AOS Tailoring: Origin Story

October 12th, 2015

Firstly, I’d like to thank you, our readers, for all of your continued support and encouragement over the past five years. I also want to thank our new team for all of their hard work leading up to this launch. I’m very excited to say that the Articles of Style Tailor Shop is now open!

Here’s the story of how it came to be, and why I think it’s important for the menswear industry:

I started blogging because, for as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a well-dressed gentleman but I couldn’t find any resources of information about menswear that were relatable to my lifestyle. I was never a fashion-forward guy. I never really cared about the latest designer collections or the hoop-la of fashion. I loved basketball, girls, and wearing nice clothes. I was much more interested in how a man wore a garment, the psychology behind what it did for him, and how it affected everyone around else around him.

During the summer after my junior year at Columbia I found myself in a “Sales & Trading Internship” at a major Wall Street bank during the largest financial collapse in American history. That summer I learned that I was not cut out to be a banker. I spent sixteen-hour days observing the hustle and bustle of a Wall Street trading floor, but all I could notice was how the cut of the suit on the guy who was most senior actually made him look like he was more experienced and professional. From day one of my internship, I couldn’t stop thinking about the transformative effect of tailoring; how a garment can make you feel something about a person that you knew nothing about. This idea began to consume me.

I didn’t get the Wall Street job. So now I was broke and, worse, I had to buy a bespoke suit. I had about a month left of summer to scrounge up $2,000 before training camp started and I’d be committed to 3-a-day basketball workouts. I sold almost all of my possessions on eBay that August; a collection of rare Jordan sneakers, some designer clothes I bought second-hand in NYC, even the flat screen TV that was the center piece of my 200-square-foot dorm room. It took about 2 weeks for everything to clear, but I had the money.

I did some intense online research, picked from a list of custom tailor shops in NYC, and walked into Michael Andrews Bespoke with $2,500, feeling like a boss. That day I broke the record for the longest new client appointment. Mike and Clark ordered me a salad for lunch, then pizza for dinner, and we capped it off by drinking whiskey into the late hours. I was full of questions and could feel myself developing an obsession with this whole concept of custom-made menswear.

I ended up buying 4 suits that day, and convinced Mike to let me give him $2,500 as my 50% up-front down payment. I was riding high and figured I could hustle up another $2,500 before my final fitting 8 weeks later. I was wrong. I was the first client to go on a payment plan to pay off his suits. Later I was also the first client to default on his payment plan. Down and out, I talked Mike into letting me work off my clothing debt. I did a little bit of everything that first month, from picking up lunch for the sales team to sweeping the floors in the tailor shop.

As the business grew I moved into a sales role and began meeting with clients individually to help them design suits and put together wardrobe packages. By walking guys through every step of the bespoke process and answering all of their questions, I learned a tremendous amount how men purchase clothing, and more importantly, how they want to purchase clothing.

The biggest problem I found with the traditional bespoke model is that, for the vast majority of guys, there are far too many options. Thousands of fabrics, linings, lapel shapes, pocket styles, buttons, thread colors, etc. The options are literally endless. For this reason, bespoke (and MTM) clients often experience decision anxiety and buyer’s remorse. You wouldn’t believe the emails received from clients who were losing sleep over whether or not they should make their last buttonhole in red thread or not.

The deeper problem is that the current bespoke process removes the most important person in the fabrication of a garment; the designer. Designers are trained professionals who dedicate their lives to developing an aesthetic and creating beautiful, functional pieces. It’s not something that should be left to a novice, especially for a purchase that is meant to last the test of time. This is why, at Articles of Style, we offer designer garments with a custom fitting process.

As Michael’s business continued to grow, I took over as Director of Measuring & Fitting. It was an ideal learning opportunity, as I was spending my nights studying the finer points of pattern-making and craftsmanship in the menswear design program at FIT. For three years I was fitting 10-15 bespoke suits a day. I fit thousands of suits, on thousands of different body types. It was a grueling learning experience, but it brought me an undeniable satisfaction every time I helped make a client look great and feel confident.

As the online menswear space began to grow exponentially, there was a new wave of “online custom clothiers”. I thought this was an exciting movement in menswear, and began learning as much I could about these new e-tailors. Over the past couple years we’ve reviewed hundreds of garments from just about every manufacturer in this new space. We cut them apart, re-sewed them together, washed them several different ways, we even ran in them on hot days. I also met with the CEOs of these “online custom” businesses and visited the factories where they make their suits. After years in the traditional bespoke business, I needed to understand how someone could offer a “quality custom suit” for $500. It seemed too good to be true. And it was.

