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.
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.
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