Elements of Style: The Kindest Cut
David Schwartz wants to know what you like about your clothes. He wants to know what you don’t like. He wants to know which celebrities you think dress well and how much you travel and where you shop, “and if you say Barneys and then I go to your place and find fifteen suits from Brooks Brothers, well, I’ll figure it out.”, he says.
Schwartz will also figure out whether you want “the finest Swiss cotton shirt in the world, and you don’t care if it starts wrinkling in two seconds,” or whether you’re “the kind of guy who wants a shirt that you can wear to work when your driver picks you up on Park Avenue at 8 A.M. and that will still be looking good for that benefit at Lincoln Center in the evening.” He’ll figure out exactly how many “perfect” suits you want, “because every guy has a number in his mind.” He’ll figure out , from a conversation he has with you in your home or office or his cherry-wood-walled, silver-foil-ceilinged showroom in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, exactly what is going to make people say “That guy always looks good.” (Not, Schwartz is careful to point out, “Wow, that is one helluvasport coat.”)
And after he’s figured it all out, Schwartz, founder, owner and majordomo of David Lance New York, will start making clothes for you.
Slip on a midnight blue French-cuff spread-collar number and vow never again to opt for off-the-rack. Put on the suit – hand tailored, impossibly supple, as comfortable as your most beloved sweatpants, quiet but in a manner that fairly shouts elegance – and you will be overcome with pity for those men unfortunate enough never to wear such a suit and grateful you are no longer one of them.
National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue depends on Schwartz for his clothes, as do Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and New York Giants defensive tackle Robert Harris. Schwartz won’t tell you this, but the evidence can be found by peeking at the monograms inside suits waiting for delivery in his showroom.
The suits (two is the minimum order) will cost you between $1,895 and $4,500. The shirts, of which you’ll need to buy at least six, run from $175 to $475. Schwartz also provides socks, shoes, belts, cuff links, topcoats and tuxedos for his regular customers (does it need to be said that all his customers are regular?). “If you are my client, “Schwartz says, “I will take care of you with love. I will provide a service.”
That service might include house calls and office calls and advice on shirt storage, suit cleaning and monogram placement. He’ll also note your favorite kind of bagel and how you take your coffee and see to it that both bagel and coffee are there when you come visit.
Is it worth it? You figure it out.