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The Made-to-Measure Thread

Nobilis Animus

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I'm not sure what you mean. But one of the advantages of going to a tailor is that he or she can better address how a suit or sport coat is supposed to fit. Most people don't know how a jacket is supposed to fit, so they need someone to guide them. Broadly speaking, sales associates are also not very good in this area.

If you go to a good tailor, they may also be known for a certain house style, which sometimes exists outside the realm of fashion (I hate using style vs fashion dichotomies, but hopefully you know what I mean). Ready to wear is much more driven by trends. But if you go to a tailoring house, that suit may be able to be worn for many decades, rather than whenever the trend for narrow lapels or whatever goes out of fashion.

The best tailoring houses, I think, are often know for a specific house style and are able to guide you towards better choices. They can also help you achieve a more flattering silhouette, which is possible in bespoke since very small changes can make a big impact on how you look. That may not always be possible with RTW or MTM since you're working with block patterns.

Obviously, this depends on your ability to find a good tailor, which is a challenge in and of itself.

Very broadly speaking, I'm generally not impressed with tailors who promise to deliver whatever the client wants. Those places lack "flavor," for lack of a better word. The suits end up looking boring.
This is broadly true for the majority of new clients today, because they do not, as you say, know how they ought to be dressed or how their clothes should fit.

What bothers me - not too much, but just slightly - is the general feeling I get from reading most bloggers and "menswear" writers that a tailor has his house style, which is correct and classic, and that one should find the tailor which best suits their own style and who can guide them in their tastes. What I am positing then is that if this is the case, there is very little difference between tailoring and designers.

Clearly there actually is a difference, or should be, and it is, or used to be, informed by the inclinations and discernment of the clients. What we call classic style didn't evolve organically or originate from tailor's shops - it is the general composition of tastes developed by the clients of these tailors who then went on to commission clothes that suited these requirements.

Of course, good tailors (both bespoke and MTM) are now well-versed in not only how to make a suit, but also what would flatter the customer more. You do not want to be an ignorant client arguing with your tailor, but rather than a tailor informing your tastes, I'm suggesting that the best model is a customer who can actually guide his tailor and have good enough fashion sense to choose things which last for himself.

A notable example is Henry Poole, who not only is famous for not being tied down to a particular house style, but also happens to be simultaneously the longest-lasting firm on Savile Row (I believe) and also responsible for starting, with input from clientele, some of the longest-lasting innovations in men's fashion.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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This is broadly true for the majority of new clients today, because they do not, as you say, know how they ought to be dressed or how their clothes should fit.

What bothers me - not too much, but just slightly - is the general feeling I get from reading most bloggers and "menswear" writers that a tailor has his house style, which is correct and classic, and that one should find the tailor which best suits their own style and who can guide them in their tastes. What I am positing then is that if this is the case, there is very little difference between tailoring and designers.

Clearly there actually is a difference, or should be, and it is, or used to be, informed by the inclinations and discernment of the clients. What we call classic style didn't evolve organically or originate from tailor's shops - it is the general composition of tastes developed by the clients of these tailors who then went on to commission clothes that suited these requirements.

Of course, good tailors (both bespoke and MTM) are now well-versed in not only how to make a suit, but also what would flatter the customer more. You do not want to be an ignorant client arguing with your tailor, but rather than a tailor informing your tastes, I'm suggesting that the best model is a customer who can actually guide his tailor and have good enough fashion sense to choose things which last for himself.

A notable example is Henry Poole, who not only is famous for not being tied down to a particular house style, but also happens to be simultaneously the longest-lasting firm on Savile Row (I believe) and also responsible for starting, with input from clientele, some of the longest-lasting innovations in men's fashion.
I don't think your third paragraph is true. Gennaro Rubinacci was famous for having a very strong and specific point of view. Frederick Schlote came up with his own cut. Vicenzo Attolini came up with his cut from reading Caraceni's tailoring books, who himself came up with the style from studying Schlote. Anderson & Sheppard is famous for not bending to a client's will. Huntsman, Gieves, and others are all known for their specific cut.

Henry Poole is the most flexible, and I would argue the most boring.

