We would like to discuss our cornerstone suit, the 8 1/2. Somewhere around 80% of Duchess clients own one. There is a reason for this. The perfect first suit--a sartorial knockout in any situation, a complete chameleon traversing 2-piece and 3-piece incarnations with ease-- the 8 1/2 simply delivers in whatever sceneries the wearer may find himself in.
Inspired by the grace and timeless effortlessness with which the master Marcello Mastrioanni wore his suit in Fellini's 1963 cinematic masterpiece, 8 1/2, this suit is the smooth foundation of the Duchess wardrobe.
Well, of course it is. We like to say it is inarguable.
This suit has no bells and whistles. The premier feature of the 8 1/2 is simplicity, leaving it's awesomeness to behold in the realm of its immaculate fit. The 8 1/2, as with all Duchess suits, can fit its master in various ways. It is an excellent candidate for the sleek, slim lines of its natural 1960s fit, or it can be pared down to über-tight for the hip set, even loosened up a bit for a more casual vibe.
The 8 1/2 Jacket
Features a slim silhouette, slightly shorter than many jackets with minimal shoulder padding.
It's lapel swings graciously down to the navel, in a sleek, narrow arc (usually about 2.5" at its widest).
Simple, slightly angled pockets with tuck-able flaps provide a slimming line and enhance the overall vertical flow of this suit by refusing the severe shop of a horizontal line.
The classic, double-button jacket is finished with a simple back center vent and three cuff buttons on each sleeve.
The 8 1/2 Trousers
The 8 1/2 Vest
The Church of Duchess
“Think of these as investments,” she said, handing you a freshly pressed 8 ½ three-piece suit. Investments? These are not investments. These are vestments.
This is not a charming cocktail lounge, the late set, a mahogany bar. This is the Church of Duchess. The Mass. The apse. The altar. This Gibson, served up, generous on the vermouth, a trinity of onions, this is your communion. The body and blood of style. The Holy Spirit.
Your fellow patrons, the congregation, look toward you for the truth. They find it in your hand-stitched lapel, in the deep gorge of your vest. They find justice on the crisp shoulders, mercy in the soft herringbone. They tremble at the bright pocket square. They make a pilgrimage to the custom tie, asking forgiveness of your finely wrought French cuffs. When you open your jacket to retrieve your billfold they find temptation in the flash of silk lining. They do not resist. The congregation cries out. You speak to them. “Genuflect gentlemen. Seek out the Ladies of Duchess. Don your immaculate conception!”
This is the winning 8 1/2 short-essay from our previous web poll, by Benjamin V. (Congratulations, Benjamin, and keep an eye on your mailbox for your prize...)
"100F in NYC today,
and my new Oxford grey 8 1/2 was wonderfully cool."
– Don S., in two of the three pieces of his pinstriped oxford grey Fine Custom 8 1/2.
"It requires no thought,
and that is the best part."
-Pieter K., in his slick three-piece silver cashmere, silk & wool blend 8 1/2 .
"I absolutely love my suit. It is by far the most comfortable suit I have ever worn. It is customized in every way I could hope for. Every detail feels like it was specially made for me. It is the first suit I have felt that I truly own. Additionally, I must commend you on your top notch service. From my first phone call to my final fitting, you ladies made me feel like a worthy and valued customer. Your kindness, knowledge and grace are unmatched. In short, thank you for the best damn piece of clothing I've ever owned."
--Dan Z., getting hitched in his lightweight black cashmere wool three-piece 8 1/2.
"Thirsty in an 8 1/2. August, SW Montana."
--Nathaniel M. in HIS lightweight black cashmere wool three-piece 8 1/2, veritably teaching SUIT SCHOOL with his pocket watch and cowboy boots.
"Wore my 8 1/2 to shred the recessional at my friends wedding."
--Casey P., comfortable in his charcoal herringbone wool & cashmere 8 1/2.
"LOVE IT! I feel just like Marcello Mastroianni!"
--John B., hanging out 8 1/2-style in his grey herringbone three-piece number.
DUCHESS IS HIRING!
