175 W. Jackson Blvd. 312-913-1100; rbtailors.com
Custom tailoring is enjoying a renaissance, a likely response to mass-market merchandise that tends toward “one size fits few.” Richard Bennett Custom Tailors has capitalized on this trend and moved from its longtime home on LaSalle Street to a new 2,800-square-foot shop with a distinctive feature: The tailors work in a picture window facing the street, thus demystifying the process. “People can see artisans transforming a piece of cloth into a garment, by hand,” says the owner, Albert Karoll.
With 12-foot ceilings, custom cherry woodwork, and Tuscan décor, the shop moves away from the heavy British gentlemen’s club aesthetic of the usual tailoring enterprise. “We wanted to send a message that custom tailoring can be fashionable, contemporary, and viable and not fuddy-duddy at all,” says Karoll. The shop caters to men and women by making custom suits, topcoats, and trousers. During an initial appointment, which usually takes an hour to 90 minutes, customers select a suit style and a fabric and get measured by a tailor. Two fittings usually follow, and the finished garment is completed in six to seven weeks. Richard Bennett keeps the measurements on file, so after the first garment is finished, the shop can create future suits with just a phone call. And though custom tailoring is the staple of the business, there is more space now dedicated to ready-made accessories such as neckwear and knits.
Photograph: Kendall Karmanian