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Looking for women's suits in Vancouver? We tested out the Indochino suit-shopping experience first-hand.
People tell you you shouldn’t wear white to a wedding because you’ll upstage the bride. But if you’re determined to wear a Statement Outfit and make your sister’s celebration of love into your Big Special Day, I’ve found a wonderful loophole: just wear a custom lilac suit that people won’t be able to resist complimenting you on.
I know because I recently was the lucky recipient of the suit of my dreams, courtesy the folks at Indochino. I know what you’re thinking: “Stacey, you’re a petite woman with a heart of gold and an amazing head of hair, not a beefy groomsman! How did you get a custom suit that’s at once chic and sick, with pockets enough for a man but made for a woman?” I scored this sweet ‘fit because I was in the loop early about some groundbreaking, suit-related news: Indochino does women’s wear now.
Indochino has long been the go-to for men’s suits and shirts. Even I, someone who knows nothing at all about the world of men’s formalwear or tailoring, would have pointed you in the direction of the brand’s Yaletown or Metrotown storefront if you were boy-identifying and in need of a little something special.
The company’s big selling feature is that it offers an approachable process for getting a custom suit. You spend an hour or so getting measured, pick out some fabrics, and—three to four weeks later, typically—open up a fits-like-a-glove outfit of your dreams.
While people of any gender or body type have always been welcome to try out the suitmaker’s services, the base designs and tailoring tweaks on offer were always intended for masculine figures. If that’s your style: fantastic! But for anyone looking to suit up and show off curves, accommodate a bust, or get fashion-forward-feminine with drape, length and cut, this just wasn’t the place to go.
Until this fall, that is. With the introduction of a new women’s wear line, Indochino is welcoming a whole new slew of body types into its warm, tuxedo-armed embrace. And I was lucky enough to get to try the custom-suit experience first-hand (probably because they saw my Instagram and decided I was the epitome of feminine grace and charm?).
To get yours, just book an appointment online and head in for an hour with your one-on-one stylist and tailor. That should hopefully give you plenty of time to get your grubby hands all over the fabric samples and get measured and pinned… but if you’re like me and spend 45 minutes debating with the kind and helpful store manager over the pros and cons of houndstooth, you might want to plan to pop in a little early.
First, Indochino Yaletown assistant manager Jonny Head and I did a few laps around the store to scout out our fabric options. There were tons of sophisticated neutrals (your classic greys, blacks, navies and greys) in beautiful fabrics that ranged in weight and texture (and you’d better believe I touched them all), but I was in the market not for something that would be a boardroom staple: I wanted a suit that said “I AM FRIVOLOUS.”
A lilac linen beckoned from across the room. Though friends had warned me in advance that getting a purple suit would, and I quote, “lean a little Joker,” I was in love. There were lots of other playful colours (I see you, forest green velvet!) and some intriguing bold checks on offer too, but when you know, you know.
Head took me over to get my measurements taken to find a starting size. While many people bring friends or financé(e)s along to help with the decision-making process, I had my baby in tow. She was not very helpful but enjoyed staring at herself in the mirror (I mean, who doesn’t?). When I asked Head if he could please make a matching baby-sized lilac suit he was apologetic but stern: “We don’t do that.”
Next, I put on a sample suit in my size and Head set to work pinning and measuring small adjustments as we made decisions about things like arm length. I asked Head for some daring cropped sleeves and pants, because I have a theory that if my clothes look too short then people will just assume I am tall (it’s called psychology).
“Please make this look as if I’ve stolen this suit from a little boy,” I said, wild-eyed, as my baby licked the mirror. Head obliged and also waited til I was gone to clean baby spit off the mirror because he is a pro.
Then it was time for the lightening round: Big shoulder pads or no? Pocket flaps or slits? Belt loops? What colour buttons? Lapel width? And most importantly: what fabric lining would you like? This is the chance for you to really let your personality shine, in case getting a tiny purple suit was not communicating to the world already that you are a lot.
I choose a fabric printed with toucans, but could have easily spent another hour pawing through these options: how would having my armpits caressed by a galaxy-print silk instead have made me feel? We’ll never know.
There’s also an option to have the lining embroidered with a little message. I asked for it to say “Big Stace” so that if someone child tried to take it to use as their Joker costume, I would be able to immediately prove it was mine and have them arrested and thrown in prison to rot.
My suit arrived just a few weeks later, and while I had been invited back to make any final tweaks or adjustments, the truth is, it fit like a glove: this first draft was print-ready. (Sorry to Head, whom I’m sure was dying to see me and my intrusive child again.) I threw it on over my most revealing top and stole my best friend’s shoes, ready to hit the town in a head-turning lewk.
If any woman or femme-identifying person is looking for a pick-me-up, I can’t recommend a custom suit enough.
Sure, this one was a much-appreciated gift from Indochino, but I’m already eyeballing other styles and patterns to splash out on with my own cold-hard cash, because the compliments did a-flow—and can you really put a price on a fire emoji?
Prices range depending on your fabric choices, but my lilac one would have retailed at $579. A steal of a deal for a one-of-a-kind statement piece that I’m going to wear for years to come—ideally until my baby is finally big enough for me to pass it down to the next generation.
Book your fitting appointment for a custom women’s suit here.
Indochino Yaletwon assistant manager Jonny Head shared these words of wisdom to consider.
Plan way ahead. If you’ve got a specific event you need the suit for, get your fitting down as soon as possible. While Indochino aims for delivery in a few weeks (and mine came in just three), during busy season (read: the lead-up to summer wedding), you might be looking at up a few months.
Come with inspiration on hand. There’s an overwhelming amount of options here. If you’re comfortable with making quick decisions on the fly, great—but Head sees a lot of people getting flustered when faced with Qs about length, number of buttons, lapel width, and the like. Come armed with a few inspiration photos of suits you like to help guide your decisions and focus your end goal. (“We get a lot of Daniel Craig pictures,” says Head.)
Consider the season. Picking a fabric isn’t just about the colour: different materials will have different weight and warmth. Will you be wearing this to a beach wedding, or hosting a New Year’s Eve party in Whistler? Will linen or wool suit your needs? Avoid sweating or shivering by considering the fabric’s properties.