Bespoke suits say something about the man behind the material – the quality’s sublime, the sewing’s precise and perfectly finished, the trimmings are top-notch and the superb tailoring means your suit is the ideal fit.
Bespoke suits are made just for you, so the fit’s impeccable and every single detail of the suit can be personalised. Most clients enjoy the fact that their suit isn’t mass-produced in a factory, but is created exclusively for them by a private tailor.
Made-to-measure clothing can also hide a multitude of sins. A shopper interested in an off-the-rack suit might have to buy a larger jacket to accommodate a wide midsection; it could also be too long and have oversized shoulders and arms. But a bespoke suit often includes a few strategically positioned extra centimetres of fabric where needed, while keeping the rest of the measurements in proportion.
Posture also affects the way fabric hangs on the body. A good custom tailor will take diagonal body measurements to fit rounded shoulders or a slight slouch.
You never have to worry about major alterations, since every suit you order will be in your size. Usually future alterations are complimentary, should you lose or gain weight.
No matter the designer or the tailor, here’s what you can expect when getting a bespoke suit.
Step 1: The initial meeting
The first step in the process is to meet your tailor. If you don’t have ‘the average build’ (i.e. you are super-slender or very tall and bulky), this is your opportunity to tell him − or, her − what you struggle with when looking for a suit.
Step 2: Fabric swatch choice
This is a somewhat involved process, as everything counts. Most high-end tailors will use age-old methods of layering canvas inside the front of the jacket to create a perfectly hanging suit, though the silhouettes are usually trim and the fabric colours range from purples to midnight blue with chalk stripes.
Step 3: Extensive lining options
Although the lining is on the inside of the garment, it’s just as important as the actual fabric. The lining is always of superior-quality fabric and in an exciting colour. Picking your own lining today is like picking a tie.
Step 4: Fabric matching
The tailor − if he’s worth his salt − will usually drape the fabric you have chosen over your shoulder to match it to your complexion. This way, you get a realistic idea of how the colour complements your skin tone and eyes and is a far better method than merely choosing a fabric from minute swatches.
Step 5: Measurements
The tailor will take over 11 separate measurements of your body and these form the backbone of a well-fitting suit.
Step 6: Final sketch
The design process involves you and the designer equally, with you stating your requirements and the designer advising what’s feasible and offering creative input.
Step 7: The fitting
A bespoke suit takes a minimum of 35 hours to make. When it is completed, your tailor may ask you to come in for minor finishing touches.
This article first appeared in Destiny Man magazine. Click here to subscribe.