Nelson Sanders’ Dandy Offers Custom Suits with a Detroit Flair

Photo by J. Milhouse

Think it an indulgence if you must, but there’s real power in fashion. A well-cut suit on a man has the ability to not only change the way that man thinks about himself but to affect the way everyone else sees him. Nelson Sanders’ line of custom-tailored suits and menswear, Dandy, harnesses that energy without losing any of that signature Detroit flavor.

With a setup inside Détroit is the New Black, Dandy offers a service that’s somewhere between made-to-measure – a pre-existing suit is altered to fit the wearer – and bespoke, which is when the suit is handcrafted from scratch without pre-existing patterns and typically by master artisans. Think the equivalent of a haute couture gown.

Sanders doesn’t consider what he does to be true bespoke, but still, he says customers can expect their own unique pattern cut from scratch and quality fabrics from mills in Italy and England. The process, start-to-finish, takes six to eight weeks, and it starts with a conversation. Sanders says he likes to know whether his guy is looking to fill a gap in his wardrobe, start from fresh and build, or maybe he’s planning for a special occasion.

“If they already have their foundation suits and they’re trying to get a little funky, that’s where I usually can have the most fun,” he says. “One thing I try to do a lot of is educating when I’m going through the process, because a lot of guys appreciate that. I’m explaining why I make certain changes and how they affect the overall fit (and) look.”

Sanders walks the walk, too. It’s unusual to catch him outside of a tailored suit. “A lot of the inspiration comes from my pops – old-school Detroit guy. I mean every day … if he was going to the grocery store, you know, collar shirt, sweater, hard-bottom shoes.” He’s hoping to capture the zeitgeist of Pop’s day and make it right now. He says, “We can have that Detroit sauce on it, but let’s clean it up.”


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