Bespoke Suit vs Made To Measure Suit
When considering a bespoke suit, you'll come across a few terms that raise some common questions. What is a bespoke suit? What is a made to measure suit? Are they the same thing? What is the difference between a bespoke suit and made to measure suit? Let me try to educate and simplify this for you!
Let's just take a step back for a second. When it comes to considering buying a suit there are three main categories: Ready To Wear (also referred to as "off the rack" or "off the peg"), Made To Measure and Bespoke. The distinction between the three categories of suit is one of fit.
THE READY TO WEAR SUIT
There is such a broad spectrum of quality when it comes to ready to wear suits - but as with just about everything in life the more you invest in terms of time and money, the better the quality and fit will be. Italian houses such as Brioni make ready to wear suits that are often better quality than a large number of made to measure and bespoke tailors. However the key to finding the right fit is to try a number of difference brands on and see whose basic patterns and designs work for your particular shape. Many successful men just don't have the time (or patience!) to go through this exhaustive process and so will look to find made to measure suits or bespoke suits from a tailor instead and cut out all the leg work.
THE MADE TO MEASURE SUIT
Made to measure takes standard sizes and adjusts them in a few more ways than you would ever bother to adjust a ready to wear suit with an alterations tailor. Usually these made to measure suits are made in the same factory as ready to wear suits. Not quite a bespoke suit but if done right a made to measure suit should fit you very well. The advice on selecting a made to measure suit can be the same as for a bespoke suit, but will largely depend on the limitations of the factory where the suit is being made. Similarly the measuring process can be the same as for a bespoke suit, but at the lower price end will often only involve half the number of measurements.
THE BESPOKE TAILORED SUIT
So what is a bespoke suit? Bespoke is different in one key way - the pattern that is created to make your tailored suit is yours and yours alone. Once your measurements are taken by the tailor, they are translated into a unique pattern. The chest piece (one half of your prospective bespoke suit) is then marked out with chalk and brown paper, using your measurements, figuration and "rock of eye".
Figuration is everything about a man's shape that is not expressed in simple measuring. The balance of your shoulder blades, your hips, posture, shoulder angles... A tailor's "rock of eye" is his ability to reproduce a mental picture of how the customer stood in order to further work out the pattern that needs to be created.
This unique pattern is what defines a bespoke tailored suit. It is far more personal and precise than the ready to wear suit or made to measure suit methods. The fitting process involves a certain number of try ons where the individual sections of the suit are trimmed and adjusted further at each stage until the suit fit is as perfect as it can be. The client's unique pattern is adjusted at the same time through the process.
These levels of attention to fit are what distinguish the three main categories of suit. The Ready To Wear Suit, The Made To Measure Suit and The Bespoke Tailored Suit can be just as justifiable described as Mass Production, Individual Production and Painstaking Personal Pattern Creation.