Duchess, Clothier is a tiny company committed to personalized service and designing fine custom suits and shirts. We hold almost ridiculously high scruples in business and customer service. We have an excellent reputation that continues to grow locally and nationally due to our high quality products and service. We take great care with every customer and garment we deal with to ensure that the process of getting custom garments made at Duchess is as special as the garments themselves.
Duchess is a very unique company and we seek very unique people only; people who will enrich our lives, and those of our customers. Duchess is comprised of friendly, thoughtful, positive, intelligent, level-headed, self-motivated and progressive people who all believe that work should be a part of life’s enjoyment, and not something to live life around. We all take extreme pride in our work and our commitment to maintaining a positive work environment. We are likewise committed to maintaining these truths as we grow, and to ensuring that all of our associates bring unique value to our business. In such a small company, it is imperative that all members of the team are not only competent, but positive, dedicated, flexible, and nearly superhuman. It is important to all of us that we only expand our tight-knit team to include people with whom these ideals resonate.
Administrative Assistant/Receptionist/Sales Floor
This special gem is the main contact person, face, and office problem-solver for our Portland showroom. Part receptionist, part computer wizard, part salesperson, this mutli-talented individual possesses not only abundant interpersonal skills, but also naturally practices extremely anal attention to detail. This person will be described by friends as "an information sponge," "a total Virgo/Capricorn," "a perfectionist--but in a good way," and also, "a people person," and "my savior."
We require a singly awesome future Duchess to possess the following traits, skills, and qualifications for this position:
Exceptional attention to detail in all areas
Ability to follow specific directions
Exemplary customer service-oriented e-mail communication skills
--proper grammar and spelling
--enthusiastic and witty turns of phrase
--mastery of modifying and personalizing form emails, with attention to specific client needs
Excellent grooming and appropriate personal professional style
Vivacious personality for engaging people in person and on the phone
Awesome powers of analysis in prioritizing a lot of detailed things that all need to be done right now
Excitement and satisfaction in doing a good job and checking things off the list with every t crossed and i dotted
Highly organized and a natural tidy-er
Ability inclination, and motivation to step and fix the broken printer, call the phone company, handle administrative fix-it projects of this nature
Mac OS X
Fast and proficient at computers in general (For example: command+c = Copy, not Menu-->Edit-->Copy)
Learns new programs and platforms quickly
Internet research wiz
MS Word and Excel (proficient in formatting and spreadsheets)
Intricate database (Solve360)
If this is you, you’ll know it. This is a hardcore position requiring expert knowledge of menswear and the history of men’s fashion, a personal sense of style and confidence, and extreme precision. This rockstar will work in our showroom, meeting with our awesome and extremely varied clients to collaboratively design suits and shirts, take measurements, and perform fittings for alterations. This inspiring and comfortable-to-be-around person needs to be adept at low-pressure, personalized and genuine one-on-one sales and subsequent fittings with our clients. This future Duchess must be a natural people-person who inspires confidence in others, is an intuitive communicator, and is also grounded. People want to confide in this person and trust her* judgment. This stellar go-getter is constantly complimented on her personal style, as well as how “real” and dependable she is.
This position follows the whole custom suiting process and requires a high level of personal integrity and follow-through. Each of our representatives is responsible for her own clients from the initial consultation, sale and measurement, to the tedious process of accurately documenting the fit and placing the orders using strict procedures, and finally through to fittings and follow-ups with clients. Performing alterations may also be required.
Duchess is dedicated to personal service for our clients. We believe strongly that people should have an intimate relationship with their clothing, and that custom clothing should be accessible. The person in this position is the main conduit for this philosophy—she seals the deal (which was begun with first Duchess contact) that we are truly amazing.
This position also may be part of a larger movement, with filed trips and/or relocation to a possible satellite showroom in San Francisco.
