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Looking for a Point in the Right Direction for a Bespoke Suit

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I'm going to be travelling to Europe for the first time at the end of the month and one of the things I'd like to do while I'm there is buy myself a bespoke suit.  As a tall, thin guy finding something that fits off the peg is challenging at best and I thought that it would be worth investigating getting one made - where better to do this than in Europe.  The problem is since I've never been across the Atlantic, nor had a suit made for me, I don't have any idea about where to start.


So I was hoping to get some suggestions about where to go.  Should I be looking to London's Savile Row or should I go to Naples and try my luck there.  I realize that this is probably a question of personal style as much as anything so I suppose it is worth adding that I'm looking for something that is classic, elegant and will serve me well for several years.  (This last one is because I probably won't get to go back soon and, as an investment, I want to get the most out of it.)  I'm just about to turn 22 so something that can balance both formality and nod at my youth would be ideal. 


My price range is relatively flexible but certainly not exorbitant so a piece in the range of 700 Euros or so is about where I'm looking.  Now the reality is that this price range may simply mean that it is impossible to do well and that's another reason I thought I'd ask.  Maybe the answer is to just get a blazer made...


I appreciate any and all help you all can offer so please let me know what you think.  I'm still edging my way through the shallow end of the style pool so I want to make the best decision I can to make the most of my resources.


Thanks in advance,



Edited by Mathew Hall - 7/19/14 at 8:32pm
post #2 of 10
Do bear in mind that true bespoke almost by its nature involves multiple fittings. So unless you plan on a couple of trips to Europe over the next year, that would be an issue.

Also, 700 Euros isn't really enough to play at that table. (And since you mention London's Savile Row, 700 Euros - call it 550 pounds, give or take a little - won't even come close to covering the down payment on your bespoke suit.)

Yes, a blazer would usually be much less expensive than a suit, though still likely out of your price range.

And, of course, the two garments do fill different wardrobe niches. If you really want or need a suit, then a blazer isn't likely to suffice.

While you don't indicate where you live, if OTR (off-the-rack) really doesn't fit you well, and can't easily be altered to fit you well, maybe you'd be better off finding some fairly decent, local or semi-local MTM (made-to-measure) operation, and buying from it. No, it's not the ne plus ultra option that a Savile Row bespoke suit would be, but it may still be more than adequate for your needs. And your budget may actually come close to permitting MTM.
I'm still edging my way through the shallow end of the style pool so I want to make the best decision I can to make the most of my resources.
One could argue that bespoke clothing isn't a game for beginners. If you don't yet have a very firm grasp on exactly what it is you like and want - and I mean including all manner of tailoring details - bespoke runs the risk of turning out to be an expensive mistake, rather than an example of timeless elegance which will serve you well for years to come.

It's sort of the sartorial equivalent of (obligatory pop culture reference HERE)... letting Homer Simpson design a "bespoke" car. Which was, of course, done in season 2, episode 15, of "The Simpsons." With unfortunate results.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks, your point on cost is well taken.  After posting I dug into the existing threads here on styleforum and came to much the same conclusion. That being said I should clarify that having done some reading of the threads here I definitely don't have the same expertise or experience as a lot of the members and it is that comparison that led me to say I was starting out.  As much as anything it was a statement of humility and an honest request for more experienced people to help steer me the right way.  So thank you for the help.


My conclusion is that the conversation needs to shift.  The origin of this all was wanting to celebrate my college graduation with a piece that would last me a long time and mark the occasion, something that I could get a lot of use and pleasure out of over the coming years.  So perhaps the more useful question is what would you recommend in terms of a investment purchase.  I was fortunate enough to inherit a good watch otherwise I think that would be the obvious option.  Any suggestions? It is worth noting that my price range could fluctuate depending on what the item is.


(Also while not an expert I hope I could avoid something as disastrous as the Homer Simpson. ;) Also I thought that going through the bespoke process would help me learn about the details of suits and suitmaking leaving me with a better understanding, as well as having a beautiful piece of clothing that fits properly.)


Thanks for the help.

