Cad and the Dandy: Second review

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
There are some companies (BT, I'm looking at you) whose service is so consistently mediocre that, when it slips from mediocre to downright poor, there's no goodwill to cushion the blow and I'm straight off to their nearest competitor. Other companies get so much right so often that, when things do go wrong, it's easy to forgive them. In fact, if a company deals with its mistakes in the right way, it can leave you liking them even more than before.

Cad and the Dandy definitely falls in to the second camp. I went back yesterday (to their City shop, this time, which was nice to see) to try on my DB dinner jacket. Pretty much the first thing I noticed was that the lining was not the maroon I had requested, but blue. I'm not sure quite how this happened, but James from C&TD was apologetic and, more to the point, promised that he could replace the lining within 24 hours. I didn't expect to take the suit away that day anyway, since making small adjustments to the fit is part of the process, so in reality this isn't any great inconvenience to me.

Slightly more problematically, the silk facings were in plain silk. Perfectly nice but not, unfortunately, the grosgrain silk that I had asked for. This one is bound to be more tricky, since it affects not just the lapel but the pocket jetting and trouser trim. Sadly, changing this will delay the suit a bit but since we're still three weeks ahead of the eight week delivery time that C&TD promise, I can hardly complain.

Anyway, any frustration over these errors pretty quickly evaporated once I tried the suit on. Slight adjustments to trousers and cuffs aside, it fits perfectly, although that's only to be expected. What I hadn't expected, though, was how different it would feel to wear a jacket with a floating canvass. It hugs the body in a way that has nothing to do with being closely fitted (it's not really; I like a comfortable dinner suit) but to do with the weight and texture of the canvass. It seems to mold to the shape of my body, and it will do so more and more over a few outings, becoming a better fit the more I wear it. As James said, with a justifiably dismissive attitude, it's going to be hard to go back to fused suits after this.

The English wool is as fantastic as Ian had promised when I ordered the suit, and the construction and finishing seemed excellent from the brief examination I was able to give it. Far more is hand-sewn than I had expected, with a lot of tell-tale marks of quality tailoring, like the pad-stitched lapel, hand-embroided initials above the inside pocket, and hand-felled lining (which they have to do again now. Sorry...!)

The only other change I wanted was to play around with the button positioning. As I'd suspected, I hadn't been specific enough about what I wanted here, and I felt the buttons looked a little bit cramped, especially as I am quite tall. We decided to move the two upper buttons outward a bit. As these are non-functioning, they can be moved around very easily, and I was impressed that James was happy to snip them off and re-sew them in their new positions while I waited. They may not come from a tailoring background, but it's clear that the owners of C&TD have immersed themselves in the tailoring world and learnt to do a great deal themselves.

Arguably, C&TD just shouldn't be making the sort of mistakes they've made on my suit, but I think it's important to remember that both boil down to nothing more than the wrong fabric being selected at some point in the ordering process. I'd be much more worried if there were serious problems with the fit, construction or finishing whereas, on the contrary, these all seem to be pretty much flawless.

The final review ought to come in a couple of weeks when I get the suit back, at which point I'll give a bit more detail (and some photos).