It’s a question people ask us all the time.
Usually they come into the studio, and the conversation goes something along the lines of: “Chris, how much should a bespoke, handmade suit cost?”
My reply: “Well, that really depends on what you need, and where you go. How long is a piece of string?”
It’s not the response anyone really wants to hear. But I do get some brownie points by telling them that our suits start at just £749.
“£749? How is that even possible?”
Well, let me break it down for you.
As a professional tailor with over 15 years’ experience, I’m going to explain some of the main factors involved when pricing up something as unique as a bespoke, handmade suit – and also, some things to watch out for.
How much should a bespoke, handmade suit cost?
Or, perhaps more to the point, how much should you pay for one?
Like I said above, it depends on what you want, and where you go. Every tailor will have a slightly different way of working, but we’re able to offer bespoke, handmade suits at the cost we do due to keeping things fairly tight (more about that below).
So, the pricing model of your typical bespoke, handmade suit… isn’t really that typical. And we can’t speak for other tailors, HOWEVER, what we can do is lift the veil on some of our own pricing (bearing in mind we do things a little differently).
For example, let’s look at a classic two-piece suit. The starting price for our bespoke two-piece suit is just £749, and below is a description of what you’ll get for that price.
Psst! However, bear in mind there are 40 cloth options to choose from, all 100% wool, and in a selection of colours, patterns and textures. This range does sell through quickly, and we try our best to keep resupplying, but from time to time, your favourite might be out of stock.
And remember, this is only the starting point of our suits. We work with the most established cloth mills and merchants in the world. Brands such as Abraham Moons, Holland & Sherry, Bateman Ogden, Dugdale Brothers, Loro Piana and Scabal to name a few. Many of our customers choose cloth from these collections in order to achieve their perfect look.
NOTE: If you have your heart set on a fabric we don’t currently have in our stock, we can source it for you. Most tailors (not all) will be happy to do this, even if they don’t advertise the fact.
How can we make a bespoke suit from just £749?
You may have read the above and are now wondering exactly how we manage to produce truly bespoke, handmade suits starting at the price we do (and no, we don’t resort to sweatshops, or cheap child labour!).
Our process itself is as traditional as you’d expect from bespoke tailoring, so… how do we do it?
Unfortunately, like the rest of this blog, it’s not a straightforward answer. The devil is really in the detail; details like economies of scale, responsible sourcing, sensible shipping policies – and keeping our cloth close at hand.
Due to the fact that our own cloth is already sourced, belongs to our business and is housed within our centre, we don’t have to pay the industry standard ‘cut length’ price for cloth.
Neither do we have to go to the expense of shipping cloth out to our team, as it’s all available just a few yards away.
We also have a very smart ordering system, meaning the hours of production work – and the level of detail – required to make your garments is taken into account and priced accordingly.
We will always make a lot less on your first order as we have the additional expense of alterations to your pattern, and any remakes required, to ensure it’s perfect and that you’re happy.
In essence, the price charged per suit is in accordance with; 1) The cloth and lining chosen (and the cost thereof) and 2) the level of work required in order to create your garments.
Hope that helps!
Bespoke vs made-to-measure
Be wary of bespoke vs made-to-measure (and I do have a reason, which you’ll find out in a minute). Made-to-measure clothes are an entirely different animal from bespoke, and are cut from a block pattern that already exists.
The block pattern is then “finessed” to fit the client’s shape. You’ll still be measured in areas like the shoulders, sleeves, and jacket lengths, but everything else is cut from that block pattern, that once it arrives, can be tailored to fit.
Bespoke, on the other hand, means starting with nothing. Everything about the pattern is made to your exact specifications; your dimensions, your body shape, chest shape, back shape etc. ensuring the fit is far more accurate.
TIP: You can learn more about bespoke vs made-to-measure vs off-the-rack suits via our blog post on the subject!
It’s also usually a higher level of service, and therefore costs more. Which is why, when a client came to me who had been charged bespoke money for a made-to-measure garment – from a reputable Edinburgh company, I might add – I was disappointed.
The client had instructed a local tailor to make him a bespoke velvet jacket. When it arrived, it was massive, and he’d been back a total of nine times to have it fitted properly – despite this, the fit was still off. It didn’t take me long to work out this was not a bespoke jacket.
I then explained to the client exactly how we work at Edinburgh Tailoring Company, and even offered to make him a mock fit garment out of calico first, to show him exactly how it would fit before any cloth was cut.
We were soon able to restore his faith in the process, and since then, that client has become one of our best customers.
Advice from an experienced tailor
If you’re shopping around for a bespoke, handmade suit, the best advice I can give you is to do your homework (which is probably why you’re here). If you can, try and arrange 2 – 3 consultations, and find out about how they work, as well as prices.
Any reputable tailor should be happy to sit down with you, listen to your goals, and answer any questions you may have to make you feel at ease. Ask them if they have a measurement guarantee.
Another important thing? Ask them where the suit is made, and see if you get a straight answer. Beware of phrases like ‘made by our UK-based tailoring partner’. Oh, and of course, ask them directly if the process is bespoke or made-to-measure.
If you’re on a budget, let your chosen tailor know. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help. If it’s something we can do, we’ll help you get there. If not, we’ll let you know how far away from it you are and you can make the final decision.
Our service is designed to give you freedom of choice. With over 10,000 cloth options and 700 linings in stock, there are over 40 billion possible style combinations, which equates a lot of different price points.
Please Note: We can offer cloth from UK and European mills and merchants, but these will have to be quoted at the time of asking.
To sum it up…
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read.
You may have come here looking to find out how much you should pay for a bespoke suit, and got a lot more than you bargained for! One thing we can say for certain is that, at ETC, a bespoke suit will cost you no more than it really should.
But it really is quite a complex question, and there are many factors to consider when finding the perfect suit for you – including choosing a tailor who’s going to give you an amazing experience at the end of the day!
Want to find out how much a bespoke, handmade suit costs – or, more importantly, will cost you – from Edinburgh Tailoring Company?
Get in touch with us today – we’re always happy to have a no-strings chat.