So many people confuse the two (or don’t even realise there’s a difference).
Recently, a lot of people have asked me to explain it, I ONLY make bespoke clothing, that’s my specialist area but when could you look towards made to measure, and why?
My top 10 factors:
1. Cost – If you have a fair budget but don’t want to spend thousands, then made to measure could be an alternative over an ‘off the peg’ suit. Especially if you are not an average size and struggle to find clothing to fit from the high street. In my opinion though, to get something truly special and created just for you, stretch your purse a little further toward bespoke, you will reap the benefits.
2. Quality – A bespoke suit is fully hand stitched. The pattern is made for you and you alone, it’s totally individual. A made to measure version will only modify your measurements from an already existing, standard pattern. It won’t take into account any bodily nuances you may have to achieve real comfort and fit.
3. Shape – If you want a structured jacket which will retain its shape, give you a strong silhouette and enhance your body then go bespoke. If you fancy an unstructured, more casual style sport jacket with less characteristics of a classic bespoke garment (i.e no roped sleeveheads and curved chest etc) then I would advise made to measure or ready wear.
4. Expertise – With bespoke you get as much time as necessary to get your pattern and suit fitting right. Whilst tailors aren’t magicians, we will alter the garment as many times as required in the creation period to make sure we have done all we can to make it perfect for you. With made to measure there is only so much the tailor will do to the suit before it actually by default ends up going towards bespoke (and cost you extra). So there will be limited fittings and modifications available.
5. Options – There are fewer options with made to measure. Whatever the company has available is generally what you can select from, regarding cloth and trims. It then gets machined, usually in a factory. Go bespoke and you can pretty much have whatever you desire and your personal tailor will look after every element.
6. Creation – A bespoke jacket has a floating canvas, stitched by hand allowing it to move freely from the cloth so it will retain its shape even after a lot of wear. A made to measure version fuses certain areas and is primarily machine finished. This means after a while it could lose its shape if the fusing becomes unstuck. There are some companies that offer semi bespoke. My opinion – why only go half way, you might as well do all or nothing.
7. Time – In a rush to get your suit quick? Then bespoke may not be an option. Some companies offer made to measure within a week. It’s almost impossible to create a decent bespoke suit that fast, especially if it’s your first visit. 60 hours or more goes into the sewing alone, not including fittings. Perfection takes time.
8. Look – You should be able to identify the differences and characteristics of a bespoke suit to truly appreciate the craftsmanship. I can always spot one, but then I know what to look for. If you don’t understand, do a bit of research first.
9. Fit – A bit like a loft conversion, you can’t shove an ikea cabinet into a sloped recess and expect it to fit properly. There are so many nooks and crannies to account for. On the surface it may look passable but behind it’s a mess. A bespoke suit should compliment you like a second skin!
10. Feel – it’s the difference between sitting in first class or in economy. You decide which you prefer.
Ultimately – you get what you pay for. As with everything there can be horror stories, it will depend on ‘who’ you buy from and their level of expertise regarding the product you actually walk away with.