So you’re ready to buy your next suit. One of the first decisions you’ll make is: will it be ready-to-wear (made-to-measure) or bespoke? Both have their advantages. Let’s take a look.
Ready-to-wear suits are pre-made in standard sizes and sold in stores. A bespoke suit, on the other hand, is made specifically for you and your measurements. But the differences are more precise than that.
Let’s consider pattern-making. Imagine you’re buying a size 42 jacket. A made-to-measure company will take the patterns and modify them if your measurements are outside the range of what the 42 jacket was built to.
A bespoke suit offers a new pattern for each wearer. There’s no modification or use of base patterns, as that could lead the tailor to miss some of the small nuances of your body. To achieve this, he needs more than just measurements. He’ll also look at the slope of the shoulder, the arch of your back and so on.
Then there’s fabric selection. With made-to-measure, a selection is curated from one or two mills. In reality, it’s a choice of mills, not a choice of fabrics. With bespoke, you get a choice of 10+ mills and a whole library of over 3000 fabrics.
With made-to-measure, you’ll get a list of options that are available. Typically, you’ll be able to specify number of buttons on the jacket, pocket style, vent options, pant pleats and cuffs. With bespoke, options are endless. You can customize 32 elements of a suit and 16 elements of a shirt.
Your store worker will have basic training in measurements, but you might not find them next time you go to the store. A bespoke master will have at least ten years’ experience. He’ll visit your city four times a year and you can communicate by email when he’s not around.
Of course, a made-to-measure suit will be available instantly, whereas you’ll need to be patient while your bespoke suit is lovingly handcrafted. But the really good news is that your bespoke suit will cost less than a made-to-measure.
In the end, the choice is yours: instant convenience or well-fitted luxury that will last for years.