Cahill & Swain: Triad Men’s Fine Clothiers Spotlight

In August, we announced that we planned on starting a series dedicated to Triad area Fine Men’s Clothiers.  The first clothier we’d like to spotlight is Cahill & Swain, a Winston-Salem tradition for 70 years.  Started in a downtown location in 1949 by Frank Cahill and Bill Swain, this clothier has been providing quality clothing, tailoring, and service to coaches, athletes, pilots, and folks near and far for 70 years! Today, Cahill & Swain operates two men’s clothing shops in Winston-Salem.

Brian Harrell, Shores General Manager, got me in touch with Daniel Motsinger, Cahill & Swain’s Vice President, Part Owner, and Manager of the Northside Plaza location, and I have to say, it was a fun and fascinating conversation.  Let me share with you what I learned.

Most men look at suit shopping as a chore, but with Cahill & Swain it’s not a hassle.  It’s actually a pleasant experience, and here’s why:

  • They’ve done it for so long that they know their customer base and what they like
  • They have a wide selection of suits, shirts, dress shoes, and even hats to choose from, in all price ranges, and if they don’t have it, they can get it for you
  • They stay current with fashion trends but can still satisfy the traditionalist

Buying a Men’s Suit

Let’s break down men’s suit shopping into two considerations:

Quality.  There are two parts to quality.  First, there’s the fabric; each grade of wool, whether it’s 100, 110, 120, and so on has a different finish.  That’s because the number references the fineness of the fibers that were spun into the yarn which is then woven into the fabric and ultimately made into a suit.  In general, the higher the number, the thinner the fiber which translates into a smoother and more silky feeling fabric.  Second is workmanship; if top-of-the-line fabric is poorly constructed into a suit jacket, you’re going to feel it.  Look for things like quality lining, fully hand stitched, and fully canvassed, but that’s where the service part comes in at Cahill & Swain.  They only stock quality-made garments.

Service.  Cahill & Swain knows their products and their customer base.  The majority of their staff has been there 25+ years, all their sales representatives are qualified to properly measure and mark suits, and their tailors are masters with over 25 years of experience.  Here’s how a typical experience goes when a client comes in to purchase a suit:

  • If they aren’t already an existing client, they get to know the individual, learn their likes and dislikes, and ascertain the purpose for the garment.
  • Because sizes vary from designer to designer, proper measurements are taken, and the client starts trying on suit coats.
  • The process of elimination begins based on needs – fit, price range, quality, purpose.
  • The sales representative guides the client toward the suit that looks best on them.
  • After a choice is made, the custom tailoring process begins.

Caring for a High Quality Suit

Once you purchase your suit, that’s where Shores comes in.  We are here to help you keep your exquisite suit looking like you just brought it home from Cahill & Swain.  To learn more about caring for your suit, check out this blog post, or stop by one of our three convenient locations.  We want to help you look your best, with fine dry cleaning, Platinum shirt laundry, and alteration services for your suit.