A suit says a lot about the man who wears it. A well-fitted suit projects strength, confidence and a sense of good taste. This is why a lot of men go with a custom fitted option, rather than an off-the-rack suit. Every man has a different body type, so the off-the-rack option just won’t cut it for your wedding day!
The question is, what should you be looking for in a custom made suit? There are a lot of factors at play, and you should check your tailor is addressing all of these in order to achieve the look you want from your suit.
There are four different types of suits to buy, which increase in price as you ask your tailor to do more.
Option 1: Off-the-rack
With an off-the-rack (also known as off-the-shelf) suit, you’ll walk into a store, find a suit, and walk out. It is possible to find nice-fitting suits, but rarely you can find a perfect fit. It’s the cheapest option, though your suit will vary in price depending on quality and brand. While this option may seem the cheapest in the short term, to have a suit altered to fit you well can mean spending an extra $150-$200 on alterations which may make your new purchase more expensive that you think.
Option 2: Made-to-measure
Made-to-measure is the cheapest of the custom options. This involves taking your body measurements and the tailor will then alter a standard pattern to fit your body. There will typically be a couple of different designs you can choose from, but that will be the limit of your ability to customise your suit.
Option 3: Custom
Custom suiting is when the customer starts to have a bit more say about the design of their suit, as well as the fit. After measurements have been taken, the tailor will cut an individual pattern from scratch which will be used to create the suit. Custom suiting will give you an option to make changes that will flatter your body such as button positions, inclusion of coloured stitching, as well as many other details. As a result, the customer will end up with something truly unique. These suits will often be made using offshore tailors, with final alterations made in-house.
Option 4: Bespoke
Bespoke is the “all-in” option, where a single tailor will do all the work by hand. Customers will come in for regular fittings, and the tailor will spend between two and three months finalising the suit design. It’s not often Australian tailors will do this, and they tend to be expensive. But for gents wanting to be able to work closely with their tailor, this is the best option.
What is the suit for?
When having a custom suit made, the first thing to consider is what you need your suit for. Different suits have various purposes, so you need to choose one which meets your needs. If you’re working in a legal firm, for example, you’re probably going to want something more traditional – perhaps a two-piece suit, cut with a formal but light material to wear through the long Australian summers. If it is your wedding or similar formal occasion, you might want a tuxedo, depending on the dress code.
If you’re working in the creative industries, you might want to choose non-traditional colours or patterns or try a bold design like a double breasted jacket or a three piece suit with contrasting vest. Whatever its purpose, choose a suit which reflects the occasion and your personal style.
The next key consideration is the material, because there are quite a few different options out there, and not all materials are created equal!
The composition of the fabric is important. 100% wool is ideal as it’s wrinkle resistant and highly breathable. Wool blended with polyester is also wrinkle resistant and wears well, but is not as breathable as pure wool. Cotton or linen is great for our Australian climate, but can be more prone to wrinkling, however it will keep you cool in the hot summer.
As well as the composition, the thread count is also something to take into account when deciding on the fabrics. For suiting, this is known as a super number and refers to the fineness of the fabric.
A good suit starts at a Super 100. These are still fine materials but will withstand frequent wear needed for a business suit. We recommend staying between a Super 100’s / Super 120’s for everyday suits.
Super 130’s suits are great for special occasions or suits for less frequent wear. They drape beautifully and keep you cool, but are still strong enough to stand fairly frequent wear.
Suits that are higher than a Super 130’s, are made from fine wool fabrics and can often be blended with other high-end fabrics such as silk or cashmere. They should only be worn for special occasions such as weddings or black tie events. They drape well and look stunning, however, will wear out much quicker than their lower grade counterparts so are only recommended for infrequent use.
As you can see, finding the right suit is not as simple as you might think. A lot goes into finding a well-fitted suit, and there are many contributing factors to finding that perfect fit. A custom made suit allows you to create a suit that actually fits your body, and gives you more freedom in choosing its design and look.
Images via InStitchu
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Thank you for your wonderful and straightforward advice; so now there’s no excuse for an ill-fitting wedding day suit!
About InStitchu: We believe that every man should be able to afford high quality tailored suits and shirts. Our customers order by designing their own tailored suit or shirt from scratch or can use an existing design from our collections page. With a guaranteed fit policy, we have strict quality control procedures to ensure our tailored suits and shirts meet the highest quality standards expected by our customers.