When Jessie Herzog released a prototype for his zip-up, one-piece suit at Betabrand, he hardly could have expected the online furor. GQ lamented, "When did putting on a shirt, jacket, and pants become such a chore? SFist got so mad over the illusory jacket, shirts, and pants combination that it couldn't even spell Suitsy correctly. But here at San Francisco, having been raised on a steady diet of science fiction as children, we know jumpsuits are the clothing of the future. So why not have one that masquerades as a suit? We spoke with creator Jessie Herzog, who is a real estate developer, sixth-generation San Franciscan, and former owner of the dearly-departed Zog's Dogs, about Suitsy.
San Francisco: A one-piece jumpsuit that looks like formalwear. What were you thinking?
Jessie Herzog: I wear an unstructured summer suit I wear to work, made by a great Italian clothier called J.W. Brine. It is one of the most comfortable things I own—and it's a suit! I thought, why not take the comfort a bit further by connecting a shirt, jacket, and pants, in a similar unstructured suit format. People are frequently critical of the ubiquitous hoody and jeans uniform, I thought maybe this could help the less fashionably inclined with one less barrier to looking sharp.
And where do you see people wearing this, exactly?
Anywhere you please. I wear this to work and pitch meetings and nobody can tell the difference. It's debut was actually at my rehearsal dinner. My wife is extremely open minded. The only issue was when we realized I would not be able to give my wife my coat when she got cold, since it's attached. But she still said "yes"—so all's well that ends well. I have also received interest in the Suitsy from orchestra members, valets, and self-described "men of leisure."
What's it made out of?
The pants and jacket are a heavier cotton fabric, to provide a bit of structure. The shirt component is a more traditional, lighter weight cotton fabric typical for dress shirts.
The response has been pretty rough online. How about IRL?
I am very happy with it. Everyone who's seen it in real life loves it. Online, I can only describe it as love/hate. The internet is an interesting place. There are some folks that have literally compared it to the apocalypse. I'm honored they think my garment could have such an impact.
Is it formal wear or casual? Or are we beyond categories here?
It has been said that the Suitsy changes games. Shifts paradigms. So yes, I think we are beyond categories.
Are you worried about competing with Snuggies?
No. That would be like Armani worrying about competing with the Men's Wearhouse. The Suitsy has a level of sophistication that the Snuggy is devoid of.