Who We Are
Duchess, Clothier is a tiny enterprise seated in the small urban paradise of Portland, Oregon. Founded as a one-lady operation in 2005, Duchess has grown into business that provides all its employees wonderful work-lives and its customers the thrill of high quality suits and other garments, both custom and off-the-rack, as well as excellent, impassioned and insightful service.
The Ladies of Duchess are here to help.
What We Believe
When a person dons a suit that is made specifically and especially for them, they experiences a higher sense of self-esteem, dapperness, dash, and pride that is generally lacking in our present era of casualness.
Suit-wear is a seemingly lost art. Duchess, Clothier finds the concept of people in suits rather exciting and is here to help men and women of all styles find and exemplify the best looks in suits for them. In an era where anything and everything is acceptable and all rules governing dress have been hopelessly dashed aside, Duchess strives to provide the stylish man or woman with whatever suit styles they fancy from whatever eras they fancy. Suits have remained virtually unchanged for two hundred years, and for good reason. A good suit is comfortable, attractive, and commanding.
The Duchess Custom Clothing Process
First, we get an idea of what you might be interested in by requesting you fill out our Inquiry Survey. Once we receive your inquiry and have an idea of what you may be interested in, we schedule an appointment for you to come see us, via our convenient online calendar which allows you to schedule at your leisure.
Scheduling an Appointment: You can expect the process from consultation to completed suit to take approximately 12 weeks. Our timeline does vary throughout the year, so please let us know if you have a special event to which you are planning to wear your new custom clothing. We often book up several weeks in advance, so contacting us to schedule 3 to 4 months in advance is advisable.
Cancellation Policy for new garment appointments: Cancellations within 24 hours will be charged a $100 consultation fee upon rebooking, to hold your new appointment time. This fee will be put towards your order when it is placed. Cancellations within 24 hours that have paid the $100 consultation fee will forfeit the fee, and a second consultation fee will be required for rebooking.
When the wonderful day for your appointment has arrived, one of our sartorially superior and easy-of-manner Ladies of Duchess will sit down with you to figure out exactly what you are looking for, choose fabrics and notions, and take your measurements. This process is a fun collaboration, often educational, in which all your ideas are welcome. If you are unsure of exactly what you are looking for, fear not! Our Ladies are experts at figuring out just the right thing, taking all manners of taste, matching needs, and fit concerns into consideration. Depending on what you are looking for, these consultations take between one and two hours, and we do require a deposit of 80% toward your custom garments order to begin production. While most of our clients plan to begin their order at this consultation, if you would like to wait, we charge a $100 consultation fee, which will be applied to your order when it is placed.
Next, your garments are constructed! Taking all of your measurements and choices to the workroom, the Lady of Duchess with whom you consulted modifies the measurements to our patterns and creates the blueprint of your fine new garments! Then, it is off to be cut and sewn. Duchess works with an excellent, third generation family tailoring business in Bangkok, Thailand, who constructs our garments based on our patterns. We trust our tailor implicitly to create your garments with extreme care, to our specifications. We have taken great pains to ensure that everyone involved in the production of Duchess goods employs fair labor practices, high ethical and environmental standards, and responsible business practices.
After we receive your garments back from our tailor, newly created, we thoroughly measure and inspect your them, as well as have them professionally steam-pressed. Once we are certain your garments are just right, we contact you to schedule your fitting!
At your fitting with the Lady of Duchess with whom you originally collaborated, we make sure everything fits perfectly and is to your liking. Often, small adjustments are needed in the fit of your garments, which are easy to determine once they are on your body. Lady pins up your garments, pleads with you to let us have them just a short time longer, and sends you on your way with a final pick-up or fitting on the schedule. In some cases, if you are really lucky, you will have a perfect fit at this time and get to wear your fine new Duchess threads out the door. We love that. In any case, from the time of your fitting, you should be in your new Duchess garments within two weeks!
Off the peg v. made to measure v. bespoke tailoring
Nice custom suits are often upwards of thousands of dollars. It would be an impossibility for a person to spend less than $2,000 on a custom suit on Saville Row, for example. There is a reason for this. Very expensive suits are commonly made in the bespoke fashion. Bespoke suits are created by highly skilled master tailors and require an intense amount of time and expertise to create. In the bespoke process, a client is measured and then the tailor fits and alters the interior layers of their suit on their body at several different stages of the suit’s construction, until it is complete. The patterns for bespoke suits are made specifically from and for the clients own body and are adjusted meticulously along the way. All layers of the suit are then hand stitched together to glide upon each other for ease of wear and all details are sewn by hand. Bespoke tailoring is the most expensive and extensive form of tailoring a suit, typically starting at around $5,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, off the peg suits are made by machines in factories, according to averaged, “standard” sizes. They range in quality. These are the suits that are found in stores. They will never achieve the look of a fitted suit, however, unless you happen to be the same size and dimensions of the fit model, which very few people are.
Duchess suits are made to measure, which is the tailoring process in the happy midland between off the peg and bespoke. Made to measure suits are based from a pre-existing pattern that is altered according to the client’s measurements. At Duchess, master patterns undergo the changes based on over twenty crucial measurements taken from the client’s body. Photographs are also required of the client from three views so that asymmetries and posture can be accounted for. Once the pattern is adjusted and recreated for the client’s own suit, it is impeccably tailored in a process called single needle tailoring, which is with the use of a sewing machine operated by a master sewer. A machine-sewn made-to-measure suit created with skill can be indistinguishable from a bespoke suit, if it is done correctly. Suits at Duchess are done with meticulous attention to detail, and are of the highest quality!