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MTO vs MTM Tuxedo

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hello gentlemen,

I was wondering if I could get your keen insight and opinions regarding the best avenue of approach.  I have a 17day vacation (2 days travel, 15 actual v-days) coming up during which time I will have the option to choose either a MTO tuxedo, or a MTM tuxedo from Canali.

 

I have a wedding coming up in August, and aside from my upcoming 15day vacation (starts in a few days) I will have no time to shop for or get fitted for a tuxedo after this 15day window.  Due to my non-typical build (not a single label makes anything OTR that fits me) and my unique time constraints bespoke and OTR + tailoring is NOT an option.
After several emails back and forth with a rep from Canali I have decided to use their services, however I am still confused on the differences in terms of what I will be getting from them in regards to MTO vs MTM...

Which is what has lead me to stop lurking on this fine form, and start getting engaged with discussion (starting with my request for some insight and advice).

Regards,
Mike


Edited by Moustache Mike - 4/9/13 at 10:23am
post #2 of 40

My understanding of MTO is that you are customizing some of the details about a garment without changing the pattern. For example, you would be able to select your fabric, possibly vent options, pocket options, different drop on trousers, etc..

 

MTM lets you do the above, but with changes to the way the garment fits as well. This is helpful for those (like you) who are hard to fit OTR.

 

MTM typically takes 4+ weeks though, much longer than RTW + tailoring. I'm not sure about MTO. It could possibly take as long as MTM. I'm also not clear on why you don't have time for RTW + tailoring. You can usually get a tailor to expedite the job to a 2 day or so wait, sometimes for a little more cost.

post #3 of 40
MTO allows you to choose feature combinations that may not be available off-the-rack. However, the fit and cut of the garment will be identical to one of their RTW models. In other words, you will start by picking a RTW model, then decide what you want to change about it: fabric, lapel type, type of facing, etc.

In MTM, your measurements will be taken at the time you order the garment. Those measurements will be used to modify a stock pattern they have. The resulting garment will hence have a one-off fit. Of course, all the MTO options are also available in MTM.

Keep in mind: MTM almost never results in a perfect fitting garment right off the bat. Due to the extra variables being tweaked and the multiple layers of communication between you and the factory floor, you can easily wind up with something worse than RTW. Success in the process inevitably relies on alterations, just as in RTW. The difference is that those alterations can be noted and used to tweak your future orders so that are closer to correct upon delivery.

Hence, MTM is not really a good option if you are trying to expedite things. You will need alterations done after the garment is delivered. If it is really off, they will have to remake it or refund your payment. I would only risk going the MTM path if there are certain changes you absolutely need that are simply impossible to render on a RTW garment (substantial shortening or lengthening of the jacket hem, for example).
post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hmm...
Seems I'm really in a pickle then.

I have 15days in April where I will be vacationing in South-east Asia, then it's back to work in Afghanistan.  Then in August I will be arriving at my destination wedding with only five days before the wedding for any alterations that may need to be made.  Sounds like even if I go with a MTM tuxedo from a well known company like Canali, I might still end up with a product that has horrible fit & finish   baldy[1].gif

post #5 of 40
Thread Starter 

RTW doesn't work for me at all due to having a 45" chest and a 33" waist line, plus I have long arms which require a "long" length jacket.  But then the jacket always ends up being too long and I also normally end up with this weird bunching of fabric at the lapels (not sure if the two issues are related).

Wish I had found this forum sooner, I wouldn't have waited till the last minute to start trying to find a tuxedo.  That and perhaps if I had discovered this forum sooner in life maybe my dress wardrobe wouldn't look so half-assed.

post #6 of 40
I'm a little confused. The wedding isn't until August. Why do you have to get everything done during your 17-day vacation?
post #7 of 40

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but its because he'll need to get everything done on his R&R as he will be in Afghanistan until his redeployment just prior to his destination wedding? The 'Stan isn't really the place to cart around a tux for alterations, although there are plenty of places in BAF/JAF/KAF/SAL/SHK that have a local sew shop that could probably do the basics like hem pants. (although I imagine Joe will give you some pretty strange looks rocking a tux)

 

MM won't you have a couple days after you redeploy? You'll have more than 5 days after redeployment before you go on leave right?

