If you need a suit for work or want to look great at Black-tie events, consider going custom. You can choose from a wide range of fabric materials and suit styles.
Indochino offers an approachable process and affordable prices. You get the same quality as a heritage tailor, but with a shorter turnaround time.
There are many options out there for men’s suits – from off the rack, to made-to-measure and even bespoke. If you’re willing to spend a bit more than an online MTM brand like Indochino, Black Lapel or Oliver Wicks – and you’re comfortable with a longer time frame (it could take months for full bespoke) then consider going custom.
The first step in the process is the basted fitting – where they stitch your suit together with temporary thread so they can make changes during that initial stage. A few common adjustments include taking in or letting out seams.
Other factors can be deciding what type of vent you want – center, side or no vent – and if you’d prefer a fused or sewn interlining. A fully canvassed suit has a layer of canvas fabric that is hand-sewn between the outer wool fabric and inner lining, but a fused or half-canvass suit only has glued or sewn interlinings.
The fabric is a vital part of your suit and there are many options to choose from. You can choose a variety of finishes such as silk satin, velvet shimmer and cotton twill stretch. You can also personalize your suit with pick stitching (slightly visible stitching that runs along lapels) and monograms.
Bespoke suits are made from scratch using your precise measurements and body shape. They are usually fully canvassed but you can also have a fused construction with a glued interlining.
Most modern “custom” suits are based on standard off-the-rack patterns and then adjusted to fit your measurements. The problem is that a pattern/block does not take into account posture and body asymmetry. The resulting suits are often stiff and uncomfortable to wear. They may also look a little off. A custom suit can help avoid these problems.
If you can’t find anything off the rack that fits, and you’re willing and able to spend a lot of money on a suit that you’ll wear for years, then custom is definitely worth considering. Whether it’s made to measure or fully bespoke, you’ll get a fit that you can’t match with a regular off the rack suit.
Most suits come with a pattern or block that the tailor works off of. They’ll use this as a guide, making adjustments for your particular body type, posture and other factors.
You can add details like button stitching, pick stitching (small and unobtrusive stitches that follow the edges of lapels, etc), and a monogram to make your suit truly unique. Some stores even offer a wide variety of lining colors, patterns and materials. You can also choose if you want your suit to be half or fully canvassed and between glued and sewn interlinings. Most modern suits are double-vented, which gives them a more draped look than older, cheaper suits.
Some larger department stores offer a made-to-measure or custom suit service at reasonable prices. However, these suits are usually made of non-branded microfibre or microfibre-wool blends from Asia and have a fused jacket construction. They also often use non-functioning sleeve buttons, which makes it difficult to shorten the sleeves.
The price of a custom suit can vary greatly depending on the fabric used, the level of detail and craftsmanship involved and the quality of customer service. The more expensive fabrics are those created by prestigious European mills with long histories and can triple or quadruple the price of your suit.
To keep the cost of your custom suit down, consider a package deal that allows you to select fabrics and design details that fit within your budget. Many tailors will provide a savings chart that can help you find the best option for your needs. Also, make sure to factor in the cost of any alterations you might need.