A Guide to Bespoke Tailoring & Buying a Bespoke Suit

I wanted to start this year off with a bang so I thought what better way than to launch my blog with my first post on an area of style that I feel very passionate about, the bespoke suit – without doubt the epitome of gentlemen’s style. The art of bespoke tailoring is one that has evolved continuously over the years but still has the old fashioned value of being crafted by hand at the heart of it. To past generations having their clothes tailored would have been a part of everyday life; however in this modern day & age bespoke tailoring is a niche market and is considered an expensive investment. An experienced tailor’s aim will be to design you a suit to bolster your body attributes and extenuate your masculinity whist attempting to hide any physical weaknesses. A bespoke suit is designed to give you confidence through knowledge that you are wearing a suit that has been crafted specifically for you. If you are looking to invest in a bespoke suit but not sure where to start… be sure to follow this helpful guide on my top tips of what to consider when buying a bespoke suit.

#1 Choosing your tailor

When choosing a tailor you should look to find one that suits your style and you should become accustomed to the type of suits that they make. You should also take into consideration the trust and reputation of the establishment, do you know anyone who has purchased a suit from them before? Are they well respected in the tailoring community? Once you get a better understanding of these aspects you will feel more confident in pursuing a working relationship with a tailor.

#2 Talk to your tailor

The most important thing you can do going into a bespoke tailors is to communicate to them exactly what it is you are after from your bespoke suit and how you want it to look. An experienced tailor will keep all your details such as measurements and preferences on record to make any future orders an easier process, so it pays to get it right first time. By letting your tailor know why you are buying a bespoke suit, will help him or her determine the most suitable style for you. Whether it is for that big event you have planned or if it is just for work, letting your tailor know the reason for the suit will ensure they get the best style for you. But remember keep your expectations realistic, your new suit is going to make the best of you but not even a tailor is going to turn you into Ryan Gosling.

#3 Have a budget in mind

when it comes to investing in a bespoke suit it is best to have a budget in mind of what you are willing to spend. You will be spending more than you would on a suit off the rack, as you are paying for the luxury of a bespoke handmade suit. However the misconception is to focus on where it is made as opposed to how the suit is made and what the cut should be. Usually a price is agreed before any work on a suit gets underway, so it is wise to be savvy on what is involved in the manufacturing process. If you are familiar with the tailor, the number of fittings that are likely to be required and the hours of labour involved this will help give you an idea of how much the cost will be. It is also wise to have an idea of fabric costs and whether the suits are made on-site, as this is a key indicator of the authenticity of the establishment.

#4 know your fabrics

knowing your fabrics will stand you in good stead, as fabric selection is the most important factor when designing a new bespoke suit. Not only is the look and feel determined by the fabric but its durability. Everyman should be accustomed to the versatile lightweight wools that can be worn any time of year, along with the thicker wools and tweeds meant for suits of the colder months, and finally the lightweight fabrics of summer such as linens and cottons designed to keep you cool in the hotter months.

#5 The Classics are hard to beat for a reason

When starting out with your first bespoke suit, keep it simple and go with the classic colours such as navy or grey. Avoid trends and fads at all costs, they may look good in the moment but will eventually go out of fashion. Stick with the classics and you will never go out of style. The versatility of classic navy & grey colours will enable you to reuse them time and again for different occasions. Mix & match them to give yourself multiple fresh looks. Once you have the classics covered you can branch out into more daring styles & fabrics to show off more personality.

#6 Get familiar with your body type

Knowing your body type and what styles work for you and which ones don’t will be of massive benefit to you. Being able to communicate to your tailor what you feel comfortable in, is going to ensure that your bespoke suit compliments your physique to the highest level. It is also a good idea to ensure that your weight is at a stable level; otherwise you will end up spending a lot on getting your suit amended continuously just so that it fits you correctly. Another misconception is that having a suit that is too small can be classed as ‘slim’ – wrong. A bespoke suit shouldn’t be tight in any way and you should be able to move easily and freely. Getting a suit made to a slim fit but to your correct body size will enable you to wear the suit with the confidence it deserves and not be restricted in any shape or form.

#7 The Devil is in the detail – Button up and sort those Lapels

It’s easy to forget, but the smallest details can make or break a great bespoke suit. Going with a three-button jacket and you run the risk of looking dated, only a one-buttoned jacket and it can look a little on the cheap side. A two-button jacket gives the perfect balance and ensures you’re looking sharp. Lapels are another aspect that can significantly change the look and feel of your suit. If you’re looking for a more contemporary look then stick to notch lapels, however if you are looking for something more extravagant then look for a wider lapel for some added Mediterranean flair.

#8 Remove the chip from your shoulder – and replace it with a pad

If you want to ensure that your bespoke suit looks as demeaning and as powerful as possible go with padded shoulders. However if you are looking for something to see you through the spring and summer seasons, a soft shoulder pad is the ideal option offering comfort and a fuller range of movement through using reduced padding.

#9 Trouser break

Where to break your trouser line depends on your personal preference, but if you are looking for a more traditional look then you should go for a full-break, to achieve this ensure that the rear trouser hem is in line with the start of the sole of your shoe. However to be a little more experimental you can go for a little break or even no break at all.

#10 House Cut

Be informed on the ‘house cut’ of a tailor. All bespoke tailors will champion their own style when crafting their suits and their ‘house cut’ will be no different. Cutting styles will differ immensely from tailor to tailor depending on what inspires them. Don’t be shy of asking the tailor if you can try sample suits on to get a better understanding of the style and cut that they opt for, as this will help ensure that you get that perfect fit that you are looking for.

#11 Finally… Care for your suit

Unless it is absolutely necessary you want to avoid having your suit dry cleaned as this wares the fabrics down. Opting to get the suit pressed or steamed will help the life of the suit and keep it in a better condition for longer. Speak to your tailor for advice on how best to care for your bespoke suit.

And there we have it… I hope you found this guide to bespoke tailoring useful. If you have any suggestions or comments on your own experiences with bespoke tailors, I would love to hear them so feel free to leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Matthew Cooper,
Style Maketh The Man

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