Looking good equals feeling good and that’s something which should never be underestimated. Imagine going about your daily having total confidence that your appearance says volumes about you. Good volumes of course. It’s a fact of life that people create their first impression of you in the first few seconds of meeting you. So wearing a well-cut, immaculately fitted suit made out of high quality material means that you give a favourable impression straight away. As long as the rest of you matches up to your clothes, of course. Always start your day with a shower (and shave if necessary), always have a clean, ironed shirt to hand, always have dark coloured matching socks, always have a decent quality tie ready to put on if needs me and last but not least, ensure that your shoes are perfectly shined. It’s no good putting on an expensive suit if the rest of your appearance doesn’t add up.
Having a bespoke suit is something beyond compare in the sartorial world. It gives the wearer a feeling of power and absolute confidence in their overall appearance. Putting it on will truly make you feel a prince among men. Or a King, perhaps, bespoke clothes can do that to you.
But if you’re new to the high class sartorial world, how do you go about working out what you need and how to get it? Having decided that a bespoke suit is the way to go, then it helps your case if you have some knowledge about clothes and how to dress, you need to be using precision language to convey to your tailor exactly what you want, and you need to be carrying out the process with the utmost care. If you’re doing these things, you’re going a long way to making your first bespoke suit a success.
First of all, what is a bespoke suit?
It’s easy to become confused between some of the terms in the suit world. In literal terms, to ‘bespeak’ is giving an order, so although you aren’t technically ordering your tailor around, you are instructing them to make a suit especially cut for you. It’s something crafted by your tailor out of your vision, it will be one of a kind, an original and totally unique to you. It will be made to the wearer’s preference, exact measurements will be taken, the suit will be hand drawn before being created for you.
Different levels of tailoring.
First of all, you start with a ready-to-wear suit, the type of thing that you’ll find in a department store. It will be mass-produced from a factory and you can wear it immediately, although they can be tailored slightly if there’s something that doesn’t fit quite as well as it might.
Then you have the made-to-measure suits. These are one step up where your measurements are taken, but a standard suit patterns is used. It’s not factory made, but it does use a pre-existing design.
A bespoke suit is another level entirely. It is entirely crafted to your specification and measurements without using a pre-existing design or pattern. This suit will require an investment, in terms of both money and time. You won’t be able to get it immediately, perfection takes time to craft.
So, how do you go about finding this suit of dreams?
The first thing to do is find the right tailor for you because you’re going to have to work closely with them. It will be an in-depth process, you won’t find the right person by doing a quick Google and in fact word of mouth recommendation is almost always a safe way to go. Your first visit to a tailor is a rite of passage, like your first car, or your first job. To make this a success of this, you’re going to have to be up to speed with the terminology being used in the making of your bespoke suit. There are a few steps to go through, so we’ve outlined them clearly below.
1. Firstly, what kind of suit are you looking for?
You need to be specific here because the occasion it’s intended for matters. Whether it’s for a wedding, funeral, job interview, starting a new job or just for wearing everywhere to impress people (not really!), whatever you have in mind your tailor needs to know.
2. Are you going for a tuxedo or a suit?
These are pretty similar in terms of style, the basic difference is that a tux is more flashy than a suit, more formal. It has satin lapels and it’s often worn with a bow tie. It’s definitely a choice to be careful with because a bespoke tuxedo costs on average 30-40% more than a traditional suit, which costs thousands of pounds itself. A tux therefore would be an eye-watering sum, plus the fact that you’re much more limited as to where can you wear them. They are definitely not an every day thing and a suit is much more versatile.
3. Learn about fabric.
There are lots out there so choose wisely for your first time, stick with the key fabrics. You don’t need the complex ones to create a show-stopping suit. You need something that will last at least three seasons, which is both light enough so you’re not sweating madly, and warm enough that it will keep you warm. The best fabrics for this are worsted wool, mohair and flannel.
4. Then, should it be a two piece or three piece suit?
A two piece is a simple jacket and trousers, and a three piece comes with a waistcoat as well. The latter is more formal, for high-end occasions and weddings, etc. A two piece is cheaper, and better if you live in a warmer climate, but the three piece is more versatile because wearing the suit jacket is optional.
After those choices, you will then have a whole host of decisions to make about the cut of the suit itself:
- The shape of the lapels of the jacket.
- The length of the trouser cuff.
- The suit jacket vent, whether it’s a double, a single or none at all.
- The length of the trouser break; determines where – and if – the trouser cuff touches the shoe.
- Trouser taper, whether the suit trousers need a little narrowing. To fit with the look of a bespoke suit, have them tailored slightly to exactly fit your build.
- Single or double breasted.
- Show or working buttons. You’ll find the functional ones appear more often on a bespoke suit and they are also more practical because they allow the sleeve to be rolled up if needed.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to make these decisions alone. Your tailor will be happy to explain the terminology and guide you into the right choices, which is why it’s so important to find the right one for you. If you’re unsure which tailor to go with, then you can ask them to alter another item of your clothing, to see the quality of their work.
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