Call us biased, but we believe that a 2-piece suit is an essential part of any man or woman’s wardrobe. However, we’re also aware that when it comes to choosing a suit, the choices between off the rack, made to measure and bespoke can leave you feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start.
To help, we’re going to take a closer look at each option to help you determine which style is right for you.
Off the rack
Off the rack refers to suits that are machine made, mass produced and typically sold in high street shops and department stores. Due to this, the suits tend to come in standardised sizes that are designed to fit the average height and build.
· Compared to their tailored counterparts, off the rack suits are generally the cheapest option (although this can vary depending on the label).
· There is also a quick turnaround time as suits can be tried, bought and brought home on the same day.
· Due to their standardised sizing, it’s likely that you’ll need to get your suit tailored to achieve the perfect fit.
· The quality may be poorer than a specially made suit meaning you’ll need to replace it more frequently.
At the high end of the scale, bespoke tailoring allows you to create a suit has been entirely built from scratch to cater to your exact measurements and aesthetic choices.
The process begins with an initial discussion to determine what type of suit you would like, the occasions you plan to wear it and your ideas on the style and cloth. The tailor will then take your measurements, carefully noting aspects of posture and body shape that are likely to be missed by an untrained eye. Your desired cloth is then cut using the patterns dictated by your measurements and over the course of several fittings, the suit is refined until you are happy with the final product.
· Undeniably the biggest benefit is the superior fit and subsequent comfort that a bespoke suit offers.
· Due to the careful tailoring that has gone into making it, your suit can be easily altered or repaired meaning that, if cared for properly, it can last for many years.
· Given that a bespoke suit is made with more natural materials and with longevity in mind, it is far more environmentally sustainable than anything mass produced.
· By being able to design the suit exactly as you like, you will have something that is completely unique to you that also ties in well with your other wardrobe essentials.
· While some people certainly enjoy the suit making process, with several fitting sessions required, it is the most time consuming of the three.
· Compared to an off the rack or made to measure suit, bespoke suits do tend to cost a lot more.
· Due to the creative freedom, choosing your perfect suit may be rather overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you want.
Made to Measure
Designed to act as the middle ground between off the rack and bespoke, made to measure suits are, as the name suggests, pre-designed suits that are tailored to fit your exact measurements.
The process involves visiting the store to choose your desired cloth and style and to have your measurements taken. These are then sent to a factory who will make and deliver your suit.
· The suit will fit better than off the rack as it’s designed and made to your specific measurements.
· Made to measure offers the aesthetic customisation of a bespoke suit with a lower price tag.
· Compared to a bespoke suit, made to measure suits only use simple measurements such as sleeve and leg length. Therefore, they can’t take a stooped posture or different shoulder heights into consideration.
· Although you’re paying more for the suit, the quality may be no better than an off the rail suit as they’re typically made in the same factory.
If you are looking to purchase a bespoke suit, you can set up an online appointment to discuss your options with a style specialist here.