You likely know a little something about Bonobos, the web-based menswear brand that began selling a particular style of pants three years ago. What you may not know is that as of late, Bonobos has expanded their offerings—from shirts and other trouser styles to an exceptional new line of suiting. How'd they do it? By focusing on fit, quality and above all, listening to customers. Here, the company's top brass explain how they made it this far and more importantly, what makes their suits so great.
The fit across the chest is form fitting, but not restrictive.
A medium width lapel is a more classic proportion. A super skinny lapel felt too limiting.
High armholes for ease of movement with a slight rope in the shoulder.
The tab waistband is curved in back for a better fit and no bunching.
Hand-sewn working buttons on the cuffs denote old world craftsmanship.
The jacket and pants are Italian wool and both are lined in silk.
We started making pants while at Stanford business school because we couldn't find anything that fit our builds. So, we made a few pairs and wore them around campus and got so many questions and compliments from classmates that we used the idea for a project in an entrepreneurship course. What we found was that most guys weren't happy with the fit and style of their pants and, most of all, didn't enjoy the shopping process. So, the catalyst for the product was, and continues to be, based on feedback from our customer. The genesis of the business was to not only innovate on product, but to change how that product is delivered...to see how easy we could make it for guys to shop.
We built the original pant to serve a niche of customers that could be described as athletic—muscular lower bodies but trim, narrow waists. The main innovation was in the shape of the waistband, which matches anatomically with the shape of the waist (just take off your belt to see what we mean). We also made the pant form fitting through the seat and thighs, but not runway-model tight. While there was initially a slight boot cut and plenty of daring details, over time more guys requested a straight leg finish and more conservative styling and we were happy to accommodate. Lately, we've been getting a lot of requests for a true slim fit pant, so that's our latest project. We've also recently begun partnering with brands we admire, that have great fits and designs, and aren't easily found online, like Gant Rugger, Mark McNairy, Jack Spade and Oliver Spencer.
There's no one type of "Bonobos man." We believe that we provide the clothes, but you provide the style. It's kind of like that scene from "Ferris Beuller," when the secretary says how all the groups in the high school adore him. We've got the jocks, the bankers, the lawyers, the musicians, the comedians, the grad students ... And the wasteoids. We love the wasteoids.
Charcoal wool suit, $570
We aimed to make a modern suit with elements of classic style and signature Bonobos panache. For our initial launch, we found great Italian natural stretch wool that feels crisp and smooth, yet travels well. We lined it in adventurous silk prints and added some bold color trimmings. We've always been big fans of Paul Smith and Etro for the way they use pop colors and patterns in traditional garments. We also wanted a modern, clean look and worked hard to develop a fit we think is just right that complements the famous fit of our pants.
Grey Seersucker, $395
We're introducing some seasonal offerings this fall. Look for flannel blazers in grey, olive and camel as well as additional jackets that toe the line between dress and casual, work and weekend. We're also working on premium suiting made from Loro Piana wool, but to tell you more, we'd have to kill you.