The underlying problem I continued to find when looking at these businesses or their products was that the people who jumped into to the “online clothier” space early weren’t designers or tailors, at all. They were engineers and web developers who figured out how to create algorithms to approximate a “better-than-off-the-rack” fit. The basic business principle was that they could automate the entire “custom tailoring” experience by having their customers design their own suits, take their own measurements, and send their own orders directly to factories in Hong Kong and Bangladesh for fulfillment.

It’s not just that self-measuring is impossible, it’s that measuring and fitting are not the same thing. A measurement is a data point. It can tell you that the circumference of a guy’s chest is 40″. But it doesn’t tell you anything about how the garment should to be cut to fit that guy’s chest properly. For example, the garment needs to be cut very differently if the client stands with his shoulders back, versus shoulders forward. Or if he stands erect, versus stooping. Or if he has one shoulder lower than the other. Or if he is asymmetrical in any way, really. The list goes on and on. That’s why tailoring books have thousands of pages. The point is, any tailor that doesn’t perform a fitting using a custom-made garment (traditionally known as a “basted fitting”) is only taking one crack at the pattern-making. This creates a risk profile that is through-the-roof when you consider the infinite variability of the human form and the thin margin for error in fine tailoring.

On top of all this firsthand experience, I was armed with an even more valuable resource on the current state of menswear and men’s style; our readers. For the past five years I’ve been in constant communication with the visitors of Articles of Style; fielding open-ended style questions from a diverse group of style-conscious men from all over the world. I learned that men today are looking for a one-stop shop where they can feel taken care of by experts. Men want to invest in quality tailored garments that are made with transparency and integrity. They want to look sharp and suave, but also have an air of comfort and leisure. Men are looking for custom unstructured tailoring, made in America. This is why we created Articles of Style Tailoring. Our goal today remains the same as it was on the first day I started the blog; to help guys understand the finer points of menswear, develop a world class wardrobe, and dress with personal style.

The best part is, because we operate online and deliver directly to our clients, we are able to cut-out the retailer who, in the current apparel business model, typically marks-up products an extra 100% to make the same margin as the brand who sold it to them. This gives us the opportunity to offer world-class American-made garments, with real fittings by real tailors, at a price that can’t be found elsewhere in the current market.

I invite you to learn a little more about our exclusive fitting process, and take a minute to explore the “updated American classics” in our new digital showroom. As you browse, keep in mind that all of the fabrics in our collection are limited in quantity. Some of our fabrics could only be sourced on small rolls, which means they won’t last long!

Lastly, I’d like to re-assure our readers that we will continue to push our editorial work forward. Our goal is not only to shake-up the custom tailoring business, but to become the leading one-stop destination for all things menswear, including quality editorial content which has been the backbone of the menswear resurgence.

Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have any questions about our online custom menswear, feel free to contact us anytime. We look forward to serving as your personal tailor and stylist. 

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


Take me to the Shop

  • Adam P.

    This is brilliant! I have not read your blog for about a year but this is great and I am very happy that I checked your page after this long time. Even though I do not have the money to buy any of your products I am very excited about this project.

    Good luck!

  • Sven Raphael Schneider

    That’s huge milestone! Congratulations and all the best with your endeavor. PS. When I click on our fitting process, I get to a How It Works Page that is basically empty…

  • Fredrik

    Congratulations ! The line looks amazing. I have followed you since the start. I´ve learned so much and I´ve had a blast reading your articles. It would really be a privilege to walk around in one of your suits. Unfortunately, no mather how much I want one they are over my price range as a student in Norway! But one day (after the student loan is payed off) I will get me one of your amazing suits :-) Keep up the good stuff!

  • Frank Wilder

    Don’t fight the old — create the new – Frank Wilder

  • Glenn Cas

    I have been following you since your TSB days. I congratulate you on your continued success in menswear. You’re an inspiration. I was lucky enough to have met you at the GQ magazine menswear fashion event in November 2013 on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Los Angeles. You were nice enough to take a photo with me. Your website is very user friendly and visually stunning. Keep up the great and fabulous work, AOS!

  • Miguel

    Happy for you Dan and AOS crew, I’ve learned so much on a merely three years I’ve been following AOS, I mean so much knowledge that has shape what I buy and where. Success to the AOS line.

