An Old-School Suit

Michael Turek

Tailor Mimmo Spano subscribes to a look reminiscent of classic Hollywood style.

Mimmo Spano believes a man can be whomever he likes—if he dresses the part. “Somebody comes here, there is no limitation,” the tailor says. “I don’t have a fixed way of measuring. I make the suit to fit the image of the man.”

Posters of 1930s men’s fashion spreads deck the chartreuse walls of his 57th Street atelier in New York, illustrating the masculine elegance of the Humphrey Bogart suit—a look Spano has perfected over 40 years: relaxed, with a broad chest and dramatically nipped-in waist. “My trademark is the waist. Others say, ‘We’ll make it fit,’ but they make it tight. The shape must be cut.” These suits both require and exude confidence; the easy fit is James Dean cool, but the cut has conviction.

A suit, usually developed in just two fittings, begins with a conversation about lifestyle, and the look depends largely on the role the client inhabits: a double-breasted Loro Piana cashmere suit for a real-estate mogul or a beautiful three-button plaid sport jacket for a literary bon vivant. Spano designs all the fabrics used in the atelier; he flies to the English mills to craft the perfect pinstripe or rust-colored Prince of Wales plaid, thread by thread.

“If nature grew your body, then the tailor should be the second nature,” says one client. “You feel more yourself in Mimmo’s clothes.” Suits start at $4,500 (for younger men, a new made-to-measure line offers suits from $2,200); 12 W. 57th St., Ste. 1002;