This is Ryan (left), our 32-year-old "marketing designer" and the only person in the Houstonia office ballsy enough to wear bright pink pants to work.
He also likes electronic music, jogging, and he used to live in Dubai (he's single, ladies...in case you were, uh, wondering).
This is Stephanie Lindstom (below right), a 25-year-old "Independent Style Consultant" with J. Hilburn, the custom luxury men's clothing brand based in Dallas. J. Hilburn has 3,000 style consultants around the country like Stephanie.
They make house calls or come to your office to custom fit you for almost any piece of fabric you can place on the male form—suits, shirts, belts, t-shirts, pants, vests, etc. I'd heard about the company (they've been written about in the New York Times, Esquire, Men's Health and others), but I'd never seen them in action. I was curious.
For many guys, the appeal of a house call from a stylist is simple: "You can see the wheels turning after I arrive," Stephanie says. "They realize, 'I'm never going to have to go shopping again!"
Stephanie stopped by the Houstonia offices this afternoon to fit Ryan for a custom shirt. The measurement process took a few minutes and Ryan stayed calm as Stephanie did her thing. If you don't like your clothing, according to company policy, you can return it for a full refund.
From her bright red bag of goodies Stephanie revealed a variety of man goods, including a stack of custom fabrics that felt like a rich person's pillow case, style guides, sample belts and a book detailing hundreds of different styles to choose from (everything from cufflinks to collars to creases—you can get annoyingly particular if you want to). Ryan looked a little overwhelmed at times, but was nonetheless impressed by the choices at hand. Here's Stephanie in action:
The female interns, meanwhile, kept giggling in the background about this guy...
...whose picture appears repeatedly in this booklet sampling J. Hilburn's spring and summer style...
With Stephanie's help, Ryan settled on a red, pinstripe shirt that will end up looking something like this prototype in is hands below.
Ryan looked happier than this after making his purchase, but I failed to capture his sunny essence. Next step: Stephanie will hand-deliver the shirt in a month and make sure it fits on the spot. If Ryan is unhappy, he get's a full refund. Total price: $130. Not an insignificant sum for a single shirt, but still hundreds less than most custom shirts, which can easily top $400.