You mentioned in another thread that you own SR suits. Did you not choose your firm based on the house style? Which tailors did you choose and what led you to the firms?
 

heldentenor

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Of course, good tailors (both bespoke and MTM) are now well-versed in not only how to make a suit, but also what would flatter the customer more. You do not want to be an ignorant client arguing with your tailor, but rather than a tailor informing your tastes, I'm suggesting that the best model is a customer who can actually guide his tailor and have good enough fashion sense to choose things which last for himself.
I know it's a tenuous distinction, but are we talking about fit or about stylistic choices? Especially with made-to-measure, where (as has been noted countless times here) it's about adjusting a block fit within a limited, paradigmatic system, I'd be very hesitant to tell a fitter specific details and would confine myself to general preferences. "I favor a slimmer/more classic silhouette" is likely to lead to much better results than me telling my MTM fitter to suppress the waist by another centimeter, because I don't know how that change affects the rest of the contours of the garment and he does.

On questions of style, live your best life. You want to push the envelope with giant swelled edges, pick stitching on everything, and two ticket pockets? Knock yourself out; it's your money and your choice. But I think a good fit should be the responsibility of the person making the garment, not the client, and clients who make too many specific demands are ultimately usurping the fitter's responsibility for achieving that.

That's how I look at it, anyway.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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This reminds me of two stories:

I once asked Mariano Rubinacci if there are things he would just never make. He told me "hook vents." If a customer came in and requested that, he'd decline and explain that his company's house style is best with dual vents. If the customer insisted, he'd just turn the person away.

Another time, I was at another tailor's shop. The person does very good work, but mostly serves people who are just looking to get a wedding suit. He does a lot of MTM, but has some in-house bespoke (most people go for MTM). His company also doesn't really have a house style. While sitting in his shop, I overheard two customers talking (both friends). One was trying to convince the other that they should get contrasting buttonholes because "you have to show it's bespoke." This tailor makes a lot of suits like that, but only because he's asked to and he has to earn a living.

Seems like two very different approaches to tailoring. Ultimately people will find things that work for them, but I appreciate the bit of guidance and pushback. I once commissioned a navy sport coat from a Neapolitan tailor and asked for a four-button cuff. The tailor looked up and dryly said "no, it will be three buttons." That was that, and in the end, I appreciated the change, as three was the way to go for that style.

Along with cutting a good suit, I think a tailor should guide you towards better choices. Most people don't know the language of tailoring or traditional men's style, so they need someone to help guide them towards better and more coherent choices. Along with that, the best tailors often have a house cut that's been refined over many years. You are buying that silhouette, and hopefully the taste and knowledge of someone who can tell you whether your choices make sense.

Just think of how many botched up, ugly suits have been made and displayed on here because the customer kept asking for a tighter cut, shorter jacket, contrasting buttonholes, phony Italian details from a non-Italian tailor, ever-more open quarters, and other affectations. If the person just put themselves in the tailors' hands -- or if the tailor just rejected the order outright -- it would have been better for all parties involved.
 

Nobilis Animus

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I don't think your third paragraph is true. Gennaro Rubinacci was famous for having a very strong and specific point of view. Frederick Schlote came up with his own cut. Vicenzo Attolini came up with his cut from reading Caraceni's tailoring books, who himself came up with the style from studying Schlote. Anderson & Sheppard is famous for not bending to a client's will. Huntsman, Gieves, and others are all known for their specific cut.

Henry Poole is the most flexible, and I would argue the most boring.

You mentioned in another thread that you own SR suits. Did you not choose your firm based on the house style? Which tailors did you choose and what led you to the firms?
Well, perhaps I am going a bit too far back. There are clear house biases today, which were developed over the course of the 20th century, but I believe I am correct about their inclinations not being the source of classic style. Whatever their origin myths (used in the sense of "muthos" and not intending to imply their falsity or veracity), these were responses to a challenge from ready-to-wear businesses which were popping up in the late 19th century and who definitely tried to push clients into a particular stylistic mould.

With the caveat that my experience may not be applicable to everyone: I have suits from Poole, Huntsman, Dege, Meyer and Mortimer, and several off-row tailors who nevertheless were trained there and have similar quality. Some of them were my choice, and others hand-me-downs from family members. I do tend to like military-esque cuts myself, but I definitely enjoy French suits as well and softer constructions (although not in the Italian style). I'd say that each suit is slightly different, but by my own choice, and all are complimentary to my tastes.

