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Looking to invest in one bespoke suit, what features to get?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DGP, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. whoopee

    whoopee Distinguished Member

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    I agree with Andre. Almost everyone can receive a better fit with MTM/bespoke (quality makers) compared to RTW. The chances of one using a tailor - any tailor, let alone in-house ones, whose collective reputation is rather dubious - to do the alterations to make it fit superbly are close to nil (unless you go to Raphael, who actually re-cuts, or someone of similar caliber). If you avoid bespoke, go with MTM. If you really love a maker's silhouette, this might even be preferred. From Oxxford, or Brioni, or Kiton, the chances of it being screwed up is less than with bespoke, and you will have a clear idea of what you will be receiving beforehand. Of course, that could be a negative if you do not like their styles.
     


  2. royal618

    royal618 Senior Member

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    That pretty much describes *my* perfect suit for the past 10+ years.

    Seconded.
     


  3. sammy

    sammy Senior Member

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    Given your size, I'd go for a 6 button double breasted with a ticket pocket, side vents, and single reverse pleat trousers with braces. Go for a more military silhouette, a la Dege or Huntsman, with a suppressed waist and set shoulders. If this is going to be a special occasion suit, then you might opt for a material like sharkskin in navy or charcoal that has a little sheen and pizaz.
     


  4. Holdfast

    Holdfast Stylish Dinosaur

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    Personally I don't think there's much point "investing" in a single bespoke item. It will take time and a few attempts for the "perfect suit" to emerge from a bespoke tailor. The attempts until then will be very well-fitting, certainly better than RTW or even MTM but they will not be perfect for you. Unless you're extraordinarily lucky.

    I think the extra money for bespoke starts to pay off once you get a couple of garments and can see the progress. For a one-off, unless you really don't care too much about cost, I'd go MTM. However, since you're posting on an internet message board about clothes, I also don't think you'll actually STOP at one bespoke item... so go for it! [​IMG]
     


  5. horton

    horton Senior Member

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    In line with other comments, I think the first question is what drives you to bespoke?

    If RTW for whatever reason never seems to fit right on you, no matter what the maker, then you'll appreciate the fit of bespoke (and probably MTM too).

    If RTW fits reasonably well, it's a more difficult decision. I think a huge factor will be the quality of the tailor you have access to.

    My own preference is to have the bespoke suit be more of the workhorse suit that I'll wear and appreciate more often. As a result I went more conservative SB, single vent, etc. I am very happy with the decision, even though RTW fits me well. The "feature" if you will for bespoke will be the perfect fit throughout.
     


  6. DGP

    DGP Distinguished Member

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    Sorry, I should have said MTM, as I will be measured by a tailor at a shop that sells the suits, and they will then send them to Oxxford or whomever to have the suit made. I'm not really going bespoke. You think that with MTM I'll get a better fit the first time?

    I also had another thought: I just got the two Zegna Zs that I bought at Saks in the mail. The fit on them is reasonably good, should I take one with me, have the tailor pin it for alterations, just so he can get a general idea of what type of style and shape I'm going for? Obviously his will fit better, but I was thinking that if he's altering this one to my specs, and can see it on me, he'll have a better idea of what to tell the suit maker when he sends my measurements. What do you think?
     


  7. thinman

    thinman Distinguished Member

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    Sorry, I should have said MTM, as I will be measured by a tailor at a shop that sells the suits, and they will then send them to Oxxford or whomever to have the suit made. I'm not really going bespoke. You think that with MTM I'll get a better fit the first time?

    I also had another thought: I just got the two Zegna Zs that I bought at Saks in the mail. The fit on them is reasonably good, should I take one with me, have the tailor pin it for alterations, just so he can get a general idea of what type of style and shape I'm going for? Obviously his will fit better, but I was thinking that if he's altering this one to my specs, and can see it on me, he'll have a better idea of what to tell the suit maker when he sends my measurements. What do you think?



    I think you should always wear your favorite, best-fitting suit to a fitting. This allows the tailor to discuss with you the things you like and dislike about the suit, so it serves as a focal point for discussing your tastes. It also allows the tailor to see your unique physique relative to a standard garment, so it helps with fitting as well.
     


  8. buckerine

    buckerine New Member

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    Personally I don't think there's much point "investing" in a single bespoke item. It will take time and a few attempts for the "perfect suit" to emerge from a bespoke tailor. The attempts until then will be very well-fitting, certainly better than RTW or even MTM but they will not be perfect for you. Unless you're extraordinarily lucky.

    I think the extra money for bespoke starts to pay off once you get a couple of garments and can see the progress. For a one-off, unless you really don't care too much about cost, I'd go MTM. However, since you're posting on an internet message board about clothes, I also don't think you'll actually STOP at one bespoke item... so go for it! [​IMG]


    Holdfast, please explain to the bespoke ignoramuses (like me) how a tailor "learns" from making more than one garment for you. Shouldn't they measure everything from the getgo so that it fits well?
     


