an unmistakable house silhouette marked by structured shoulders, nipped waists, and wide lapels.
Rakes-in-progress could attain it through the brand’s ready-to-wear collection, or by placing a made-to-order commission at its Paris flagship store. Fans abroad, however, have been largely shut out of the MTO experience until Husbands recently launched a new online presence for the program.
“In publicizing the online made-to-order, we hope to share this fundamental part of Husbands with a wider clientele who won’t necessarily be able to come to Paris to see us in-store,” Husbands MTO specialist Isaac Timberlake tells Robb Report, adding that MTO orders account for the majority of in-store purchases.
The new website page for MTO includes a carousel of possible fabric choices, with digital swatches of fuzzy camel hair, chalk stripe flannel, and gun club tweed standing in for the hundreds of options on offer. While Husbands sources fabrics from across the major cloth merchants, it holds English mills and heavyweight cloth in particular esteem. The brand has also worked with mills to create its own, unique fabrics in the past, some of which become available in the MTO program.
“Cloth needs to drape well to make a beautiful garment,” Timberlake says of the house credo.
Further down, the various garment models developed by Husbands are displayed, including its signature two-button jacket with peaked lapels, 2×4 double-breasted coats, high-waisted trousers with side adjusters, and dress shirts marked by a high-standing collar with long points. Considerations such as cloth, linings, and pockets may be chosen by the MTO customer, with minor alterations made to the pattern to better fit their physiology. But the garments will remain first and foremost a product of Husbands, and its strong point of view.
“When we first developed the program, we wanted to keep alterations to our house style as narrow as possible in order to maintain a strong brand image,” says Timberlake. “It is commande speciale rather than made-to-measure—we have never wanted to create a cheaper alternative to bespoke, but rather a unique and precise offering to reflect Husbands style.”
Once a client feels ready to take their place in the world of Husbands, they have the option to book an in-store appointment or schedule a personalized appointment online. If it’s the latter, an MTO specialist will contact the client by email to guide them through the remote process, with video calls and phone consultations also available by request. In addition, Remote clients will receive fabric swatches to help narrow down their choice of cloth, and information booklets that will answer common questions and provide stylistic inspiration. And to ensure the closest possible fit without an in-person rendezvous, remote clients will be asked to send the specialist their measurements and photos.
“The entire process is designed to be as simple for the client as possible, trying to achieve the in-store experience even at distance,” Timberlake says.
Once the order has been placed, clients can expect to get their jackets, coats, and suits in 14 weeks, and shirts in six weeks. And along with the goods themselves, they may even receive that most attractive, if intangible, quality that has defined Husbands from day one: savoir-faire.