I know it's a tenuous distinction, but are we talking about fit or about stylistic choices? Especially with made-to-measure, where (as has been noted countless times here) it's about adjusting a block fit within a limited, paradigmatic system, I'd be very hesitant to tell a fitter specific details and would confine myself to general preferences. "I favor a slimmer/more classic silhouette" is likely to lead to much better results than me telling my MTM fitter to suppress the waist by another centimeter, because I don't know how that change affects the rest of the contours of the garment and he does.

On questions of style, live your best life. You want to push the envelope with giant swelled edges, pick stitching on everything, and two ticket pockets? Knock yourself out; it's your money and your choice. But I think a good fit should be the responsibility of the person making the garment, not the client, and clients who make too many specific demands are ultimately usurping the fitter's responsibility for achieving that.

That's how I look at it, anyway.
True, simple requests are much more likely to at least not be awful.

I'd say that in questions of fit, MTM does not occupy the mid-range of men's clothing. Bespoke is ostensibly the top (controversial), but I would say that a good designer suit is actually the next downwards step. Let's say that a particular designer makes suits that will fit 20% of a given population. So your odds of getting a perfect fit from the designer suit are 1 in 5. The ready-to-wear shop makes suits into which you have a 0% chance of properly fitting, because they do not fit anybody particularly well, even with adjustments. MTM fits most people better, but again none perfectly, so it's really only a tier above RTW, in my own opinion.
 
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Nobilis Animus

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This reminds me of two stories:

I once asked Mariano Rubinacci if there are things he would just never make. He told me "hook vents." If a customer came in and requested that, he'd decline and explain that his company's house style is best with dual vents. If the customer insisted, he'd just turn the person away.

Another time, I was at another tailor's shop. The person does very good work, but mostly serves people who are just looking to get a wedding suit. He does a lot of MTM, but has some in-house bespoke (most people go for MTM). His company also doesn't really have a house style. While sitting in his shop, I overheard two customers talking (both friends). One was trying to convince the other that they should get contrasting buttonholes because "you have to show it's bespoke." This tailor makes a lot of suits like that, but only because he's asked to and he has to earn a living.

Seems like two very different approaches to tailoring. Ultimately people will find things that work for them, but I appreciate the bit of guidance and pushback. I once commissioned a navy sport coat from a Neapolitan tailor and asked for a four-button cuff. The tailor looked up and dryly said "no, it will be three buttons." That was that, and in the end, I appreciated the change, as three was the way to go for that style.

Along with cutting a good suit, I think a tailor should guide you towards better choices. Most people don't know the language of tailoring or traditional men's style, so they need someone to help guide them towards better and more coherent choices. Along with that, the best tailors often have a house cut that's been refined over many years. You are buying that silhouette, and hopefully the taste and knowledge of someone who can tell you whether your choices make sense.

Just think of how many botched up, ugly suits have been made and displayed on here because the customer kept asking for a tighter cut, shorter jacket, contrasting buttonholes, phony Italian details from a non-Italian tailor, ever-more open quarters, and other affectations. If the person just put themselves in the tailors' hands -- or if the tailor just rejected the order outright -- it would have been better for all parties involved.
I agree that those issues could easily have been avoided if the customers had simply listened to the tailor's better guidance. I also think, however, that these are down to the lack of taste in the commission, and not necessarily to an inherent superiority of knowledge possessed by the tailor. That should be the realm of the clientele; the reality is often different, but we are speaking of ideals (I think).
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Well, perhaps I am going a bit too far back. There are clear house biases today, which were developed over the course of the 20th century, but I believe I am correct about their inclinations not being the source of classic style. Whatever their origin myths (used in the sense of "muthos" and not intending to imply their falsity or veracity), these were responses to a challenge from ready-to-wear businesses which were popping up in the late 19th century and who definitely tried to push clients into a particular stylistic mould.

With the caveat that my experience may not be applicable to everyone: I have suits from Poole, Huntsman, Dege, Meyer and Mortimer, and several off-row tailors who nevertheless were trained there and have similar quality. Some of them were my choice, and others hand-me-downs from family members. I do tend to like military-esque cuts myself, but I definitely enjoy French suits as well and softer constructions (although not in the Italian style). I'd say that each suit is slightly different, but by my own choice, and all are complimentary to my tastes.



True, simple requests are much more likely to at least not be awful.

