The thing with bespoke is that there are just so many possibilities with what eventually turns up as the final look. It takes expertise and experience to guide things in the right direction. From drafter and cutter to master and tailor, it requires seamless integration between all the people involved in the creation of a garment. One such sartorial orchestra is headed by Anupama Sachdeva, under the name Pezalli, and I recently had them create me a harmony in wool.
From the very start, the process was different (and this is coming from a guy who indulges in bespoke frequently enough to know the difference). For one, the top three things that Sachdeva focussed on as we sat down for our first tête-à-tête were these.
Am I a classic dresser or more creative, prone to breaking established rules? Is there a touch of the dramatic to my suited silhouette, or is it more romantic and highly accessorised? This would help the Pezalli team decide just how accepting I would be of makeovers. There was an intense questionnaire that I was required to fill up, to help establish an idea about me even before our first meeting.
Next came the colour palette. I was defined as ‘soft autumn’, which implied avoiding stark or bright options. Muted shades from the autumn colour palette would sit well with my skin tone. Bye-bye jet black, I never liked you anyway. “Once you are ready, stand in front of the mirror with your eyes closed and then, when you open them, see where your gaze is directed to first,” said the lady. “If it isn’t to your face, then your clothing is clearly distracting and needs to be adjusted.”
Finally, my body shape was taken into account, for not only would that decide what patterns I could wear, but their intensity. Given my trapezoid frame, bold checks (which would add bulk to my torso, making me look shorter) and wide stripes (they add height only if narrow) were discouraged, as also anything too contrasted. All this done, we set about identifying the fabric, and what followed next was all the rituals of putting together a good suit. Two fittings (minimum) and three weeks was what it would take.
These steps are what made my visit to them unique, because while many tailors can cut me a decent suit, nobody had made the effort to evaluate the colours that would work on me, the patterns I should be encouraged to wear, or for that matter, to encapsulate my style statement before trying to radically redefine it. It helped that Sachdeva was trained not just as a drafter, but also as a (Savile Row Academy certified) stylist.
What I also liked about their approach was the fusing of styles. Their suit construction afforded me the comfort of a classic Savile Row English cut, while the exterior was fitted and snug, the way the Italians do it. This is a rare combination, one that gives you a nice, lean look without making it appear as if you are the Hulk stuffed into a two-piece suit.
For me, a suit should be a garment that doesn’t just make you look and feel good, it should also be functional, allowing the wearer to go about quotidian chores without being restrictive or uncomfortable. If you can’t drive, or even tie your laces with your jacket on, it’s time to rethink your tailoring choices. And let me not even launch into a rant about those garish, mid-torso creases which form every time someone buttons up a tight jacket.
I can never reiterate this enough – in a country where skilled craftsmanship is still cheaper than anywhere else in the world, while being at par with the best, to ignorantly buy off-the-peg over bespoke should be made a punishable offence. From customising the type and number of pockets to the choice of lining or colour of the pig-stitch, from the way each crease forms (or doesn’t) to how the trouser rests above your shoes, a good cutter can take care of everything, to help present the best version of you. In this vein, I encourage you to try Pezalli, or indeed bespoke in any manner. If clothes mean more to you than just a basic means to cover your body, a good suit maker is just the ticket.