 

You rock that tux out on mission I have a case of beer for you.

post #8 of 40
Ah, I'm an idiot. That makes sense.

Maybe you're best bet is to go the MTO route, then. You can pick a jacket and pair of pants each in a size best suited to you, since you won't have to buy them together as a set.
post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 

Thank you Ski & Foo for breaking down the difference between MTM & MTO for me, I think they reason I had trouble with the Canali rep was due to language barrier issues.

 


Moloch:

I'm not redeploying in Aug, I'm using up my remaining R&R balance for a destination wedding and honeymoon.  I know the timing seems odd, but that is due to the fact that I'm not part of the uniformed services anymore and my deployment cycles are very different.  No LN tailors in my AO, or reliable mail service for that matter.

If I more money than common sense perhaps I would get a second tux just for wearing out on a mission, but aside from it creating some funny stories... that would be a pretty shitty experience (hot, limited mobility, etc..).

Foo:
My original plan was to hit up the Canali store in Hong Kong and get either a MTO or MTM tux, which would be delivered to my home in time for my soon to be wife to pack it amongst her luggage and bring it with her.  Due to my troubles with RTW items I'm thinking that MTM might be the best way to go, while there is a risk the final product might not be as good as envisioned, surely it cannot be any worse than how RTW items look on me.
 

post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moustache Mike View Post

Foo:

My original plan was to hit up the Canali store in Hong Kong and get either a MTO or MTM tux, which would be delivered to my home in time for my soon to be wife to pack it amongst her luggage and bring it with her.  Due to my troubles with RTW items I'm thinking that MTM might be the best way to go, while there is a risk the final product might not be as good as envisioned, surely it cannot be any worse than how RTW items look on me.

Well, that's the thing: it can come out worse, easily. You have to remember that the person taking measurements is not involved in how they're ultimately interpreted and executed. This has happened to me multiple times, with both Oxxford and Borrelli MTM. MTM works best as an ongoing process over many orders, not as a one-shot deal. Think of it as trial-by-error. You cannot afford an error in this case.

How do you fit into Canali's RTW jackets? If your major problem is just the difference in your jacket and trouser sizing, that can be solved with MTO. Just order whatever jacket size you would normally order for yourself, and then whatever trouser size you normally wear. They can be ready in the store before you even get there, so there would be plenty of time to go through multiple rounds of alterations.

Also, since you'll be in Hong Kong, have you considered bespoke? That would have seemed the most obvious and optimal solution to me. WW Chan can make you a far superior, better-fitting tuxedo--so long as they can get in a fitting or two before you leave Hong Kong. Just call them in advance and explain to them your tight schedule. Then, pick out cloth in advance so they will have it ready to go. If you don't need to wait for cloth to be ordered and shipped, they should be able to move very quickly.
post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 

Canali fits me the same as ALL other brands, poorly...
I've got an athletic/muscular build, combined with being barrel chested having abnormally long arms for my height, nothing fits well.  All single and two button jackets end up with a weird fabric "bump" in the lapels that stick out away from the body, and in order to get a good fit in the shoulders the rest of the suit looks like a flowing sack on me.  Also I need to also buy everything in "Long" in order to have sleeves that fit, but then the torso/main body is too damn long.

I've tried on almost every high, mid, and low range brand out there... nothing fits

While I didn't contact WW Chan, the few tailors that I did contact told me that it would be impossible to make a proper bespoke tuxedo or suit for me with such a tight schedule (that's why I thought that MTM would be my best option).  Lets assume for a minute that WW Chen can accommodate my needs, how exactly would I go about selecting a fabric when I have no idea how it looks in person or what it feels like ?
 

post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moustache Mike View Post

While I didn't contact WW Chan, the few tailors that I did contact told me that it would be impossible to make a proper bespoke tuxedo or suit for me with such a tight schedule (that's why I thought that MTM would be my best option).  Lets assume for a minute that WW Chen can accommodate my needs, how exactly would I go about selecting a fabric when I have no idea how it looks in person or what it feels like ?

That's where forum wisdom comes into play. If you have never gone the bespoke route and don't really know cloth, you would be best off following the suggestions of others regardless of your time frame. In this case, things are even easier, since we are talking about a very specific context. Amongst all the experienced members here with bespoke dinner suits, there are probably only a handful of fabrics represented.