I'd say that in questions of fit, MTM does not occupy the mid-range of men's clothing. Bespoke is ostensibly the top (controversial), but I would say that a good designer suit is actually the next downwards step. Let's say that a particular designer makes suits that will fit 20% of a given population. So your odds of getting a perfect fit from the designer suit are 1 in 5. The ready-to-wear shop makes suits into which you have a 0% chance of properly fitting, because they do not fit anybody particularly well, even with adjustments. MTM fits most people better, but again none perfectly, so it's really only a tier above RTW, in my own opinion.
I think classic men's style as we discuss it here is only a 20th century history. At the end of the 19th century, proper gentlemen were still wearing frock coats. Those who wore suits tended to be working class people, such as clerks, and they were not particularly expressive about their clothes. There are accounts of tailors around that time who bemoaned how dress norms were declining as people adopted the suit.

Regarding your SR suits, I'm sure they're personalized around the edges by fabric choices and small details, but how personalized can it get when you're still essentially buying into a silhouette? Huntsman and Dege are known for their silhouettes.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I agree that those issues could easily have been avoided if the customers had simply listened to the tailor's better guidance. I also think, however, that these are down to the lack of taste in the commission, and not necessarily to an inherent superiority of knowledge possessed by the tailor. That should be the realm of the clientele; the reality is often different, but we are speaking of ideals (I think).
Most people have bad taste in clothes, simply because they haven't put in the work to learn the language. This doesn't mean they're bad people or anything. It just takes a while to learn the language.

Most tailors are also not stylists. Often, tailoring houses have a fitter (let's say stylist) at the front of the house, and the technicians in the back. I do think that people who spend more time thinking about clothes often have a better sense of the subject. It helps to have a fitter (or say stylist) guide you towards better stylistic choices, depending on your needs and lifestyle. You can still personalize a suit around the edges, but the suit is a template off which you create something. You are not inventing something new.
 

Nobilis Animus

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I think classic men's style as we discuss it here is only a 20th century history. At the end of the 19th century, proper gentlemen were still wearing frock coats. Those who wore suits tended to be working class people, such as clerks, and they were not particularly expressive about their clothes. There are accounts of tailors around that time who bemoaned how dress norms were declining as people adopted the suit.

Regarding your SR suits, I'm sure they're personalized around the edges by fabric choices and small details, but how personalized can it get when you're still essentially buying into a silhouette? Huntsman and Dege are known for their silhouettes.

Most people have bad taste in clothes, simply because they haven't put in the work to learn the language. This doesn't mean they're bad people or anything. It just takes a while to learn the language.

Most tailors are also not stylists. Often, tailoring houses have a fitter (let's say stylist) at the front of the house, and the technicians in the back. I do think that people who spend more time thinking about clothes often have a better sense of the subject.
Well of course taste can be mimicked. I do not agree that the role of a tailor is to profer a template around which a client should base his tastes, sorry. Perhaps this is the role they have been made to play for decades, but it is not at the heart of the tailoring profession, and if it is the norm now, then that probably explains why more people are flocking to designer clothes, because at that point what is the difference? If a tailor is unwilling to listen to his client, then what on earth are people "bespeaking," anyway?

Our iteration of the suit may be a 20th century phenomenon, but the relative structure of coat, neckcloth, waistcoat, and trousers or breeches is much older. That combination is arguably the national costume of Englishmen, because its beginnings were solidified in the Middle Ages, or even earlier. The suit was bemoaned because it was becoming a thing to wear in public - it existed for far longer as a leisure garment. And in fact, the aping of lower-class clothing aristocrats was a 19th century, or even 18th century, pastime.

I see no reason to suppose that creative minds may not one day invent another type of clothing that catches on as a general trend, or a combination of clothing. The suit has stuck around so long because it works so well - it would be a shame if it only existed in manufactured exclusivity.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Well of course taste can be mimicked. I do not agree that the role of a tailor is to profer a template around which a client should base his tastes, sorry. Perhaps this is the role they have been made to play for decades, but it is not at the heart of the tailoring profession, and if it is the norm now, then that probably explains why more people are flocking to designer clothes, because at that point what is the difference? If a tailor is unwilling to listen to his client, then what on earth are people "bespeaking," anyway?

