Let’s face it, suits are expensive. Men are expected to wear them to work, and those that aren’t are still expected to wear them to weddings, funerals, formal events, and dinners.
A properly fitted suit is designed to make a gentleman stand out, portray both a sense style and professionalism, and give off a wow factor.
So what does a poorly fitted suit?? Exactly the opposite. The solution, a bespoke suit. What about the price tag you ask? What if I told you, you can get an affordable suit that’s customized to your size?? Seems like a fantasy? Don’t bet on that.
What’s Off the Rack?
So let’s look at why that is exactly.
There you are, browsing through endless collections of suits in the store, huffing an puffing as you probably hate shopping.
You go in and begin trying on the suits. Some of suits fit poorly, others fit ok, and a tiny portion may look reasonable, but rarely do they fit great.
Even when you look at the price, it doesn’t even seem worth spending it but you do anyways because let’s be real, what choice do you really have??
For most men, an off the rack suit can’t fit well. You know why??
Because manufacturers create suits based on cookie-cutter measurement profiles. Here you can see what your measurements should be for various suit sizes.
We may have always thought that was only a woman problem, but I assure you men fall into it too.
Manufacturers are making a lot of assumptions here, often incorrect.
A suit size is most closely linked to the person’s chest size. Stomach, shoulder and length of the sleeves or arms are estimated in correlation with the chest measurement.
What does that mean?? Think about for a second…
There’s a fair bit of variation depending on the person. One’s measurements can rarely be accurately predicted solely based on their chest size! But that’s what off the rack suits are. You see my point?
That’s why they tend to fit a small portion of men very well, while the rest…well they pretty much lucked out and have to settle for a horrible or mediocre fit.
Solution – Customize Your Suits
The obvious solution is custom suits.
But that seemingly easy solution brings on another problem….or at least one you may think it is…
Sure custom suits are considerably more expensive than off the rack suits, but I didn’t write this post to tell you to turn away and deal with the unreachable solution yourself. Clearly, I’ve got your back on this.
Let’s revisit the custom aspect. There are two types of custom tailoring:
- Made-to-measure (MTM)
They’re suits created with the help of a collection of appropriately pre-made patterns.
Once the made to measure suit company has your measurements, the tailor takes one of the pre-made patterns and modifies it based on your body measurements.
Sharpsense, an MTM company, has a really great approach when it comes to customizing suits for their customers:
- They use an extensive measurement profile which comprises 24 separate data points regarding customer measurements (compared to other companies who use 10-15 to save time).
- They run all measurements through a predictive algorithm to see if any measurements could be off.
- When customers submits their photos, they are run through proprietary body scanning software to further ensure accuracy.
Basically, a VERY conservative approach is taken when it comes to customer measurements so that there’s practically no risk off the garment not fitting properly
This process gets you a fit that is near perfect. It’s a great option if you have an odd body type that doesn’t fit the traditional off the rack sizes.
The price tag though of a MTM suit purchased at a physical retail store is usually 2-3 times the price of an off the rack suit made with similar quality fabric!
Not very reassuring. It gets better though….
Thanks to online shopping, it’s become increasingly common to purchase custom suits online for the same price as an off the rack one in store, with the same quality fabric, and in some cases, even cheaper! You’ll get your suit within 3 weeks or so.
How is that possible, you ask??
Online MTM companies don’t have inventory or expensive rolls of fabric on hand, saving heavily on cost, which is then passed onto customers. Sweet!
Generally, online MTM suits range between $300-$1000 USD with $600 USD being the average.
Bespoke custom suits involve creating an entirely new custom pattern for each individual person.
You’ll be doing 3-5 fittings and takes roughly 6-8 weeks to produce. This is due in part to the labour involved, which in turn, substantially increases the cost.
There’s no doubt, a bespoke suit, properly manufactured by a very skilled tailored will give you a perfect fit and it’ll likely last a lifetime if made from the right materials (given your body measurements don’t change).
True bespoke suits start at $2000 USD minimum, $3000 USD being the average.
Be careful though, don’t fall into the terminology trap. Companies will often misappropriate MTM for bespoke:
- Either they are inadvertently using the term under the impression that all custom suits are bespoke, or
- They are purposefully misleading people to believe they are offering bespoke at unreal prices, and essentially what they are selling are MTM suits.
How can you know for sure? Check out their reviews, FAQs, about page, or even contact them to ask what their process is.
While the latter that may not always render an honest answer, you can always rely on reputable online retailers to be sure.
What to Wear When
If you’re wondering what type of suit to wear when, I’ve made it real simple for you to pinpoint what you need for which occasion. Follow this infograph and give it a pin if you really like it.
The Gist of it
MTM is a good solution for many people. It offers a good balance between the expensive bespoke option and the off the rack option.
Tread cautiously though as some MTM companies have proven to be more reliable than others when it comes to getting a great fit. Be sure to do your research before buying into it.
Written by: Paul Sibenik
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This is Grace
Grace from Color & Grace. Based in Troy, Michigan, Grace is a 42 year-old petite woman who loves colours. Born and raised in China, she moved to America for love in 2007. Her day job – teacher. Her dream job – fashion blogger. Make sure to go and check out her blog and leave her a comment on her awesome outfit.
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