Most men don’t understand the difference between a made to measure suit and a bespoke suit these days. If you’re one of them, it really isn’t your fault. Some of the people making and selling suits have really blurred the line, perhaps in their own best interest.
A made to measure suit is one that follows a pattern, both in terms of the suit’s actual pattern and in how the garments are made. For example, if you choose a pattern that doesn’t work well in your size 44 measurement, it will be altered specifically for you.
Bespoke suits are made entirely from scratch, including the pattern. While bespoke suits can be of the highest quality, made to measure suits are not necessarily their cheaper, poorer step-brother.
Use this guide to help you learn how to get the best made to measure suits you can. Whether you’re looking for suits for work, or for a suit for a special event or nights on the town, made to measure is often an ideal option.
Find the Right Tailor
Made to measure suits don’t require all of the same skills that bespoke suits do. Your tailor won’t have to create a pattern for you and make sure it’s exactly right for your body type. They will have to take some careful measurements and have the ability to understand what you really want from a suit.
To find the right tailor, you need to look for somebody that’s familiar with the made to measure process. When you’re interviewing tailors, ask them if made to measure is something they do regularly. Most of the tailors who do this kind of work do it every day, and they’re likely finishing dozens of suits each month.
A tailor that does bespoke work might be able to do made to measure, but what you really want is somebody who focuses in that area. If they don’t work on made to measure suits regularly you need to keep shopping around.
What Materials Are Offered?
When you’re shopping for the best made to measure suits, finding the right tailor for you is important. There’s a little more to it than just finding somebody who can do the work and understands your style, whether that’s traditional or modern, however.
If you’re having a made to measure suit made you’ll need to pick from a group of materials that tailor already has on hand. Most made to measure tailors don’t work with quite as many mills as bespoke suit makers do, so you’ll need to look at some samples before you pick a tailor.
Does the tailor you’re considering working with offer the quality of materials you want? Do they have patterns that fit your style, or are they all too traditional or too modern for you?
Take a look at what’s available to you before you pick a tailor to work with on made to measure suits for your wardrobe.
Pick Your Pattern Wisely
If you’re looking to buy the best made to measure suits, you need to be smart about what patterns you choose. This is important because made to measure suits begin with previously established patterns that are then altered to fit your size.
Some patterns work particularly well in made to measure settings, like stripes and light checks. Bigger, bolder patterns like plaids, especially if they utilize multiple colors, can be a little more difficult to get exactly right.
Of course, solid colors are always an option when you’re buying a made to measure suit. If you don’t have a lot of quality suits in your wardrobe now, you can’t go wrong with charcoal, navy blue, midnight blue, high blue or black.
Ask About Customization
Bespoke suit makers will pretty much do anything you want when you’re having a suit made. Want a pocket for that cigar you love to smoke on Friday after work? How about fur lining from a mammal that went extinct in the early-1800s. They’ll probably do it for you – even if it’s a bad idea.
Made to measure suits, even the best made to measure suits, generally don’t come with that much customization. All made to measure tailors will offer you the choice of how many buttons you get on your jacket, what type of vents you get and how your pant pleats look. These are basic decisions, and if your tailor doesn’t offer them, you should run screaming in the other direction.
Some tailors will do things like work with you for specific linings or button stances. Others might even be willing to add an additional pocket. You probably won’t get too much else though.
That’s because there is a limit to how much customization some tailors are willing to do, especially if they’re trying to meet a specific price point. If you’re interested in a lot of custom features, make sure they’re things your tailor does on a regular basis or doesn’t feel any trepidation about doing.