A bespoke suit is more than just the suit, it’s an experience. The history that is intertwined in designing and assembling bespoke suits have been preserved through a traditional process that represents the highest standards of service and craftsmanship in the suit industry. Here are a few tips to get the most out of designing your first bespoke suit.
Become familiar with your tailor's style
The design of your suit is spoken for during your consultation. You and your tailor will have a conversation about what bespoke garment you have in mind. There may be a series of questions the tailor asks to provide insight as to how he will accomplish what you are asking and to get a sense of your personality.
Although bespoke tailors can design virtually any style of garment, they are all essentially artists so will tend to exhibit particular styles when designing their suits.
When shopping around for tailors identify their style to anticipate the finished product you will be receiving. For example, some tailors tend to build up the shoulders on a suit more than others, which can be associated with the British cut.
The British cut was influenced by the French military and so the shoulders are more prominent and boxy when looking at the overall silhouette of the suit. The cut is form fitting with a tapered waist while maintaining a somewhat militant shape.
The Italian cut has a much more relaxed and form-fitting style of tailoring with softer shoulders and a slim waistline. The American cut is a loose fit style with lower armholes. Most bespoke tailors favor the British style, but if you ask to see pictures of their work it’s the best way to see for yourself whether their style is for you.
Don’t be too bold with your colour and fabric
You will want to be able to wear your first suit to as many events as possible so keep your options open with neutral colours and tones. If you go too bold with any one colour you may inadvertently disqualify your suit as being appropriate on specific occasions.
The most versatile colours are greys and blues since they can be worn to virtually every event and can be dressed up and down with other colour combinations. Dark greys and navy blues can be formal as well as dressed down with brown shoes and a brown belt. You open your options to match a variety of different coloured dress shirts and ties to suit the occasion.
Your bespoke tailor is your guide for all things design and will help you to choose your fabric from a library of mills and designers.
Your tailor will break down the pros and cons of each fabric to give you insight on the functional and practical uses as well as the suggestions on colour combinations in order to help you weigh your options and make a perfect choice.
Know your style
You should know what style you’re most comfortable with in order to clearly communicate with your tailor when designing your suit.
A suggested practice for identifying style is to browse for as many suits as possible prior to your consultation and bring pictures of your favourite suits to the meeting. A picture is worth a thousand words. You can communicate what your style is through the commonalities of the images you’ve chosen.
Know your options
Be familiar with the options that are available to you in customizing your suit. You will be asked to decide on the style of a lapel, a number of buttons, type of buttons, style of buttonholes, vent options, collar, and style of pockets.
For the trousers, a decision will be required on internal or external buttons, pant fasteners or belt loops, cuffs and, pleats.
Make your suit stand out
Apart from the standard customizable features, every bespoke suit offers you have the option to add your own design to any aspect of your suit. Many choose to add hidden pockets, change pockets, pockets specifically designed for cell phones, cigars, or personal items that make the suit more practical and functional for you. Having your name or initials embroidered on your jacket is a popular option that adds a nice touch.
What to expect after designing your suit
There are a series of detailed measurements for designing a bespoke suit. Twenty different measurements are taken for the jacket and five to eight for the pants. The measurements provide the tailor with a three-dimensional outline of your body and account for your posture and the unique physical characteristics of your body. Bespoke suits will in fact mirror you body in closeness in fit while complimenting your frame to enhance your overall appearance.
Two to three weeks after your measurements you will be called in to what is called the basted fitting. This is a signature fitting in the bespoke process where the jacket has a very unfinished appearance being that the components of the jacket are loosely held together with white basting thread. This gives the tailor the option to easily disassemble the jacket to make adjustments based on motion, seated and standing postures.
The standard bespoke process for constructing a bespoke suit involves at least two more fittings to produce a finished product.
Each fitting is performed at different stages of construction where the tailor can manipulate the level of comfort by making the subtle changes necessary in matching the suit to your body. From design to delivery, the process is about eight to twelve weeks. The end result is one of the finest fitting garments you will ever wear.
Bespoke: The king of custom
Bespoke suits are known for quality, comfort, and a superior fit. The quality of the fabric is in your control, and the craftsmanship and customer service is of the highest level. Any authentic bespoke tailor shop will guarantee satisfaction for every suit you build.
There isn’t a finished product until you’re happy with what you’re wearing. In fact, bespoke suits come with lifetime service for maintenance and minor repair as an undying commitment to the service and quality the suit represents. When you invest in a bespoke suit, you're making a lifetime investment.