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Can You Tell The Difference Between Bespoke and Ready-to-Wear?

Bromley

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@dieworkwear I know your initial prompt was more about recognizing the difference on others, but what about your personal experience? Assuming you have (or have tried) good quality bespoke, mtm, and rtw tailored clothing, what differences have you noticed? Or not noticed?
 

dieworkwear

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@dieworkwear I know your initial prompt was more about recognizing the difference on others, but what about your personal experience? Assuming you have (or have tried) good quality bespoke, mtm, and rtw tailored clothing, what differences have you noticed? Or not noticed?

I don't think there's any practical difference between bespoke and high-end RTW, assuming both fit you. Some of the stuff discussed so far, including the points in that Permanent Style article, seem like they're about a specific service or a product, not necessarily inherent to the ways that garments are made in these various systems. In that PS article, Simon talks about the difference between MTM and bespoke for one maker, which is probably fair for that maker. But assuming you fit well into a block pattern, I don't see why some of those issues can't be addressed, even through alterations. with some other MTM system.

That said, I prefer bespoke, even with all the hassles, disappointments, and potential pitfalls. I have to say, the romance of fittings has also somewhat dulled for me over the years. I used to get really excited about them. I still do, somewhat, for new makers. And for makers I'm friends with because it's a chance to catch up. But some relationships are purely business. Not all companies are buddy-buddy with you, and sometimes you don't share very much with that person. Like any relationship, I suppose. In some cases, I don't particularly like having to go for fittings because it's a hassle. But even with all that said, I still prefer bespoke for reasons I can't articulate.

It's sort of like shoes. I have so many shoes right now, I'd be fine with never buying another pair. I also fit fine into RTW. It's very unlikely that the practical benefits of bespoke vs handwelted will ever make a difference to me. But I still get a lot more enjoyment out of wearing my bespoke shoes. I think it's just about an irrational pleasure.
 

jefferyd

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Curious...if you cut a wedge out of the shoulder seam like that, wouldn't you theoretically screw up the shoulder-chest pattern-matching on a pattern jacket?

I addressed this earlier in the thread but it may have been difficult to understand- there are two ways of sloping the shoulder and maintaining the pattern matching.

Speaking of pattern-matching, this may also be a difference in bespoke and even some high -end RTW. While it's common to pattern-match the shoulder-chest on almost all jackets, all of my bespoke pattern-match the inner-arm seam and only some do so with on my RTW. Not that anyone can even see this or would even care, but on inspection, it may present a clue? In any event, I am not sure about any of this, I am just wondering.

There are several ways of drafting the sleeves, some of which will start with a match at the wrist but then drift as you go up the sleeve. In all cases, you can not match all the way up the inseam as the undersleeve is cut about 1/4" longer than the topsleeve, which is stretched to fit the undersleeve. My preference for the drafting of the sleeve does not allow the checks to be matched at the inseam but it makes for a much cleaner sleeve overall, matching be damned.
 

BomTrady

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I addressed this earlier in the thread but it may have been difficult to understand- there are two ways of sloping the shoulder and maintaining the pattern matching.



There are several ways of drafting the sleeves, some of which will start with a match at the wrist but then drift as you go up the sleeve. In all cases, you can not match all the way up the inseam as the undersleeve is cut about 1/4" longer than the topsleeve, which is stretched to fit the undersleeve. My preference for the drafting of the sleeve does not allow the checks to be matched at the inseam but it makes for a much cleaner sleeve overall, matching be damned.
Thanks! Understood (You did explain it well the first time, which only shows how much I don’t know). And yeah, only us sartorial nerds would notice the patten mis-match anyway.
 

vdubiv

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An actual tailor such as @Despos or @jefferyd can say better than me, but this is how I understand it

If you have a dropped shoulder, the left-right balance will be off. You can see this when you put on the jacket. The hems will be slightly uneven on the two sides. If you fasten the coat, you will also notice a bit of dragging at the buttoning point, as you see in David's coat.

Notably, not all tailors correct for this. The left-right panels of the coat are often cut from the same pattern. Meaning, a tailor folds the cloth over and on top of itself. Then chalks up the cloth using the pattern. And then cuts the cloth, so that he/ she has identical patterns for both sides. To correct for the dropped shoulder, he/ she would then have to correct for one of the panels. But not everyone does this (one of the assumptions of bespoke is that everything always goes right, but of course that is rarely the case).

Anyway, obviously, for ready-to-wear, this will never be adjusted for you off-the-rack. So you will see the left-right balance issue because most people have asymmetrically sloped shoulders.

To fix this, you will need to shorten the coat on the dropped side by "picking up" the coat at the shoulder seam. Essentially, you're cutting a wedge out. This will pull the coat up, which then fixes the issue.

Here are David's two coats. Bespoke is on the left. RTW is on the right. If a tailor cuts a wedge out at the shoulder seam, he/ she would be correcting for the dropped shoulder issue.
'
Chris or Jeffery can correct me if I'm wrong.

View attachment 1337892
I feel like the ready to wear one is better and is perfectly fine. They both have a slight "off balance" the left to right as you pointed out isn't balance on the RTW, but to my eye I feel like the sleeve's aren't balanced on the Bespoke jacket, since you see so much more of the shirt cuff on the one side. It's as if the tailor fixed one problem and created another.
 

dieworkwear

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I feel like the ready to wear one is better and is perfectly fine. They both have a slight "off balance" the left to right as you pointed out isn't balance on the RTW, but to my eye I feel like the sleeve's aren't balanced on the Bespoke jacket, since you see so much more of the shirt cuff on the one side. It's as if the tailor fixed one problem and created another.

