The future of fashion is in custom clothing – specifically, custom suits and shirts. From the prints and colors to the size and shape, wearing a bespoke suit has the power to infuse the wearer with confidence offering a transformation not only in appearance, but in attitude. Harness the power of transformation with Jet Linx Elevated Lifestyle partner Tom James.
Tom James, who joined the Jet Linx Elevated Lifestyle program in April 2018, offers dapper men (and women!) the finest of garments by bringing together two storied enterprises: Oxxford Clothes, the last manufacturer in America to offer handmade suits (founded in Chicago in 1916), and from historic Savile Row in London, fabrics from Holland and Sherry (established in 1836). Additionally, Tom James owns and operates their own cloth mill, allowing them to quickly respond to market trends in both cloth style and pattern, resulting in unique and distinctive garments not found in other retail locations.
For a truly bespoke experience, there is no better choice than a custom clothier. Spencer Hays, a Nashville businessman and entrepreneur, founded Tom James in 1966 after he discovered the associates in menswear stores paid very little attention to the importance of personal service, and at the same time, offered no expert guidance. His frequent business travel put a premium on his time, and as he was rarely in his home market, he found shopping for quality business attire a very frustrating activity.
This frustration gave way to a new idea. Hays conjectured busy professionals would appreciate a concierge clothing service that brought suit and shirt options directly to their homes or offices – and he was right. After securing the services of a custom suit manufacturing division of Genesco in Nashville, Tennessee, Hays opened his first Tom James location.
“It was a brilliant business model,” stated Michele Stephens, Tom James Director of Marketing. “By offering custom products, it eliminated the need for inventory. Garments were not sewn until there was an order – it was a business that was both profitable and in demand.” Soon after spreading to the Southeast, Tom James began the purchase of additional clothing manufacturing facilities, ensuring full control of quality and production. “With these acquisitions came clothiers boasting extensive knowledge and craftsmanship of tailored suits, sport coats, trousers and shirts for both men and women – Tom James is proud to carry on those legacies today,” she continued.
Like Jet Linx, the Tom James experience is personal. In their efforts to create customized pieces, Tom James works with each individual client to understand and enhance their fashion personality… capturing a vision of their desired finished look and the occasions for which they need to dress. Their commitment to the client continues beyond the purchase through assistance in planning and maintaining their wardrobe. Often times, Tom James clothiers are invited into clients’ homes to thoroughly go through their closets, sorting through items that should be retired, donated, altered, etc.
We seek to understand each person we serve, and the better we get to know them, the more appropriately we can help them dress in ways that complement their personality and their profession,” remarked Jason Caldwell, Division President, Tom James of Dallas. “Because we work with clients in every field of business, we understand the needs of the professionals we serve and can make recommendations that they can confidently trust.”
Tom James boasts an unrivaled personal approach when consulting with individuals considering their services. “We spend time getting to know them with basic questions,” Caldwell noted. “Who are they, what do they do, where do they go, who do they see, and what image do they want to present?”
Additionally, the clothiers work to understand what demands the client’s clothing must meet. “Do they travel, do they desire year-round items or options suitable for multiple climates? Do they appreciate and desire exclusivity in their choices or are they simply needing basic selections? Once we have a full picture of who they are and their lifestyle, then it is all about us providing an experience that exceeds the expectations of each client we serve, based on unique desires, preferences and needs.”
Tom James has a reputation for understanding today’s fast-paced environment where time is limited and convenience and concierge service are paramount. “Our full-time clothiers meet our clients at their homes or offices,” Stephens explained. “There have been other clothing companies who aim to imitate that service, but they do not employ their people, nor do they own their shops, which combined have a 250 plus year history in menswear.”
John Harvey of Tom James Nashville, echoed these sentiments, adding, “I hope my clients have an all-around great experience. That begins with them feeling they have saved valuable time while doing business with me and appreciating the quality of product we produce. I want my clients to feel I have listened carefully to their needs, and then delivered on those needs.”