  9. mrchapel

    mrchapel Senior Member

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    Holdfast, please explain to the bespoke ignoramuses (like me) how a tailor "learns" from making more than one garment for you. Shouldn't they measure everything from the getgo so that it fits well?

    As I understand it, whilst the ideal tailor should be able to do that, you have to take into account that our bodies are constantly changing. Sometimes it is just fractions of an inch, but over time, those fractions can add up. The learning part also comes into play during conversation. They will grow to learn how you like to wear your suits, what kind of a drape you prefer, your preferences for shoulders, etc., even though you may not know any of this on your first encounter. It's like forming a relationship with a good barber, eventually it will come to the point where you can walk in and they'll know exactly what you want. Please correct me if I am wrong; I have yet to experience a true bespoke fitting, but it is one of my life's goals.
     


  10. Holdfast

    Holdfast Stylish Dinosaur

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    They will grow to learn how you like to wear your suits, what kind of a drape you prefer, your preferences for shoulders, etc., even though you may not know any of this on your first encounter. It's like forming a relationship with a good barber, eventually it will come to the point where you can walk in and they'll know exactly what you want. Please correct me if I am wrong; I have yet to experience a true bespoke fitting, but it is one of my life's goals.

    This is very much what I was describing. No matter how much you research, describe, explain and discuss before the first bespoke suit, not everything will be quite perfect for you. Yes you have subsequent fittings and extensive tweaking can occur. But because you lack experience and knowledge and because your tailor isn't a mind-reader or able to predict exactly how you're going to like a style, compromises almost certainly will occur during the first suit. On subsequent items, you're starting from a higher knowledge base and have a finished garment to compare against and point out little changes you'd like that you just wouldn't think of on the first item. And your tailor starts from a higher level of knowledge of YOU! [​IMG]

    So things should improve.

    I'm not saying a good first bespoke garment won't fit superbly and be an excellent suit. It should be. But it almost certainly won't be perfect for your taste/style unless you're very lucky (or very easily satisfied!)

    Other people with experience with bespoke tailors may wish to chime in to confirm/deny![​IMG]
     


  11. SGladwell

    SGladwell Distinguished Member

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    While I agree with the conventional wisdom on this thread and in the forum in general - roped or Neapolitan shirtsleeve sleevehead, side vents, ticket pocket, and fuctional buttonholes, barchetta breast pocket, high-but-not-too-high gorge, long and straight lapel buttonhole, and so on - I think you need to be careful with the hacking pockets. Hacking pockets raked at too steep an angle look like they belong on a Benson rerun ca. 1979 to me. A subtle rake is OK. If you want something else to give your pockets some extra something, you might consider doing what a lot of the better Luciano Barbera and Attolini RTW have done for a while: instead of having pocket flaps that just fit into the pockets, get a slight triangular extension on the back end, making the bottom of the pocket wider than the top. Don't make them cartoonish; for an example of scale, on one Barbera jacket I just measured the bottom of a hip-pocket flap is about 6.5" and the top about 6". I find that adds just enough interest to the flaps while remaining classically elegant.

    But let me offer another suggestion for the hip/ticket pockets: go patch. In RTW I've only seen patch pockets with a patch ticket pocket sewn inside the right hip pocket (sticking up maybe 1cm from the main patch) on a few Attolini suits. Perhaps it was because of the rest of the detailing - an Attolini RTW is really something to behold - but the pocket treatment sticks in my mind as the most elegant I've ever seen. Also, patch pockets attached with hand-picked stitching are a beautiful thing.

    Also, consider peaked lapels...
     


  12. whoopee

    whoopee Distinguished Member

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    I like patch pockets on suits a lot, too. I would avoid them on really formal suits and with peak lapels, but on anything with a bit of informality, they are an excellent and underapprecaited touch.
     


  13. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Distinguished Member

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    Given the body type (evidently slim without an extreme drop) and circumstances, it's best to go for a rather conventional suit. A two-button with a slightly low button stance and hacking pockets (or flap pockets plus a ticket pocket) for personal expression ought to prevent the "tall, skinny" look and be stylish.
     


  14. DGP

    DGP Distinguished Member

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    I ended up going with a Zegna MTM. Actually, in some of their more modern cuts, a 40 fits me pretty well off the rack. I just had them make the length half way between regular and long, I had them contour the bod a bit around the rib area and I had the seat let out an inch cause I was sensing a bit of a camel toe. All in all, I ended up with what I think will be a great suit for years to come. It will be identifiable as made in this decade, which I like, but won't be "out of fashion" until the ozone is completely gone and we're all walking around in space suits. And I chose a midweight slightly darkish gray with a tiny bit of a sheen to it, but not "shiny."
     


  15. chobochobo

    chobochobo Rubber Chicken Dubiously Honored Moderator

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    As always, when venturing out for the 'ultimate' purchase in one area one wants the 'best' with all the 'bells and whistles'. To be honest, a suit with every detail may not be the best suit, for you because tastes do vary.

    If as you say, money isn't an issue, then go bespoke or at least upmarket MTM, it will be much better than RTW. And since money isn't a problem, get more suits and eventually you'll evolve your own style and preferences. It's a journey.
     


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