From a dark alley, tailor Michael Andrews offers uptown service and a dash of downtown style.
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Great Jones Alley is one of those little-known slices of New York that, once you’ve unlocked its secrets, makes you feel as though you’ve achieved some sort of master status in the game that is New York living. Gated, narrow, and forever in shadow, the alley separates two hulking old Noho buildings on Great Jones Street, between Broadway and Lafayette.
Down the alley and up a clangy metal staircase is the entrance to the inner sanctum, Michael Andrews Bespoke, a made-to-measure tailor shop in a former art gallery, where red and gold brocade wallpaper, marble coffee tables, and a deep sofa create a clubby vibe that invites clients to hang out and have some guy time. Customers linger to shoot pool, enjoy a drink, or watch a game long after their fittings are complete.
Owner Michael Andrews, a self-proclaimed “recovering M&A lawyer,” wore a suit and tie to work every day for years and too often couldn’t find what he was looking for in a suit. He wanted something impeccably tailored and appropriate for his line of work, but also not too staid or conservative—something with that intangible edge.
To make sure his customers get exactly that, Andrews meets with them individually, by appointment. “It’s not just my name on the door but my hands on the suit,” he says. “If I am not here, we don’t see clients.”
Andrews carries about 10,000 fabric swatches from seven or eight mills. After discussing a client’s needs, he takes 30 to 40 measurements before embarking on the six-to-eight-week suit-making process. He’ll craft whatever kind of suit you want, of course, but typically he emphasizes a slim fit paired with a somewhat structured shoulder, splitting the difference between the Italian and English styles.
The average suit runs about $2,000, and creations range from a blue blazer with handmade gunmetal buttons to a burgundy corduroy suit. Occasionally Andrews takes more unusual requests, such as for one recent design that featured the client’s name woven into a pinstripe pattern. That one took an additional eight weeks, and cost about $10,000.