Edited by Mathew Hall - 7/19/14 at 8:35pm
post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by Mathew Hall View Post

The origin of this all was wanting to get something to celebrate my college graduation with a piece that would last me a long time and mark the occasion, something that I could get a lot of use and pleasure out of over the coming years.
A good pair of shoes.

I know, I know... nobody thinks of shoes in that way. But they should! Properly cared for, a quality pair of shoes will give you decades of wear. And a quality pair of shoes - not high-end bespoke shoes, no, but still very respectable shoes - is within your budget.

So if you want to buy some clothing-related item to celebrate your college graduation, and you want to keep it comfortably under $1000, and you don't want another wristwatch, I'd suggest you do the somewhat unconventional thing, and go for shoes. Nice brown or black dress shoes. Expertly fitted. Take care of them, and it's entirely plausible that you could wear them to your 25th college reunion. And they'll still look good.

But if you just can't bring yourself to take this advice, here's plan B:

Drop $245 at Tiffany, for a sterling silver, engine-turned belt buckle. And get it hand engraved (not machine engraved) with your initials. And wear this classic, "trad" item as your keepsake college graduation piece.

Never mind that other places sell "practically the same buckle" for much less. You don't give the woman you love a cubic zirconia engagement ring, and you don't buy a "practically the same as Tiffany" buckle for your lifelong keepsake item. No, the Brooks Bros. version is NOT identical. No, the brass buckle with the silver plating is NOT as good. Pony up the $245. Get the genuine iconic item.

And buy yourself a leather belt strap or three. Here, you can cheap out if you like, since it's the buckle - not the strap - which has the emotional connection. Heck, Beltmaster sells 1" wide, no hole straps, for $19 each. And they're not the best straps available regardless of price, but they're perfectly adequate for everyday wear.

BTW, I can recommend Eric Margry for your hand engraving needs. He's a master craftsman and artist. And he's located down in the Torpedo Factory, in Old Town Alexandria, VA, which is a fun place to visit.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks I really like the idea of wearing a pair of shoes back to my 25 year reunion and the truth is I would probably get more wear out of them then even the nicest bespoke suit. I understand that a lot of very good shoes come out of northhampton England - brands like loake and Cheney but I don't know much about the rest of the continent. If I want to go ahead and get a pair of great boots would you recommend staying in England or looking somewhere else. Also thanks for the help it is much appreciated. I'll admit after having read through some other threads that posted similar questions I started thinking that I had just invited a tidal wave of criticism but instead I've gotten exactly what I asked for...a point in the right direction.
post #6 of 10
You know, if you're not determined to buy your shoes or boots in England, you could get yourself a very nice pair of Made to Order Allen Edmonds, in horse ass (shell cordovan) leather.

There's a whole thread about such shoes here -

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with English footwear. Just that MTO AE's can potentially get you a pair of more or less personalized shoes or boots, of very good quality, for a reasonable price. AE's re-crafting policy isn't bad, either.

And some of the shoes in the aforementioned thread look really good to me.

(I won't even pretend to be able to advise you with regard to, say, Italian shoes. My feet are a size 13 EEE. Sleek Italian footwear just isn't meant for me.)
post #7 of 10

Hey Mathew,


First of all, congratulations on your graduation! Another great option, and one that would leave you with a family heirloom, would be a nice set of custom cufflinks. I found this jeweller (link below) in London that creates custom pieces starting at 200 pounds. I imagine you could get some really nice one-of-a-kind links for your ~550 pounds. And if you have a son, when he graduates college you could pass them down to him.

post #8 of 10

There's no such thing as a bespoke suit at a price tag of EUR 700 in Europe, no way.. The cheapest you can find is in south of Italy (Naples, Sicily etc.) but still it's not that cheap.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ryan, the cuff links are a good idea but I'm lucky enough to already have a pair which have been passed down a few generations so it think I'm covered on that front. (Besides I think wearing French cuff shirts all the time at my first job, while enjoyable, might send the wrong signal.) that being said I'll keep the jeweller you mentioned in mind for other occasions.
post #10 of 10

Go to Steed...get a navy or grey three-season suit.


It will last you the next 50 years...


and it will be like 4-5 times the cost of your budget...

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