The RTW jacket hasn't been altered, so it doesn't show much shirt cuff. I assume the extra shirt cuff on the bespoke jacket is done to accommodate a watch.
 

Thomson

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Something I have learned from limited experience getting stuff made bespoke:

- I enjoy getting a lower buttoning point for my jackets. Lower than would be possible for my body type in combination with the MTM blocks in use currently.

- Robopose photos tell only half the story. I think it is possible to get a very nice fit from RTW and MTM in that regard. But the way the sleeve of a bespoke coat follows the curvature of your arm and the back of the coat follows the curvature of your back, that is something I didn’t appreciate before getting something made bespoke. And it doesn’t show in robopose - so for me the photo at the beginning of the thread is difficult as a basis for judging if rtw can equal bespoke.
 

RogerC

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I think there is also a matter of feel. It is one thing to be able to distinguish how bespoke looks on another person, another to feel how it fits yourself. I’ve bought a drakes jacket last year that fits well enough, but it just quite isn’t what I’m used to.
But for me, the main attraction of MTM / bespoke in comparison to RTW is choice. I just enjoy leading though cloth books, thinking through options, etc. A lot of fun is in the imagining, and then the wearing.
 

Journeyman

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Well I think the picture alone you posted helps support his argument. The right one looks comparatively sloppy.

Perhaps it simply needs a bit of a steam, and maybe a couple of minor alterations? After all, it's very rare for an off-the-rack garment to fit perfectly without a little bit of nipping and tucking.

I'm also confused as to why the bespoke garment (on the left) has one sleeve that appears to be far shorter than the other sleeve. The sleeve on David's right arm (to the left of the picture) comes down to his wrist bone, but the sleeve on his left arm (to the right of the picture) appears to stop about an inch about his wrist bone.

Edited to add: As Dieworkwear has mentioned, the jacket sleeve may be shorter on that side so as to accommodate a watch, although that seems a bit overdone - when you bend your arm to look at your watch, your jacket sleeve normally rides up enough to see the watch, without the sleeve needing to be shortened.
 
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4r36

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@dieworkwear

Very interesting thread.

Although I do agree that bespoke gives us a special feeling, I wonder how long this 'magic' will continue to arise in us. Let me elaborate on this point a bit.

As you mention in your article, Jeffery Diduch is now the co-owner of a new made-to-measure company. They are developing a pattern-making software, which, instead of altering pre-existing block patterns, drafts from scratch new ones according to the rules of traditional bespoke. In theory, this would enable the factory to produce better fitting garments, but not only that.

I am a beta tester for them, and when Peter, a member of the team, came to my place to take my measurements, we had a chat about the potentialities of this new drafting system. What looks really promising about it, it is the high degree of flexibility in terms of styling. Through the constant development of the algorithms ruling the drafting, it will be virtually possible to accomodate not just all different builds, but also all different tastes. The customer will be able to choose shoulder width, buttoning stance, jacket length, form of lapels, and so forth.

The customer's 'creativity' as regards the styling of the garment will be further fostered by the rise of 3D scanner apps. So far 3D scanners have been very expensive and only a few companies could afford them. Yet the technological improvement of smartphones will soon make possible for everybody to have such a scanner in his pocket! For a MTM company, this does not just mean extremely accurate measurements that further improve the final fit. More importantly, this means the possibility for the customer of 'styling' his own garment on a 3D rendering of himself having his very physique!

Imagine then: a perfectly fitting garment, which furthermore is also 'drawn' by you exactly as you like. If you pay for it, it has as much handmade operations as in a bespoke garment crafted by a tailor. It arguably costs less. And this, I am afraid, won't be possible only in the remote future, but in the near one. Who will still feel the call of bespoke tailoring? I hope many, but I must confess that I am not so certain anymore...
 

dieworkwear

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@dieworkwear

Very interesting thread.

Although I do agree that bespoke gives us a special feeling, I wonder how long this 'magic' will continue to arise in us. Let me elaborate on this point a bit.

As you mention in your article, Jeffery Diduch is now the co-owner of a new made-to-measure company. They are developing a pattern-making software, which, instead of altering pre-existing block patterns, drafts from scratch new ones according to the rules of traditional bespoke. In theory, this would enable the factory to produce better fitting garments, but not only that.

I am a beta tester for them, and when Peter, a member of the team, came to my place to take my measurements, we had a chat about the potentialities of this new drafting system. What looks really promising about it, it is the high degree of flexibility in terms of styling. Through the constant development of the algorithms ruling the drafting, it will be virtually possible to accomodate not just all different builds, but also all different tastes. The customer will be able to choose shoulder width, buttoning stance, jacket length, form of lapels, and so forth.

The customer's 'creativity' as regards the styling of the garment will be further fostered by the rise of 3D scanner apps. So far 3D scanners have been very expensive and only a few companies could afford them. Yet the technological improvement of smartphones will soon make possible for everybody to have such a scanner in his pocket! For a MTM company, this does not just mean extremely accurate measurements that further improve the final fit. More importantly, this means the possibility for the customer of 'styling' his own garment on a 3D rendering of himself having his very physique!

Imagine then: a perfectly fitting garment, which furthermore is also 'drawn' by you exactly as you like. If you pay for it, it has as much handmade operations as in a bespoke garment crafted by a tailor. It arguably costs less. And this, I am afraid, won't be possible only in the remote future, but in the near one. Who will still feel the call of bespoke tailoring? I hope many, but I must confess that I am not so certain anymore...

Speaking for myself, given the choice between perfect MTM and rolling the dice with bespoke, I would still take bespoke. That said, I think the differences between these things are getting narrow and bespoke doesn't necessarily confer tangible benefits. I also wear MTM and RTW in casualwear.

But I agree many people may choose MTM, at that point.
 

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