Editor Karen Alberg Grossman sits with designer Shao Yang.
by Karen Alberg Grossman

At my stage of life, there are likely very few “firsts” in my future, so how exciting it was recently to experience my first-ever made-to-measure suit! 

Although my style is essentially conservative, meaning I prefer to blend in rather than stand out, I decided to wander out of my comfort zone and choose something with a bit of flair. Going through hundreds of gorgeous Gladson fabric swatches with talented designer Shao Yang of The Tailory NYC, we decided on a luxurious bamboo fabric in a gorgeous pale grey windowpane accented with a lavender deco stripe. It wasn’t just the classic menswear pattern and soothing colors that appealed to me. The bamboo fabric is both sustainable and sumptuous—lightweight with a cashmere-like hand. (I later learned that bamboo was initially tough to tailor until the fabric gurus at Gladson, with their Italian weaving partners, re-worked the processing, weaving and finishing formulas to create a notably sturdier cloth that tailors like a fine worsted wool.)

After the fabric selection, Shao took multiple measurements and we discussed the design options. Cropped or standard-length jacket? DB or single-breasted? Two or three buttons? Peak or notched lapels? Side, center or no vents? Slim trousers or full? Overwhelmed by so many choices, I decided to totally trust this gifted designer whose reputation preceded her. Her suggestions worried me at first: shawl collar fitted jacket with single button closure and center vent, very wide-leg trousers reminiscent of the bell-bottoms I wore in the 1970s. But I had far more faith in her fashion sensibility than in mine so, choices confirmed (including beautiful contrast lining, inside embroidered monogram and personal slogan), all I had to do was wait for the finished creation.

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The day of reckoning began with much stress. It was bitter cold in NYC, I stupidly changed my mind about taking a subway to Canal Street, the cab ride cost $35 and, exiting the taxi early to avoid more traffic, I somehow missed the studio. But when I finally found it, the day quickly evolved from stressful to joyful. My suit looked spectacular on the hanger and even better on me, fitting like no garment I’ve ever owned. Shao wanted to lengthen the jacket sleeves; I wanted to shorten the hem on the trousers, knowing I can no longer walk in super-high heels like the ones I borrowed from the studio for photographs. Alterations decided upon, I received the suit in the mail shortly after, just in time for International Women’s Day with its compelling #BreakTheBias theme. 

And so I am proudly wearing this fabulous new suit as often as possible these days, standing a bit taller, feeling a bit more empowered (the word Leap! is embroidered inside my suit jacket), believing that we are building a more just and gender-neutral world where all of our differences will be accepted, appreciated and celebrated. 

PS- A huge thank you to the wonderful team at Gladson, brilliant designer Shao Yang, exceptional photographer Rose Callahan and amazing make-up artist Michelle Coursey for making me look so good!


  1. Great looking plaid and matching
    Great looking lapels and styling
    Great looking Ladies !

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