Our iteration of the suit may be a 20th century phenomenon, but the relative structure of coat, neckcloth, and trousers or breeches is much older. That combination is arguably the national costume of Englishmen, because its beginnings were solidified in the Middle Ages, or even earlier. The suit was bemoaned because it was becoming a thing to wear in public - it existed for far longer as a leisure garment. And in fact, the aping of lower-class clothing aristocrats was a 19th century, or even 18th century, pastime.

I see no reason to suppose that creative minds may not one day invent another type of clothing that catches on as a general trend, or a combination of clothing. The suit has stuck around so long because it works so well - it would be a shame if it only existed in manufactured exclusivity.
When I think of the tailors you're describing, I think of cheap Asian tailor shops that have no point of view. When I think of great tailoring houses since at least the beginning of the 20th century, I think of the ones who had a point of view. They had a specific cut and were known for a specific style. This is not a "designer" (designers didn't exist in the way we discuss them today until after the Second World War). You can say it's closer to ready to wear, I suppose. But I don't think that's a bad thing.

Don't know why we're talking about classic men's style as being something from the Middle Ages. Which great tailoring houses can we talk about from the Middle Ages? Who here is taking their dress cues from the Middle Ages?
 

Nobilis Animus

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When I think of the tailors you're describing, I think of cheap Asian tailor shops that have no point of view. When I think of great tailoring houses since at least the beginning of the 20th century, I think of the ones who had a point of view. They had a specific cut and were known for a specific style. This is not a "designer" (designers didn't exist in the way we discuss them today until after the Second World War). You can say it's closer to ready to wear, I suppose. But I don't think that's a bad thing.

Don't know why we're talking about classic men's style as being something from the Middle Ages. Which great tailoring houses can we talk about from the Middle Ages?
To each his own. But I think it does a disservice to the history if contributions from clients who actually bespoke the garments are discounted. The dinner jacket didn't invent itself, and I'm just glad Poole and Co. didn't make clothes like Rubinacci.

That's just it: I don't believe that classic style comes from tailoring houses, but from individuals who invented things others wanted to wear. The suit of clothes, in its concept, has been around for far longer than the modern suit - and both were originally meant to set others apart because of their status. Classics go back much farther than the 1930s, though they change over time, like the suit did over the 20th century. The point is that though the clothes obviously changed, the mechanism by which their forms came to be considered classic did not.
 

Bromley

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I Really like the western inspiration earlier in this thread. Any other suggestions for IG accounts to follow?
Union Western:

Tyler Kenneth:
 

othertravel

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Here’s a relatively recent commission from Spier and Mackay.

At first I was really impressed at how it turned out:

D29ECA0E-1A12-4877-A417-E39791C3012A.jpeg

6B4BACB6-69E2-4B91-A315-881F38A7137B.jpeg

But, it has a glaring problem they were unable to fix.

When the suit came in, there was a huge collar gap problem. They said it was fixable by taking the collar in.

That addressed it a little bit, but whenever I move around, the jacket has a tendency to shift on my frame and reopen the gap.

It’s unfortunate because everything else turned out nicely. But it’s the only suit in my collection with that issue, and makes me less likely to wear it.
 

FlyingHorker

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To each his own. But I think it does a disservice to the history if contributions from clients who actually bespoke the garments are discounted. The dinner jacket didn't invent itself, and I'm just glad Poole and Co. didn't make clothes like Rubinacci.

That's just it: I don't believe that classic style comes from tailoring houses, but from individuals who invented things others wanted to wear. The suit of clothes, in its concept, has been around for far longer than the modern suit - and both were originally meant to set others apart because of their status. Classics go back much farther than the 1930s, though they change over time, like the suit did over the 20th century. The point is that though the clothes obviously changed, the mechanism by which their forms came to be considered classic did not.
Duke of Windsor and Frederick Scholte is about 70% of menswear inspiration for "classic" menswear. I wonder how that relationship worked regarding input and output.
 

FlyingHorker

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@othertravel hmm I wonder if that was done correctly? As I understand it, collar gap is fixed by "shortening" the collar.

iammatt from AAAC

"Shortening the collar is where the tailor takes off the collar of the jacket and shortens the backneck either by taking in the center seam, or by taking in the shoulder seams on the back side. The collar is then reattached and since it is now longer than the area that has been taken in, it needs to be shortened slightly at the ends. "
 

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