3D Body Scanners and Scotch with Alton Lane
Custom suiting for the modern man, Alton Lane has developed a low-key, reputation for quality apparel with its innovative fitting process and relative affordability. Customers are fitted for bespoke menswear and receive their order within weeks of visiting.
We dove a little deeper to see what’s so hot about this brand, and which clothes are worth the hype.
A quick look inside the Alton Lane experience:
About the Brand
Alton Lane has only been around since 2009 and developed as an answer to the long list of complaints men associate with buying a suit.
A Warby Parker-model of sorts, Alton Lane encourages shoppers to go to one of their locations and get fitted for a custom suit, shirt, trousers, or sports coat. Shoppers also have the option of mailing a piece of clothing that they’d like to base the pattern off of, or taking their own measurements with a tape measure.
So, while you can’t just throw a blazer in your shopping cart and check out quickly, the business model emphasizes fit and personalization above all else. Finally, your information is stored online for future use, meaning, subsequent orders (or subsequent weight changes) can be made easily online, like any other store.
So, How Does the Fitting Process Work?
Okay, Alton Lane scans your entire body—taking 3D measurements to ensure that your suit will fit, absolutely perfectly. If the sounds of the body scan are a little too “TSA” for your taste, know that it's a quick and painless process, designed to map out the perfect fit. The staff check the data manually, and from there, the sales reps will help you look through all the options available, before transferring your info to their Hong Kong tailor.
This Fast Company writer lays out the process here, and dives into the tech that powers these new body scanners—if you’re interested in a deeper dive.
Is it Worthwhile?
It depends. Visiting the store is like being welcomed into an upgraded man cave, it’s an experience, but it’s a little too long. Some past customers have complained that the clothes weren’t exactly bespoke quality.
In some cases, the quality is one of the major cons associated with Alton Lane. Some past customers have complained that the clothes weren’t exactly bespoke suiting material—but they didn’t specify what type of fabric they paid for, which could have something to do with their ultimate satisfaction.
Time is another issue. It’s understandable that custom clothing requires some waiting, but some reviewers found they waited far longer than expected for clothing to be finished—to the tune of six months for a couple of dress shirts. Outliers aside, the company says you can expect to receive your order within about six weeks’ time.
It seems people really liked the customer service in-house, but there are some snags associated with doing business with these guys. Here’s a look at the Yelp page, so you can see what we mean.
Some people complained that the outfitter didn’t offer double-breasted suits, but we won’t hold that against them—they’re not exactly the most modern cut out there. Ultimately—we’re not totally sold.
What Items Are Worth Buying at Alton Lane?
The fabric selection at Alton Lane is pretty fantastic. Lower quality, Super100 fabrics start at less than $600, but cheaping out isn’t going to give you the best bang for your buck, and you’ll be more likely to be disappointed after waiting 1-2 months for your order to arrive.
Our recommendation is to upgrade to the Black Label weave. While you might be tempted to save a few dollars upfront, it’s better to invest in something that will last for years to come. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of information out there about the quality of Alton Lane’s offerings, on the whole.
Unlike Brooks Brothers, there’s not a pool of guys sharing their experience with the clothes over time.
What's the Verdict?
Alton Lane has some really nice options available for the entry level budget all the way up to the big leagues.
On the one hand, if you’re on a budget, getting a custom cut is a nice way to make lower quality fabrics look more expensive. But, with the time it takes to go in for a fitting, and the six-week wait—it might be worth spending more than the $600 minimum.