Most men who wear suits regularly tend to buy suits right off the rack from a department store or menswear store – even guys who care about how they look. From there, they’ll get a tailor to make minor adjustments to a suit with a decent fit. At the very least, a guy will get his pants hemmed and finished.

The problem with off the rack suits is that you really don’t have any control over the fit, materials, details or construction quality. In fact, if you’re an average guy, you probably won’t really even be able to tell the difference between a good suit and something below average. Unfortunately, the price point isn’t always an indicator, especially if you’re comparing well-known or designer brands.

Buying a custom suit can put all of the power back into the hands of the buyer though, especially when you work with a master tailor. Keep reading to learn more about why you should choose a custom suit vs off the rack suits.

Better Fit

The way a suit fits plays a huge role in how the wearer looks. You could spend $10,000 on a suit made of the world’s rarest materials, and if it was cut wrong, or simply not cut for your body specifically, that suit is going to look more like it cost 100 bucks.

When comparing a custom suit vs. off the rack suits, the fit quality really will be night and day. In fact, for many men, getting an off the rack suit that looks really good on them may be incredibly challenging.

Why do custom suits offer such a superior fit? Because when you order a custom suit, your tailor will take a detailed series of measurements of your body, not just the bodies of guys who wear a similar jacket and waist size.

From there, your tailor can work with you to hide any imperfections and craft a suit that fits your style. For example, men always have one shoulder that’s lower than the other. When you choose a custom suit vs off the rack suits, your tailor will be able to create the perfect silhouette for you by compensating for that lower shoulder when building your jacket.

If you prefer a classic cut with a full body, your tailor can give that to you. Maybe you prefer a more modern slim fit all around. Whatever you desire in terms of fit, a custom suit can provide.

Best of all, your tailor will be able to work with you to tell you what looks good for your body type. Men may know what a suit looks like on a mannequin, but in the end, what looks best and most flattering on you isn’t always the same thing.

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The Material of Your Dreams

When you’re shopping for a suit in a department store, chances are you see a handful of materials that are very common. Wool blends are common year round. In the summer you’ll see more linen and in the winter you’ll see heavier wool suits designed for cold weather.

Buying a custom suit allows you to pick out any material that you want your suit to be made of. Options like tropical wool, which is ideal for spring, summer and fall wear, though hard to find in department stores, will suddenly become available to you.

Purchasing a custom suit is about more than just exotic or difficult to find materials though. It’s about filling out your wardrobe so you have something that’s appropriate for every season and whatever the weather throws at you.

The ability to buy a suit that’s ultra-durable is also important for many men. If you’re buying basics that you’re going to wear at least once a week, investing in a well-made suit only makes sense for you and your wallet.

Customize

One of the main differences between buying a custom suit vs. off the rack suits is your ability to customize them. When you buy off the rack, changing the pockets or lining is a cost-prohibitive task that just isn’t worth it in most cases. Some alterations can even damage the integrity of the suit while costing you a ton of cash.

When you purchase a custom suit, you have the ability to choose all of the custom features you want. From top-quality silk lining to paisley prints and neons, you can pick out almost anything you want.

Even button and pocket placement, as well as how many pockets and buttons you have, can be chosen before your suit is made. Perhaps you want an extra pocket to carry your phone or a spot for that favorite cigar? Maybe you’re tired of your business card case creating a silhouette in your jacket? Or maybe you just want a slanted pocket for a more casual, modern looking suit.

Whatever you’re looking for in terms of style and function, you can work with your tailor to get it. If you don’t have any specific preferences, your tailor can also make suggestions and help guide you toward a perfect suit based on how and when you’ll wear it.

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Overall Quality

Comparing a custom suit vs. off the rack suits in terms of quality can seem difficult to do. However, when you realize that most off the rack suits are machine made, and certainly not made to fit your body, the quality of custom becomes a lot more apparent.

Purchasing a custom suit also means that you’ll get certain things from the overall build. For example, a custom suit allows for a fully canvassed style. That means that the suit will have a layer of material between what touches your skin and what others see.

This layer is typically made of animal hair like wool and makes the suit drape better on your body. When buy off the rack, the most common method of construction is simply gluing the two layers together or using a half-canvassed construction.

If you want the best look and a suit that lasts, fully canvassed is the best option.

Cost

Cost is a sticking point for a lot of guys shopping for suits. The fact is when you’re comparing a custom suits vs. off the rack suits, you probably will end up paying more for custom. However, we all know that the initial price tag isn’t always the indicator of the value an item has.

When you buy off the rack, you’ll likely need to do some serious tailoring to get a fit that’s flattering for you. Custom suits include that tailoring in the price since the suit will be built specifically for you from the start.

Buying a custom suit also ensures that you’ll be getting a skilled tailor’s attention, and that’s going to result in a well-made suit. Even if you pay more today, a suit that lasts you 20 years is certainly worth more than one that will hardly survive a few years of regular wear.

Change your thinking about buying a custom suit vs. off the rack suits and you’ll see that in the long run, custom is often a better value for the man who cares about having a quality wardrobe for years to come.

men's fashion advice

Ralph Lauretta

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.

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