Excellent and professional communications skills in person, on the phone, and via email
Extremely refined ability to learn quickly
In-depth technical knowledge of and experience with apparel in patterning, construction, and fit strategies
Experience performing fittings on clients for alterations
Masterful skill is performing alterations and ability to learn and perform them in established ways
High attention to detail in person and in documentation
In-person sales experience
The ability to work effectively alone and in a small team
Punctuality and proven ability to responsibly work independently
Excellent grooming and appropriate personal professional style
Computer skills: intermediate understanding and experience in Mac OSX, Apple Mail, scanner operations, MS word, intricate database (Solve360), Illustrator a plus.
Proficiency operating a digital camera and downloading photos
College degree in apparel or comparable experience
For both of these positions, application requirements are as follows.
Please e-mail your resume and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org and CC both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org on your email.
Please be sure to include the following in your cover letter:
Which job you are interested in
Why you are interested in this job
What your particular strengths are pertaining to this job
A little something about yourself personally so we can get to know you a little bit
Anything else you would like for us to know about you
One attachment of something you are proud of that you have accomplished (artwork, design project, awesome spreadsheet, just something!)
No phone calls please. If you would like to drop off your materials in person, please also e-mail them.
*Personal pronouns at Duchess are generally defaulted to the feminine for obvious reasons. However, Duchess is an equal opportunity employer.
Duchess in Cole Valley Thursday June 23rd - Saturday June 25th
Duchess will be meeting clients in San Francisco for new appointments and fittings in this sweet home-away-from-home in Cole Valley. We have a rapidly increasing number of excellent customers in the Bay Area and we are committed to treating them right! You can expect to see more of Duchess in your fair surrounds, on a regular basis. Please help us spread the word, so that we make a habit of it!
Our traveling Duchess will be on hand to meet with you for your custom clothing needs. She will be armed with fabric and style samples, tape measure and insanely astute knowledge and taste in all matters sartorial.
Appointments fill up quickly in the limited time we have on such a whirlwind trip, so please contact us soon and help us spread the word!
Hello, fine friends of Duchess!
We are pleased to show you this new website design. I also want to let you know that I will be continuing to update the current content, and add more fun and photo-filled pages regular, so please stay tuned!
I would like to give special thanks to Jared Moran, Maia Engel, and Gogol Bordello for helping me achieve this functional new website.
We are excited to announce our new wedding packages for grooms and groomsmen, which allow freely choosing from hundreds of suiting, lining, shirt and tie fabrics for the perfect wedding ensemble!
We have put together five packages for grooms and their men to be able to have the ideal ensembles for the wedding and beyond. We have done all of the work for you in making the options straightforward and appealing to all!
Take these gents, for example. Don't they look happy?
We were so pleased to discover this wonderful blog entry about us on Vixen Vintage this summer featuring a wonderful old-fashioned, custom suit by Duchess, and we thought it would be nice to share it with you, as well as the glorious aftermath.
Now, check out the newly revealed results of this auspicious meeting.
Introducing, Josh in his fine Duchess suit, in just enough time for a family wedding!
Solanah (Vixen Vintage), happy newlyweds, and Dapper Josh.
Originally posted March 13, 2010.
Originally posted August 7, 2009.
It's called the Nick Cave.
See it LIVE:
Nick, you are incredible.
Originally posted June 22, 2009.
Custom suit from Duchess, as showcased on the fine frame of John Hodgman. See the Daily Show, yes, THE DAILY SHOW, clip HERE.
And then, on Keith Olbermann!
Originally posted June 28, 2009.
We've happily spotted our most spritely of models, the legendary Ian Svenonius, showing off the trim lines and graceful movement of his custom white ACE.
Originally posted April 22, 2009.
Ah, yes. We were very pleased to see our talented and uber-dashing client, Nick Cave, on the cover of MOJO Magazine wearing one of his Duchess suits for the cover story!
More wonderful pictures of Nick in Duchess from the article here.
Originally posted April 16, 2009.
It is that time of year when holiday parties beckon. We have some suggestions for you. Our resident Black Tie Expert, A. Gustav Bayer has penned a useful guide, detailing the exact requirements of proper black tie dress. It's cover looks like this:
It includes everything you could possibly want and need to know about how to properly dress up. It is now up online in easy to follow installments, chapter by chapter! Or, if you would prefer, we would love to send it to you via email.
The results look like this: