Ever bought an expensive off-the-rack suit and tie, only to find that it’s just a little too tight on your calf, or bunches up slightly at the back of the neck? Maybe when you first tried it on, it fitted relatively well. The fabric and style looked great. But after a while, you realise that the fit is slightly off, or the lining is uncomfortable, and it’s just not flattering. Instead of hiding unsightly curves and bulges, it accentuates them.
Many people are surprised to learn that tailor-made suits are not as expensive or time consuming to buy as they might think. While the process to create great tailor-made suits can take time, the results are well worth your while.
So, what makes a tailor-made suit so special, and how do they differ from an off-the-rack suit and tie?
Fit is the key difference in a tailor-made suit versus an off-the-rack suit. An off the rack suit and tie is created from “standard sizes”, meaning no allowance is made for variations in weight and body size. Men who are more muscular, or have a body shape a little out of the ordinary will struggle to make an off-the-rack suit fit, even with alterations.
Off-the-rack suits offer very little control over style and fit. If you’re lucky enough to have “regular” suit measurements, you might be able to get away with buying off-the-rack suits without making any significant alterations; but most men won’t be able to get that “fits like a glove” comfort level. Depending on how the garment is constructed, it may have a glued-in lining, which won’t be as comfortable (nor will it last as long).
The importance of taking multiple suit measurements
Compared to this, a tailor-made suit is created by a process of an initial fitting, followed by multiple fittings afterward. At Woolcott St, we often take up to 50 different suit measurements for you. The style, fit and fabric choice are all customisable. When fitting you, we draw on years of training handed down from international master tailors to take extensive suit measurements, all the while taking into account your posture, build and unique requirements. We’ll also ask our clients questions about their lifestyle and needs and ensure that their garments fill these requirements.
For instance, if you’re taking long-haul business flights, you’ll probably want a non-crease, breathable fabric, whereas if you’re frequently traveling to colder climates, you might want warmer fabrics in a weightier cloth. You may only want to purchase a suit and tie for a summer wedding, in which case you’ll want lightweight, breathable fabrics like linen in appropriate colours and styles.
Suit and tie customisations
It’s true that you can select from thousands off-the-rack suit and tie combinations; all with variations in style, colour, and slight variations in fit.
But tailor-made suits offer limitless options in colour, fabric, fit and style, down to your choice of lining. We offer over 800 fabric options, sourced from the world’s leading cloth merchants such as Holland & Sherry, REDA and Dormeuil. We also provide a vast array of different micron counts, colours and patterns to suit your unique style preference. If you want extra variations, like different buttons, linings, or coloured stitching, we can cater to almost any suit style or preference.
Quality and construction
The benefit of buying an off-the-rack suit and tie is that, because they are mass-produced, they are often cheaper than a tailor-made suit, so you can get quality fabrics for less. There’s no doubt that some of these suits are high quality, particularly the fabrics.
But not always. Many off-the-rack suits are machine-made, which means that corners are cut in the process of the construction of the garment. Off-the-rack suits often lack sophisticated detail in the stitching, meaning that the overall look isn’t as polished. The suit jacket often had a glued interlining, which means there isn’t as much flexibility in the garment and it won’t move as you move.
Tailor-made suits, on the other hand, often utilise full canvas or half canvas construction, meaning that the garment will be more flexible, breathable and, ultimately, more comfortable.
All in all, off-the-rack suits can do the job if you need a new suit and tie for a last-minute event, but compared to a tailor-made suit, they’re not on the same level; and, more often than not, you won’t look as sleek as the guy you saw in the ad.
Many of our clients who make the switch to a tailor-made suit never look back. The feeling when you put on a new, tailor-made bespoke suit is like nothing else; the difference in fit and comfort is instantly obvious. Your tailor-made suit will fit like a glove, and won’t restrict your movements when you’re just trying to eat a sandwich or reach up to press a button on the bus.