The term ‘bespoke’ dates back to the 17th century, when tailors made clothes individually to fit the personal requirements and physical attributes of their clients and the attire was said to have “been spoken for”. The term, however, is now used rather loosely by clothing companies that are manufacturing ‘made-to-measure’ clothing and marketing them as ‘bespoke’. Given that bespoke and made-to-measure (MTM) are not the same, it is important to know the right questions to ask your bespoke tailor in order to ensure what you are being offered is actually ‘bespoke’, and if so, of what quality. Let’s begin.
1. What fabrics are on offer?
Though there is no standardization to the quantity of fabric that a bespoke or MTM tailor is supposed to offer, it is a norm to get fabrics from at-least 10 mills and even more, unlike MTMs that provide fabrics from a couple of mills only. The number of mills is an important consideration as it gives you an indication of the available selection in terms of quality and styling. Bespoke tailors use fabrics from some of the finest mills across the globe. These include Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegn, and Dormeuil, among others.
2. What trims are available?
Trims matter a lot, when it comes to getting an ideal bespoke. Here, we are talking about outer trims such as genuine horn buttons, top quality zippers, durable bemberg linings and inner trims such as chest and collar canvases, shoulder pads, collar felts, sleeve heads and more. There is little that you can do but research on trims, and trust your tailor to use the best quality inner trims. This is because you only get to about your bespoke trims after wearing the suit for a few months and dry cleaning it several times. One tip about genuine, good quality outer trims, is that you need to be aware of anything with a raised surface that can rub and peel over time.
3. How many fittings will I need?
An MTM suit usually requires two fittings. The first in the initial stages to take measurements and draft a design, followed by a final fitting once the suit has been made. There are no fitting sessions during the process of creation. There might be a third fitting session but that’s only when there are any alteration required to the final product. Creating a bespoke is altogether different. From skeleton baste fitting, forward fitting to fin bar fin fitting, bespoke suits require multiple fittings during the creation itself. Some tailors may even require more than 5 mid-fittings.
4. Is the jacket fully canvassed?
A bespoke suit should always be fully canvassed. If you want to understand the reason behind this, here is a bit of suiting history to shed the light. During the early years of suit making, suits were made with a horsehair canvas layer underneath the wool fabric shell. Its purpose was to hold the shape of the suit and prevent it from deforming or sagging. Over a period of time, the canvas would conform to the body of the wearer, giving a perfect fit. High quality canvas, however, is expensive, which is why MTM suits use a fusible interlining that is glued to their wool-shell. Though it is a good substitute in terms of holding the shape together, it is unnaturally stiff, which makes the suit appear lifeless when compared to a fully canvassed suit.
A Word of Advice
A bespoke suits, made with an objective of lasting you a lifetime, are among the most expensive items that you can have in your wardrobe. Therefore, it is recommended that you pay special attention to the basics before ordering. Research thoroughly and probe till the time all your doubts are clear. It is also very essential that you order a bespoke only when you are sure that you are in the best of shape and would not want to bring any noticeable difference to your body. Go for a trusted brand that has proven itself over the years, to ensure that you get value for the substantial sum that you are shelling out.
If you have any questions on bespoke suits or wish to learn more, please feel free to contact one of our representatives. We’ll be happy to hear from you!