For many men, finding a great suit means going to a storefront and browsing through dozens of outfits, then going through countless rounds of trying on various versions of trousers, shirts, and blazers. But for those who are interested in an experience that’s entirely customized every step of the way, then it’s time to visit a bespoke tailor and commision a custom suit.
A bespoke tailored suit fits your personality. It has the power to give you a sense of confidence and style, which won’t be the same with a ready-made suit. However, designing the perfect custom suit can be intimidating, especially if it's your first time. To reach your target outfit, it’s wise to do some research and prepare yourself before diving in.
5 questions to ask when buying a custom suit
To help you with your custom suit selections, we’ve compiled a list of questions that you should ask yourself and your tailor. With answers to these common questions, you can commission your next custom suit with confidence.
1. What’s the occasion?
Before you get a custom suit started, you should have a clear idea of the occasion or event for which you ‘d like to wear it. This may feel like a trite question, but it actually plays an important part in the choice of style, fabric, and investment.
If you need a custom suit for a wedding or a funeral, your style, color, and fabric preferences will be different from the suit that you may need for a corporate event or your professional role. Talk through the events you have in mind with your tailor so they can understand the context. He or she will provide appropriate suggestions about styles and fabrics to help you achieve your desired look.
2. Which fabric should I choose?
There are innumerable ways to assemble a custom suit, but ultimately the choice of fabric plays a crucial role in making your bespoke suit stand out from others. This not only determines the appearance and feel of your suit, but also determines how long it will last.
It’s better to avoid synthetic fabrics for suiting. Choose lightweight wool, cotton, or finer fabrics—which are the most appropriate options for custom suiting. These are all-season and comfortable fabrics. They’re modern and yet give a timeless look and feel to your suit. You can discuss your options with a tailor to get suggestions on which fabric will be best for the suit you’re envisioning.
You can also read up on fabric options ahead of time in our post about popular custom suit fabrics.
3. How do I know it’s a good price?
No one wants to be taken advantage of, so knowing that you’re receiving quality back for your investment is part of feeling good about your purchase. The step to understanding the value of your custom suit is doing research.
This research, however, can be tricky.
You can’t just compare pricing between two-piece suits. You’ll see mismatched results, as some tailors may give you prices on less expensive fabrics, while others may give you a middle-of-the-road price. Because custom suits are so unique, the pricing can vary dramatically based on fabrics, buttons, monogramming, cuff styles, lapel styles, and a long list of other variables.
When you do your research, go in with a goal. Think about the type of suit you might be interested in, and include a few simple customizations. Then inquire about the price based off that specific suit styling.
Getting a quote may help you narrow your decision on which tailor to choose, but it’s not the full picture. Next you’ll need to follow up that research by investigating the brands and sources of that tailor’s fabrics. This may come up in the conversation about base-level pricing, but it may not. And this information may require you to do a bit of research on your own to determine which fabric brands are higher quality than others.
Take time to investigate and understand the custom suiting landscape by investigating these factors to see if you’re getting the right value for your money.
4. Should I bring one of my suits for measurements?
There are a handful of reasons why you wouldn’t want to bring in an old suit from your wardrobe. A perfectly sewn custom suit requires precise body measurements.
Since the time of your last suit purchase, your body may have altered shape, and measurements may change over time. Giving a premade suit as a measurement guide can result in a poor fit. And if the tailor asks for a sample suit, that may be a sign of an unexperienced tailor.
Getting the fit of your suit right is one of – if not the most – important aspects of the custom suit process. This is why it’s vital that measurements are taken at the time of commissioning. You, as the purchaser, need to make sure your measurements are taken with care, and that precision is the focus. Making the measurements perfect are why you’re getting a custom suit in the first place, so make it count. Pay attention to what the tailor is doing, and make sure they’re experienced in taking measurements to begin with.
5. Should I follow common suit trends?
There’s nothing wrong with following trends, but make sure the trend is in line with classic and timeless styles that last for years to come. A custom suit is a piece you’ll likely want to wear the rest of your life, so you should walk the line between trendsetting and classic, traditional styles. Be mindful of how you’re building your wardrobe.
Men that purchased cropped jackets with thin lapels years ago can no longer wear them because the style is outdated. The same is going to happen to jackets with oversized lapels, as these will also fall out of style in the days to come.
For many people, a custom suit is an investment. It’s not a purchase to be taken lightly. As such, it’s important to be educated and equipped with information that will help you make the most out of this investment.
If you’re interested in getting started on your next custom suit, or you’re ready to explore the possibility, our tailors at Stitch-It have decades of experience and are eager to give you answers to questions in this post and more. We’d love for you to reach out to us here.