Tailor Made Suits

So I am living in India at the moment and decided to heed everyone’s advice and go to a tailor to have a suit made. It is costing me around $300 and I am assured that I will not be let down.

My problem is that I have absolutely no idea about the various materials that he (the tailor) was showing me. How does one tell a ‘good’ material from a bad one? What do the different weights mean? Where do the best materials come from in the world? What does it mean when they are ‘hand stitched’ - why is that so special? Do tailor made suits make THAT much of a difference or have factory made suits advanced so much in recent times that it doesn’t matter unless you are a really weird shape? Why would I sometimes have vents and sometimes not? Should the buttons on the sleeve be able to undo? Should I have pocket flaps?

Basically, does anyone know where I can get the straight dope on suits?

A custom tailored suit by a top tailor will fit you perfectly, whereas unless you are very lucky, an off the rack suit will not fit you perfectly. In my experience as someone who looks like a sack of shit, yes, there is a noticable difference between well fitted off the rack suits and custom tailored suits.

For ideas on fabrics and styles, try googling “bespoke tailors” “Saville Row”.

I have had my suits tailor made (in Korea) for about 20 years. They fit better and are better quality than you can get off the rack at any reasonable price. However, you need to find a trustworthy tailor to make sure you get top quality cloth (unless you are an expert). In most places you will buy from one person but the suit will be made by another. How good the back room guy is will make all the difference. It’s all about references, trust, etc.

My experience says get the best 80% wool material you can. (100% wool wrinkles too much). Styles depend on your location and preferences. Pants cuffs are in now, but I don’t like them. Pleated pants are still in but going out, I don’t get them. Europeans wear three button suits with two vents in the back. Americans wear two button suits with a single vent. There are some no vent suits. I think pockets without flaps don’t look right. Suit coat cuffs are not supposed to unbutton.

A quality suit will have a full jacket lining and the pants will be lined to the knee. I always get two pairs of pants with my suits. That doubles the life of the suit. I pay about $350. With a dozen suits in the closet, I don’t wear any of them that much, but they will last 10 years or more.

Don’t get a tailored suit if you expect to change your body shape much in the next year or so. That means if you put on weight or muscle in the next year the suit will be just as poor fitting as an off the shelf suit. If the tailor is any good they will guide you towards good choices in material and how the suit is put together, but as you have ultimate control if you insist on something terrible, they will make it for you as you request, and you will only have yourself to blame. Ask the tailor if you can see some of the suits they are currently making. This will give you a feel for style and quality of the tailor’s work. Expect at least two or three fittings to get the suit right, and the advice for two pairs of trousers is a good one. Expect full lining, unless you are needing a suit for a very hot climate. Check the quality of the work on the suits collar and lapels these should hold shape well and not be flimsy.

Darn my spell edit lost my first line.

My disclamer was…

I worked in a very posh tailors in Eton during my college vacations. I do not wear tailored suits myself, but would if the job called for them. I picked up a few tips whilst I was there.

From all I have heard it is worth spending a bit more on really good quality cloth if you have going to bespoke route. Actually living there should make all the difference in getting a good fit and a good finish.

Those crash and dash bespoke suits you can pick up in HK in 48 hours or even less are a pile of shite…and they know you aint gonna be back to complain.

I’m envious. Enjoy.

I have my suits made in London because I have to really - I’m not a shape that fits too easily into made to measure, and my job requires it (projecting the right image and all that). I pay from £800 to £2000. I have had them made abroad, with pretty good results, but not quite as good.

Bippy’s thread above is pretty much spot on - especially the extra trousers.

Here’s a story from the Guardian about someone getting a suit in Bankok.