  • Ryan

    What an amazing collection! Congratulations on the launch, I can’t wait to order one myself. I’m still searching for the 50% down payment plan option… This will require some saving!

  • Unseen Flirtations

    A momentous day for the internet! I’ve been an avid reader of the site for close to 5 years now and it has quite simply become my go to source of inspiration and sartorial guidance.

    Dan, you and the team continue to do incredible work; the evolution of the suet to this point is testament to the integrity you continue to show.

    Raising a glass to you and the team!



  • smush parker

    congrats to you guys, hopefully i can scrounge up some cash to get some pieces. site looks incredible.

  • LarsBrown.

    I think I misunderstood the original explaination of what your shop was going to be about – I assumed that being in the UK would be an issue with buying your clothing but I realise that I was wrong (I think!).

    I’m now firmly on your client waitlist and the whole collection looks amazing, Dan. I can’t wait for the opportunity to pick up some sweet garms from you guys. It’s also such a good opportunity to be able to buy clothing from a group of people that you have watched progress for a long time and have come to respect and admire.

    • TO

      I believe Dan did mention only North America would be included for shipping in the initial run for the shop, so you might wanna check with him about your UK status.

  • Tom

    Are double breasted suits locked in as double breasted or can you get the option to have it single breasted?

    • Dan Trepanier

      I see where you head is at, Tom. Shoot me an email with what you’re thinking, and we can probably figure something out for you :) Cheers, Dan –

  • LA Watch Guy

    Congrats! One important question for those of us who live in Los Angeles: is it possible to come and get measured/fitted in person? Thanks in advance!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Hey LA watch guy. Currently we are not offering in-person fittings. It’s a much easier and more streamlined process to stick to our online bespoke fitting process. Cheers!

      • LA Watch Guy

        Understood – thanks for the response. I guess I thought it would be more similar to something like Proper Cloth, where I got fitted in person once (while on a NY trip), and now order shirts from them regularly online. Either way, collection looks really great, especially the dark brown suits. Best of luck to you guys!

        • Dan Trepanier

          Kinda like that, only you can do the initial fitting from the comfort of your home. We work with you to lock-in your perfect fit, then you can order anything from the collection, any time :) Cheers.

  • Ryan

    Wow, Congrats, Dan! Have been following for a number of years – came up to the MAB closet sale you guys did the very first time. To see your growth, literally starting from the bottom and working to where you are now is so inspiring! Cannot wait to purchase my first piece. Cheers!!!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Ryan. Let me know when you’re ready, we got you :)

  • nhalterman

    What you guys are doing here is absolutely fantastic! I honestly want to quit my job and work for you. I haven’t found a single individual in my personal life who cares about quality, timeless men’s style. So I turned to the internet and even with the vast reservoirs of knowledge it still took years to come across this website. I am so glad I did.

  • AdamE

    Congrats Dan & Team!

    Excited to see how the brand continues to evolve, and to see more new content on the site… also excited to see how the rest of the on-line industry responds to the boundaries you guys are pushing, and hopefully it brings everyone up a notch!

  • tommyjohn_45

    Congratulations AOS crew! I know you went through a tremendous amount of effort bringing the shop to life and wish you nothing but success! Cheers

  • nhalterman

    What you guys are doing here is absolutely fantastic! I honestly want to quit my job and work for you. I haven’t found a single individual in my personal life who cares about quality, timeless men’s style. So I turned to the internet and even with the vast reservoirs of knowledge it still took years to come across this website. I am so glad I did.

  • Guccio Gucci (guccio1971)

    Absolutely tremendous article….it truly hit home in ways you don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the wrong industry because I live and breath clothing….always looking at the fit when someone is wearing a suit, the lapels, the shoes, etc…..Looking good, being presentable, being a gentleman not only feels good but shows respect for society. The dictionary describes ‘inspiration’ as “A force or influence that inspires someone”…..that, my friend, describes you and your team. I may just need to print your letter, frame it and hang it on my wall.
    Like my friend Sabir, I also started following you from the TSB days and the admiration and support will continue. I once read “The most valuable thing you can give is your time”. In behalf of all your fans, thank you for taking the time to write this spectacular, heartfelt letter. You’ve turned your passion into the craft you’ve mastered.
    – Ramsay

  • Harvey

    Oh man, I love this. Great job guys. Definitely a HUGE step forward in the e-bespoke space.

