The term bespoke is slowly losing its sheen, as many made-to-measure (MTM) suit companies wrongly use the term to glorify their products. While MTMs enjoy some form of standardization in the patterning and manufacturing processes, bespokes are made entirely from scratch based on customer’s specifications. For those who own or create “true bespoke”, this practice is rather frustrating. The intent of this post, however, is not to focus on the practices of unscrupulous MTM companies are following. Rather, to help you differentiate between a bespoke and an MTM suit.
Here is a list of distinguishing factors to guide you to buy a bespoke suit and not get duped by MTM suits being passed-off as bespokes.
Number of Measurements
The number of measurements that go into a bespoke are much higher, compared to made-to-measure suits. Typically, the number of measurements for a bespoke suit is 36. This is to ensure each aspect of the suit is taken into consideration in a meticulous fashion. For example, unlike MTM suits that have same tension and stitch throughout the garment, the fitting in bespoke suits can be adjusted where the body requires maximum movement space.
When it comes to bespoke suits, the pattern varies from individual to individual, as each time a new pattern is created to meet the specific needs of the client – for a bespoke suit, the need goes beyond the measurements. For example, a bespoke tailor takes into account the slope of the shoulder, the arch of the back and many other such considerations. This, however, is not the case with made-to-measure suits where the patterns are based on standard sizes and later modified to suit individual requirements.
Creating a true bespoke suit requires multiple fitting sessions. Leading bespoke tailors require 5+ mid fitting sessions to ensure that not even the smallest nuances of the wearer’s body are missed. Some of the common fitting sessions that bespoke tailors may call their customers for are; skeleton baste fitting, forward fitting and fin bar fin fitting. The difference in MTM suits is that usually there are no fitting sessions during the creation process. The only fittings are the initial fitting session at the time of taking measurements and a final session, after the suit is ready.
What comes into consideration here, is the number of mills and not the fabrics. Most bespoke tailors give you the option to select from 10+ mills and it is more appropriate to use the term “library” instead of fabric selection, as the number of options available is huge. With made to measure suits, the number is substantially reduced as a curated selection usually offers 1-2 mills only. That’s one of the reasons why investing in MTM suits ceases to make sense after you have a added few of them in your wardrobe.
Hand/Machine Cut and Sewn
For an MTM suit, the salesperson at the shop is usually trained and knows how to take your measurements and pass them on to the master tailor or lead cutter. The suit is then machine cut and sewn. However, at the time of ordering a bespoke suit you will meet the tailor making your suit directly. This is because bespoke tailors firmly believe that for them to meet the specific needs and varying shapes of the wearer, it is essential for them to personally take the measurements, cut the garment and do the needlework.
A Piece of Advice
Typically, a bespoke is much more expensive than a made-to-measure. However, this is not the best way of differentiating a bespoke from an MTM. Therefore, you must be able to differentiate between bespoke and MTM suits. Probe the bespoke manufacturer based on the differentiators mentioned in this blog rather than assuming a suit to be bespoke, simply because it’s expensive. To learn more about the finer differences between a bespoke and an MTM, feel free to speak with one of our representatives.