So you have decided to go down the route of buying a bespoke suit? Congratulations, you are clearly one stylish dude.
Now it is time to learn the eight golden rules of purchasing a tailored suit.
Rule 1: (Woollen) Fabric comes first
Make sure you choose a woollen fabric woven by a trusted supplier with a thread count of around 110 or 120. Don’t go for polyester or blended fabrics – they simply don’t perform as well as wool, they aren’t as comfortable and durable and they just don’t look good.
Rule 2: Be aware of what you are paying for.
Given the labour involved in producing a bespoke suit can be as much as 30 hours, if you get it made in the western world the price is going to be $1000 or more minimum. Anything less than that and it is being made offshore in a low-wage economy. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but just make sure if you are paying top dollar it is being made on site as claimed.
Rule 3: Pay attention to style.
Work out your preference – do you like a traditionally cut suit in a heavy fabric (English style) or a lighter, more modern Italian cut or style?
Italian cut suits tend to be more body hugging with allowances between the customers measurements and the suit minimised, where as British style suits aimed at an older market tend to make greater allowances between the customer’s measurements and those of the suit.
Rule 4: Buy when you are at your playing weight
If you are losing weight, on a fitness campaign or changing your body shape, then it is not the time to buy a suit. Once the suit is made you will have very minimal flexibility i terms of changing the dimensions. Perhaps better to use the suit as a reward for once you have reached your fitness goals and a weight and body shape you can safely maintain.
Rule 5: Get you pattern established and keep it
A good tailoring outfit will keep the pattern used to make your suit to make future orders easy. By all means if the shop offers multiple fittings to get sizing right, take up this offer, but if you get the fit right at the first fitting you should be fine.
Rule 6: Avoid short-lived trends
Huge lapels, shiny fabrics, unusual stylings – all these things should be avoided like the plague if you are shopping for a suit to last five or 10 years. This year’s hot style will be too odd to wear out of the house in two years time. Trust us on this – keep it simple and traditional.
Rule 7: Take care of your suits
Get them dry cleaning only when strictly necessary in the case of being stained or too sweaty. The dry cleaning does erode the integrity of the fabric, so its better to simply iron a suit to refresh it.
Rule 8: Keep your expectations reasonable
A good suit is not going to make the average guy look like George Clooney. It WILL add considerably to your visual appeal, confidence and sense of style, but keep your expectations in check.