Think about it this way, if you want something classic, your choices are pretty much made for you. You can have wool barathea or a mohair-wool blend, and either one in black or midnight blue. Then, it's really just a matter of picking a mill/merchant. Smith Woolen's formal book is a sort of standard-bearer. My tailor picked out the mohair for my dinner suit without me ever seeing it. I just told him I wanted midnight blue, mohair, from Smith's formal book. Done. Ten second conversation. Manton has exactly the same midnight blue mohair cloth for his dinner suit.

In fact, to make things even easier, the code for that specific cloth is 8810, from Smith Woolen's formal book. It's 10 oz., and ~28% mohair (the rest wool). If you ask me, the only good reason to diverge from that is if you want black--in which case, you may want wool barathea instead, as it tends to look blacker that way. In that case, just call Smith's in London and tell them you want ~10 oz. black wool barathea from their formal book. They'll give you the code. Voila.

If you tell WW Chan exactly what cloth to order so they will have it in advance of your first meeting, they may be able to get you a fitting or two before you leave Hong Kong. They seem like one of the best in Hong Kong, anyway. The others probably told you there isn't enough time on the assumption that cloth would have to be ordered after your first visit.
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 

I was under the impression that no two midnight blues or blacks look exactly the same, due to subtle differences in fabric from what mill to the next amongst other factors.  Midnight blue is what I'm interested in, but I've seen a lot of midnight blue's that I don't like due to them not being dark enough... which is where my concerns about selecting fabric sight unseen comes into play.  How dark in appearance are the specific fabrics you just mentioned ?

( Thank you for the considerable amount of help and useful advise being offered, most appreciated )

post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moustache Mike View Post

I was under the impression that no two midnight blues or blacks look exactly the same, due to subtle differences in fabric from what mill to the next amongst other factors.  Midnight blue is what I'm interested in, but I've seen a lot of midnight blue's that I don't like due to them not being dark enough... which is where my concerns about selecting fabric sight unseen comes into play.  How dark in appearance are the specific fabrics you just mentioned ?

( Thank you for the considerable amount of help and useful advise being offered, most appreciated )

You are right, there will always be subtle differences. However, there is a range of "correct" when it comes to midnight blue: so long as it looks black at night, whether outside or indoors under artificial lighting, it is dark enough. Almost any midnight blue will look bluish in daylight. I haven't seen one that doesn't. That is just the nature of the stuff. If you don't like that, then go for the black wool barathea. Again, Smith's is one of the best choices for that.

So, returning to midnight blue, within that range of "correct," I'd be much more interested in the quality, performance, and reputation of the cloth. That's why I say the Smith's 8810 is a no-brainer. It is one of the standards (if not the absolute standard) when it comes to midnight blue mohair. If something is wrong with it, something is wrong with all midnight mohairs.

I can tell you from personal experience that it is beautiful stuff. It has a wonderful luster, as one would expect from the mohair content, that is uniquely suitable for evening wear. It resists wrinkles and maintains a crisp shape. Your trouser creases will be razor sharp! It is immediately obvious it is not cloth you'd wear for everyday use, so it is really a perfect choice if you want something special, as you should for a nice dinner suit.

I would be less concerned about a time-tested midnight blue like Smith's 8810 being too blue, and worry more about whether a black dinner suit will be truly pitch black, or worse, have an ugly greenish tint. However, again, you are better off relying on reputation and others' experiences when it comes to that. You won't be able to judge on your own just by staring at the cloth. If you want black, get the black 100% wool barathea from the Smith's formal book, in ~10 oz. You cannot go wrong with it.

One thing I'd say is this: if you go the mohair route, it is probably best to stay with midnight blue and leave black for 100% wool barathea. The mohair tends to desaturate the coloring a little bit, so black mohair may not be as inky black as you'd like.

Here's me in Smith's 8810 midnight blue mohair, in daylight:

TITC_02022013_01.jpg
post #15 of 40
I made my tux with WW Chan and I let Patrick make pretty much all the decisions for me and he will steer you in the right direction. They may not be able to give you the completed garment before you leave but can mail it to you. Also if you absolutely feel like you need to see the cloth before ordering, you can have them mail you some swatch samples. Best to discuss this with them over the phone.
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