Think outside the big box // The Precedent guide to looking polished

Surmesur Toronto location
It's time to upgrade from off-the-rack

By Greg Hudson

On Tuesday March 11th, 2014


It’s possible you’ll look good wearing a suit from a place like Harry Rosen or Holt Renfrew, or any other big chain luxury department store. Heck, it’s probable. They have great stuff. But, let’s be honest: merely looking good shouldn’t be what you’re shooting for. You want a suit that somehow distills your unique personality, skill set and style. It’s a lot to ask of a jacket and a matching pair of pants. Happily, there are a few off-the-beaten-path retailers out there to help you in your quest.

26 Wellington St. E.

You probably won’t need the bulletproof suit that the boys at Garrison Bespoke recently developed. And while suit-as-body-armour is more publicity stunt than personalized style, the feat represents why Garrison is one of the best places to buy a suit in the country: the tailors there move beyond tailor-made, creating suits for their clients that are as individual and personal as DNA. If you want prime-time evidence of what they can do, catch an episode of TV’s stylish Suits.



108 Queen St. E.

This Québec City boutique, which recently opened up its first Toronto outpost, adds a modern flourish to bespoke tailoring. So many swatches blanket its walls that at first glance the shop looks like a fabric store. And, in a sense, that’s what it is. You make your selection of fabrics, styles and cuts. Then, after getting measured, watch as a staff member creates a 3D image of what your suit will look like. It’s a clever gimmick, but it’s also undeniably handy to have an idea of how your suit will look on you before it’s even made.

Nicolas Toronto


153 Cumberland St.

This Yorkville staple doesn’t trade in flashy technology or bespoke miracles. Instead, professional men and women rely on Nicolas because it is consistently, almost preternaturally, on trend. It’s the kind of store that, like an art gallery, proves that curation is an art form in itself. Brands like Jil Sander, Paul Smith and Ermenegildo Zegna, along with personalized tailoring and expert help, ensure an unpretentious experience in finding the perfect suit, or — perish the thought — that perfect outfit for casual Fridays.


This story is part of The Precedent guide to looking polished.

Photography by Braden Alexander