    ~struggling college student who’ll save up for your suits one day

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Harvey! Keep studying, we’ll be here when you graduate :)

  • Isfand

    I have been following your blog since it’s early days.
    Beautiful , elegant , rich , graceful … these are the words that come to my mind when going through the collection. Looking forward to get me some threads from you and i am excited about your future.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks for the kind words Isfand!

  • JK Arias

    Congrats! Looking forward to receiving the contrast club dress shirt!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Get it while you can!

  • TO

    So happy to see this day arrive. Congratulations guys! Well worth the wait.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Can’t wait to deliver for you, player. Great chatting with you tonight, thanks again

  • Brock

    This is huge! Congrats on the launch. You’re going to a busy team for a long time!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Let’s hope so :)

  • Jeff

    I know I already swooned at the preview, but allow me to commence more swooning once again. Like the others have said, this all looks better than I imagined, and I was imagining some pretty dope stuff. Congrats, AOS, and I’m anticipating the day I order my very own bespoke suits from you!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Jeff! Whenever you’re ready, I got you.

  • Tom


  • Harrison Krupnick

    Just looked through everything. It all looks better than I could’ve imagined. I love the pictures and the styling of all the items. If only I had enough money to buy everything!

  • Austin

    Proud of you TSB boys, ive been a reader for about 4-5 years now. I cant wait to purchase something from yall. Im truly exicted about the future of this brand/company/website. Keep up the good work.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Austin. We truly appreciate the long-term support.

  • Frank Wilder

    Follow artists not brands – Frank Wilder

    • Austin

      Didnt I JUST see you over on the pinz?

  • Dizzi

    What happened to Wes?

    • Alex Crawford

      Wes is still very much part of the team. He isn’t taking an active roll at the moment, but he is family.

      • Dan Trepanier


  • Sabir M. Peele

    I’m so happy for you & the AOS crew. I started following TSB back in 2008/9 during the blogspot days. Having the opportunity to work with you on a few features over the years and really seeing the dedication to your dream has always been an inspiration to say the least. Big Ups Brotha!! The collection looks outstanding and what you’re doing for American menswear will be a game changer.

    – Sabir

    • Dan Trepanier

      Sabir always shows love. Thanks for the continued support! I hope all is well in Phila

  • ChrisD

    Every suit looks incredible and has so much depth. Your taste is off the charts, and now we have access to it outside of the online world of pictures and editorials. It’s like an 8-way tie for my favourite suit.. Congrats and thank you!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Excited to see which one wins out…

  • Lothar

    I’m excited, and congratulations to you. But I’m also having a hard time understanding how photographs of myself will give you enough information to tailor something that fits me as well as I would like it to. I would worry that not seeing the tailor in person would make it difficult to communicate where things feel and look good and where they don’t. Also because of some math that you provided to us long ago about the costs of bespoke tailoring, I’m wondering where else, besides the middleman, costs might have been cut. Can you tell us about the fabrics and the mills they came from? I know for a while, at least, you were a proud Ariston man.

    Thank you. And good luck. I’m tempted to give it a try. I’m just cautious.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Hey Lothar! I hope all is well. These are all questions we were expecting, given our innovative bespoke fitting process. It’s my personal promise and guarantee to you, as a client, that we will develop the fit you are looking for and deliver garments that you love. Along with the photos in your custom fitting garment(s), there is a series of detailed fitting questions that allow the client to provide specific information about his preferences and his opinions of the fitting garment.

      As far as retail math, this model is far from the traditional business structure. Because we operate direct to consumer and already have an online market through AOS, we removed the vast majority of the overhead costs related to the bespoke business (store rent, showroom furnishings, utility bills, sales team salaries, physical displays, storage space, etc). As far as fabrics, they are from a mix of predominantly Italian mills, the most represented being Vitale Barberis Canonico. Every fabric in the collection has been closely inspected to ensure top quality by myself as well as the team at Southwick.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to keep putting them here. This is helpful for everybody involved.

      All the best,


  • From Squalor to Baller

    Congrats, team!

    Collection looks great, and I’m looking forward to seeing all that happens next!

  • JBells

    The lay out, the photos, everything is so much more than imagined. The continued evolution of this site continues to inspire! When the funds are there I hope to become a long time client. Congratulations on all of your hard work, keep grindin. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks JBells! Happy Canadian thanksgiving to you as well. I’m feeling like I have a lot to be thankful for, including your continued support and encouragement :) Cheers.

  • cam

    next level shit and what ive expected from you guys long-term..congrats

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Cam! Looking forward to cutting you some lifetime garments. It’s the least we could do :)