men's tailored suitsEvery man, even if he doesn’t wear one each day for work, needs at least one or two great suits in the closet. Whether you only wear yours to weddings and special events or you wear them out for dinner with friends each night, a suit that fits properly and looks stylish is an essential part of any wardrobe.

When it comes to buying suits, most men are relatively happy with suits they get off the rack and have finished by a skilled tailor. Men’s tailored suits can look pretty good, especially if your measurements make it so off the rack suits fit you pretty well before any of the alterations are done.

However, there are more options when you’re buying a suit than simply going to a department store or big menswear store to purchase something from a known brand right off the rack. The best option for many men is to have a custom suit made specifically for them.

Both ways of buying a suit can work, and they both have their pros and cons. Use this guide to help you choose between men’s tailored suits and custom suits.

Tailored Patterns

When you’re trying to decide between men’s tailored suits and custom suits, the first thing you need to consider is the styling. Do you want something very basic, like a simple navy blue, black or charcoal suit? Maybe you’re looking for a common pattern like a charcoal suit with a white stripe.

If you’re looking for something relatively basic, chances are you can find it off the rack in a matter of moments in most department stores or menswear stores. Even if you can’t find it off the rack right away, a particular suit can likely be ordered for you in a readymade style.

men's tailored suits

Custom Patterns

Choosing a custom suit means that you’ll be looking through a variety of samples for different materials that fit your needs. While this can be a real benefit for many men who want something incredibly unique or high quality, a guy that just wants a basic suit might find the process a little irritating.

When it comes to basic suits, especially if you aren’t going to be wearing yours all the time, men’s tailored suits are often an ideal choice.

Tailored Fit

The fit of a suit is perhaps the most important thing when you’re shopping. While a lot of men can easily buy off the rack and have men’s tailored suits that look wonderful, you’re never going to get quite the same fit as a custom suit.

That’s because custom suits start with a measurement and are built exclusively for your body type and particular needs. They’re not just for guys that fit a similar mold – they’re only for you and your body, which believe it or not is unique.

Custom Fit

If you’re looking for the ultimate fit and a suit that really looks amazing on your frame, there’s no doubt about whether custom suits are best or not. Off the rack men’s tailored suits can look good, but the perfect fit is definitely a pro when it comes to custom suit.

It’s also important to note that men who don’t fit a mold very well – the particularly large, tall, short, wide or slim – may not do too well with off the rack men’s tailored suits. Even if they can be cut to fit, they probably won’t ever have even the same fit as an off the rack suit on a man with a more “typical” body.

men's tailored suits

Tailored Styling

Off the rack men’s tailored suits with a designer label are generally going to be fashionable and trendy, so you shouldn’t worry about the styling too much. You can have a well-made suit off the rack, and as long as it fits right you’ll probably be in good shape.

However, when you choose to buy a custom suit you’ll be able to pick all of the details in terms of styling. Do you prefer a wider lapel than is currently popular right now? Do you like your pants a little more relaxed than the super-slim cuts that most designers are working with these days?

Custom Styling

When you choose a custom suit you’ll be able to have pretty much any style that you want. You can also have a stylish and trendy suit made for you if you have a tailor that knows what is currently fashionable and knows how to create that style.

You can absolutely get a stylish suit off the rack, but men’s tailored suits don’t have the range of custom work, which can be pretty much anything you can imagine or explain to your tailor. Simply put, you’re probably going to be getting a suit that looks very similar to most of the others on the rack in style because that’s what’s selling right now.

In terms of styling options, a custom suit is generally going to be the better choice.

Tailored Suit Attention to Detail

Men’s tailored suits are almost exclusively made by machines. While you can get one made by hand from a menswear store, the fact of the matter is that most designers simply don’t pay that much attention to each garment that their label is stitched into.

Custom Suit Attention to Detail

Custom suits, on the other hand, are going to be built almost exclusively by hand by a skilled tailor that knows your exact measurements and desires. Because the work is going to be done mostly by one or two people who rely on word of mouth and happy customers, you’ll see much greater attention to detail.

You can get a good quality suit off the rack, and some very high profile designers like Hugo Boss, Brioni and John Varvatos make great men’s tailored suits. Still, the attention to detail on your particular garment is going to be just a little bit higher when you have a custom suit made by an experienced and trustworthy tailor.

men's tailored suits

Tailored Suit Cost

Men’s tailored suits can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 or more. While most men won’t want the very cheap suits you can get for a couple hundred dollars, many men also won’t want to pay for the most expensive brands.

That’s why high-quality suits for men tend to fall in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. These fine garments are made to last and look wonderful, even if they do come off the rack.

For men who don’t wear a suit on a regular basis or who simply don’t have a lot of money to spend, buying off the rack is often an ideal choice.

Custom Suit Cost

In general, custom suits tend to cost more than men’s tailored suits. You’re paying for high-quality materials and the time to build a suit.

However, you do get lots of choices, and a custom suit doesn’t have to cost you as much as a new car. Your tailor will be able to work with you to find materials that match your budget, assuming you have something to spend.

Typically, custom suits start around $1,500 per finished suit and can go above $5,000 per finished suit.


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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