I was thrilled to meet up with Bindle & Keep’s founder Daniel Friedman for a complimentary suit fitting during his last trip to Boston.
Bindle & Keep is a custom suit company based out of Brooklyn that has been getting a lot of attention lately for their work with female bodied and trans* customers, having gained traction in the queer arena when our friend Rachel Tutera of The Handsome Butch got on board.
I saw their suits in person for the first time at dapperQ's fashion show, but naturally I couldn't REALLY tell you how great they are without getting one for myself. So I was thrilled that Daniel was equally excited about sharing his work with all of you.
After this experience, I can confidently say that getting a custom suit is something every menswear* enthusiast with the means to do so should enjoy at least once in their lifetime.
Daniel and I spent about 2 hours together, looking over fabric swatches, talking about the design of the suit, and taking measurements. I had envisioned a navy suit with orange contrast detailing. He agreed that navy or grey is a good color for your first custom suit because of their versatility, and he designed mine around the idea of it being appropriate for all occasions. For those who are overwhelmed at the thought of choosing between 100's of fabric options, don't fret. Daniel did a fantastic job of offering suggestions if I got stuck. I decided to go with a lighter, summer fabric since I'd rather be cold in the winter than overheated in the summer. I also chose a grey paisley lining for the inside of the jacket, which is mostly meant for fun since you are the only one who sees it. But In the end, he said, fabric choice doesn't matter very much because if the suit fits well, it will look amazing.
Some of the customization choices he included were things he picked for me – for example, he said he’d do 4 buttons on the sleeves because it’s most typical for menswear jackets, and he recommended 2 buttons for the front for my first jacket. He gave me some cool options for the pants – he said he would include suspender buttons and told me that instead of belt loops he could put on adjustable side straps (like the olden days!). I also told him I preferred a very slim fit look for the pants, and he said he could taper them in a lot at the bottom and include a folded hem to give it some extra weight. He also said he’d keep them a little high because he knows how much I love to show off my colorful socks. I’m also excited about the outfits that will ensue from wearing the pieces separately.
For our demographic, Daniel designs according to whether the client wants a silhouette that displays or quiets their curves, using a special button placement (what they call a “high stance”) for those looking to draw attention away from their chest.
He told me to bring a suit jacket I own that I like, so I brought a velvet one from Topman. He used it as a model to make adjustments from, noting the areas that could use improvement, though he agreed that the jacket fit very well for something off the rack! Having him measure me actually made me feel MORE comfortable in my body than before, because it reminded me that all bodies are legitimate and deserve to have clothes fit them! I didn't feel much body dysphoria that often crops up for me. Daniel did a fantastic job of keeping me relaxed and happy during an event that could be potentially overwhelming.
I was thrilled that Sam Murray could join us for the fitting so I could get her beautiful photography to show you all the process.
In a few weeks they are going to mail me the suit and I will show it off to all of you. Stay tuned!
If you're curious about what I wore to the fitting, I have on:
*Topman is sponsoring Qwear. Read about their sponsorship here.
As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.