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What You Need to Know When Buying a Custom Suit

16 June, 2017

A suit says a lot about the man who wears it. A well-fitted suit projects strength, confidence and good taste. This is why a lot of men prefer properly-fitted suits, rather than off-the-rack options. Every man has a different figure, so no off-the-rack option can truly fit properly, and they want to get their look just right.

But what should you be looking for in a custom suit? There are a lot of factors at play, and you should check your tailor is addressing all of these in order to achieve the look you want from your suit.

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Pricing

There are four different ways to buy a suit, which increase in price as you ask your tailor to do more.

Off-the-rack

For an off-the-rack (also known as off-the-shelf) suit, you’ll walk into a store, find a suit, and walk out. It is possible to find nice-fitting suits, but they’ll rarely be a perfect fit. They are the cheapest option, though they’ll vary in price depending on their quality and designer. While they may seem like a cheaper option in the short term, to have them altered to fit your body can mean spending an extra $150-$200 on alterations which may make them more expensive that you think.

Made-to-measure

Made to measure is the cheapest of the custom options. This involves taking your body measurements and the tailor will then alter a standard pattern to fit your body . There will typically be a couple of different designs you can choose between, but that will be the limit of your ability to customise the suit.

Custom

Custom suiting is when the customer starts to get control over the design of their suit, as well as the fit. After measurements have been taken, the tailor will cut an individual pattern from scratch which will be used to create the suit. Custom suiting allows for full design control, as well as subtle changes that will flatter your body such as button positions to be changed, inclusion of coloured stitching, as well as many other options, so that the customer can end up with something truly unique. These suits will often be made using offshore tailors, with final alterations made in-house.

Bespoke

Bespoke is the “all-in” option, where a single tailor will do all the work by hand. Customers will come in for regular fittings, and the tailor will spend between two and three months finalising the suit design. It’s not often Australian tailors will do this, and they tend to be expensive. But for people wanting to be able to work closely with their tailor, this is the best option.

What is the suit for?

When getting a custom suit made, the first thing to consider is what you need your suit for. Different suits have different purposes, so you need to choose one which meets your needs. If you’re working in a legal firm, for example, you’re probably going to want a more traditional, two-piece suit, cut with a formal but light material to wear through the long Australian summers. If you’re going to a wedding or similarl formal occasion, you might want a tuxedo, depending on the dress code. If you’re working in the creative industries, you might want to choose interesting colours or patterns or try a bold design like a double breasted jacket or a 3 piece suit with contrasting vest. Whatever its purpose, choose a suit which reflects the occasion, and your personal style.

Material

The next key consideration is the material, because there are quite a few different options out there, and not all materials are created equal.

The composition of the fabric is important. 100% wool is ideal as it it wrinkle resistant and highly breathable. Wool blended with polyester is also wrinkle resistant and wears well, but is not as breathable as pure wool. Cotton or linen is great for our Australian climate but can be more prone to wrinkling, however will keep you cool in the hot summer.

As well as the composition, the  thread count is also something to take into account when deciding on the fabrics. For suiting, this is know as a super number and refers to the fineness of the fabric.

A good suit starts at a Super 100. These are still fine materials but will withstand frequent wear needed for a business suit. We recommend staying between a Super 100’s-Super 120’s for everyday suits.

Super 130’s suits are great for special occasions or suits for less frequent wear. They drape beautifully and keep you cool, but are still strong enough to stand fairly frequent wear.

Higher than a Super 130’s, these are fine wool fabrics and can often be blended with other high end fabrics such as silk or cashmere. They should only be worn for special occasions such as weddings or black tie events. They drape beautifully and look stunning, however will wear much quicker than their lower grade counterparts so are only recommended for infrequent use.

As you can see, finding the right suit is not as simple as you might think. A lot goes into finding a well-fitted suit, and there are many contributing factors to finding that perfect fit. A custom made suit allows you to create a suit that actually fits your body, and gives you more freedom in choosing its design and look.

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