Hays was often quoted saying, “It shouldn’t be this way, but we are judged by our appearance.” Tom James believes in the famed power of a first impression, and members of the Tom James team remain committed to helping individuals “walk a little taller” by being appropriately dressed for every occasion. “My clients can retire their clothing concerns to me and I will guide them to the decisions that bring ease to their lives and garner compliments along the way,” Caldwell stated. “It is our intent to combine our knowledge with the client’s needs to create an atmosphere of trust. We work to develop the type of relationship that results in the trust to turn those responsibilities of measurement, fitting and production over to the Tom James clothier.”
Deep knowledge of the trends in the fashion market, including popular colors, patterns and accessories, ensures Tom James clients will always boast an on-trend, polished appearance in the most luxurious fibers available. For 2018? Kim Castilla, Southwest Regional Vice President, Tom James of San Antonio, says the trending color this year is still blue – the brighter the better! “Traditional navy is always an option, but to have a little fun and be on trend, brighter blues take the stage! You’ll see blue in sport coats, blazers, even dinner jackets. We even see a lot of berry tones like plum, magenta and fuchsia. Another color is green. Shifting away from deep hunter we see a lot of sage and kelly. These colors are perfect for spring, summer and for the client who is deep in blues, grays and darker colors, offer more personal expression, or as the Italians say, Sprezzatura!”
IT IS OUR INTENT TO COMBINE OUR KNOWLEDGE WITH THE CLIENT’S NEEDS TO CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE OF TRUST.Jason Caldwell
The expertise of the Tom James enterprise extends to more functional concerns as well. “Natural fibers make for the best, longest lasting, most serviceable and comfortable clothing,” Caldwell explained. “Holland & Sherry offers our finest cloth for suits, sport coats and trousers and is the preeminent cloth merchant in the world, sourcing the very finest of natural fibers directly from farmers and growers around the globe, from lustrous, long and well crimped merino, rustic Shetland wool, opulent cashmere, camelhair, to mohair, silk, and even the very rare vicuna.”
This spring Tom James introduced the rare and refined Tesoro collection. “Our most discerning clients are interested not so much in a certain style of cut, but rather in the exclusive nature of our cloth,” Harvey pointed out. “Tesoro means ‘treasure’ in Italian. It features the finest Super 200s merino wool only available in small batches as it takes years to assemble enough yarns to collect a sufficient quantity.”
The staple brand for Tom James is Oxxford Clothes, the last handmade suit in America. “This bespoke garment contains over 1,100 hand stitches in the lapel alone,” Caldwell detailed. “As a result, it rolls naturally and maintains its shape beautifully. There is comfort built into every stitch. We’ve even heard stories of people wearing an Oxxford jacket and actually forgetting they are wearing it. When a garment is hand-crafted with you in mind, not only does it fit, but it’s actually comfortable!”
In addition, Tom James clients can take advantage of exclusive shirting fabrics from the most renowned mills in the world. “We source the finest cotton in the world, such as Giza 45, a Long Staple cotton grown in the Nile Valley of Egypt,” Caldwell stated. “A longer yarn produces a softer and more luxurious garment.” The company also uses Supima Cotton, an Extra Long Staple cotton grown in the Imperial Valley of California. The yarn is then woven for Tom James exclusively at two of the most celebrated mills in Italy – Cotonificio Albini and Tessitura Monti – as well as Alumo of Switzerland, resulting in a cloth that possesses extraordinary durability and supreme quality. These highly sustainable cloths are made in 140s, 170s, 200s, 240s and 300s 2-ply cotton in designs exclusive to Tom James and their customers.
Harvey recommends a great pair of shoes, pocket squares for jackets, and magnetic collar stays to complete a truly polished and refined look. “If a gentleman would rather not step into a clothing store for the rest of his life, we can make that happen. We offer a full selection of accessories from shoes to cuff links to braces or suspenders – really everything except athletic wear. And we bring it straight to you.”
With an army of over 600 carefully trained custom clothiers, Tom James reaches 97 locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. This geographical reach enables the staff to create made-to-measure suits in a variety of sartorial styles – an anomaly in the world of bespoke tailoring. Stephens concluded, “In our field there are no sanctioned National Championships of custom clothing, but we can proudly say you’ll see our clothing at the Kentucky Derby, at Hollywood awards shows, and on business people on four continents, as well as on the shoulders of many who grace the nightly news.”